In the news...

Crop diversity for human nutrition and health benefits

February 16th, 2018 / World Agriculture

REPORT
Summary: Alongside dramatic increases in crop production over the last 50 years, global food systems have become more dependent on a few major `staple’ crops – just three cereals now provide about 60% of plant-based human energy intake.
There is compelling evidence that diverse diets that include fruits, vegetables, nuts and …

Aflatoxins jeopardize food safety and entrepreneurial food processing opportunities in Nigeria

February 15th, 2018 / AgriLinks

Aflatoxin is a toxin produced by mold that grows on crops including peanuts and maize. Hard to detect, it can have devastating impacts on human health, including high risk of liver cancer. Aflatoxins have been observed along the maize value chain in Nigeria — in farm storage, in maize containers …

How toxic is the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup?

February 14th, 2018 / The Scientist, Canada

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world’s most widely used herbicide, Roundup, is arguably also one of the most contentious. Mass protests erupted in Europe last November after the European Commission, following much discussion, granted a five-year extension for the license to use glyphosate in agriculture in the E.U.
Farmers have …

Will new regulations stifle innovation in plant and animal breeding?

February 14th, 2018 / Agri-pulse, US

Gene editing is touted as a promising new way of altering the DNA of plants or animals to speed their growth, enhance flavor, extend shelf life or combat viruses. But those who see it as a key component of agriculture’s future want to make sure that the regulations written for …

I Didn’t Think There Were Many African Women Scientists. Then …

February 12th, 2018 / NPR

Recently, an online survey asked me to name African women scientists I admired. I found myself struggling — even though I’m a Kenyan entomologist, researching sustainable ways to feed our expanding population amid a changing climate. I thought to myself, why are there so few of us?
I was wrong: We …

Scientists are on a mission to save chocolate

February 12th, 2018 / MACH

For people who love sweets, 2018 started on a sour note: Headlines claimed that cacao, the tropical tree whose beans contain the raw ingredients for chocolate, was on the brink of extinction as a result of climate change.
As with many sensational stories, this one turned out to be inaccurate. Cacao …

Study suggests root microbiome key to drought resistant plants

February 8th, 2018 / University of Toronto, Canada

Just as the micro-organisms in our gut are increasingly recognized as important players in human health and behaviour, micro-organisms are critical to the growth and health of plants, a new study by a University of Toronto researcher has found.
For example, plants that are able to recruit particular bacteria to their …

Global experts release guide on fall armyworm management

February 8th, 2018 / CNBC Africa

To combat the spread of fall armyworm across the African continent, international experts gathered together to produce a new comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) guide to help scientists, plant protection organizations, extension agencies, research institutions, and governments working with farmers tackle the voracious FAW.
Fall Armyworm in Africa: A Guide for …

CONNECTED – a new network to tackle vector-borne crop disease in Africa

February 7th, 2018 / Cabot Institute, UK

This major new network brings together UK scientists with colleagues from across Africa to co-produce innovative new solutions to vector-borne crop diseases. And it turns out, there are a lot of them.
Almost every major crop in Africa is affected by disease.
Yams, cassava, soy bean, cocoa, maize, coffee, bananas and many …

Consumers more concerned about GMO crops’ environmental impact than health worries

February 7th, 2018 / Genetic Literacy Project, US

According to a study from Germany, health risks were generally perceived to be lower for bioenergy than food whenever full commercialization was pursued. Furthermore, full commercialization of genetically modified food prompted higher concerns about personal health, whereas use of crops for bio-energy production was broadly related to higher levels of …