Mom was right, eat your broccoli!
June 19, 2014 06:10 AM - ELIZA BARCLAY - NPR
We get a little suspicious when we hear the claims that it's possible to get rid of the gunk that accumulates in our cells by doing a cleanse with "clean" foods. But what if some foods actually do help detox the body? The results of a recent clinical trial suggest that compounds in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli (and kale) prod cells to get rid of certain air pollutants. The intriguing randomized control trial of about 300 Chinese adults found that consuming a beverage made with broccoli sprouts every day for three months lead to high rates of excretion (in urine) of two harmful chemicals: benzene and acrolein.
Using too much fertilizer is bad for crops AND bad for climate!
June 12, 2014 06:30 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Using too much fertilizer is a very bad idea. It doesn't help crops, and in fact can be harmful to them. Excess fertilizer runs off and contributes to river and stream contamination and a new study shows that it is bad for the climate too! But farmers sometimes think that if some is good, more MUST be better! Helping farmers around the globe apply more precise amounts of fertilizer nitrogen is a great objective that can improve crop yields, reduce pollution, and combat climate change. That's the conclusion of a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In the paper, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) provide an improved prediction of nitrogen fertilizer's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural fields.
Saving bees with spider venom?
June 11, 2014 08:32 AM - Steve Williams, Care2
With Europe and the United States slow to ban the pesticides that science says is probably drastically harming our bee populations, could one of the world's most venomous spiders hold one solution to saving our pollinators?
Playing God with plants!
June 9, 2014 02:55 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Plants make and store energy from the sun using a process called photosynthesis. This process has evolved on planet earth over millions of years. How can we mess with plant DNA to improve on what nature has evolved? Three research teams--each comprised of scientists from the United States and the United Kingdom--have been awarded a second round of funding to continue research on news ways to improve the efficiency of photosynthesis. The ultimate goal of this potentially high-impact research is to develop methods to increase yields of important crops that are harvested for food and sustainable biofuels. But if this research is successful, it may also be used to support reforestation efforts and efforts to increase the productivity of trees for the manufacture of wood and paper and thousands of other products that are derived from wood and chemicals extracted from trees. Another reason why photosynthesis is an important research topic: It has made the Earth hospitable for life by generating food and oxygen.
Milkweed loss to blame for declining Monarch populations
June 5, 2014 09:01 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
Populations of the popular Monarch butterfly have been declining in recent years and a new study is citing habitat loss on US breeding grounds as the main culprit. The eastern North American monarch population is known not only for its iconic orange and black colors, but also for its late summer migration from the United States to Mexico, a migration covering thousands of miles. And despite the long-held belief that monarch butterflies are most vulnerable to disturbances on wintering grounds in Mexico, new research from the University of Guelph shows lack of milkweed in the US which provides breeding grounds for the species is playing more of a role for species decline.
Climate change and nutrition
June 4, 2014 10:32 AM - Karin Kloosterman, GreenProphet
Researchers now say in a revealing Nature paper that the most significant health threat from climate change has started to happen. Crops that provide a large share of the global population with most of their dietary zinc and iron will have significantly reduced concentrations of those nutrients at the elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 anticipated by around 2050, according to research by Israeli scientists published in Nature this month.
Longer growing season does not yield growth increase for trees and shrubs
May 21, 2014 09:29 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
As the earth's temperatures rise, some have speculated that trees and shrubs in the colder climates might experience and increase in growth as a result of the extended growing season. "Not so," says a recent study authored by a University of Washington biology and applied mathematics postdoctoral student. Her study demonstrates that bushes achieve less yearly growth when cold winter temperatures are interrupted by warm spurts that trigger growth.
Antarctica, Australia and Climate Change
May 17, 2014 07:52 AM - Tim Radford, The Ecologist
Rising greenhouse gas levels are causing stronger winds over the Southern Ocean. It's good news for Antarctica, writes Tim Radford, as the circumpolar winds are keeping its ice caps cold. But Australia is getting hotter and drier - and its problems will only increase. The answer to one of the enduring puzzles of global warming - the apparently sluggish response of the Antarctic continent to rising greenhouse gas levels - may have been settled by Australian scientists.
Overwhelming the Mississippi
May 14, 2014 10:52 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
New evidence from University of Texas at Austin researchers posit that the great Mississippi's natural ability to chemically filter out nitrates is being overwhelmed. UT's hydrologists demonstrate the enormity of the filtering process for almost every drop of water that enters into the 311,000-mile long course ending in the Gulf of Mexico.
Bee booby-traps defend African farms from elephants
May 14, 2014 08:02 AM - Georgia Achia, SciDevNet
Wire fences booby-trapped with beehives are being built in five African countries to prevent elephants from raiding farms, while also providing local people with honey. 'Beehive fences' are now being put up in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda by UK charity Save the Elephant, says Lucy King, leader of the Elephants and Bees Project in Kenya — and they are already in use at three communities in Kenya.