Latest articles

Fuel cell insight gets powered up

Understanding how plant cells make cellulose could be the key to biofuel’s future

Scientists from Penn State University say they’ve gained valuable insight into how plants make cellulose — information that could help figure out how to break it apart to make ethanol. The researchers said, in a paper published online by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that they have identified the major steps […] Read more

Running on empty

AAFC researchers are tackling methane emissions from cattle

Reducing methane emissions from beef and dairy cattle has become a global priority and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researchers are leading the way. They’ve teamed up with counterparts in Australia for a comprehensive three-year study into what feeding practices can keep herds profitable while minimizing emissions. “We need to know how feed affects methane production, […] Read more

Canary seed sees human opportunities

From food to cosmetics, approval for human use is important for this crop

Canary seed isn’t just for the birds anymore. It was approved for human consumption by Health Canada in 2016 and while few are feasting on it yet, it represents a market opportunity for Canadian growers, who produce 65 per cent of global canary seed. Elsayed Abdelaal, of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)’s Guelph Research and […] Read more

Backyard chicken flocks need better management

Study finds this hip trend is raising troubling human and animal health questions

It used to be that keeping backyard chickens was a sign of economic hardship. These days however, it’s become an urban hobby and many proponents say they think it will be safer, fresher and more nutritious. A new study from the University of California-Davis is calling that view into question. It suggests local ordinances aren’t […] Read more

Cellulosic biofuels best bet for climate concerns

They’re lower impact than other options and can even sequester carbon rather than produce it

A new study from Colorado State University is breathing new life into the concept of biofuels produced from switchgrass instead of grain crops. The team says the non-edible native grass which grows in many locations throughout North America could be a better alternative than corn and other cereal and oilseed crops when it comes to […] Read more

Winning the race against rust

The latest technology has scientists poised for a breakthrough on this tough crop disease

With its ever-evolving virulence, rust is a disease of major global concern for farmers. Now a group of scientists says cutting-edge genome sequencing technology could provide a better path forward than the traditional approaches using fungicides. The scientists, from U.S. and Australian government agencies and universities, recently released the results in mBio, a journal from […] Read more

Not all cover crops are equal

They all have similar benefits, but how and when they deliver them varies

What’s the best time to plant a cover crop to capture and supply nutrients for the cash crop you’ll be taking to harvest? A group of U.S. researchers are trying to answer that question and they’re finding different cover crops provide different things at different times. “It’s like trying to time a meal to come […] Read more

Soils make smog too

California researchers say as much as 40 per cent of nitrogen oxides come from fertilizers

Internal combustion engines are typically blamed for smog in urban centres but researchers in California say fertilized fields need to be added to that list. The scientists, from University of California-Davis, say they’ve found about 40 per cent of the nitrogen oxide emissions in the Golden State is coming from fertilized soils in the agriculture-rich […] Read more

Not all omega-3s are created equal

It turns out the source of these healthy fatty acids is important

Fish or flax? That’s the question researchers from the University of Guelph have been trying to answer when looking at the cancer-prevention qualities of various sources of omega-3 fatty acids. David Ma, a professor in the university’s department of human health and nutritional sciences, says so far fish is coming out on top. His work […] Read more

Scientists want to understand behaviour of invasive weeds

Why are certain plants able to enter a new ecosystem and run riot?

Is it possible to predict which non-native plant species will become invasive weeds and when? According to research featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management, the answer is “hopefully yes.” Researchers say invasive species generally follow a three-phase development curve — from lag to expansion to plateau. The length and rapidity of the […] Read more