24
Sat, Feb

  • Reducing Phosphorus Runoff

    Throughout the United States, toxic algal blooms are wreaking havoc on bodies of water, causing pollution and having harmful effects on people, fish and marine mammals.

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  • Corn Genetics Research Exposes Mechanism Behind Traits Becoming Silent

    For more than a century, plant geneticists have been studying maize as a model system to understand the rules governing the inheritance of traits, and a team of researchers recently unveiled a previously unknown mechanism that triggers gene silencing in corn.

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  • Refining Pesticides to Kill Pests, Not Bees

    Pyrethroid pesticides are effective. Sometimes too effective.

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  • Ancient Barley Took High Road to China, Changed to Summer Crop in Tibet

    First domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, wheat and barley took vastly different routes to China, with barley switching from a winter to both a winter and summer crop during a thousand-year detour along the southern Tibetan Plateau, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

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  • How carbon farming can help solve climate change

    Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations pledged to keep the average global temperature rise to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to take efforts to narrow that increase to 1.5C. To meet those goals we must not only stop the increase in our greenhouse gas emissions, we must also draw large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.

    The simplest, most cost effective and environmentally beneficial way to do this is right under our feet. We can farm carbon by storing it in our agricultural soils.

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  • Thinking Big by Burning Small

    A recent paper by scientists from Wits University in South Africa shows how creative fire management can increase habitat for wildebeest and other grazing animals in national parks.

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  • The Hydroponic, Robotic Future of Farming in Greenhouses

    When you think of automation, you probably think of the assembly line, a dramatic dance of robot arms with nary a human laborer in sight. But that’s child’s play. The grandest, most disruptive automation revolution has played out in agriculture. First with horses and plows, and eventually with burly combines—technologies that have made farming exponentially cheaper and more productive. Just consider that in 1790, farmers made up 90 percent of the US workforce. In 2012, it was 1.5 percent, yet America still eats.

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  • Light Green Plants Save Nitrogen Without Sacrificing Photosynthetic Efficiency

    The top leaves of crops absorb far more light than they can use, starving lower leaves of light. Scientists designed plants with light green leaves with hopes of allowing more light to penetrate the crop canopy and increase overall light use efficiency and yield. This strategy was tested in a recent modeling study that found leaves with reduced chlorophyll content do not actually improve canopy-level photosynthesis, but instead, conserve a significant amount of nitrogen that the plant might be able to reinvest to improve light use efficiency and increase yield.  

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  • Seagrass is a Key Fishing Ground Globally

    New research demonstrates that seagrass meadows are important fishing grounds all around the globe. The work highlights that there is an urgent need to start appreciating and understanding this role to be able to build more sustainable fisheries. A study led by Dr Lina Mtwana Nordlund at Stockholm University, published in the scientific journal Fish & Fisheries, examines the global extent to which these underwater meadows support fishing activity.

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  • Virginia Tech works to protect Africa's crops against invasive pests

    As invasive and indigenous insect pests continue to wreak havoc on crops across Africa, a Virginia Tech-led project is intensifying its work to coordinate a response that looks beyond geographic and financial barriers.

    Stopping crop losses requires working across borders, said Muni Muniappan, director of the Virginia Tech-led Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management. “Fighting these pests in just a few of these countries is futile, because it will continue to thrive in the countries where we are not working,” he said.

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