Category Archives: Documents and Reports

A Better Berry, Thanks to Bees

PollenizationScience – The next time you bite into a bright red, perfectly shaped strawberry, give a shout-out to the bees. A new study shows that pollination by the insects increases the quality and shelf life of strawberries, saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. Bees could be providing the same benefits for a variety of other fruits and vegetables as well.

It’s well known that pollination increases the yield of most crops. Seeds, nuts, fruit, and grain can be larger and more plentiful when insects or other animals transfer pollen between plants, in contrast to when plants pollinate themselves, a process called selfing. But quality turns out to be important, too. Teja Tscharntke, an agroecologist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, got the idea to study quality about a decade ago, while he was investigating pollination of coffee plants in Indonesia. He and his student Alexandra Klein noticed that not only was coffee yield higher with more bee species, but malformations such as unevenly shaped beans were also reduced.

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Trees Can Improve Environment, Yields and Welfare

TreesBy Chris Harris

The Pig Site – In the UK alone, 2.2 million tonnes of top soil are eroded from farmland fields each year, largely by surface water run-off and changes in cropping patters.

And according to Mike Townsend, the senior analysts at the Woodland Trust in the UK this produced a reduction in nutrients in the soil and a loss to agriculture as well as damaging the waterways and the wildlife in them.

“As well as a cost to agriculture, it is a cost to society in general,” Mr Townsend told a seminar at the recent Farm Business Innovations 2013 in London.

However, he said that shelter belts of trees can help to trap nutrients such as phosphorus and act as a nutrient sink as well as ensuring that the water stays on the farm… Continue Reading

Source and Photo: The Pig Site, December 5, 2013
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Get Ready For More Cost Effective Genomics

The Cattle Site – The technology to DNA top performers may not be cost effective currently, but keeping a little reminder of a breeding animal kept in an envelope may come in handy in the years to come, according to Lisa Guenther, writing for Genome Alberta.

One day commercial and seedstock producers will be able to cost effectively DNA their own animals, says Sandy Russell of Spring Creek Land and Cattle Consulting.

And although producers might not genotype their animals right now, they can prepare for the day when they’re ready to invest in the technology.

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The success of sugarcane is the fruit of pioneering science and technology, study concludes

canaBy Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – Brazil is recognized as the country with the world’s most efficient biofuel production, which is principally based on sugarcane. The success that the country has enjoyed in transforming this plant into a bioenergy source, however, is due more to a pioneering initiative to create an industrial system for ethanol production than the plant itself.

The system began to be developed in the 1930s when an agronomic development program that made the plant highly efficient was established. Despite these efforts, the agronomic performance of sugarcane is still below that of the other raw materials tested for this purpose over the last few years in different parts of world.

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Is Income Set to Become Dominant Driver of Global Food System?

4The Fish Site – Per capita income is set to eclipse population growth as the dominant driver of change in the global food system, says a Purdue researcher noted for his work on the economic impacts of global trade and environmental policies.
Thomas Hertel said that while population and income will remain the two most influential factors in determining global food demand and cropland expansion, their relative importance will be altered.
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Korea Environmental Industries

Mini 017Labex Korea - Achieving both economic growth and better quality of life is human kind’s longstanding aspiration. To that end, we need to tap natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner and stop polluting environment in the process of consuming the resources.
Advanced nations have made a continuous effort and seen a significant progress in maximizing productivity of resources while realizing economic development that minimizes environmental pollution. They have sought ways to curb environmental degradation by inventing relevant technologies and nurturing industries.
The Ministry of Environmental and Korean Environmental Industry & Technology Institute prepared a book to introduce Korea’s competitive environmental enterprises and technologies to the world.
 
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Fake food: the tech companies working to revolutionise how we eat protein

Beyond meat chicken forkBy Elisabeth Braw
The Guardian - Ethan Brown likes the taste and texture of meat. He just doesn’t like the morals of it. Until now, that left him with the choice of eating an animal and feeling guilty, or going vegetarian and missing out on the juicy taste of grilled chicken. Fungi-based substitutes such as Quorn don’t tend to cut it with those who miss real meat.

But Brown, a former clean-energy executive, belongs to a new generation of tech entrepreneurs who are taking a new approach to protein. “Look at the impact of meat on the climate”, he says. “Look at its impact on human health, the vast resources meat production consumes and how factory farming affects animal welfare. It’s all pointing in the direction of a major change.” Brown’s solution is making plants taste like poultry. His Los Angeles-based company, Beyond Meat, produces protein that looks, tastes and feels like chicken – but is made entirely from plants.

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Source and Photo: The Guardian, 16th Sepetember, 2013
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Optimization methods applied to renewable and sustainable energy: A review

4Science Direct (Summary) – Energy is a vital input for social and economic development. As a result of the generalization of agricultural, industrial and domestic activities the demand for energy has increased remarkably, especially in emergent countries. This has meant rapid grower in the level of greenhouse gas emissions and the increase in fuel prices, which are the main driving forces behind efforts to utilize renewable energy sources more effectively, i.e. energy which comes from natural resources and is also naturally replenished. Despite the obvious advantages of renewable energy, it presents important drawbacks, such as the discontinuity of generation, as most renewable energy resources depend on the climate, which is why their use requires complex design, planning and control optimization methods. Continue reading

Biofuels from microalgae—A review of technologies for production, processing, and extractions of biofuels and co-products

4Science Direct (Summary) – Sustainability is a key principle in natural resource management, and it involves operational efficiency, minimisation of environmental impact and socio-economic considerations; all of which are interdependent. It has become increasingly obvious that continued reliance on fossil fuel energy resources is unsustainable, owing to both depleting world reserves and the green house gas emissions associated with their use. Therefore, there are vigorous research initiatives aimed at developing alternative renewable and potentially carbon neutral solid, liquid and gaseous biofuels as alternative energy resources. However, alternate energy resources akin to first generation biofuels derived from terrestrial crops such as sugarcane, sugar beet, maize and rapeseed place an enormous strain on world food markets, contribute to water shortages and precipitate the destruction of the world’s forests. Second generation biofuels derived from lignocellulosic agriculture and forest residues and from non-food crop feedstocks address some of the above problems; however there is concern over competing land use or required land use changes. Continue reading

Developing Countries Dominate World Demand for Agricultural Products

2The developing-country shares of the projected growth include 81 per cent for meat, 83 per cent for grains and oilseeds, and 95 per cent for cotton. Furthermore, developing countries’ demand for agricultural products is expected to increase faster than their production. As a result, these countries will account for 92 per cent of the total increase in world meat imports, 92 per cent of the increase in total grains and oilseeds imports, and nearly all of the increase in world cotton imports.
 
Factors behind the rapid increase in developing countries’ demand are high rates of population and income growth, accompanied by increased urbanization and an expanding middle class. Populations in developing countries, in contrast to those in high-income countries, tend to be younger and undergoing more rapid urbanization, which generally leads to more diversified diets. These consumption changes are expected to shift import demand from traditional staples toward feedstuffs and high-value food products.
 
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Source and Photo: The Poultry Site, 5th August.
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