Earth & Environment

Protecting Israel’s freshwater: Phosphorous outsourcing in Lake Kinneret

Freshwater is such a scarce commodity in Israel that taking the salt out of seawater is routinely used as a way of supplying the population with drinking water. Lake Kinneret is the only natural freshwater lake in the whole country. Dr Moshe Gophen and his collaborators at MIGAL Galilee Research Institute have assessed the importance of different potential sources of […]

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Biology

Blotches and spots: Understanding blemishes of faba bean

Over the last decade, grain legumes such as faba beans have been cultivated widely in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Faba bean is the world’s second-highest grain-yielding legume, yet the occurrence and spread of specific diseases of faba bean grown in Europe have not been studied in great detail. Dr Biruta Bankina and colleagues Dāvids Fridmanis, Gunita Bimšteine, Jānis Kaņeps, […]

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Earth & Environment

The effects of climatic trends on agriculture in Western Uzbekistan

Temperature plays a vital role in plant development. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can perturb and even stop plant growth, dramatically affecting crop yields. Independent researcher Julian Schlubach looks at climate trends in an agro-region in Western Uzbekistan. He analysed local meteorological data and IPCC future climate projections to determine how the primary crops there have been and will be […]

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Biology

Searching TILL high yielding jute is unearthed

Jute fibres are sustainable, biodegradable alternatives to non-degradable plastic fibres. The cultivation of jute is hindered by the presence of only two cultivated varieties in Corchorus sp and their incompatibility for cross-breeding. Increasing the genetic diversity of jute is a priority, to increase the tolerance of this crop towards environmental stresses, as well as improving the quality of the fibres. […]

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Thought Leaders

The Orangutan Project: How a successful not-for-profit organisation is working to protect Critically Endangered orangutans from extinction

The Orangutan Project was founded in 1998 by orangutan expert and conservationist Leif Cocks. Today, it takes a multifaceted approach to conservation, targeting the key threats facing the Critically Endangered orangutan population. Leif Cocks told us about the vital work of the Project, and about his own ethics which underpin the conservation work. Orangutans are facing an existential threat. As vast tracts […]

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Biology

The role of extra chromosomal circular DNA in rapid adaption to glyphosate resistance in pigweed

Plants, like other living organisms, have genetic stress-avoidance mechanisms that allow them to become resistant to specific chemicals when continuously exposed to them. Dr Christopher Saski from Clemson University and Dr William Molin from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are researching the extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) structure known as the replicon of pigweed, which contains the EPSPS gene, the gene […]

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Biology

Relieving heat stress in dairy cattle

Dairy cattle in warm climates are at risk of heat stress, which can adversely affect both their welfare and milk production. To investigate the effects of heat stress on cattle, Dr Amanda Stone of Mississippi State University, USA, uses Precision Dairy Monitoring Technologies. Some of these technologies allow for continuous monitoring of the body temperature of cattle. Recently, Dr Stone’s […]

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Earth & Environment

Protein as a Unifying Metric for Carbon Footprinting Livestock

Agriculture and livestock production contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. To reduce these emissions, some environmental groups advocate reducing the amount of red meat that we consume. James Dyer and Raymond Desjardins, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), were interested in the impact that reducing red meat, diversifying meat consumption and changing cattle diets could potentially have on […]

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Earth & Environment

Quantum theory for sustainability transformations

Agriculture significantly contributes to environmental issues and requires deep and urgent transformations in order to be sustainable. Agroecological transition is not only technical but involves the evolution of farmers’ ways of seeing and interpreting the world. Dr Cyrille Rigolot at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE), explores the potential of quantum theory as a […]

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Biology

Rice husk biochar with beneficial microbes: A promising agricultural inoculant and soil ameliorant

The research of Shohei Ebe and Takashi Ano from Kindai University into the relationship between a microbe and rice husk biochar (RHB) suggest the latter is an activator of beneficial microbes that can be used to combat phytopathogenic microorganisms. Having isolated a novel lipopeptide producing Bacillus sp. that benefits from RHB presence in the soil, these are promising insights into […]

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