Award-winning Game: Meta!Blast: The Leaf is a game that immerses the player in the action on and in a leaf. Intended as a supplement to in-class instruction for high school students, it lets users pilot a miniature bioship across a strange landscape, which features nematodes and a lumbering tardigrade.

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cytoplasm streaming (movement of cytosol) carrying chloroplasts around the edges of the plant cells.

Man-made leaf turns CO2 into oxygen.

Julian Melchiorri’s invention uses chloroplasts taken from plant cells suspended in silk protein to create oxygen from carbon dioxide, light and water. 

In addition to its potential value to space travel, Melchiorri also imagines the technology literally providing a breath of fresh air to indoor and outdoor spaces here on Earth. The facades of buildings and lampshades could be made to exhale fresh air with just a thin coating of the leaf material.

But perhaps best of all, a man-made breathing leaf could be the key to not just space travel but space colonization. No need to figure out how to till that dry, red Martian dirt to get some nice leafy trees to grow; we could just slap them on the inside of the colony’s dome and puff away.

Chloroplast. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a section through a plant cell, showing a fractured chloroplast (dark green). Chloroplasts are the site of photosynthesis, the process that synthesises carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water using sunlight. The pigment responsible for photosynthesis, chlorophyll, is found on stacks of parallel thylakoids (membranes, dark green) called grana.


That natural glow By Fernán Federici and Jim Haseloff , University of Cambridge Perhaps the most famous of the plant organelles, the chloroplast is the site of photosynthesis, and as such, is the energy workhouse of the plant cell, similar to our mitochondria. The natural autofluorescence of chlorophyll allows researchers to use fluorescence analysis techniques to ask questions about the efficiency of photosynthesis. Image: 3D projection of a Z-stack of confocal images of fluorescent Arabidopsis thaliana leaf cells. A green fluorescent marker is used to mark cells in blue and autofluorescence from chloroplasts is shown in red.