Latest articles

Insect entrees

Insects are going to play a more important role in the human food chain, but that might not mean direct consumption

A professor emeritus at the University of Guelph says insects might be a more sustainable source of nutrition, but just how they’ll be used is up in the air. David Waltner-Toews, an epidemiologist who taught in the U of G’s Ontario Veterinary College, studied the topic for his new book, Eat the Beetles! which will […] Read more

Soy protein concentrate a replacement in piglet diets

It’s a functional — and less expensive — alternative to 
animal protein sources

Animal nutritionists have long known that plant-based protein sources are less expensive for swine feed rations. But until recently they’ve worried over some anti-nutritional factors that can negatively affect gut health and growth performance in weanling pigs. Recent research from the University of Illinois has shown that soy protein concentrate (SPC) may be partly or […] Read more

Palmer amaranth resistance more complex

Two new mechanisms for herbicide resistance 
have been found in Palmer amaranth

Scientists are continuing to discover just what a difficult foe the weed Palmer amaranth can be. It can cause yield losses as high as 80 per cent for soybean growers and has already developed resistance to six classes of herbicide since its discovery in North America 100 years ago. It’s recently been found in North […] Read more

Grazing no compaction disaster

Nebraska researchers say grazing even at excess rates isn't a major contributor to soil compaction

It makes sense that a 1,200-pound cow would place quite a lot of pressure on the ground on which it walks. But a new study shows that even these heavy animals can’t do much to compact common soils — if they’re grazed responsibly. Those are the results of a 16-year-long study, established in 1997 by […] Read more

Plants can tell friend from foe

It’s no tall tale — this plant senses the lack of a tail on hostile RNA and attacks

University of Tokyo researchers are telling what might seem a tall tale — or should that be tail? They’ve published a study in the journal Nature Plants which says plants can tell if they’re being attacked by detecting whether or not the RNA in question has a threaded bead-like structure at the end. This ‘tail’ […] Read more

Frozen soils might be major emitter

A University of Manitoba study has discovered 
the previously overlooked emissions

A new study suggests global greenhouse emission calculations have overlooked an important aspect of the agricultural sector. Emissions, especially of the key gas nitrous oxide, may in fact be about 17 to 28 per cent greater for cultivated soils frozen in winter than currently thought. Mario Tenuta, professor in applied soil ecology at the University […] Read more

Extraterrestrial potato production studied

Researchers from Peru’s potato centres and NASA are trying to 
grow spuds in conditions that mimic Mars

In a move that mirrors the Matt Damon blockbuster “The Martian,” researchers are trying to prove potatoes can grow on Mars. The International Potato Center (CIP) recently launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions. CIP’s proof of concept experiment to grow potatoes in simulated Martian conditions began […] Read more

Planned mutations can increase crop options

The most common food crops benefited from natural mutations and modern technology could aid this process

There are more than 300,000 plant species in existence, but just three — rice, wheat and corn — account for almost all of the plant matter consumed by humans. In no small part that’s because natural mutations arose making these crops the easiest to harvest. But with gene editing technology like CRISPR, researchers suggest we […] Read more

Food demand predictions could be inaccurate

Lots of people say food demand will double by 2050 — but some researchers say the numbers don’t add up

The widely held view that food production needs to double by 2050 to feed a growing world population may be inaccurate. In a study published in the journal Bioscience, researchers from Penn State’s agriculture college have challenged that view, saying the required increase may be as high as 70 per cent — or as low […] Read more

Gluten-free diet may increase risk of toxic metal exposure

A new study finds wheat substitutes can bioaccumulate things 
like arsenic and mercury

Turns out those gluten-free eaters may be chowing down some unintended consequences. A new study from the University of Illinois has found consuming a gluten-free diet may increase exposure to arsenic and mercury — toxic metals that can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological effects, according to a report in the journal Epidemiology. Gluten-free […] Read more