Measuring plant improvements to help farmers boost production

Today’s Debate Topic: Why Farming is being regarded as a Dirty Job

An international team is using advanced tools to develop crops that give farmers more options for sustainably producing more food on less land. To do this, thousands of plant prototypes must be carefully analyzed to figure out which genetic tweaks work best. Today, in a special issue of the journal Remote Sensing of Environment, scientists have shown a new technology can more quickly scan an entire field of plants to capture improvements in their natural capacity to harvest energy from the sun. “This method allows us to measure improvements we…

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How plant viruses can be used to ward off pests and keep plants healthy

How plant viruses can be used to ward off pests and keep plants healthy

Imagine a technology that could target pesticides to treat specific spots deep within the soil, making them more effective at controlling infestations while limiting their toxicity to the environment. According to this article published by Science Daily: Researchers at the University of California San Diego and Case Western Reserve University have taken a step toward that goal. They discovered that a biological nano-particle a plant virus is capable of delivering pesticide molecules deeper below the ground, to places that are normally beyond their reach. The work could help farmers better…

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A combination of insecticides and mite weakens honeybees

A combination of insecticides and mite weakens honeybees

Today, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern and the honeybee research association COLOSS have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports that shows a synergistic time-lag interaction between the parasitic mite Varroa destructor and neonicotinoid insecticides reducing survival of winter honeybees, Apis mellifera. This article emphasizes the need to develop sustainable agricultural and apicultural schemes. According to the article published by Science Daily: The Western honeybee is the most important managed pollinator globally and has recently experienced unsustainably high colony losses in…

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The Origins of the Apple

Origin of Apples

Recent archaeological finds of ancient preserved apple seeds across Europe and West Asia combined with historical, paleontological, and recently published genetic data are presenting a fascinating new narrative for one of our most familiar fruits. According to an article published by Science Daily: In this study, Robert Spengler of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History traces the history of the apple from its wild origins, noting that it was originally spread by ancient megafauna and later as a process of trade along the Silk Road. These…

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Do you know that Plant stem cells require low oxygen levels?

Do you know that Plant stem cells require low oxygen levels?

Plants function as the green lungs of our planet. Rightfully so, due to the capacity of a large single tree releasing more than 120 kg of oxygen into the Earth’s atmosphere every year through a series of sunlight-fueled reactions in photosynthesis. However during flood events, plant tissues may experience severe oxygen shortage, a stressful situation that every year leads to substantial loss in yield for all major crops such as rice, wheat and barley. According to an article published by Science Daily: Researchers from the Department of Biology at University…

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Honey Bee colonies down by 16 percent

Honey bee colonies down by 16 percent

The number of honey bee colonies fell by 16% in the winter of 2017-18, according to an international study led by the University of Strathclyde. According to an article published by Science Daily: The survey of 25,363 beekeepers in 36 countries found that, out of 544,879 colonies being managed at the start of winter, 89124 were lost, through a combination of circumstances including various effects of weather conditions, unsolvable problems with a colony’s queen, and natural disaster. Portugal, Northern Ireland, Italy and England experienced losses above 25%, while Belarus, Israel…

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