Tomatoes with enhanced antioxidant properties created with genetic engineering

(from left) Dr Wang Mingfu, Professor Chye Mee-len and Dr Liao Pan show tubes containing carotenoid extracts from S359A tomato fruits and the control. Credit: The University of Hong Kong Story Source: Materials provided by The University of Hong Kong. The School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), in collaboration with the Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes (CNRS, Strasbourg, France), has identified a new strategy to simultaneously enhance health-promoting vitamin E by ~6-fold and double both provitamin A and lycopene contents in tomatoes,…

Read More

Crunch time for food security

Feelings often run high where insects are concerned, with many people even squeamish to look on them, let alone touch or swallow them. And yet insects present a huge nutritional opportunity as an increasing global population seeks sustainable sources of food and feed. Insects have generally high levels of animal protein and key micronutrients with lower environmental footprints than traditional alternatives, and they can be raised on leftovers. But cultural, social and economic hurdles remain, reports a review paper published today in Nutrition Bulletin. “Insects present a nutritional opportunity, but…

Read More

Pesticides may cause bumble bees to lose their buzz, study finds

Pesticides significantly reduce the number of pollen grains a bumblebee is able to collect, a new University of Stirling study has found. The research, conducted by a team in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, found that field-realistic doses of a neonicotinoid pesticide affects the behaviour of bees ultimately interfering with the type of vibrations they produce while collecting pollen. Dr Penelope Whitehorn, the University of Stirling Research Fellow who led the research, said: “Our result is the first to demonstrate quantitative changes in the type of buzzes produced by bees…

Read More

Flower attracts insects by pretending to be a mushroom

Aspidistra elatior flowers blooming half-buried in the earth. Credit: Image courtesy of Kobe University The mysterious flowers of Aspidistra elatior are found on the southern Japanese island of Kuroshima. Until recently, scientists thought that A. elatior has the most unusual pollination ecology among all flowering plants, being pollinated by slugs and amphipods. However, direct observation of their ecosystem has revealed that they are mainly pollinated by fungus gnats, probably thanks to their resemblance to mushrooms. This discovery was made by Project Associate Professor SUETSUGU Kenji (Kobe University Graduate School of…

Read More