Agriculture, News, Space

Astronauts to eat food grown in space, for the first time

Image via NASA.

Back in 2013, we were telling you about about a small agricultural project on the International Space Station – now, the space veggies are ready to be harvested; for the first time, astronauts will be eating food grown in space.

Agriculture, Biology, News

Scientists find why earthworms are so good at fertilizing the soil

Image credits: Manuel Liebeke et al.

They’re a gardener’s best friend, and our fields wouldn’t be the same without them. The humble earthworm plays a major role in organic matter recycling in soils worldwide, and now researchers have figured out how. The secret lies in their metabolic system and how they digest their food.

Agriculture, Anthropology, History, News, Science

And then i threw it on the ground: first signs of farming come from the middle east, some 23,000 years ago

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Who, where and when “invented” farming? A new study pushes back the advent of farming by a couple of thousand years.

Agriculture, News

A Danish Festival Will Recycle Participants’ Urine to Make New Beer

Image via Creative Lena.

Call it Beercycling – gallons of beer-urine will be used to fertilize barley, which will ultimately become beer, and then urine again. It’s the perfect cycle. Denmark’s Roskilde festival is the largest music festival in Scandinavia and one of the largest in the world. Roskilde Festival 2013 had more than 180 performing bands and gathered around 130,000 festivalgoers, with more than 21,000 volunteers,

Agriculture, Climate, News, Nutrition, Science

Rising oceans and sinking bread: how climate change might ruin loaves

The larger loaf on the right was made with wheat grown in today's conditions. The (slightly depressing) loaf on the left was grown in high carbon dioxide conditions.
Photo: Simone Dalton

A research group working at the Australian Grains Free Air CO₂ Enrichment facility (AgFace) in Victoria is studying the effect elevated carbon dioxide will have on crops such as wheat, lentils, canola and field pea. They grow experimental crops in the open, surrounded by thin tubes that eject carbon dioxide into the air around the plants. Findings show that crops have higher yield (up to 25% more), but less proteins. Elevated CO2 also seems to ruin bread made from the grown wheat.

Agriculture, Animals, News

Pollinating Bees are Worth Billions, and We’re Still Not Protecting Them

Image via Fabulous Arizona.

Wild bees provide environmental services worth $3,250 (€2,880) per hectare per year – accounting for billions, globally. Writing in Nature Communications, study authors quantify how much bees are doing for us, and stress that despite all their immense value, we still don’t have a concrete plan to stop their numbers from dwindling.

Agriculture, Archaeology, News

8,000 Year Old Wheat Found in UK, 2,000 Years Before They Started Growing it

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According to a new study, ancient hunter-gatherer Britons imported wheat from mainland Europe, showing a surprising level of sophistication for such an old population.

Agriculture, Archaeology, News

8,000-Year-Old Olive Oil Found in Ancient Clay Pots

8,000 year old olive oil was found in Israel. This is the earliest evidence of olive oil production. Credit: Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority

We know that ancient populations really liked olive oil, and it’s not that uncommon to find oil-filled pots from Ancient Greece. However, archaeologists were really excited to find that pressed olive oil goes as back as 8,000 years ago. Researchers found residues of the Mediterranean-diet staple on ancient clay pots dating back to the 6th millennium B.C. “This is the earliest evidence

Agriculture, Health & Medicine, News

New analysis Impact of GMO crops: pesticide down 37%, yields up 22%, profits up 68%

Image credits: Judy Carman.

Despite the rapid adoption of genetically modified (GM) crops, there is still much controversy about this technology. Uncertainty about GM crop impacts is one reason for widespread public suspicion; a new study conducted a meta-analysis of the impacts (both economical and agricultural) caused by GM crops. The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1982, using an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. Since

Agriculture, Anthropology

Manure was used by European farmers 8000 years ago

agriculture manure

A new study has shown that European farmers used far more sophisticated practices than was previously thought. The Oxford research found that Neolithic farmers used manure as a fertilizer as early as 6000 BC. It has been previously assumed that manure wasn’t used in agriculture until Roman times. This technique is fairly complex, because dung takes a while to break