Not another story about superbugs?

P Personally, I may not be too affected by a food shortage by 2050 for a couple of reasons.  I could be dead, or at the least very old and only consuming a light fuel of gruel. Currently, I’m in a state of abundance.  Each day I eat my way through thousands of kilojules to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Maize trade disruption could have global ramifications

Disruptions to U.S. exports of maize (corn) could pose food security risks for many U.S. trade partners due to the lack of trade among other producing and importing nations, says a Michigan State University study. The study, featured in the journal Risk Analysis, didn’t primarily focus on plant disease, population growth, climate change or the […]

Palm oil genome mapping to improve yields and protect rainforest

The identification of a single gene critical for yield of the oil palm, a crop that accounts for nearly half of world-wide edible vegetable oil, is reported along with the plant’s genomic sequence in a set of papers published online July 24, 2013 ahead of print in Nature. The findings have implications for enhancing the […]

Health risks from arsenic in rice exposed

High levels of arsenic in rice have been shown to be associated with elevated genetic damage in humans, a new study has found. Over the last few years, researchers have reported high concentrations of arsenic in several rice-growing regions around the world. Now, University of Manchester scientists, working in collaboration with scientists at CSIR-Indian Institute […]

How rice twice became a crop and twice became a weed — and what it means for the future

The evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould once asked whether the living world would be different “if the tape were played twice.” If there were a duplicate Earth evolving quietly beside ours, would we observe the emergence of creatures like ourselves and of plants and anaimals familiar to us, or would the cast of characters be […]

Crop rotation works

Crop rotation has been used since Roman times to improve plant nutrition and to control the spread of disease. A new study to be published in Nature’s ‘The ISME Journal‘ reveals the profound effect it has on enriching soil with bacteria, fungi and protozoa. “Changing the crop species massively changes the content of microbes in […]

Better farming methods to cut greenhouse gases

Improving crop yields using sustainable methods could cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 12% per calorie produced according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. At the same time, these changes could provide more food to people in need. Agriculture and land use change contributed about 1/3 of total […]