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Cutting the cost of ethanol

Researchers devise a way to reduce the amount of enzymes needed to convert biomass into biofuels

Biofuels like ethanol could get cheaper if new research from Rutgers and Michigan State universities holds up. Scientists there have demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to cornstalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published in the journal ACS Sustainable […] Read more

Keeping kochia in check

New research indicates the importance of early-season control of herbicide-resistant kochia

Herbicide-resistant kochia is a big problem in the U.S. Great Plains states, and has appeared in limited numbers in Manitoba over the past few years. Now researchers, writing in the latest edition of the journal Weed Science, are beginning to reveal more about how the weed works. Kochia typically begins to emerge in the U.S. […] Read more

Cleaning up chemicals

Atrazine is the most common weed killer found in Quebec surface water, which prompted the research

A group of Quebec researchers, at that province’s Institut National De La Recherche Scientifique, say they’ve identified an effective way to remove the pesticide atrazine from surface water. Atrazine, widely used as a weed killer, is known to have harmful effects on aquatic wildlife and presents a risk to human health by altering the action […] Read more

Rapid detection of meat fraud

Spanish researchers say a new biosensor can give test results within an hour

In recent years meat fraud has been a growing problem. Unscrupulous sellers have been caught adulturating beef with cheaper horsemeat and swapping chicken for turkey in sausages labelled 100 per cent turkey. Now researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid say they’ve developed an electrochemical biosensor that can quickly detect a DNA fragment unique to […] Read more

Soy strains

Adding commercial soybeans in developing countries 
brings unique challenges

Introducing soybeans into a developing country’s agriculture community is more complex than just putting the seeds in the ground. It also requires a major shift in thinking in relation to crop production and management, according to a University of Illinois agriculture economist. Peter Goldsmith says only with this shift in thinking will the new crop […] Read more

Researchers eye canola for drought insight

Looking at the plants’ day and night cycles is shedding light on 
how plants respond to moisture stress

Your canola crop could hold the key to understanding how plants react to drought stress. That’s according to researchers at Dartmouth University who are looking at how early drought stress affects brassica rapa. The research, recently published in the journal eLife, looks at the full day and night cycle of the plants to see how […] Read more

The key to drought-tolerant crops may be in the leaves

Leaf wax acts as the equivalent of ‘lip balm’ for plants, 
protecting them from the harmful effects of drought

A new study suggests breeding plants with a thicker layer of leaf wax is the key to greater drought tolerance and growing crops in more arid regions. Sarah Feakins, a scientist at University of Southern California who has studied leaf wax in the context of climate change, teamed up recently with researchers at Texas A&M […] Read more

Canadian sausages can be mystery meat

A recent study finds 20 per cent of sausages in 
Canadian stores are mislabelled

Using cutting-edge DNA-based technology, University of Guelph researchers have found mislabelling and cross-species contamination of meat ingredients in 20 per cent of the sausage samples selected from grocery stores across the country. “This study now provides us with a baseline that we can use when working with meat processors to help ensure we have a […] Read more

Vegetarian junk food panned

Researchers say there are plenty of plant-based unhealthy dietary choices out there

Medical researchers have long said plant-based diets are healthier — but it turns out what type of plant-based foods matter a lot. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other ‘basic’ plant foods can in fact lower the risk of heart disease, result in less obesity and other positive impacts. But a recent study published in […] Read more

Rural living good for your gut

Canadian researchers say children raised in the country 
have lower rates of inflammatory bowel disease

Living in rural households decreases a person’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly for young children and adolescents, according to a new study by researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium (CanGIEC). “Our findings show that children, […] Read more