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Preview: EurekAlert! - Agriculture

EurekAlert! - Agriculture

The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Last Build Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:03:01 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.

Synthetic chemicals: Ignored agents of global change

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies) Despite a steady rise in the manufacture and release of synthetic chemicals, research on the ecological effects of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals is severely lacking. This blind spot undermines efforts to address global change and achieve sustainability goals. So reports a new study in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

From tiny phytoplankton to massive tuna

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program) Phytoplankton are the foundation of ocean life, providing the energy that supports nearly all marine species. Levels of phytoplankton in an ocean area may seem like a good predictor for the amount of fish that can be caught there, but a new study by Nereus Program researchers finds that this relationship is not so straightforward.

Wasps, ants, and Ani DiFranco

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of California - Riverside) A University of California, Riverside graduate student has discovered several news species of wasps, including one that she named after musician Ani DiFranco.

Insects and umami receptors

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of California - Riverside) Insects, like mammals including humans, sort chemicals by taste into a few categories and use this information to decide whether to ingest or reject food. University of California, Riverside researchers have identified a receptor playing a key role in insect identification of amino acid, or umami, taste.

Bioinvasion is jeopardizing Mediterranean marine communities

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(American Friends of Tel Aviv University) Non-indigenous species are harming indigenous species and habitats in the Mediterranean Sea, impairing potentially exploitable marine resources and raising concern about human health issues, according to a new Tel Aviv University study.

Trees supplement income for rural farmers in Africa

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) Trees may be easy to spot on the plains of Africa but they are often overlooked as a source of income for farmers. A University of Illinois study shows trees on farms may help reduce rural poverty and maintain biodiversity. The study used satellite images showing forest cover and nationally representative household-level data gathered from in-person interviews in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Crop achilles' heel costs farmers 10 percent of potential yield

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) When top and bottom leaves are placed in the same low light, the lower canopy leaves showed lower rates of photosynthesis. Shaded corn leaves are 15 percent less efficient than top leaves -- and worse, lower leaves are 30 percent less efficient than the top leaves of Miscanthus, a perennial bioenergy crop. Considering the crop as a whole, this loss of efficiency in lower leaves may costs farmers about 10 percent of potential yield.

How do people choose what plants to use?

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen) There are about 400,000 species of plants in the world. Humans use approximately 10-15 percent of them to cover our basic needs, such as food, medicine and shelter, as well as other needs, such as recreation, art, and craft. But why and how have humans selected only a small fraction of all plants to utilize?

Scientists discover 6-million-year-old giant otter fossil in China's Yunnan Province

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Taylor & Francis Group) A paper in Journal of Systematic Paleontology, published by Taylor & Francis, reveals the discovery of one of the largest otter species ever found.

Forests 'held their breath' during global warming hiatus, research shows

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Exeter) Global forest ecosystems, widely considered to act as the lungs of the planet, 'held their breath' during the most recent occurrence of a warming hiatus, new research has shown.The international study examined the full extent to which these vital ecosystems performed as a carbon sink from 1998-2012 -- the most recent recorded period of global warming slowdown.

New research on wine fermentation could lead to better bouquet

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(American Society for Microbiology) The taste of wine arises from a symphony of compounds that are assembled as yeast ferment the must from grapes. But much of what happens in this process remains obscure. Now a team of researchers from France, a country that is synonymous with good wine, has begun to unveil the outlines of how yeast manage nitrogen, an essential element that comprises about 16 percent of proteins, and four percent of all organic matter.

Coral reefs grow faster and healthier when parrotfish are abundant

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) A new study by Smithsonian scientists and colleagues that reveals 3,000 years of change in reefs in the eastern Caribbean provides long-term, compelling evidence that parrotfish, which eat algae that can smother corals, are vital to coral-reef growth and health.

Peruvian potatoes to join world's largest banana collection in Belgium

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(KU Leuven) For 30 years, KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium) has been home to an impressive collection of bananas that already contains over 1,500 varieties and is the biggest in its kind. The collection is recognized as world heritage and will soon be expanded with another food crop: 8,000 potato varieties of the International Potato Centre in Peru are coming to Leuven.

Cookware made with scrap metal contaminates food

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(OK International) Aluminum cookware made from scrap metal in countries around the world poses a serious and previously unrecognized health risk to millions of people according to a new study. Researchers at Ashland University and Occupational Knowledge International tested 42 samples of aluminum cookware made in 10 developing countries and more than one-third pose a lead exposure hazard. The cookware also released significant levels of aluminum, arsenic and cadmium.

New crab species shares name with 2 'Harry Potter' characters and a hero researcher

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Pensoft Publishers) While not much is known about the animals living around coral reefs, ex-Marine turned researcher Harry Conley would often take to the island of Guam, and dig deep into the rubble to find fascinating critters as if by magic learnt at Hogwarts. Years after his discoveries and his death, a secret is revealed on the pages of the open access journal ZooKeys -- a new species and genus of crab, Harryplax severus.

What might Trump mean for chemistry? (video)

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(American Chemical Society) Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the US. While much was said about a variety of topics during the presidential campaign, little was said about science. The latest Speaking of Chemistry video, produced by ACS' weekly newsmagazine Chemical & Engineering News, takes on this uncertainty by looking into how the emerging Trump administration policies will impact research funding, trade policy and chemistry, the central science.

In African 'fairy circles,' a template for nature's many patterns

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Princeton University) Scientists have long debated how landscape-scale plant patterns such as the famous 'fairy circles' of Namibia form and persist. Now, a new Princeton University-led study suggests that instead of a single overarching cause, large-scale vegetation patterns in arid ecosystems could occasionally stem from millions of local interactions among neighboring plants and animals. The work could explain many patterns throughout the world.

Bacterial discovery solves 20-year-old molecular paleontology mystery

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences ) A fatty molecule once thought to be unique to flowering plants has turned up in bacteria skimmed from the Adriatic Sea and may provide biotech insights.

Snap, digest, respire

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Freiburg) Scientists show how the Venus flytrap uses its prey's nitrogen compounds to extract energy.

VTT develops raw materials for meatballs and falafel from mealworms and crickets

Fri, 20 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland) VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed food ingredients from mealworms and crickets which, due to their promising structure and flavor, have the potential to be used in the manufacture of foods such as meatballs and falafel.

Study discusses model for understanding nutrition and brain development

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences) For nearly a decade, researchers at the University of Illinois have studied the piglet as a translational model to understand which aspects of early brain development are affected by nutrition interventions. In a recent review article published in Advances in Nutrition, U of I animal scientist, Ryan Dilger, and Austin Mudd, a doctoral student in the neuroscience program, provide background for the work they do with nutrition and neurodevelopment using the piglet as a model.

Scientists uncover the genetic history of cocoa in Brazil

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) In na article published in PloS One, Brazilian scientists details the genetic structure and molecular diversity of the varieties of cocoa grown in the state of Bahia for over 200 years and identifies trees resistant to witch's broom

Queen's researcher publishes new findings on how plants manage immune response

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Queen's University) New research, being published tomorrow in the journal Science, has uncovered a previously unknown means by which plants are able to regulate how their immune systems respond to pathogens.

USDA invests $13.6 million in citrus greening research

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(National Institute of Food and Agriculture ) The US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced four grants totaling more than $13.6 million to combat a scourge on the nation's citrus industry, citrus greening disease, aka Huanglongbing. The funding is made possible through NIFA's Specialty Crop Research Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

USDA announces $8.8 million available for agricultural programs at Hispanic serving institutions

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 00:00:00 EST

(National Institute of Food and Agriculture ) The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture today announced availability of $8.8 million in funding to support agricultural science education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).