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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

Climate taxes could fuel food insecurity

The impact could easily outstrip the effects of a changing climate itself

One of the reasons climate mitigation systems like carbon taxes are touted is the growing risk of food insecurity in a changing climate. But new research suggests the policies themselves, if they’re not carefully designed, could fuel even more widespread hunger and food insecurity than the direct impacts of climate change. Those are the findings […] Read more

Omega-3 supplements not so heart healthy?

But they might make the kids behave better

There’s good news and bad news from two recent university studies on the benefits of consuming omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid found in oily fish such as salmon, or in plant sources such as flaxseed or canola oil. Its consumption has been widely recommended as a means of preventing heart disease. The bad […] Read more

Neutralizing weeds’ defence system

Researchers identify a new mechanism to battle herbicide resistance

Plants and unseen soil micro-organisms all need precious space to grow. And to gain that space, a microbe might produce and use chemicals that kill its plant competitors. But the microbe also needs immunity from its own poisons. By looking for that protective shield in micro-organisms, specifically the genes that can make it, a team […] Read more

Swapping crops

Growing crops other than rice could save water and improve nutrition

Researchers say the best choice for some developing countries may be to rethink the types of crops they’re growing. A paper by researchers at Columbia University, published recently in the journal Science Advances, examined the situation in India and found plenty of challenges based on its widespread cultivation of rice. It’s a water-hungry plant that’s […] Read more