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Prickly pear cactus Is ‘miracle’ crop for dry regions

November 28th, 2017 / Thomson Reuters

It is spiky, alien-looking and can be found decorating homes around the world, but experts say the prickly pear cactus could help alleviate hunger in arid regions due to its ability to thrive in harsh conditions and its multiple uses.
“It’s impossible to describe how many things you can get out …

How plant science will change the world

November 28th, 2017 / The biochemist blog

Plant science is a lot more important than you realise. It has often been cast as cell biology’s less exciting sibling. What is the point of studying root growth, flowering or stomatal aperture? There are way more important things to be researching… aren’t there?

Making crops for the future
Global warming …

140 new drought-resistant seeds unveiled to address food insecurity

November 27th, 2017 / The Standard, Kenya

The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate (Kephis) has released 140 new drought-resistant and fast-maturing seed varieties into the market. Kephis Managing Director Esther Kimani said the new variety of seeds would help to address food insecurity, especially in arid and semi-arid areas. “These varieties are drought-tolerant and early-maturing, and superior to …

Heat tolerant durum wheat discovery to aid farmers in West Africa

November 27th, 2017 / African Farming, UK

The discovery of heat resilient durum wheat that could potentially boost the income for one million farming families in the extreme heat of famine-affected Senegal, Mauritania and Mali1 2017 and has been awarded the 2017 Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security.
The genome fingerprinting research project, led by Dr Filippo …

Biotechnology for food security: hope over hype

November 27th, 2017 / Down to Earth

The words of Noble Laureate and father of the Green Revolution Norman Borlaug, “You cannot create a peaceful world on empty stomachs,” ring true in the current situation when we are faced with the mammoth task of feeding a growing population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.
Food insecurity is …

Use of CRISPR systems in plant genome editing: toward new opportunities in agriculture

November 21st, 2017 / Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, UK

Initially discovered in bacteria and archaea, CRISPR–Cas9 is an adaptive immune system found in prokaryotes. In 2012, scientists found a way to use it as a genome editing tool. In 2013, its application in plants was successfully achieved. This breakthrough has opened up many new opportunities for researchers, including the …

Why reducing post-harvest losses is a priority for Africa

November 21st, 2017 / The Conversation, UK

The the Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that one third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted along the supply chain. Losses are even higher in Africa, and have a negative effect on food security, nutrition and economic stability. Jane Ambuko, a Senior Lecturer and …

Intercropping formula promises food security in Sahel Africa

November 20th, 2017 / Science Daily

Two crops or one? Sometimes, growing two crops simultaneously on the same piece of land — called intercropping — can benefit farmers. But it needs careful planning and resource management.
In some parts of Africa, farmers intercrop sorghum — a grain — and peanuts. But they face a major information gap. …

GM banana shows promise against deadly fungus strain

November 20th, 2017 / Science, US

A field trial in Australia has shown that genetically modified banana trees can resist the deadly fungus that causes Panama disease, which has devastated banana crops in Asia, Africa, and Australia and is a major threat for banana growers in the Americas. The transgenic plants might reach some farmers in …

High-tech tracker to battle ancient wheat plague

November 16th, 2017 / AllAfrica

“People can walk through an infected field, unknowingly pick up a few spores on their clothes, then get on a plane and accidentally take the disease to other countries or continents”
The tracking technology used to halt the deadly Ebola and Zika viruses could now be turned against wheat rust as …