In the news...

Making food without photosynthesis

August 19th, 2019 / Biology Fortified, US

We live in interesting times. The specters of overpopulation and climate change are constantly in the headlines. The possible threat of global food shortages as a result of increased food demand and climate change-induced crop failures is hovering just over the horizon. And we keep hearing the same mantra: we can’t …

Subsidies are key to better fertiliser access, study shows

August 16th, 2019

Subsidies for manufacturing companies could help improve access to fertiliser in developing countries without increasing environmental stress, a team of international researchers has proposed.

In an article reviewing scientific evidence, the team presented a strategy to manage global fertiliser use while minimising nitrogen pollution — a common side effect. They note that it will be …

Agroecology as innovation

July 10th, 2019

On July 3, the High Level Panel of Experts of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its much-anticipated report on agroecology in Rome. The report signals the continuing shift in emphasis in the UN agency’s approach to agricultural development. As outgoing FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva …

Smarter fertilizers can reduce environmental contamination

July 9th, 2019 / Scientific American, US

To feed the world’s growing population, farmers need to increase crop yields. Applying more fertilizer could help. But standard versions work inefficiently and often harm the environment. Fortunately, products that are more ecologically sound – controlled-release fertilizers – are available and becoming increasingly …

How do organic pesticides compare to conventional pesticides?

January 31st, 2019 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

Many consumers choose to buy higher-priced organic produce because they believe organic foods are not grown using pesticides and therefore are healthier for humans and for the environment. However, organic farming can include any pesticides derived from natural sources. This distinction does not mean organic pesticides are necessarily less toxic than …

World Soil Day: soil health is key to environmental and human health

December 5th, 2018 / FoodTank

Soil is more than just dirt—the state of our soils impacts everything from human health to climate change. Today, scientists, research organizations, and individuals across the globe are celebrating World Soil Day to recognize how healthy soils are vital for the future of the food system and a sustainable planet.
“Land …

Living Planet Report finds humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970

October 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The huge loss is a tragedy in itself but also threatens the survival of civilisation, say the world’s leading scientists.
Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens …

‘High-yield’ farming costs the environment less than previously thought – and could help spare habitats

October 11th, 2018 / University of Cambridge

New findings suggest that more intensive agriculture might be the “least bad” option for feeding the world while saving its species – provided use of such “land-efficient” systems prevents further conversion of wilderness to farmland.
“Our results suggest that high-yield farming could be harnessed to meet the growing demand for food …

Rice genes could be key to stemming nitrogen pollution

August 28th, 2018 / Scientific American

Rice, wheat and other grains that have been bred to produce larger harvests using less land have been critical to feeding Earth’s population in the past 50 years. But these crops come with a significant cost: Their thirst for the chemical nutrients in fertilizer contributes to pollution that threatens air, …

10 ways CRISPR will revolutionize environmental science

July 31st, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The hot new gene editing technique CRISPR has been making headlines for its potential to treat or prevent diseases. But medicine isn’t the only science where CRISPR is opening doors. This powerful genetic engineering tool is already helping scientists develop technologies to protect or repair the environment from human harm.
CRISPR: …