Julian Melchiorri, a student with the Royal College of Art’s innovation design engineering course in the United Kingdom, has created an artificial biological leaf that produces oxygen. The Silk Leaf Project design was for an RCA course in collaboration with Tufts University’s silk lab in Massachusetts.
This is the first man-made biological leaf in the history of mankind.
Functioning exactly like the leaves on a plant do, chloroplasts extracted from actual plant cells are suspended in a material made from silk protein. When light, water, and carbon dioxide are absorbed to produce oxygen just like a plant, the artificial biological leaves could enable long-distance space travel, according to Melchiorri.