Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Journal article

11 March 2013

Science Daily summarises the findings of a paper which reports on recent successful attempts to transgenically breed a pig that utilises  phosphorous more efficiently.  The pigs have genetically modified salivary glands, which help them digest phosphorus in feedstuffs, thereby reducing phosphorus pollution in the environment.

11 March 2013

This paper highlights the impacts of heat stress on yields of maize in France.  It finds that while irrigation can be used to adapt to reduced rainfall, heat stress is a concern that cannot be so easily managed.  It finds that assuming current climate projections, yields per hectare will need to improve by 12% between 2016 and 2035 simply to maintain current production levels.

4 March 2013

Another study highlighting the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. This one reports on the findings of a randomised controlled trial finding that a Mediterranean diet high in fruit and vegetables, seafood, whole grains, mono-unsaturated fats and very low in meat and dairy delivers better health outcomes as regards prevention of cardiovascular heart disease and strokes than a low fat diet.

4 March 2013

This is an interesting paper because it considers one of the potential nutritional downsides of reducing meat consumption – the risk that iron intakes might be undesirably low. The study finds that a replacement of meat and dairy intakes with plant based substitutes has benefits in terms of reduced land requirements and delivers saturated fat reductions.

4 March 2013

This is a very interesting study. It’s based on a very small set of interviews - 16 people who self-identified as deliberately trying to live a lower-carbon lifestyle because of concern about climate change – and so its findings don’t necessarily apply to other people living in lower carbon ways.

25 February 2013

A paper published in Nature Climate Change suggests that planting trees for use as a biofuel source, near populated areas, is likely to increase human deaths due to inhalation of ozone. Increased levels of isoprene emitted from such trees, when interacting with other air pollutants can lead to increased levels of ozone in the air which might also lead to lower crop yields.

25 February 2013

This paper looks at the attitudes of different consumer segments to reducing meat consumption / consuming alternatives to meat consumption. It finds that general awareness of the environmental impacts of meat consumption is fairly low, and that while there is some acceptance of consuming less meat or consuming alternatives, this is not the case for all consumers and varies by consumer segment.

25 February 2013

This paper has been widely reported – and also misinterpreted.  It has been publicised as a study which suggests that healthier diets (which seems to be conflated with one containing lower levels of meat and dairy) do not necessarily lead to reduced GHG emissions; however, a closer reading of the conclusions reveals otherwise. 

11 February 2013

This very useful paper provides a much needed analysis of GHG emissions resulting from community urban food growing.  The study is located in the London Borough of Sutton ( a suburban part of london) and the area of production covers just under 3 hectares.  The study concludes that urban food prodution can deliver useful reductions in GHG emissions as compared with supermarket equivalents, provided that care is taken to produce the crops where there is the greatest environmental comparative advantage.

6 February 2013

New work undertaken by a team at Wageningen University in the Netherlands suggests that many Dutch consumers are interested in reducing their meat consumption without completely becoming vegetarian. The new data find more than three-quarters of consumers questioned have at least one ‘meat free’ day per week and 40% report at least three meat free days per week. The Dutch researchers claim that this trend of flexitarianism is emerging for other nations throughout Europe.

6 February 2013

A paper published in the journal Annual Review of Environment and Resources explores the connection between climate change and food systems, and assesses and the impact the former willl have on agricultural yields and earnings, food prices, reliability of delivery, food quality and food safety. It also discusses a number of interventions that could mitigate this impact.

6 February 2013

A study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science reviews the Database on Raising Intelligence to find interventions that increased children’s intelligence. One such intervention involved supplementing infants with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the study concludes that this does indeed have a positive impact on children’s IQ. 

6 February 2013

Golub A A, Henderson B B, Hertel T W, Gerber P J, Rose S K and Sohngen B (2013).  Global climate policy impacts on livestock, land use, livelihoods, and food security, PNAS

This is a really interesting, but complex paper, so I have taken some time to try and summarise it.  I’m very grateful for help and clarification from the authors themselves.

29 January 2013

A new FCRN article – “Food sustainability: problems, perspectives and solutions” –  has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.

29 January 2013

A study in Psychological Science examined the effect certain communication strategies have on pressing social issues. The study found that public campaigns that call upon people to think and act interdependently (as opposed to independently) may be counterproductive for many Americans. The experiments demonstrated that a person’s way of thinking and motivation to act are deeply tied to the cultural frameworks that shape their social worlds, findings that have important implications for those working to promote social and behavioral change.

29 January 2013

A study by the University of Virginia and the Polytechnic University of Milan, and currently published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a global quantitative assessment of the water-grabbing phenomenon. The study shows that foreign land acquisition involves 62 “grabbed” countries and 41 “grabbers” and affects every continent except Antarctica.

29 January 2013

A study published in the journal Small Ruminant Research notes that many breeds of goat are at great risk of disappearing. A study from the Regional Service of Agro-Food Research and Development (SERIDA) analysed the global situation - the state of different breeds, the multiple implications of their conservation, their interaction with other animal species, and the consequences of goat grazing from an environmental viewpoint. The authors found that the biggest loss in the genetic resources of indigenous goats has been observed in Europe.
 

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