Agriculture

Experimental anti-cancer drug made from corn lillies kills brain tumor stem cells
August 31, 2007 09:23 AM - Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

A drug that shuts down a critical cell-signaling pathway in the most common and aggressive type of adult brain cancer successfully kills cancer stem cells thought to fuel tumor growth and help cancers evade drug and radiation therapy, a Johns Hopkins study shows. In a series of laboratory and animal experiments, Johns Hopkins scientists blocked the signaling system, known as Hedgehog, with an experimental compound called cyclopamine to explore the blockade’s effect on cancer stem cells that populate glioblastoma multiforme. Cyclopamine has long been known to inhibit Hedgehog signaling.

Is A Bioeconomy fueled by Biorenewables, Sustainable?
August 31, 2007 08:07 AM - Iowa State University

This spring farmers responded to the ethanol industry's demand for grain by increasing their corn acreage by 19 percent over last year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. What if that happens again next year? What if farmers decide against crop rotations and plant corn on the same fields, year after year? Or, what if farmers begin growing biomass crops such as switchgrass for the production of ethanol from plant fiber?

Dole Food Takes New Steps to Head Off More E.coli
August 31, 2007 07:34 AM - Reuters

Dole Food Company, a top U.S. food and fruit producer, has stepped up testing and tracking of produce to prevent outbreaks of E.coli like the one that sickened hundreds last fall, the firm said on Thursday. Eric Schwartz, Dole's president for worldwide vegetables, told Reuters in an interview the company is testing samples from every acre of spinach and other vegetables that will be marketed under the Dole label.

Green Africa Conference Seeks to Help Continent Feed Itself
August 31, 2007 07:14 AM - Doug Mellgren, Associated Press

Africa's drive to feed itself by boosting agricultural production through funding, market access and improved technology must be balanced against the risk of environmental damage and market collapse, delegates at an Oslo conference said Thursday.

Food Demand and Climate Straining Soils
August 30, 2007 05:10 PM - Reuters, Alister Doyle

World food demand will surge this century with a leap in population, highlighting a need to protect soils under strain from climate change, experts said on Thursday. About 150 scientists and government experts will meet in Iceland from August 31-September 4 to try to work out how to safeguard soils from over-use and desertification when more food is needed and some farmers are shifting land to biofuels.

New U.S. Test: CO2 Could Make Grasslands 'Unusable'
August 30, 2007 10:26 AM - Maryke Steffens, SciDevNet

Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could change the nature of grasslands and decrease their usefulness as grazing pastures, say researchers. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week (27 August). If carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise, important grazing areas in parts of Africa, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, and southern and South East Asia could be under threat, according to lead author Jack Morgan, a plant physiologist from the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

Demand For Organic Food Creating New Organic Farmers
August 30, 2007 07:30 AM - Joann Loviglio, Associated Press

U.S. Agriculture Department data shows the average age of U.S. farmers has been increasing for decades and is currently 55 to 56, while the overall percentage of young farmers continues to fall. But people within the movement say the numbers can be misleading. "Are there young people who are going into farming? Yes, more and more," said Dennis Hall of the Center for Farm Transitions, a Pennsylvania Agriculture Department office providing technical assistance to new and established farmers. He said the landscape started to change about 3 1/2 years ago.

GMO Contamination Sometimes Not So Obvious
August 29, 2007 05:18 PM - Ken Roseboro, The Organic and Non-GMO Report

IOWA - In spring 2000, Greg Matteson was preparing documents for the annual inspection of his organic farm in Shelby, Montana, when he noticed something disturbing. The label on a seed inoculant called “Dormal PLUS” that he had used on yellow blossom sweet clover said “genetically modified.”

Zambia Rejects GMO Crops
August 29, 2007 02:12 PM - Sci Dev Net

The Zambian government has rejected calls to use GM crops in the fight against poverty and hunger in the southern African nation.

Spilled GM Canola Takes Root, Spreads In Japan
August 29, 2007 02:01 PM - The Non-GMO Report

A recent survey of spilled canola (oilseed rape) shows that genetically modified canola contamination is much wider than expected throughout Japan. NO!GMO Campaign published its findings in July after surveying 43 of Japan’s 47 prefectures from March 2007 onwards. The citizen survey produced 1617 samples, of which 37 showed up GMO positive. Samples were not restricted to obvious industrial locations (ports, factories, transportation routes), but were taken on farmland and some urban locations as well.

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