Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Agricultural innovation

Photo: Yutaka Seki, Mercado, Flickr, Creative commons licence 2.0
19 April 2017

This book is based on the papers that were presented and discussed at a workshop with the group “System Innovation towards Sustainable Agriculture” (SISA), an initiative by researchers from ‘Wageningen University & Research’ in the Netherlands (WUR) and the ‘Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique’ in France (INRA). 

12 April 2017

This Data Science Insights talk hosted by Thomson Reuters sees presentations from Professor Nilay Shah from Imperial College, Judith Batchelar, Director of Brand at UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, and Derek Scuffell, Head of R&D Information Systems at Syngenta, who share insights on how their supply chains are driven by data.  They discuss how advances in genetically modified foods and in agricultural technology could help prevent food shortages and price fluctuations and help the world feed itself by 2025.

Photo: Erik Edgren, Root, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
4 April 2017

In this post in the Conversation, crop scientist Matthew Wallenstein, Associate Professor and Director at the Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Colorado State University, discusses the potential of natural microbes to improve agriculture and make it more sustainable. 

Photo credit: Leslie De Blasio, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 February 2017

This chapter by Elias Fereres and Francisco J. Villalobos in the book Principles of Agronomy for Sustainable Agriculture argues that sustainable intensification of production would be best achieved through continuous, small productivity improvements rather than through a few revolutionary discoveries, at least in the medium term.

15 February 2017

This article in Nature Scientific Reports details a new approach for generating skeletal muscle from pigs which can be used to make skeletal muscle – the main component of pork meat – in vitro. The techniques are potentially applicable to other types of muscle, such as heart muscle tissue, as well.

10 January 2017

In this evidence review, co-written by FCRN member Ken Giller, the authors assess the extent to which agronomic fortification, the application of micronutrient fertiliser to crops, can improve the nutritional quality of diets in sub-Saharan Africa. They find that, while the technique has been shown to be effective in increasing the nutritional content and yield of crops, more research is required to establish the degree to which it can alleviate micronutrient deficiencies in humans.

Image credit: USDA, Kitayama Brothers, Inc. (KBI) hydroponic greenhouses, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
10 January 2017

This paper describes the operation of a bubble-insulated greenhouse system that recycles organic waste, through its anaerobic conversion into biogas and digestate, into inputs for new food. It reports that commercial crop yields were repeatedly matched and bettered, while an 80% reduction in heat energy demand and 95% reduction in CO2eq emissions was realised compared to conventional greenhouse production.

15 December 2016

An engineering project aims to produce food, energy and fresh water from solar power and seawater by using a new combination of already established technologies. The Sahara Forest Project is run in desert areas of Qatar, Tunisia and Jordan.

Photo credit: Analia Bertucci, USDA NRCS, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 December 2016

In this paper, the authors present an analysis of the nitrogen cycle in the agricultural production system of 12 world regions. From these results, they go on to suggest improvements in nitrogen use by changing the role of human diet, international trade and local production.

Photo credit: Sam Beebe, Cows n Canoe, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
3 November 2016

A chance discovery was made in Canada 11 years ago, when it was observed that cattle in a paddock near the sea are more productive. This led to research showing that feeding cows seaweed not only helped improve their health and growth, but also reduced their enteric methane emissions by about 20%.

Photo: South African Tourism, Northern Cape, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
11 October 2016

Recent assessments have strongly suggested that meeting the widely agreed target of limiting global warming to less than 2°C will require the deployment of substantial carbon sinks in addition to measures to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This perspective article examines the latest research and thinking on the ability of agricultural soil management to reduce GHG emissions and promote soils as carbon sinks, and the practical feasibility of implementing available soil management practices

Victor Camilo, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
8 August 2016

The DNA of Pseudocercospora fijiensis, the fungus that causes the black Sigatoka disease in bananas, has been sequenced and assembled in an attempt to find means of disease control. The black Sigatoka disease occurs across the tropics and is responsible for huge banana yield losses. In addition, it can cause the fruit to ripen prematurely, which stops exports of the crop. The Cavendish banana, the clonal type of bananas most consumers in the west eat is especially vulnerable to the black Sigatoka fungi.

Photo: Tony Hirtenstein, Cowslips, Worcester Pearmain tree and garden, Flickr, Creative commons licence, 2.0
24 July 2016

Permaculture is described here as a grassroots movement whose participants attempt to live in a sustainable way, taking inspiration from natural ecosystems in trying to live off the land as much as possible. The idea behind permaculture is to rely as much as possible on perennial crops, to recycle and reuse materials, and reduce waste. 

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