Eating Insects is Good for You –– And the Planet!

July 1, 2019 Guest Authors 0

To meet the considerable challenge of ensuring food security for the future, it is imperative to find alternative and sustainable sources of protein, both for direct human consumption and for animal feed. Insect-derived proteins are one possible solution. Insects, especially fly larvae, have many qualities that make them well adapted to animal feed.

Organic Farming with Gene Editing: An oxymoron or a tool for sustainable agriculture?

June 7, 2019 Guest Authors 0

“I see circumstances under which it could be useful for short-cutting a process that for traditional breeding might take many plant generations,” says Tom Willey, an organic farmer emeritus from California. The disruption of natural ecosystems is a major challenge to agriculture, Willey told me, and while the problem cannot be wholly addressed by genome editing, it could lend an opportunity to “reach back into genomes of the wild ancestors of crop species to recapture genetic material” that has been lost through millennia of breeding for high yields.

Silence on Two Neonicotinoid Reports

May 18, 2018 Guest Authors 0

The EU and member states are moving to ban neonicotinoid insecticides. But two recently released reports on the issue conclude that a ban would push farmers back to using pest control options that are worse for the environment and possibly for bees as well.

Can We Improve Carbon Sequestration in Plants?

May 7, 2018 Guest Authors 0

And here …The planet’s plants pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it in their leaves, stems and roots. Some of that carbon makes its way into the soil, and some of that soil carbon is ultimately mothballed for millennia.

These days, though, “we as humans are putting up so much CO2 that the Earth is not able to compensate,” says Wolfgang Busch, a plant biologist with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. Busch is working on a new project: to design plants that can suck even more CO2 out of the atmosphere and lock it away for centuries.

A U.S. Farm Bill Even a Butterfly Could Love?

May 2, 2018 Guest Authors 0

Before there was a general understanding of the benefits of native vegetation and the risks of invasive plants — introduced species that outcompete other species, spread quickly and alter ecosystems — USDA had a hand in introducing foreign plants that proved aggressive. Long ago, the agency promoted kudzu for erosion control. Now it works to control invasive species and does not provide assistance for planting them. It also actively promotes the use of native species through some programs.

Years of Eavesdropping on Insect Sex Talk is Starting to Pay Off for Grape Growers

April 18, 2018 Guest Authors 0

Vineyards across the U.S. and Italy are being devastated by incurable diseases caused by bacteria hitching a ride on leafhoppers — a diverse group of plant-piercing insects closely related to cicadas. Now, thanks to some innovative research, scientists are using a technique called vibrational mating disruption to interrupt male-leafhopper courtship songs, preventing them from finding mates and slowing population growth.