Expedition 44 crew members sample leafy greens grown on space station

Fresh food grown in the microgravity environment of space officially is on the menu for the first time for NASA astronauts on the International Space Station. Expedition 44 crew members, including NASA’s one-year astronaut Scott Kelly, are ready to sample the fruits of their labor after harvesting a crop of “Outredgeous” red romaine lettuce Monday, […]

Common crop pesticides kill honeybee larvae in the hive

Four pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and fungi also kill honeybee larvae within their hives, according to Penn State and University of Florida researchers. The team also found that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) — an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used as a pesticide additive — is highly toxic to honeybee larvae. “We found […]

Aussie Eucalypts under threat

Research at the National Environmental Research Program’s (NERP) Environmental Decisions Hub has found that heat waves, droughts and floods expected under climate change will alter environmental conditions so much that many eucalypts will no longer survive in their native ranges. Replanting is unlikely to help woodlands and forests persist, the scientists warn. “Trees are vulnerable […]

Hope for new longer flowering chamomile varieties

Chamomile is a medicinal plant used mainly in the treatment of stomach and intestinal diseases, including the field of veterinary medicine. Agricultural scientist Bettina Fähnrich from the Institute of Animal Nutrition and Functional Plant Compounds has been focusing on the genetics of chamomile (Matricaria recutita). She has been looking for chamomile varieties with a triploid […]

The potassium paradox: Implications for soil fertility, crop production and human health

In the chemical age of agriculture that began in the 1960s, potassium chloride (KCl), the common salt often referred to as potash, has and is widely used as a major fertiliser in the Corn Belt without regard to the huge soil reserves that were once recognized for their fundamental importance to soil fertility. Three University […]

Steroids can regenerate in aquatic ecosystems

Steroidal substances such as those used in agriculture and pharmaceuticals may be persistent in the environment for longer than previously thought. A team of researchers found that anabolic steroids have a mechanism whereby phototransformation is reversed. “We investigated trenbolone, an anabolic steroid, and found that the photochemical breakdown isn’t the end of its life cycle,” […]

Urban gardens good or bad?

The issues surrounding food production in urban areas are outlined in a paper recently published by Wortman and Sarah Taylor Lovell in the September-October issue of Journal of Environmental Quality. The benefits of urban agriculture are many. Urban gardens are often built on previously unused lots, increasing the beauty and value of the neighborhood. They […]

Out of Africa? New bamboo genera, mountain gorillas, and the origins of China’s bamboos

Hidden away on mountains in the tropics where they provide food for gorillas, just as China’s bamboos provide food for the Giant Panda, are the only two species of African mountain bamboos.

Unscrambling the genetics of the chicken’s ‘blue’ egg

They are the latest foodie fashion and look set to become big business in the baking aisles of all the major supermarkets – the blue egg produced by some chickens is prettier and some say tastier and cleaner-breaking than the traditional brown one – and now, thanks to scientists from The University of Nottingham, we […]

Ancient cycads found to be pre-adapted to grow in groves

Cycads have large, heavy seeds with a fleshy outer coating that suggests they rely on large bodied fruit-eating animals to disperse their seeds. Yet there is little evidence that they are eaten and dispersed by today’s larger-bodied animals, such as emus or elephants. If these plants are adapted for dispersal by a set of animals […]