Questions? AskAuckland


Food for a Hungry World: Optimising Plant Growth

The learning resources presented in these web pages explore the issue of plant growth optimisation and the research that scientists have conducted into plant cell cycles.

About the Learning Resources


Knowing how to grow enough food to feed the world’s 7.6 billion people should be simple - but it’s not. Food shortages usually occur due to a complex combination of factors that might include flood or drought but also civil conflict, social inequities, poor governance or poor agricultural practices and land management. Issues associated with growing enough food that can be equitably distributed to the world’s growing population are becoming more pressing as the global population grows to an estimated 9 billion people by 2050. These issues include but are not limited to:


  • Growing enough sustainable food while not contributing to global warming (e.g. cows produce meat but are major contributors to greenhouse gases)
  • The huge demand for feed to keep livestock for meat production
  • Loss of agricultural land
  • Extreme weather events
  • Water scarcity and water pollution


Therefore, the need for advancement in scientific understanding of increasing plant production and plant growth is essential.

Resource Links


What is Plant Growth Optimisation?

A page for teachers and senior students summarising the key concepts associated with plant growth optimisation.



Understanding Plant Growth Optimisation: Case Study

Read about the work scientists have done on the effect of auxin on plant cell cycles.



Discussion Questions

Resource questions designed to further discussion on the topic of plant growth optimisation.


Question and Answer

Challenge Questions

Further questions on the subject of plant growth optimisation designed to stimulate more in-depth conversation and learning.



Seminar Recording

An in-stream version of the seminar series the resources on these web pages originate from.



Seminar Paper

Download the seminar paper.



Links to Curriculum and Assessment of Learning

Information for teachers on how these resources link to current curriculum objectives.



Further Resources

Additional resources for teachers to further understand the resources presented in these web pages.