Atlantis Online
October 20, 2020, 05:30:32 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Were seafarers living here 16,000 years ago?
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=34805893-6a53-46f5-a864-a96d53991051&k=39922
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

EFFORTS TO RELIEVE WORLD HUNGER


Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: EFFORTS TO RELIEVE WORLD HUNGER  (Read 745 times)
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2009, 12:38:29 pm »









                             World's first 'drought-tolerant' corn ready by 2010: Monsanto





     
Jan. 7, 2009
WASHINGTON
(AFP)

– Agribusiness giant Monsanto announced Wednesday a significant step towards creating the world's first drought-tolerant corn, a development it says will "reset the bar" in farming productivity.

The genetically modified corn has moved to the final stage of development and could be available on the commercial market as early as 2010, the company said in a statement.

"Drought-tolerant corn is designed to provide farmers yield stability during periods when water supply is scarce by mitigating the effects of drought -- or water stress -- within a corn plant," Monsanto said.

The corn is the first in a series of crops planned by Monsanto to address the affects of high food prices and climate change on agriculture-based cultures around the world by reducing the need for water.

The next generation to be released over the next decade are designed to "enable farmers to produce more on each acre of farmland while minimizing the input of energy and resources such as water," Monsanto said.

Trials of the corn conducted last year in drought-prone areas of the American midwest "met or exceeded the six percent to 10 percent target yield enhancement," according to the company.

The trial advanced the yield by up to 10 corn bushels per acre (six quintals per hectare) beyond the average maximum of 130 bushels per acre (82 quintals per hectare), it said.

"This product and other yield improvements we are developing will reset the bar for on-farm productivity," said Monsanto biotechnology chief Steve Padgette.

The product, created in collaboration with the German-based plant biotechnology specialist BASF, has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for regulatory clearance.

Worldwide cereal production set a new record in 2008 at 2.24 billion tons, a 5.4 percent increase over last year, the United Nations food agency said last month.

Food prices in developing countries meanwhile remain high, affecting the "food security of large numbers of vulnerable populations," according to a report from the Rome-based agency.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2009, 12:46:03 pm »



Agronomist Melanie Newman sorts through
newly harvested seeds to remove broken
ones and other trash before the seeds are
put into long-term storage.

(Photo by Rob Dean)
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2009, 12:47:20 pm »











                                           Preserving The Grain Crop Finger Millet






ScienceDaily
(Apr. 30, 2005)

— Seeds of finger millet, a staple grain in parts of Africa and India, are now being preserved and studied by Agricultural Research Service scientists as part of the continuing effort to maintain genetic diversity in agricultural crops.

ARS agronomist Melanie Newman, the curator for finger millet and other warm-season cereal, forage and turf grasses, maintains a wide variety of species in the agency's collection. The ARS Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit in Griffin, Ga., houses the finger millet collection, along with over 83,400 samples of other agricultural crops.

According to Newman, it's crucial to agriculture to maintain a collection with key genetic traits. She and plant geneticist Ming Li Wang are busy genetically fingerprinting the germplasm in the collection to provide researchers with a set of genetic markers needed to evaluate germplasm and identify various traits. Yield and resistance to a fungal disease called blast are important for growing finger millet as a food crop.

Maintaining the collection is vital to future research on finger millet. Researchers have to retain an adequate amount of seed from each sample, or accession. The seeds stored at the Griffin facility are germinated in specialized chambers, grown in pots in the greenhouse and finally placed in the field. The seeds from these plants are then preserved for future use.

Newman also receives requests for finger millet for nutritional studies to increase its utility as a food staple in developing countries.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA USDA/Agricultural Research Service (2005, April 30). Preserving The Grain Crop Finger Millet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2005/04/050421234156.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2009, 02:44:04 pm »










                                       A worrisome forecast for the world's crops


Studies on rising ozone pollution, shorter winters, and an expanding tropical belt do not bode well for agriculture.





By Robert C. Cowen | Columnist
from the December 13, 2007 edition

Science columnist Robert Cowen talks about climate change and the effect on agriculture.If you are concerned mainly with temperature when you think about climate change, your perspective is too narrow.

Think also about other atmospheric changes such as rising ozone pollution. A recent study indicates that its increasing harmful effect on plants could cut the global economic value of crop production by 10 to 12 percent by this century's end. The research projects that regions such as the United States, China, and Europe would become net food importers.

Think, too, of how plants respond to a warmer environment. New research shows that a longer growing season is not always beneficial. Or consider new evidence that the tropical zone already is expanding faster than computer-based climate simulations have forecast.

These examples from the latest research make the point that ecologists trying to anticipate global change still have a lot to learn.

The new ozone projection was a shocker even for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who conducted it. The study projects that growing worldwide fossil fuel burning will boost global average ozone concentrations 50 percent by 2100 unless emissions are seriously restricted.

"Even assuming that best-practice technology for controlling ozone is adopted worldwide, we see rapidly rising ozone concentrations in the coming decades," study leader John Reilly explained when MIT announced the results in late October. "That result is both surprising and worrisome."

Effects will vary from region to region and over time. Taking everything into account – including breeding ozone-resistant crops and other adaptations – global crop production could still take a serious economic hit.

You might think that a longer growing season would be good for plants. Sometimes it is. But many plants need a winter chill to respond vigorously to an earlier spring. With too short a winter, those plants are slow to wake up. Xiaoyang Zhang with Earth Resources Technology in Camp Springs, Md., and colleagues see this phenomenon reflected in satellite data and climate records from 1982 to 2005.

In October, they reported in Geophysical Research Letters that, north of latitude 40 degrees north, shorter winters still give plants enough of a cold soak to have a vigorous spring green-up. South of 35 degrees north, however, plants don't hibernate long enough. They are slow to green-up when winter is over. The data show that the transition zone between the two regimes has been moving northward about 0.1 latitude degrees a year. The researchers expect this trend to continue as global warming proceeds.

Dian J. Seidel at the NOAA Air Resources Laboratory in Silver Springs, Md., and colleagues reported earlier this month on Nature Online that the tropical belt also has expanded faster than climate simulations have predicted. This poleward expansion could significantly alter such crucial elements as jet stream flow patterns and the course of storm tracks. The scientists note that "the edges of the tropical belt are the outer boundaries of the subtropical dry zones and their poleward shift could lead to fundamental shifts in ecosystems and human settlements."

Dr. Zhang and his team say their study "suggests that there is still much to be learned about this aspect of climate change."

That goes for every other aspect of the subject as well.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2009, 02:54:16 pm »









                                   Roadsides Benefit From Wastes, UF Researchers Say






ScienceDaily
(Aug. 24, 1997)
— GAINESVILLE

--Roadside dumping may be the best way to keep state highways beautiful and safe, says a team of University of Florida researchers.


Litterbugs they aren't, however. The waste they want to see spread alongside Florida highways is made up of organic material.


"The goal is to make roadsides a friendly environment to establish grass and at the same time get rid of waste products in an environmentally friendly way," said turfgrass researcher Grady Miller, of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.


Miller and his colleagues were charged by the Florida Department of Transportation with finding a way to improve roadside soil. The improved soil would help grass grow, and grass helps to stabilize roadways.


The researchers turned to cities and counties, which produce mountains of nutrient-rich organic wastes. Rather than use up precious landfill space with the wastes, the cities were glad to put the material at the disposal of the UF researchers. Miller said the material cannot be used on crops because it sometimes contains metals or glass.


"There's no better location than roadsides," Miller said. "They're everywhere."


In general, roadside soil is too sandy to hold nutrients or water, making it difficult for grass to grow well. Importing topsoil and adding commercial fertilizer helps but is prohibitively expensive. So the researchers turned to organic wastes.


"The roadside is a very harsh condition in which to grow turf," Miller said. "The organic wastes add nutrients and hold water, making conditions more favorable for grass to grow."


The compost has an added advantage over commercial fertilizer, said researcher Bob Black, in that it releases nitrogen slowly. With commercial fertilizer, there's a quick flush of growth after the initial application but no sustained nourishment of the soil and grass.


Black said motorists cruising with their windows down might get a whiff of the compost after it's dumped from trucks, but once it's spread, the odor dissipates quickly and no one has complained.


In field studies along an interstate in Broward County and a four-lane in Hernando County, the researchers are studying how the organic material aids the establishment of new grass. Along two-lanes near Steinhatchee and Melrose, they're using the compost as top dressing and looking at how it boosts the growth of the grass already there.


In UF's state-of-the art Turfgrass Envirotron, where grasses from all over the world are monitored in three computer-controlled greenhouses, they are comparing the growth of roadside turf samples using both commercial fertilizer and the organic wastes. In all the samples, the grass nourished with organic wastes is faring better, Miller said.


"We're seeing dramatic improvement in turf growth," Miller said.


DOT landscape architect Gary Henry said roadside vegetation is necessary because it ensures the structural integrity of the roadbed by preventing soil erosion and keeping asphalt from crumbling. He said the news that roadside composting looks promising is welcome.


"Importing topsoil and adding fertilizer is very costly, so this alternative will be a big help," Henry said. "This will save money, improve the grass and eliminate a landfill problem by reusing a material that still has some value.


"It's a win-win-win situation," Henry said.
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2009, 02:57:13 pm »











                             Satellite Data Can Warn Of Famine, NASA Researchers Find






ScienceDaily
(July 19, 2007)

— A NASA researcher has developed a new method to anticipate food shortages brought on by drought. Molly Brown of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and her colleagues created a model using data from satellite remote sensing of crop growth and food prices.

Brown conceived the idea while working with organizations in Niger, West Africa, that provide information regarding failed crops and help address local farmers' worries about feeding their families. Brown's new approach could improve the ability for government and humanitarian aid officials to plan and respond to drought-induced food price increases in Niger and elsewhere.

Supply and demand largely dictate food prices, with greater supply leading to lower prices and less supply leading to higher prices. During a food crisis in semi-arid regions like Niger, food shortages are often brought on when lack of rainfall significantly reduces the amount of grain farmers are able to grow. Farmers in regions like Niger are able only to grow a few drought-resistant crops, and therefore must buy grain at unaffordably high prices at the end of the year to make up for shortfalls in production. This scenario could drive a drought-driven food security crisis. A lack of locally-produced and affordable grain, coupled with increased prices and reduced access to food, could lead to starvation and hunger-related illness in the most vulnerable segments of society.

Brown, the lead author of a study to be published early next year in the journal Land Economics, said that until now officials have primarily studied the after effects of occurrences like floods or droughts that might affect crop production as their best means of warning of a coming food security crisis. "With this new study, for the first time we can leverage satellite observations of crop production to create a more accurate price model that will help humanitarian aid organizations and other decision makers predict how much food will be available and what its cost will be as a result. This is a unique opportunity for an economic model to take climate variables into account in a way that can aid populations large and small," she said.

Agricultural economists often use a mathematical formula and typically data on crop yield, a range of market prices, and other variables to develop a price model that estimates what food prices may be in the marketplace. Brown applied remote-sensing data in an economic model producing an enhanced way for aid officials to combat a problem that affects 3.6 million people in Niger alone.

To use their price model in a real-world situation, Brown and her colleagues compared variations in crop production to variations in food prices in parts of West Africa. They focused on a sample crop, a drought-resistant grain called millet. Locally, people use millet to create a couscous-like dish. Brown's team observed the June-September wet season to the October-May dry season -- and the amount and growth rate of green vegetation. Then, it studied how seasonal climate differences affected the crop's price in local markets.

Brown used long-term data from sensors on NASA-built satellites to gauge the density of local plant life, an indicator of the strength of the crop. From space, sensors pick up reflections from the ground to determine the ground's "greenness" and enable researchers to estimate the amount of rainfall. Those data in turn may be used to estimate the amount of grain that crops will produce. Brown combined the satellite data and climate variables with the price model to create maps of millet prices covering a complete area. With these maps decision makers can predict price changes, food availability and ultimately food insecurity.

Food prices are not determined solely by human action. Climate variables affect about 20 percent of the process of market pricing, according to the study's co-author Jorge Pinzon, a research scientist and mathematician at Goddard. This is a factor that decision makers often do not take into account when analyzing food security, Pinzon said.

"It is critical to include climate and environmental variables in food security planning when piecing together all of the forces that come together to create famine," said Pinzon. "This model can help officials better understand the role that climate plays in food availability and pricing, and also in famine warning when applied to a real-time planning effort."

Brown believes that information provided by this new technique can aid organizations that are part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning System to stem suffering that occurs every year from food crises. Brown hopes that her method, funded by NASA and USAID, may eventually help the farmers in Niger more effectively plan what to grow and when to grow it to earn a living wage.

"This price model can be used in any region of the world where there are seasonal climate factors that can contribute to local food production crises," said Brown. "Even a country with normally adequate food production can still experience a food crisis if a drought hits. We hope that decision makers will work together with scientists to apply this model so that even a farmer on a small plot of land can better sustain his family during a drought."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (2007, July 19). Satellite Data Can Warn Of Famine, NASA Researchers Find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from


http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/07/070719111414.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2009, 03:01:43 pm »



Geneticist Mike Blanco pollinates tropical exotic maize as a first step in breeding corn with improved disease resistance, nutritional quality, and bioenergy potential.

 (Credit:
Image courtesy of
United States Department
of Agriculture)









                                         High-Quality Corn For Low-Input Farming Systems






ScienceDaily
(July 27, 2007)

— To help family farmers and seed producers better meet market demands and remain independent and profitable, a new initiative is under way. Spearheaded by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) plant geneticist Linda Pollak, it’s being called the Breeding High-Quality Corn for Sustainable, Low-Input Farming Systems—or
HQ-LIFS—project.

Pollak and other scientists in the ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit, Ames, Iowa, are collaborating on HQ-LIFS with Iowa State University scientists at Ames and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wis. The Practical Farmers of Iowa help with on-farm testing.

The goal of HQ-LIFS is to boost corn's nutritional content while making it more compatible with sustainable farming systems. The researchers mainly focus on breeding new plants that will provide smaller scale producers with corn, or maize, containing specific traits expected to soon be in high demand—such as for better organic feed grains and specialty uses. Corn varieties for feed and specialty markets that can be grown using small amounts of fertilizer are crucial.

In breeding experiments, scientists are selecting for responses to two factors: slowly available forms of nitrogen, and weed pressure. Because some states regulate the use of nitrogen fertilizers and the cost of fertilizer is escalating, all growers could benefit from corn varieties that yield well with slowly available nitrogen sources, such as organic manures, or with lower amounts of applied fertilizer.

New varieties from the three-year-old HQ-LIFS program can also contribute traits required for reliable production under alternative farming systems, such as organic farming. The Ames group is breeding specialty varieties—like white corn and high- methionine corn for organic poultry producers—that will provide new market possibilities.

Pollak envisions forming groups of farmers, seed companies and processors to grow, test and evaluate varieties resulting from the program.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by United States Department of Agriculture.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA United States Department of Agriculture (2007, July 27). High-Quality Corn For Low-Input Farming Systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/07/070722161725.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2009, 03:06:15 pm »











                           Rice-producing Nations Call For Increased Focus On Production






ScienceDaily
(Oct. 19, 2007)

— The world's major rice-producing nations -- including China and India -- are calling for closer collaboration in efforts to feed Asia's billions of rice consumers in the face of unprecedented new challenges.

Rice production, which helps feed almost half the world, has been under increasingly intense pressure lately, causing rising consumer prices in many Asian nations. Climate change, biofuels, water scarcity, and farmers diversifying into other crops are just some of the factors affecting Asia's ability to produce the rice it needs.

The eleventh annual meeting of the Council for Partnerships on Rice Research in Asia (CORRA) last month in month in Vietnam was warned that more must be done to accelerate the development and dissemination of rice varieties to help farmers keep up with production demands. CORRA brings together the senior research representatives of 16 major rice-producing and -consuming nations to highlight and discuss the main issues and challenges facing the Asian rice industry.

"The rice-producing nations of Asia are facing many of the same challenges in producing the rice they need, so it makes sense for us to work together to overcome these problems," Mangala Rai, the CORRA chair, told the meeting. Dr. Rai is also the chairman and secretary of India's Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and director general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

"Climate change, water scarcity, and the continuing poverty of rice farmers are problems we all face," Dr. Rai told his fellow CORRA members.

Dr. Rai said it was also important for rice researchers in Asia to have access to the most advanced scientific tools to help them increase production, and this included biotechnology.

"We decided that we should actively support the policies of our governments to promote the responsible use of biotechnology to help achieve food security and reduce poverty," he said. "We also endorsed the risk assessment--based use of transgenic technology in rice as per national priorities for agriculture and for trade."

The CORRA meeting was briefed as well on a proposed new system to encourage greater private sector support in the development of new hybrid rice varieties. Many of the hybrid rice varieties being grown across Asia can be traced back to work done by public research institutes such as IRRI. This earlier work has allowed the private sector to benefit from this public research almost free of charge.

Under the proposed new system -- which was endorsed by CORRA -- seed companies involved in producing hybrid seed as well as public sector organizations would be invited to join a public--private sector consortium. The consortium would generate funds through different levels of membership and fees, which would be used to support hybrid rice research by the public sector, but also capacity-building programs for young scientists from Asia.

Rice farmers will benefit by gaining access to a wide range of improved rice hybrids and associated crop management technologies.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by International Rice Research Institute, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA International Rice Research Institute (2007, October 19). Rice-producing Nations Call For Increased Focus On Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/10/071017102037.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2009, 03:08:28 pm »










                              Protecting Rice: The Planet's Most Important Food Source






ScienceDaily
(Mar. 21, 2007)

— An unprecedented new agreement --part of an aggressive move to safeguard the world's food production - aims to protect thousands of the world's unique rice varieties.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Rome-based Global Crop Diversity Trust announced the historic new agreement at a special dedication ceremony at IRRI's Genetic Resources Center, which houses more than 100,000 samples of rice, the biggest and most important such collection in the world.

The funding agreement is expected to help conserve and manage forever the extraordinary diversity of arguably the world's most important crop. Today, about three billion people depend on rice for their survival, with the thousands of varieties carefully stored at IRRI providing the last line of defense between them and possible famine, especially in times of war, natural disasters, and attacks from pests and diseases.

The agreement offers for the first time in the history of modern agricultural research stable and long-term support to an unrivaled collection of genetic diversity that is estimated to include at least 80,000 distinct rice varieties. The collection is considered the Institute's "crown jewels" and is kept in a special earthquake-proof and fireproof facility that must be maintained at temperatures as low as --19 degrees Celsius.

At a special ceremony on the same day, the Institute also dedicated the Genetic Resources Center (GRC) to Dr. Te-Tzu Chang, the founder of the International Rice Germplasm Center -- one of the predecessors of the GRC. Dr. Chang, who passed away last year in Taiwan, China, was a world authority on rice genetics and conservation and spent 30 years at IRRI collecting and storing rice varieties from all over Asia and the world. From now on, the GRC will be known as the T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Center.

"With almost half the world's population depending on rice, we wanted to make sure IRRI's genebank was insulated from the whims of fluctuating funding," said Cary Fowler, the Trust's executive secretary. "The agreement goes to the core of the Trust's mission, which is to guarantee the conservation of the world's crop diversity, and it's hard to imagine a more important crop for sustaining humanity than rice."

This agreement, the first major conservation grant made by the Trust, is structured to reflect the long-term vision of both organizations. "Short-term thinking about funding has wreaked havoc with effective conservation," continued Dr. Fowler. "This agreement is probably unique among funding contracts in having no end date. I am pleased that our first long-term grant protects the crop which feeds the most people, for the longest term imaginable -- forever."

Under the agreement, IRRI has pledged to designate a portion of its financial assets to generate $400,000 in annual income that will be invested in the genebank, which will unlock $200,000 from the Trust each year. The agreement allows for inflationary increases and will remain in force "indefinitely." The money will go toward, among other things, acquiring any rice varieties not currently in the repository and making sure the storage systems for long-term conservation are up to international standards.

"The rice genebank is not just a scientific exercise in seed genetics but a major hedge against disaster that ensures farmers throughout the world will always have the rice varieties they need to maintain food security," said Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, IRRI's director general.

For example, after the Asian tsunami (December 26, 2004), IRRI was able to reach into its collection and provide farmers in areas that had been under seawater with varieties of rice capable of growing in salty soils. In addition, several countries, including Cambodia, East Timor, India, Nepal, and the Philippines, have turned to the IRRI genebank to restore native varieties of rice that, for a variety of reasons, had disappeared from domestic production.

Last year, IRRI introduced a new variety of rice able to withstand being completely submerged in a flood. And, this variety is playing a central role in an initiative of IRRI's umbrella organization, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), to develop crops that will allow farmers to deal with the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

In each case, the genebank played an essential role, helping to provide the genetic diversity needed to develop such varieties.

According to Dr. Zeigler, the grant breaks new ground in the funding of arguably the most important resource in the world: "Rice diversity, like all crop diversity, is at risk for the want of relatively small amounts of money. Given that we are talking about the biological base upon which the global food supply is built, it is extraordinary that the current situation is so precarious. The economics speak for themselves."

According to Dr. Fowler, an independent study estimated that adding just an additional 1,000 rice samples to IRRI's genebank would generate an annual stream of benefits to poor farmers of $325 million. Amazingly, these annual benefits would be more than the entire one-off costs of permanently endowing all the diversity of all the most important crops forever.

Dr. Zeigler emphasized the challenge of funding such work by saying it took IRRI decades to build up the cash reserves necessary to match the funds from the Trust. "The Institute is doing this using its own resources; there are no other donors involved apart from the Trust," he explained. "It's also vital that people understand the problem does not end here. This funding is incredibly important, but more is still needed."

Citing just two examples, he said funding was still needed to determine exactly how many distinct rice varieties there were, and to further study the characteristics of different rice varieties in the constant search for insect and disease resistance.

The work by the Trust to safeguard the future of rice cultivation is also only one element of its broader work to secure the full genetic diversity of all the world's important food crops. In addition, as part of a safe global system, the Trust is also supporting the "fail-safe" seed vault in the Arctic -- known as the Svalbard International Seed Vault, or the Doomsday Vault - that will eventually contain every known crop variety.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by International Rice Research Institute.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA International Rice Research Institute (2007, March 21). Protecting Rice: The Planet's Most Important Food Source. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



 http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/03/070319175803.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2009, 03:11:41 pm »











                                              New Knowledge Improves Rice Quality






ScienceDaily
(May 8, 2007)

— A major international initiative is being launched to try to boost the income of the world's millions of poor rice farmers and at the same time provide consumers with more nutritious, better tasting food.

New scientific knowledge is allowing rice researchers to develop better quality rice varieties that could fetch a higher price from consumers, especially increasingly affluent rice consumers in Asia.

The main aim of the new International Network for Quality Rice is to help rice breeders around the world develop varieties with improved quality traits such as better taste, aroma, and cooking characteristics as well as higher levels of nutrition. Once provided to farmers, the new varieties are expected to command a higher price among consumers, especially those in Asia, who, as they become increasingly affluent, are seeking -- and paying for -- better quality food.

"Much of this research would not have been possible ten years ago because we simply did not have the knowledge or the understanding of quality that we do now," Robert S. Zeigler, the director general of the Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute, said. "It really is a very exciting time to be involved in such research, especially because we can take the new scientific knowledge generated by activities such as the recent sequencing of the rice genome, and use it to improve the lives of the poor by providing either better quality food or increased income."

"It's very clear from the great response we got to the workshop that rice quality is becoming a very hot topic in rice research almost everywhere," the convener and head of IRRI's Grain Quality, Nutrition, and Postharvest Center, Melissa Fitzgerald, said. "Many of the issues we discussed may not have even been considered a few years ago, but, with the recent advances in molecular biology and exciting new areas such as metabolomics (the whole-genome assessment of metabolites), we can do things now that we could only dream about before."

During the workshop, the latest research was presented in several new areas, including:

•Breeding for better quality and genetically mapping specific quality traits in rice such as taste and aroma.
•The cooking and eating qualities of rice and how to measure sensory qualities more accurately.
•The role of important substances such as starch and amylose in cooking rice and how they are measured.
"IRRI is very fortunate to have a strong foundation of previous rice quality research to build on," Dr. Fitzgerald said. "We needed that to ensure we made the right decisions as we move into a whole new era of rice quality research."

For many years, rice breeders have focused on developing varieties that would boost production and provide some insect and weed resistance to help farmers reduce their use of pesticides; quality was not a high priority. However, major new advances in rice research and Asia's continuing economic development have created important new opportunities.

"These are the two key changes driving the whole process and making this research area so exciting," Dr. Zeigler said. "If we can link these two things together -- our new and improved knowledge and understanding of rice quality with affluent-consumer desires for better rice -- then it's possible we can also help poor farmers improve their lives.

"This would be an outstanding example of using the latest in science to improve the lives of the poor, while satisfying the desires of the affluent," he added.


The quality rice network -- which was formed electronically in 2006 -- met for the first time last month during a three-day workshop entitled "Clearing Old Hurdles with New Science: Improving Rice Grain Quality" at IRRI. The event attracted 71 cereal chemists and other experts from more than 20 nations.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by International Rice Research Institute.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA International Rice Research Institute (2007, May . New Knowledge Improves Rice Quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/05/070507100323.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2009, 03:12:59 pm »











                                            New High Protein Rice Strain Developed






ScienceDaily
(Jan. 15, 2008)

— Scientists in the United States and India are reporting development of a high-protein variety of rice, dietary staple for half the world's population.

Researchers have been trying to bolster the protein in rice for five decades. Rice already is a main source of calories as well as protein intake for billions of people, and its enrichment of protein would have a positive impact on millions of poor and malnourished people in developing countries, the report says.

In the study, Hari B. Krishnan and colleagues created a hybrid by crossing a commonly cultivated rice species called Oryza sativa with a wild species, Oryza nivara. The product showed a protein content of 12.4 percent, which is 18 percent and 28 percent higher than those of the parents.

The results demonstrate the potential for wild rice's relatives for boosting the protein content in rice. The researchers conclude that the hybrid could serve as initial breeding material for new rice genotypes that could combine types with superior cooking quality with those of high protein content.

The study "Interspecific Rice Hybrid of Oryza sativa × Oryza nivara Reveals a Significant Increase in Seed Protein Content" is scheduled for the Jan. 23 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by American Chemical Society.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA American Chemical Society (2008, January 15). New High Protein Rice Strain Developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/01/080114095753.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2009, 03:15:28 pm »











                                Bacterial Rice Diseases Examined For Genetic Solutions






ScienceDaily
(Apr. 1, 2009)

— As a major food source for much of the world, rice is one of the most important plants on earth. Keeping it safe from disease has become, in part, the task of a group of three researchers from Iowa State University and one from Kansas State University.

The researchers are looking at two bacterial diseases of rice. The most costly is bacterial blight of rice, which is caused by a bacterium called Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzae, and can diminish yield by up to 50 percent.

"This is the most important bacterial disease in rice, and in some areas, it is the most important rice disease of any kind," said Adam Bogdanove, an associate professor of plant pathology who is part of the ISU research team.

The team is also studying bacterial leaf streak of rice caused by the closely related bacterium Xanthomonas oryzae pathovar oryzicola. Bacterial leaf streak is usually not as damaging as bacterial blight, but it is increasing in importance in many areas of the world, particularly Southeast Asia.

These bacteria damage rice by entering the plant and taking control of certain rice cell processes, eventually killing the rice cells. Pathovar oryzae does this in the vascular system of the plant, which typically allows the bacterium to spread faster and cause more damage than is its cousin, oryzicola, which is limited to growth in the tissue between the veins.

Some types of rice are naturally resistant to the Xanthomonas bacteria. Bogdanove and other researchers -- Bing Yang, Iowa State assistant professor of genetics development and cell biology; Dan Nettleton, Iowa State professor of statistics; and Frank White, principal investigator and professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University, Manhattan -- are researching why some types of rice are naturally resistant to the bacteria.

In rice varieties that are resistant to the diseases, the team is exposing the plants to the two bacteria. They then check to see which plant genes are activated, and to what extent.

By identifying which genes are turned on, Bogdanove believes the team can identify the genes that are making the plants resistant.

"We are looking at genes of successful plants," he said. "What genes are active and when and how much they are being turned on."

Bogdanove hopes that this effort will aid in breeding the resistance into cultivated varieties that are currently susceptible to the diseases.

Another aspect of the research is aimed at discovering how the bacteria change gene expression in susceptible rice plants.

"If we understand which genes are being manipulated by the pathogens in disease, we can look into different varieties and wild relatives of rice for variants of these genes that are immune to manipulation and bring these genes into cultivated varieties," said Bogdanove. "The idea is to reduce or eliminate susceptibility altogether."

Rice is the major food staple for more than half the world's population. In the United States, rice is planted on almost 3 million acres with yields of around 7,000 pounds per acre in 2007, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

American producers grow 95 percent of the rice eaten in this country and the United States is a major exporter as well, according to Bogdanove.

In addition to the benefits to rice, the research should be helpful in understanding and controlling diseases in other cereal crops.

"Rice is a model plant for cereal biology," said Bogdanove.

Funding for the project comes from the National Science Foundation through Kansas State University, the lead institution on the project. Of the $3 million award for the project, $2 million is going to Iowa State.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adapted from materials provided by Iowa State University.
Email or share this story:| More Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA

 MLA Iowa State University (2009, April 1). Bacterial Rice Diseases Examined For Genetic Solutions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 18, 2009, from



http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/04/090401164047.htm
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2009, 03:18:07 pm »











                                Fertilizer industry finds its alternative energy: corncobs






Renee Schoof,
Mcclatchy Newspapers
– Mon Jun 15, 2009
WASHINGTON

— American agriculture has become increasingly dependent on foreign sources of natural gas, a key ingredient in the nitrogen fertilizer that farmers use to get high yields of crops such as corn and wheat.

Now, a California start-up company is preparing to open a plant that will make fertilizer in the U.S. and reduce fossil fuel emissions from agriculture.

Nothing exotic needed, said the company, SynGest of San Francisco . The raw ingredient for the same ammonia-based fertilizer farmers have used for decades is something many already have and don't really need — corncobs.

This kind of innovation is the upside of energy price increases, said Jack Oswald , the chief executive
of SynGest.

"When energy prices were very, very low, you couldn't compete," he said. But natural gas prices have increased over recent years, driving many U.S. fertilizer companies to close their doors because natural gas prices overseas were lower. Today more than half the country's nitrogen fertilizer is imported, and about 20 percent of the imports are from Russia .

Natural gas is used to make ammonia, the basic component for nitrogen fertilizer. Prices for natural gas rose dramatically in the U.S. over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture . Because natural gas is cheaper in other countries, the U.S. has increasingly turned to foreign supplies for ammonia since 1990.

"We don't relish being in Ukraine's shoes," Oswald said, referring to Russia's embargo on natural gas supplies to its neighbor during the winter.

The cost of natural gas now accounts for up to 90 percent of the cost of making nitrogen fertilizer, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office . Last year, when natural gas prices rose, so did the cost of fertilizer, one of farmers' biggest expenses.

SynGest says its plan to build small plants in the Midwest to make fertilizer from corncobs would eliminate the price volatility farmers have had to put up with and help ensure that U.S. farmers won't face a shortage.

"If energy supplies in general become tight we can always turn down the thermostat and we can always carpool," Oswald said. "But when nitrogen fertilizer is missing or reduced in farming, crop production drops by a measurable amount. That directly affects the amount of food available, which
is not replaceable. You can't just hitch a meal the way you can hitch a ride."

Dennis Harding , a former farmer who directs new business development for the Iowa Farm Bureau ,
said one of the most attractive parts of the SynGest plan is that it would set a more stable price for fertilizer.

"Over the last couple years grain prices went up but inputs went up as well because of changes in energy costs, and we had a lot of volatility," Harding said. "Sometimes volatility is the hardest thing
to manage."

SynGest says its system for making fertilizer also reduces the heat-trapping gases stored in the atmosphere. Corncobs are from plants that consumed carbon dioxide as they grew, and the gasification process needed to make the ammonia leaves behind a black residue, called biochar, that can be added back to the fields to improve the soil. Biochar also stores carbon dioxide.

SynGest's plan is to collect cobs from an area about 30 miles around its first plant in Menlo, Iowa , and make fertilizer for a local market starting in 2011. Eventually, it sees plants scattered throughout corn country.

Oswald said that the price of natural gas now is at the lower end of his company's break-even point. However, the Energy Information Agency forecasts that natural gas prices will rise. "As it goes up, the production cost of ammonia goes up using natural gas, but in our case it doesn't," because the price of corncobs would remain stable, Oswald said.

"The good news for us is that because natural gas power plants are much easier to build and cleaner in general than anything else, they're going to drive demand and keep prices up," he said.

Oswald said he had the financing almost worked out, helped in part by the company's ability to lock in low costs for its feedstock. Farmers would also benefit, he said.

"These guys are going to pay more for my product than they did five or 10 years ago for natural-gas-based product, but it's not likely they'll ever get that price again," Oswald said. "But locking in a price guarantees they'll never pay the extraordinarily high prices they've been paying and could pay again."

SynGest estimates each plant will cost $80 million to build, creating 500 construction jobs and then 200 permanent jobs, and that $7 million in revenue will flow back into the local economy from the purchase of the cobs.

High natural gas prices, like last year's, would make the SynGest process profitable, but currently natural gas is relatively low and likely to be the cheapest raw material to produce nitrogen, said Wen-yuan Huang of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service

However, Huang also has written in a recent report for USDA that the long run supply outlook is that population increases and a return of growth will drive up demand for fertilizer, and an expected rise in fossil fuel prices will increase the cost for nitrogen fertilizer from natural gas.



ON THE WEB

Energy Information Administration weekly update on natural gas
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2009, 08:29:08 am »










                                                'Trees of life' are vital food source 







BBC NEWS
Miranda Spitteler 
Aug. 1, 2009

The "famine food" of trees can keep drought-hit communities alive when all other food crops fail, says Miranda Spitteler. In this week's Green Room, she argues that policy makers need to recognise the important role trees play in providing emergency food aid.


 
 Communities living in countries most affected by food shortages have long known about the key role that trees can play in reducing the need for conventional aid
 
Food insecurity is a defining characteristic of life for many of the world's poorest people, exacerbated now by climate change and the rise in food prices.

Emergency food aid has been the staple of international responses to crises, such as drought and famine for decades.

However, it is much better that the emergency is addressed before it happens.

Farmer Arzouma Thiombiano from eastern Burkina Faso recalls how trees saved lives in the mid 1980s.

"Over 20 years ago, a big famine came but people escaped starvation by eating baobabs leaves and fruit," he says.

Communities living in countries most affected by food shortages have long known about the key role that trees can play in reducing the need for conventional aid.

Recognition of this by the West, and practical support for a localised tree-based solution is urgently needed. 
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Bianca
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 41646



« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2009, 08:31:40 am »











Food for through

Widespread droughts across Africa have devastated crops this year. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 30 countries around the world are in crisis and require help from overseas.

 
Fruits, leaves, wood and bark provide the vital resources for rural life

Trees: More than just carbon sinks


 
The effects of climate change are making droughts more of a norm than an exception. This is a pattern that places some of the most vulnerable communities in an increasingly precarious position when it comes to meeting basic food needs.

In Burkina Faso in West Africa, malnutrition affects nearly 40% of the rural poor. Climate change is further impacting on already fragile agricultural lands, and high food costs are affecting people's health.

By the time shortages and hunger in countries like Burkina Faso reach "emergency" levels and warrant aid; families, communities, agricultural practices and lands will have suffered greatly.

The G8 summit held in Italy at the beginning of July pledged $20 billion to support indigenous food production to alleviate the need for such emergency food aid.

What is missing from this pledge is any mention of the key role that trees can play.

"Conventional" crops are often not native and require expensive inputs, significant irrigation and land preparation in order to produce a successful harvest.

 
Food from trees can provide vital nutrition when other food crops fail 
This means that they are more vulnerable to droughts. For smallholder farmers in Africa's drylands, a failed harvest can mean months of malnutrition and hardship.

Trees, on the other hand, often survive when other crops fail. Commonly seen by the West as "famine foods", tree foods already form a significant part of daily diets across rural Africa.

Trees provide fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, sepals, even sap, which can all be used as food.

Take Moringa oleifera - its leaves have more beta-carotene than carrots, more protein than peas, more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas and more iron than spinach.

Data shows that nursing mothers produce more milk when they add Moringa leaves to their diet.

The leaves can be dried and eaten during the hungry period, and animal fodder from trees is also vital in producing milk and meat.

This existing localised "emergency relief", is what the G8 funding must seek to strengthen. 
Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
Pages: 1 [2] 3   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy