• Should Organics be Tested for GMOs?

    Iowa - A recent disturbing incident of GMO contamination of organic soybeans raises the question of whether organic foods should be tested for genetically modified material. The US National Organic Program rules prohibit GMOs in organics but don't require methods to prohibit GMO contamination or establish thresholds for adventitious GM presence. The Organic & Non-GMO Report surveyed organic industry experts to obtain their thoughts on the question of testing.

    According to Billy Hunter, an Iowa-based organic inspector, many organic food companies are ignoring the genetically modified food threat. "Many companies have their heads in the sand about the issue," says Hunter, who conducts organic inspections for certifiers such as Quality Assurance International and Oregon Tilth, as well as audits for a non-GMO certification firm.

    "Heads in the sand doesn't solve the problem"
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  • Scientists Unlock Genome Of Crop Destroying Fungus

    Purdue, Indiana - Why a pathogen is a pathogen may be answered as scientists study the recently mapped genetic makeup of a fungus that spawns the worst cereal grains disease known and also can produce toxins potentially fatal to people and livestock.

    The fungus, which is especially destructive to wheat and barley, has resulted in an estimated $10 billion in damage to U.S. crops over the past 10 years. The scientists who sequenced the fungus' genes said that the genome will help them discover what makes this particular pathogen so harmful, what triggers the process that spreads the fungus and why various fungi attack specific plants.
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  • How 'Mother of Thousands' Makes Plantlets

    Davis, California - New research shows how the houseplant "mother of thousands", a plant officially called "Kalanchoe diagremontiana" makes the tiny plantlets that drop from the edges of its leaves. In an amazing twist of evolution, this houseplant, having lost the ability to make viable seeds, shifted some of the processes that make seeds to the leaves, said Neelima Sinha, professor of plant biology at UC Davis. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scientists Get $1 Million To Demonstrate How Restored Prairies Filter Water, Produce Bioenergy

    MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - University of Minnesota researchers Clarence Lehman, John Nieber and David Tilman and colleagues have been awarded a $1.07 million grant to show how restored prairie areas can act as buffers to filter water polluted by agriculture while simultaneously producing bioenergy.

    The strategy will also conserve prairies, expand areas available for wildlife habitats, reduce the amount of water needed for biofuels, enhance biodiversity in Minnesota and reduce Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon.
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  • Rain Stops Banff Beetle Blight Burn

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Wet weather has thwarted a Canadian plan to stem the spread of tree-killing pine beetles eastward through the Rocky Mountains by burning an Alberta forest near Banff National Park, an official said on Wednesday.

    The province of Alberta had planned to burn about 80 square kilometers of trees last week and it is now too late to make the attempt this year, said Duncan MacDonnell, a spokesman for the province's Sustainable Resource Development ministry.

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  • Los Angeles School Gardens Take Root, Get Funding

    LOS ANGELES - Some California schoolkids are going to have the opportunity to grow their lunch, and many more plants.

    California Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, is scheduled to address the teachers and principals this week on the important role school gardens play on campus as "learning laboratories." LA schools will be receiving more than $1.7 million in CISGP grant funds to be used for supplies, professional development and technical assistance for school gardens at more than 500 sites this school year. More than 30,000 seedlings will be available for teachers who are interested in launching or enhancing their own school garden.

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  • Expert calls for "Green Super Rice" to be developed

    A hybrid high-yielding rice that is rich in nutrients, resistant to pests and drought and which requires fewer fertilizers and pesticides should be developed, a Chinese agricultural expert said on Tuesday.

    Writing in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Qifa Zhang of Huazhong Agricultural University in China's central Wuhan city, said genes for at least 10 of these desired traits have been isolated and were available for breeding purposes.

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  • China Suspends Soybean Imports From US , Beetle Infestation Discovered

    Beijing, China - China's quality control administration said on Friday that it found live khapra beetles in soybeans imported from the United States. The beetle is a much-feared pest that can destroy soybean stores.

    A statement from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said the 460 tons of soybeans shipped by the U.S.-based Scoular Company contained the beetles and "other species of harmful insects," without elaborating. Ragweed seeds were also detected in the 21 containers. >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Challenge Assumptions Of GMO Agriculture

    Manhatten, Kansas - A  researcher is challenging the assumption that genetically engineered plants are the great scientific and technological revolution in agriculture and the only efficient and cheap way to feed a growing population. They are working on non-GMO methods to accelerate plant breeding. It's called "market-assisted selection". The research is focused on breeding methodology, finding more efficient ways to breed better varieties of corn, sorghum, wheat or barley that yield higher, require less irrigation and are resistant to diseases in farmers' fields. The work was recently published in an edition of the scientific journal Crop Science.
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  • U.S. meat firm expands beef recall due to E.coli

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Topps Meat Company LLC has expanded its recall to include 21.7 million pounds (9,800 tonnes) of ground beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the Elizabeth, New Jersey-based company said on Saturday.

    The beef has a "sell by date" or "best if used by date" between September 25, 2007, and September 25, 2008. All recalled products will have a U.S. Department of Agriculture establishment number of EST 9748, which is located on the back panel of the package and/or in the USDA legend.

    On Tuesday, the company announced a recall of 331,582 (150 tonnes) pounds of frozen ground beef products.

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