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Put more carbon in soils to meet Paris climate pledges

December 6th, 2018 / Nature, UK

Soils are crucial to managing climate change. They contain two to three times more carbon than the atmosphere. Plants circulate carbon dioxide from the air to soils, and consume about one-third of the CO2 that humans produce. Of that, about 10–15% ends up in the earth.
Carbon is also essential for …

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 …

Young Ugandan farmers push for homegrown GMO crops

December 5th, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

Though Uganda’s Parliament passed a biosafety bill last week, it remains unclear whether it will benefit a coalition of young cassava farmers who are demanding access to genetically modified (GM) crops.
Some Ugandan scientists have said the bill’s strict liability clause will effectively stifle the research and commercial release of crops …

Africa Soil Information Service

December 4th, 2018 / CGIAR

The Africa Soil Information Service provides continent-wide digital soil maps and decision-support applications for sub-Saharan Africa, using new types of soil analysis and statistical methods.
The online portal africasoils.net provides practical, timely and cost-effective soil health surveillance services that can help map soil conditions, set a baseline for monitoring changes, develop …

Why massive effort needs to be put into growing trees on farms

December 4th, 2018 / The Conversation, UK

It’s now over 50 years since the world was first warned that resources were being used at an unsustainable rate. It has now been estimated that almost one quarter to one third of the world’s land is degraded to some extent.
Degradation refers to land that’s lost nutrients, or has changed …

Ugandan scientists skeptical of revised GMO bill

December 3rd, 2018 / Alliance for Science, US

The Ugandan Parliament yesterday approved a bill to regulate genetically modified organisms that has scientists skeptical the technology will ever reach the smallholder farmers it is intended to help.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” said plant biotechnologist Dr. Andrew Kiggundu in reference to last year’s events, when Parliament passed the bill, but …

Global food system is broken, say world’s science academies

November 30th, 2018 / The Guardian, UK

The global food system is broken, leaving billions of people either underfed or overweight and driving the planet towards climate catastrophe, according to 130 national academies of science and medicine across the world.
Providing a healthy, affordable, and environmentally friendly diet for all people will require a radical transformation of the …

Why did Tanzania just pull the plug on its GMO crop trials?

November 29th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

When the Tanzanian government announced Friday [November 23] they were ending field trials of genetically engineered crops in the country and calling for the destruction of the crops, the country’s research community was aghast, with a local paper reporting:
‘Members of the research community were in shock that the government did …

Closer to harvest? The status of the Golden Rice project

November 29th, 2018 / Flip Science, Philippines

A variety of Oryza sativa (rice) genetically engineered using recombinant DNA technology, Golden Rice contains beta carotene, an antioxidant which the body converts into Vitamin A. This gives the rice grain the yellow-orange or gold color that inspired its name.
However, the Golden Rice project is still on its way to …

Can genetic engineering deliver a natural microbial fertilizer for crops?

November 27th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

At the turn of the previous century, German scientists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch got all the credit for finding a way to convert atmospheric nitrogen (in its very stable N2 form) into a charged ion that could be “fixed” or applied as a chemical fertilizer. Both eventually were awarded …