Monthly Archives: April 2013

Food security: will a mix of policy, investment and biotech feed the world?

Whaeat field BrazilThe Guardian – Three letters keep cropping up whenever Margaret Zeigler talks about growing food to feed the world – TFP. It’s an unprepossessing acronym, but the head of the business-led Global Harvest Initiative (GHI) is convinced that ‘total factor productivity’ is where the future lies.

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Agriculture Innovations and Investments Critical to Meeting Future Food Demand

26Agree – “The Chicago Council on Global Affairs today released a report that examines the implications of the increasingly influential roles of global business, Brazil, China, and India in agricultural research and the limited national research capacity of developing countries. It makes the case that greater international collaboration and investment in research is needed to safeguard productivity gains made over the past half century and meet future food demand. The independent study, Agricultural Innovation: The United States in a Changing Global Reality, is authored by University of Minnesota researchers, Philip G. Pardey and Jason M. Beddow. It concludes that most Sub-Saharan African countries could potentially access at least 25 times their locally produced agricultural knowledge by adapting and adopting scientific breakthroughs produced in other countries. “A new way of thinking about agricultural investments and innovation must be embraced to take advantage of such opportunities to increase agricultural production and increase the efficiencies of investment at all levels, from the local to the international level,” said Pardey. “A more international approach is urgently needed, as the lag between research investments and commercial adoption is extremely lengthy.” Pardey and Beddow present new measures of accumulated knowledge stocks by country and the potential for this knowledge to “spill over” and benefit other countries. These new measures of global spillover potential can help guide research and development decisions in the United States and globally. “The current system does not adequately take advantage of the vast stocks of knowledge that exist around the world that could be adapted to local environments elsewhere,” said Beddow.”

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Campylobacter, E. coli Cases Rise; Salmonella Falls

2The Poultry Site – Campylobacteriosis is the most reported zoonotic disease in humans, with a continuous increase in reported cases over the last five years, according to the annual report on zoonoses and food-borne outbreaks in the European Union.

The trend in reported human cases of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC/STEC) has also been increasing since 2008 and was further strengthened due to the outbreak in the summer of 2011. However, Salmonella cases in humans have continued to fall, marking a decrease for the seventh consecutive year.

The report, which has just been published for 2011, produced jointly by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) supports the European Commission and EU Member States in monitoring risks related to zoonotic diseases.

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Scientists confirm new H7N9 bird flu came from chickens

23By Kate Kelland

Reuters — Chinese scientists have confirmed for the first time that a new strain of bird flu that has killed 23 people in China has been transmitted to humans from chickens.

In a study published online in the Lancet medical journal, the scientists echoed previous statements from the World Health Organization and Chinese officials that there is as yet no evidence of human-to-human transmission of this virus.

The H7N9 strain has infected 109 people in China since it was first detected in March. The WHO warned on Wednesday that this strain is “one of the most lethal” flu viruses and is transmitted more easily than the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed hundreds around the world since 2003….. >>Continue Reading<<

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How agroforestry schemes can improve food security in developing countries

ForestBy Caspar van Vark
The Guardian – Agroforesty – the integration of trees and shrubs with crops and livestock systems – has strong potential in addressing problems of food insecurity in developing countries. Done well, it allows producers to make the best use of their land, can boost field crop yields, diversify income, and increase resilience to climate change.

To date, the uptake of agroforestry has been constrained partly because it has lacked a natural ‘home’ in policy space, but that may be changing thanks to a growing body of evidence of what it can achieve, and how to make it work. The FAO last month published a guide to advancing agroforestry on the policy agenda with case studies of best practice, and is due to hold a conference on forests and food security and nutrition in May.

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Virological studies on an anaerobic digestion system for liquid pig manure

Abstract from ScienceDirect – Samples of raw liquid pig manure, anaerobic digester effluent, screened digester solids, screened digester effluent, anaerobic digestion residue derived by centrifugation of the screened digester effluent, the centrifuge centrate and the final stored liquid effluent were collected at monthly intervals for 9 months from an anaerobic digestion system operated at a 375-sow pig farm. Porcine enteroviruses were isolated on pig kidney-cell cultures, most frequently from the raw manure, and significantly less frequently from the screened digester solids, anaerobic digestion residue and the final liquid effluent. It was concluded that the anaerobic digestion system resulted in significant, but incomplete, reductions in viral infectivity.

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Effect of Organic Acids on Salmonella Typhimurium Infection in Broiler Chickens

chicken-feathers1Poultry Science – An alternative to antibiotics is the use of certain organic acids for routinely encountered pathogens in the poultry industry. Direct acidification of drinking water with organic acids could significantly reduce the amount of recoverable Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) from the crop and caecal tonsils when used during the pre-slaughter feed withdrawal period. Continue reading