Crop yields have increased substantially over the past decades, occurring alongside the increasing use of nitrogen fertilizer. While nitrogen fertilizer benefits crop growth, it has negative effects on the environment and climate, as it requires a great amount of energy to produce. Many scientists are seeking ways to develop more sustainable practices that maintain high crop yields with reduced inputs.
In 2013, the German Stiftung Warentest found harmful benzene in drinks with cherry flavor. But how did the substance get into the drinks? Was the source benzaldehyde, an essential component of the cherry flavoring? And if so, how could the problem be solved? A new study by the Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is now able to answer these questions.
As the collective body of microbiome data for diverse crops grows, the lack of consistency in recording data makes it harder for the data to be utilized across research projects. In a recent article published in Phytobiomes Journal, Dundore-Arias and others in his field discuss the need for agriculture-specific metadata standards for microbiome research.
Princeton researchers developed a tool for examining consumption-based land footprints and found that when direct land-use such as housing is combined with indirect land-use through the consumption of goods and services, each of our imprints on the land could be significantly higher than most people are aware. Their goal was to identify new avenues for reducing the demand for land and the loss of natural ecosystems.
In Southeast Asia, the fruit, flowers, and leaves of Indonesia's 'Melinjo' tree are traditional foods. Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan who study plants from around the world for useful medicinal properties have found that Melinjo seed extract (MSE) stimulates the production of adiponectin, a beneficial hormone that improves obesity and diabetes. They also discovered that individual genotype differences were responsible for variations in its efficacy.
Who in the Middle Ages cooked their dinner in copper pots? And where did they do it? Such information can be revealed by chemical analyses of human bones.
Citrus greening, also called Huanglongbing (HLB), is devastating the citrus industry. Florida alone has experienced a 50 to 75 percent reduction in citrus production. There are no resistant varieties of citrus available and limited disease control measures. Three plant pathologists at the University of California-Berkeley and United States Department of Agriculture conducted research into ways to boost citrus immunity and protect the valuable fruit against citrus greening.
The environmental effects of agriculture and food are hotly debated. But the most widely used method of analysis often tends to overlook vital factors, such as biodiversity, soil quality, pesticide impacts and societal shifts. These oversights can lead to wrong conclusions on the merits of intensive and organic agriculture, according to a trio of researchers in the journal Nature Sustainability.
To control flowering and fruit ripening, plants release the gaseous hormone ethylene. Environmental conditions, including drought, salinity and pathogens, can also cause levels of the hormone to fluctuate. Therefore, monitoring ethylene's release in real time could provide a farmer with important information about a plant's development and health. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Central Science have developed an easy-to-use, robust sensor that can do just that.
Growing fruit and vegetables in just 10% of a city's gardens and other urban green spaces could provide 15% of the local population with their 'five a day,' according to new research.