Agriculture, Genetics, News, Science, World Problems

Feeding the world through global warming: Altering one plant gene makes for climate-resilient crops

Corn plants damaged by extreme heat and drought conditions stand in a field in Carmi, IL.
Image via thelede.blogs.nytimes

It’s estimated that humanity will have to produce around 50% more food than we currently do to keep up with growing global demand….by 2050. It’s an enormous challenge, especially as more and more countries face the effects of climate change, such as drought or toxic salinity levels. One of our best hopes is to rely more on crops that can flourish despite the vicissitudes of the environment, and plant cell biologists at the University of Oxford hope that their new breakthrough in climate-resilient agriculture will allow us to do just that.

Agriculture, Animals, News, Science

Florida quarantines farmlands to contain the Oriental Fruit Fly

Image via wikipedia

Florida’s farmlands are under attack by a highly destructive pest, the Oriental Fruit Fly, and authorities have quarantined some 85 square miles of land and the food grown there in an effort to contain the insect.

Agriculture, Environment, News

Bees get much needed win as US court rules against neonicotinoid pesticide

Image via Discover Magazine.

Bee numbers have been dropping at alarming rates, and the growing consensus seem to be that only limiting pesticide use (especially for some pesticides) can save them. Now, a US court overturned federal approval for a new formulation called sulfoxaflor, basically banning the pesticide.

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


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


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.