Tag: crops

UK backs neonics ban

In a government statement today, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, says the UK supports further restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids because of their effects on bees and other pollinators.

The announcement, says the statement, follows advice in October from the UK government’s advisory body on pesticides, the Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP). Scientific evidence now suggests that the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoids are greater than previously understood, says the ECP advice.

Swapping where crops are grown could feed an extra 825 million people

Redrawing the global map of crop distribution on existing farmland could help meet growing demand for food and biofuels in coming decades, while significantly reducing water stress in agricultural areas, according to a new study. Published today in Nature Geoscience, the study is the first to attempt to address both food production needs and resource sustainability simultaneously and at a global scale.

The results show that “there are a lot of places where there are inefficiencies in water use and nutrient production,” says lead author Kyle Davis, a postdoctoral researcher with Columbia University‘s Earth Institute. Those inefficiencies could be fixed, he says, by swapping in crops that have greater nutritional quality and lower environmental impact.

Crops evolving ten millennia before experts thought

Professor Robin Allaby

Ancient peoples began to systematically affect evolution of crops up to 30,000 years ago – ten millennia before experts previously thought, says new University of Warwick research

Rice, wheat and barley were used so much that their evolution was affected – beginning the process that eventually turned them from wild to domesticated – as long ago as the last Ice Age

Einkorn found to be on the evolutionary trajectory to domestication up to 30,000 years ago in modern day northern Syria, and emmer wheat up to 25,000 years ago in Southern Levant region

Research proves the existence of dense populations of people up to 30,000 years ago

Gotcha: the gene that takes the fun out of fungus

Not luck of the draw exactly but it was a random mutation in a convenient host that led to the discovery of a gene responsible for fungal disease that wrecks up to one fifth of the world’s cereal production, or hundreds of millions of tonnes of crops.

Near identical genes are also present in the fungi that cause vegetables to rot, trees to die and people to scratch, itch or struggle to breathe.

Crowning the King of the Crops: Sequencing the White Guinea Yam Genome

An international collaboration involving the Earlham Institute, Norwich, UK, and the Iwate Biotechnology Research Centre, Japan, has for the first time provided a genome sequence for the white Guinea yam, a staple crop with huge economic and cultural significance on the African continent and a lifeline for millions of people.

Transforming agriculture

Research seeking ways to increase yields for farmers worldwide has received $45 million to build on pioneering work in plant science to help feed the world

The five-year reinvestment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) will enable the researchers to continue their work to address the global food challenge.