Category Archives: Emerging Themes and Issues

UK University Studies Possibilities of Sustainable Livestock Production

SilviopastorilThe Poultry Site – Consumers are increasingly demanding higher standards for how their meat is sourced, with animal welfare and the impact on the environment factoring in many purchases. Unfortunately, many widely-used livestock production methods are currently unsustainable. However, the new research has identified what may be the future of sustainable livestock production: silvopastoral systems which include shrubs and trees with edible leaves or fruits as well as herbage.

Professor Donald Broom, from the University of Cambridge, who led the research said: “Consumers are now demanding more sustainable and ethically sourced food, including production without negative impacts on animal welfare, the environment and the livelihood of poor producers. Silvopastoral systems address all of these concerns with the added benefit of increased production in the long term.”             >>Continue Reading<<

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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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Protein that Helps Tolerate Drought, Flooding Stresses

11The Crop Site –  A team including Dartmouth researchers has uncovered a protein that plays a vital role in how plant roots use water and nutrients, a key step in improving the production and quality of crops and biofuels.
The findings appear this week in the journal PNAS. The team included researchers from Dartmouth, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Lausanne.
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Animal Welfare: a Growing Concern

18The Poultry Site – Current poultry practice provides a basic level of animal care through readily available feed and water, protection from predators, shelter, and disease control – primarily through sanitation and biosecurity measures, vaccination and antibiotics. Productivity (growth) and health (low mortality rates) are important aspects that have improved since the farming days-of-old. However, industrial farming has introduced new problems such as leg disorders, skin lesions, respiratory problems and abnormal behaviour. This has become a growing concern for consumers.
Addressing some of these newer animal welfare concerns is nothing to fear. Industry, scientists, regulatory bodies, retailers and consumers are supporting farmers to meet public expectations on price, quality, safety and welfare.
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Source and Photo: The Poultry Site, 5th July, 2013.
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Sustainable Consumption: Commercial Tensions in the Way

3By Chris Harris

The Poultry Site – This will mean that governments will have to intervene to ensure that sustainability is driven forward, according to a new report from the UK’s Sustainable Consumption Project.
In looking at the principles of a healthy and sustainable diet, the report calls for a broadening of economic thinking so that the value of services to ecosystems are included and the costs of environmental damage, the cost of ill heath and poor educational attainment because of poor nutrition are also taken into consideration.

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How Sustainable is Cultured Meat?

2By Chris Harris

The Poultry Site – The scientific team from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands believes that commercial production of the Cultured Beef could start in 10 to 20 years’ time.

The concerns are that by 2050, when the global population is expected to reach more than nine billion people and with climate change altering the way food is produced, the agricultural sector will not be able to meet the demand for meat protein.

The team, which is led by Professor Mark Post at Maastricht University (pictured), said that the total area occupied by grazing is equivalent to 26 per cent of the ice-free land surface of the planet, by far the single largest use of land in which man has an impact on the environment… >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: The Poultry Site, 6th August, 2013
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Growers race to save orange from spreading disease

37By Heather Smith

MSN News – Increasingly, orange growers have come to believe that genetic engineering holds the only hope for developing a tree that is resistant to an incurable citrus disease.

 Guy Davies, an inspector for the Florida Division of Plant Industry, checks an orange tree for the insect Asian citrus psyllid that carries the bacterium causing disease, “citrus greening” or huanglongbing, from tree to tree on May 13, 2013 in Fort Pierce, Florida.

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United Kingdom seeks more research collaboration with Brazil

30By Elton Alisson
Agência FAPESP – On June 14, FAPESP was visited by a delegation from the United Kingdom’s Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC). The objective of the visit was to discuss possible program partnerships and combining research and strategies to promote innovation and excellence in research.
One of the seven member bodies of Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK), the BBSRC invests approximately 400 million pounds sterling (R$ 1.36 billion) in funding for biotechnology and bioscience research throughout the United Kingdom each year.
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Technology and innovation: what are the hot topics? – open thread

Indian slum dweller uses mobile phone in KolkataBy Jenny Purt

The Guardian – Technology and innovation are powerful tools for change, in both positive and negative ways. As we begin to face up to the multiple economic, environmental and social challenges of our time, could it be that technology offers the solutions at the speed and scale required?

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Universities in São Paulo create a joint doctorate in bioenergy

7By Frances Jones
Agência FAPESP – The three leading São Paulo State universities are currently jointly preparing a landmark doctoral program in bioenergy. “We are organizing an excellent program in bioenergy, in which students will have the opportunity to study different aspects of the sector with top specialists and to connect with major research centers in the field worldwide,” explained Professor Carlos Alberto Labate from Universidade de São Paulo (USP), who is the general coordinator of the Integrated Doctoral Program in Bioenergy. The classes should begin in early March 2014.
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