Elders to be the Amazon of agriculture, opening an online store for farmersThe AustralianElders said farmers would be able to order selected animal health and agricultural chemical products from its AgSure website, and have those products delivered...
A molecular study carried out by Indian defense researchers indicates that molecular characters and the unique ecological environment of North East India make Bhut Jolokia distinct from other closely related chilli species and keep it world’s hottest. Locally known as “Bhut Jolokia”, this pepper variety found in the North Eastern parts of India and is considered as the hottest chilli in the world.
Bhut Jolokia has grabbed the title ‘world’s hottest chilli’ from the Red Savina Habanero found in Canada, when it was found that Jolokia is at least two times hotter than it in terms of 'Scoville Heat units' which is the measurement of hotness in chillies.
Interestingly, the name Bhut Jolokia hints a ghostly bite, which actually leaves the victim burning for at least 30 minutes without subsiding. It is being used by local people for a variety of purposes like making spicy food, to prepare medicines and even in smoke bombs to keep wild elephants away.
03 September 2012 Magazine issue 2880. Subscribe and save For similar stories, visit the Food and Drink and The Human Brain Topic Guides Big trouble lies ahead if Alzheimer's is proven to be a form of diabetes
THE human brain evolved to seek out foods high in fat and sugar. But a preference that started out as a survival mechanism has, in our age of plenty, become a self-destructive compulsion.
It is well known that bad diets can trigger obesity and diabetes. There is growing evidence that they trigger Alzheimer's disease too, and some researchers now see it as just another form of diabetes (see "Food for thought: Eat your way to dementia").
If correct, this has enormous, and grave, implications. The world already faces an epidemic of diabetes. The prospect of a parallel epidemic of Alzheimer's is truly frightening, in terms of human suffering and monetary cost.
This outcome will not be easily averted. Few people need to be told that too much high-fat, high-sugar food is a health hazard. And yet sales of fast food remain healthy (or should that be hefty?). Part of the reason is "future discounting", another evolved feature of the human brain that makes us value short-term rewards over long-term risks.
What can be done? One option is to call in the lawyers. Some moderately successful attempts have already been made to sue food companies for their role in creating the obesity epidemic. If a causal link between fatty, sugary food and Alzheimer's can be established, it is highly likely that more lawsuits will follow. Such actions have their place, but this is a laborious and expensive way to enact change.
"...Shame on the Daily Democrat and The Reporter (Vacaville) for publishing Monsanto's talking points disguised as legitimate opinion from a university professor of plant biology. The industry tactic of relying on third-party experts to do its bidding is nothing new, but newspapers should not facilitate such deception...."
79% of worlds poorest live in middle income--not low income countries. Domestic policy and tackling income inequality may have larger impact on reducing the number living on <$2 per day than international aid.
was about to face the Sahel drought and massive starvation. Worse still, almost half the world’s 3 billion people were under the age of 30. Billions of babies were about to be born into a planet unable to feed them. Then a miracle occurred: the productivity of wheat doubled, tripled and in some places quadrupled. It happened in almost 100 countries all at once. Soon thereafter, the productivity of rice, corn and other cereals followed suit. Borlaug worked only with wheat but he set the trend toward making cereal crops efficient in using land, sunlight, growing time, and inputs, not to mention immune to major diseases. Nowadays his influence can be seen worldwide: Most crop plants have gotten shorter. No longer shoulder-high, wheat is now waist high or knee high. No longer 12 feet tall, corn is now head-high. That is the most visible part of the Borlaug legacy. And it’s why 7 billion people are eating on the same land that half a century ago could not feed half that number. This farm kid from Iowa achieved all this under difficult conditions in a hungry country: Mexico. He did it with dedication and with conventional plant breeding. He gave his seeds away freely to all who asked. He trained young people from almost every wheat-growing nation, including the U.S. and Canada, and sent them home with seeds of his most advanced research lines. That is why food production soared so quickly and global famine was averted. Borlaug’s students – widely known as Wheat Apostles – were pre-positioned and pre-programmed to make the most of his latest and most productive seeds. Norman Borlaug is an Indiana Jones of our time. He was bold and adventurous and faced down difficulty (sometimes danger) his whole life. He is a great role model for humanitarian achievement. Our Daily Bread tells the Borlaug story in lively style. It has been called The World's First Cereal Thriller. The author worked with Borlaug and recorded the behind-the-scenes dramas that have not been made public until now.
Participatory plant breeding has matured into a dynamic and cost-effective science that provides a pragmatic match between desired crop traits and local climates, soils and socio-economies. But can farmer-led crop breeding deal with the pace and uncertainty of climate change? Absolutely, argues the recent article Institutional and technological innovation: understanding agricultural adaptation to climate change in Nepal by Netra Chhetri, Pashupati Chaudhary, Puspa Raj Tiwari and Ram Baran Yadaw.
"Lenzen et al. present the most comprehensive study so far of the impact of international trade on biodiversity conservation using vast data sets comprising 25,000 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) species threat records, 15,000 commodities and 187 countries, resulting in the analysis of more than 5 billion supply chains."
The report, led by the University of Leeds and published by the UK-based Centre for Low Carbon Futures, highlights China, Pakistan and Turkey as the most seriously affected major producers of wheat and maize and urges policymakers to focus attention on climate change adaptation to avert an imminent food crisis.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that humanity now obtains two-thirds of its calories from just rice, maize, and wheat; and 90% of its calorie intake from just 15 crops.
Preferential investment in such large-scale systems also had the unintended effect of marginalizing local food crops. “Forgotten” local crops are often more stress-hardy (photo), though, and farmers usually grow them in diverse mixes: if one crop fails, another one planted later or earlier or in a different location has a good chance of escaping the stress. In addition, diverse cropping systems are usually more resilient and efficient in using soil nutrient and water resources.
Dr Emile Frison, who leads our sister institute Bioversity International, and his colleagues recently summarized these and other benefits of agro-biodiversity.
Emergency food reserves, drought insurance and other policy measures are also important elements in a robust overall drought management strategy....."
The European Commission has proposed a regulation to implement a treaty dealing with access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits from their exploitation. The draft regulation would impose a number of obligations on users of genetic resources. This article explains the background and essential contents of the proposed regulation.
"Sub-Saharan Africa's population is expected to reach 1.5–2 billion by 2050. Already the population is ballooning; in many areas, the risk of drought and flood is increasing; most soils are poor; and richer nations are buying up Africa's arable land for their own food or fuel security. African farmers have demonstrated the promise of perenniation. It is time to scale up its use and put it firmly on the research-and-development map."
Web-based database on Phytophthora species. Its aim is to provide a global atlas of the diversity and distribution of Phytophthora species, and ultimately to consitute a global network of scientists and other stakeholders.
Fortified peanut paste saves lives in Haiti and other places where malnutrition is a problem, but producing it locally costs more than importing it from faraway factories in Europe because of labor and other costs.
Brooklyn hipsters are known—and scorned—for waxing nostalgic for things they are too young to miss: the pompadour, the Freemasons, manual typewriters. In that spirit, Sarah Lohman has built a career revisiting long-forgotten recipes from the nineteenth and early twentieth century. She’s made pickled oysters, Ho cakes, eggs in cream, sautéed bear, and M. F. K. Fisher’s recipe for sludge, among other dishes. The results are decidedly mixed. Sometimes, it seems, recipes get lost for a reason.
"The largest genomic study ever conducted among Khoe and San groups reveals that these groups from southern Africa are descendants of the earliest diversification event in the history of all humans -- some 100,000 years ago, well before the 'out-of-Africa' migration of modern humans...."
"In the 1970’s a fungal blight outbreak ravaged cornfields across the United States, destroying 50 percent of the country’s maize crops and shaking the stock market as the most economically devastating field crop disease of the 20th century. Last week, the U.S. government slashed its forecast for corn production by 17 percent due to the worst drought the country has experenced in 56 years, raising fears of a new global food crisis and sending many commodity prices to record levels. While the two events may be 40 years apart and have different natural causes, the outcomes are much the same, argued scientists from Bioversity International at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Jeju, South Korea this week....."