Combining computer modeling and field research on cotton pests, a UA-led study suggests that biotechnology and traditional agriculture can be compatible approaches toward sustainable agriculture.
Advocates of biotech crops and those who favor traditional farming practices such as crop diversity often seem worlds apart, but a new study shows that these two approaches can be compatible. An international team led by Chinese scientists and Bruce Tabashnik at the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences discovered that the diverse patchwork of crops in northern China slowed adaptation to genetically engineered cotton by a wide-ranging insect pest. The results are published in the advance online edition ofNature Biotechnology. Read more
Tags: sustainable agriculture
, Organic farming
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Productivity-boosting agricultural innovations in Africa could lead to an increase in global deforestation rates and carbon emissions, a Purdue University study finds.
Historically, improvements in agricultural technology have conserved land and decreased carbon emissions at the global level: Gaining better yields in one area lessens the need to clear other areas for crops, sidestepping a land conversion process that can significantly raise the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Read more
, Carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems
, greenhouse gas
URBANA, Ill. – If an in-the-flesh Extension specialist isn’t available to provide training, is a video of the specialist’s presentation or a video of a new agricultural practice a good substitute? The answer, according to a University of Illinois study with farmers in rural Uganda, isn’t simple, particularly when gender is factored into the equation.
“The literature in the field says communication materials like videos work best to support face-to-face communication,” said U of I agricultural communications professor Lulu Rodriguez. “But if you don’t have an Extension specialist available in a certain locale, a video is the next best thing. The two modes of presenting information work well, particularly for African women learners. It follows the African penchant for having a live presenter, someone to talk to, and their affinity for visuals. Those are important components to how they learn. If situations get dire, a video is a viable option, particularly if there is a live facilitator.” Read more
Tags: Kiga people
, Gender studies
, Gender role
New insights into how plants regulate their absorption of an essential nutrient could help avoid pollution caused by excess use of fertiliser.
The findings could lead to the development of crop varieties that need less of the primary nutrient – nitrogen – than conventional crops. It could also inform how much nitrogen should be added to plant feed.
This would allow optimum plant growth without producing excess nitrogen in run-off from fields, which is a major source of water pollution. Read more
Tags: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
An array of gene variants provides ‘breakthrough benefits’ in tomato yield for breeders; other crops next
Cold Spring Harbor, NY – Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today announced a new way to dramatically increase crop yields by improving upon Mother Nature’s offerings. A team led by Associate Professor Zachary Lippman, in collaboration with Israeli colleagues, has discovered a set of gene variations that can boost fruit production in the tomato plant by as much as 100%.
CSHL scientists have identified a set of genetic variants that can dramatically increase tomato production. On the far left is the average yield from a plant that grows standard canning tomatoes. The next three piles were produced by plants with mutations found in the toolkit. The combination of genetic mutations on the far right produces twice as many tomatoes as the standard variety.
Plant breeders will be able to combine different gene variants among the set to create an optimal plant architecture for particular varieties and growing conditions. The set of mutations will enable farmers to maximize yield in tomatoes and potentially many other flowering plants, including staple crops like soybeans. Read more
On Friday, October 10, Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development and director of the Belfer Center’s Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, was awarded the coveted Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize (LAAP) during a ceremony in the Akwa Ibom State in Uyo, Nigeria.
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“ARU was incubated by the Uganda Rural Development and Training Program (URDT), a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1987. It is the first African university dedicated to training women. It is one of the first African universities to be incubated by a rural NGO and show great promise in the potential for growth among local organizations. ARU is one the first universities to focus on rural development and entrepreneurship considering that Africa is largely rural.”
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Tags: Non-governmental organizations
, Rural community development
, Rural development