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Pumping iron

This research project aims to boost iron in wheat varieties

Biofortified wheat could certainly make it easier to help some humans get proper nutrition. Biofortification is the process of naturally increasing the nutritional value of a crop. Unlike fortification, which might add a mineral like iron directly to something like bread dough, the goal of biofortification is to have the wheat naturally contain more iron. […] Read more


Milk protein could help cancer patients

Researchers say lactoferrin can help maintain appetite giving patients better outcomes

A major problem for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy is weight loss due to loss of appetite. There are many reasons for this, but one important one is that these types of cancer therapy destroy the delicate interplay between the senses of smell and taste that make food appealing. In a new paper published in the […] Read more



Climate change likely to boost Canadian farm production

UN report says temperate areas like Canada will actually benefit from a warming globe but others will hurt

A new United Nations’ report suggests just how climate change will reshape agriculture by 2050. It says international trade will play an ever-larger role in helping to feed people in food-deficit regions as warmer temperatures and less precipitation will damage yields in many tropical areas. Temperate areas, such as Canada and the United States, are […] Read more


Farmers prevented the ice age

If it weren’t for the methane and carbon dioxide emissions of early farmers the world would look much different

Millenia ago, ancient farmers cleared land to plant wheat and maize, potatoes and squash. They flooded fields to grow rice. They began to raise livestock. And unknowingly, they may have been fundamentally altering the climate of the Earth. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports provides new evidence that ancient farming practices led to […] Read more



All whole grains fight diabetes

New research says the most important thing is that you eat enough of them

It doesn’t matter if it’s rye, oats, or wheat. As long as it is whole grain, it can prevent Type 2 diabetes. This is the finding of a new study from Swedish researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology. The ability to use whole grains for prevention of Type 2 diabetes — previously sometimes known […] Read more


Agriculture improving environmentally

More than a third of the world’s farms have already taken steps to lower their environmental impact while staying productive

When it comes to agriculture, things are getting a little better all the time. At least so says a consortium of 17 scientists in five countries who found nearly a third of the world’s farms have adopted more environmentally friendly practices while remaining productive. The global assessment analyzed farms that use some form of “sustainable […] Read more



Smile. The goats will like you more

Goats prefer happy people, study finds

Goats can differentiate between human facial expressions and prefer to interact with happy people, according to a new study led by scientists at Queen Mary University of London. The study, which provides the first evidence of how goats read human emotional expressions, implies that the ability of animals to perceive human facial cues is not limited […] Read more


Calling all plant cells

Internal communication system aids and guides plant development, researchers say

Western Canadian researchers have discovered an internal messaging system plants use to manage the growth and division of cells. These growth-management processes are critical for all organisms, because without them, cells can proliferate out of control — as they do in cancers and bacterial infections. Researchers from the University of British Columbia, along with colleagues […] Read more



Corn that finds its own nitrogen

Researchers have known about it since the 1980s but were only recently able to analyze it

Is it possible to grow cereal crops without having to rely on energy requiring commercial fertilizers? In a new study publishing August 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, researchers describe a newly identified corn variety which acquires nitrogen by feeding its sugars to beneficial bacteria, which can in turn take up nitrogen from the […] Read more


Reach for the top

It’s not just soil microbes that set crops up for success — it’s the right ones

Beautiful things can happen when plants surround themselves with the right microbes, according to researchers at the University of California (Riverside). They looked at Acmispon strigosus, a plant in the pea family, and found a thirteenfold growth increase in plants that partnered with a highly effective strain of the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Bradyrhizobium. The ability of […] Read more