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Scientific News
Scientific News Agriculture

  Research suggests parts of UK could be too hot for wine making by 2080
Increasing summer temperatures could mean some parts of southern England are too hot to grow vines for making wine by 2080, according to a new book launched today (26 May 2008).

  DON’T LET GRASS GROW UNDER YOUR FEET -- BURN IT AS ECONOMICAL, ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY BIOFUEL, CORNELL EXPERT URGES
Grow grass, not for fun but for fuel. Burning grass for energy has been a well-accepted technology in Europe for decades. But not in the United States. Yet burning grass pellets as a biofuel is economical, energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable, says a Cornell University forage crop expert.

  CROP MANAGEMENT GETS VITAL ROLE IN TRANSGENIC DEBATE
Crops that are genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides could make weeds easier to manage without destroying valuable biodiversity. So says the first trial to compare transgenic and conventional crops farmed in rotation.

  CLONED COWS GET SANE FUTURE
Researchers in the United States and Japan claim to have created cow embryos that cannot produce the protein responsible for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Without it, the animals should be immune to mad cow disease.

  GENETIC BARRIER TO SELF-POLLINATION IDENTIFIED
Many flowering plants prevent inbreeding and increase genetic diversity by a process called self-incompatibility, in which pollination fails to set seed if the pollen is identified as its own by the pistil. A research team, led by Teh-hui Kao, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State, has announced, in a paper published in the May 20 issue of Nature, the discovery of a gene of petunias that controls pollen function in self-incompatibility.

  WHAT CAN THE GENOMICS REVOLUTION TEACH US ABOUT GLOBAL CHANGE?
While the scientific community has made tremendous investments in sequencing and interpreting animal and plant genes for biomedical applications, many researchers are looking at genomics to help solve problems in agriculture, such as impacts of global change.

  GOOD SUMMER NEWS - LESS FATTENING WATERMELON
A less fattening but no-less sweet variety of watermelon has been developed by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem agricultural scientist.

  GM VICTIM OF ’MYTHS AND LIES’: EXPERT
Myths and lies spread by the green movement about the consequences of genetic modification (GM) are preventing the use of new crops that could alleviate third-world famine, an international conference has been told in Melbourne.

  PURDUE GENETIC DISCOVERY MAY AID PLANTS AND HUMAN MEDICINE
Many aspects of plant growth and development are dependent on the basipetally-biased flow of the hormone auxin, as evidenced by the effects of mutations and pharmacological agents that impair it. Rectification of auxin transport in stems is believed to result from the basal localization within cells of the PIN1 membrane protein, which conducts efflux of the auxin anion. Recently, mutations in two multidrug resistance-like genes were shown to block polar auxin transport in the hypocotyls of Arabidopsis seedlings, indicating that MDR-type (p-glycoprotein) ABC transporters function in the PIN1-dependent polar auxin transport process. Here we show that the mdr mutants display faster and greater gravitropism and enhanced phototropism instead of the impaired curvature development expected in mutants lacking polar auxin transport. The impaired auxin transport and tropism phenotypes are explained by the finding that the mdr mutations disrupt the special accumulation of PIN1 protein along the basal end of hypocotyl cells. Consequently, lateral auxin conductance becomes a larger proportion of the whole; loss of basipetal bias in auxin flow and greater growth differentials across the hypocotyl result.

  STUNG BY SUCCESS: INTENSIVE FARMING MAY SUPPRESS POLLINATING BEES
Intensive, industrial-scale farming may be damaging one of the very natural resources that successful crops require: pollinating bees. A study by Princeton scientists found that native bee populations decline dramatically as agricultural intensity goes up.

  AFRICAN BEETLE THREATENS AUSTRALIAN BEES
A small African beetle with the potential to cripple the honey industry has been identified in Australia, scientists announced this week.

  ONIONS WITHOUT TEARS?
Tear-free GM onions that still taste like onions may be possible following the discovery by Japanese researchers that the chemical in onions that makes you cry is not related to flavour.

  SCIENTISTS USE ALFALFA PLANTS TO HARVEST NANOPARTICLES OF GOLD
Ordinary alfalfa plants are being used as miniature gold factories that one day could provide the nanotechnology industry with a continuous harvest of gold nanoparticles.

  THE CONTRACEPTIVE PLAGUE
After more than a decade of trying, Australian researchers have created a highly infectious virus that could wipe out the country’s rabbit pests by making them sterile.

  GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS MAY PASS HELPFUL TRAITS TO WEEDS, STUDY FINDS.
For the first time, researchers have shown that a gene artificially inserted into crop plants to fend off pests can migrate to weeds in a natural environment and make the weeds stronger.

  COWS IN NAPPIES
Most cows would rather go hungry than eat pasture contaminated with dung, an Australian researcher has found - but he had to put the cows in nappies to find out.

  INSECT PEST OF POTATOES TECIA SOLANIVORA HITS CROPS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CANARY ISLANDS
International Symposium on Guatemalan moth in Quito, Ecuador Lepidopteran Tecia solanivora, an insect pest, is currently devastating potato crops in Latin and Central America. Equador is particularly badly hit.

  SOWING WHATEVER THE WEATHER
Good news for farmers. A special coating means seeds can be sown early in the season without fear that a cold spell will damage them. That should extend sowing seasons and increase yields.

  POORER FARMERS BENEFIT MOST FROM ORGANIC PRACTICES
Farmers in developing countries are reaping the benefits of adopting Ďgreení agricultural practices far more than their western counterparts, suggests a report published today, Thursday 14 February.

  INSECT BITES ON PLANTS REDUCE PHOTOSYNTHESIS, IMAGING DEVICE SHOWS
When insects feed on plants, they get nourishment and the plant gets damaged. The amount of damage has taken on new light, thanks to a new photosynthesis-measuring device that illuminates and photographs never-before-seen injury extending far beyond an insectís bite.

  EXPOSING INSECTS’ SENSE OF SMELL
A key step in insects’ sense of smell has been uncovered by researchers in Switzerland, the United States and Japan. The discovery could lead to insecticides that stop insects from communicating through chemical signals.

  LAMBS’ SEX CHOSEN BEFORE CONCEPTION
Researchers from the University of Sydney and US biotech firm XY Inc have successfully selected the sex of 24 out of 25 lambs before conception. An Australian first, the breakthrough is expected to benefit sheep breeders, who can potentially use the technology to select either females for breeding, or stud rams.

  OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD
In its new publication, the Senate commission deals with issues concerning the objectives, application and legal framework of green genetic engineering. It comments on conceivable risks resulting from the cultivation and consumption of genetically modified plants or food and refers to safety precautions to protect the consumer. The statement focuses on food from transgenic plants. Animal food is to be dealt with at a later point in a separate publication.

  TOO MUCH SOY COULD LEAD TO KIDNEY STONES
New research indicates that soybeans and soy-based foods, a staple in the diets of many health-conscious consumers, may promote kidney stones in those prone to the painful condition. The finding will be published in the September issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the worldís largest scientific society.

  SYNTHETIC ANTIFREEZE COULD PREVENT ICE GROWTH
A fish swimming in icy polar waters is helping scientists find ways to protect food from freezer burn, save fruit crops from frost, and use low temperature storage in complicated medical procedures like human organ transplants, researchers report.

  NEW PEACH VARIETY HAS STRANGE SHAPE AND SWEET TASTE
A new peach variety from University of Florida fruit breeders looks like someone took a standard peach and flattened it. But don’t let its odd, saucer-like appearance fool you -- the peach has a firm texture and the sweetest taste this side of the Georgia state line.

  CORNELL-BRED, BLIGHT-RESISTANT POTATO VARIETY - NEW YORK 121 - IS SENT TO RUSSIA FOR TESTING TO STAVE OFF POTATO CRISIS
Poland - Russia is teetering on the brink of a large-scale potato crisis ignited by the same virulent, fungal-like pathogen, Phytophthora infestans , more commonly called late blight, that was responsible for the 19th century Irish potato famine.

  UNSUNG HERO WIELDS WEAPONS OF COLD STEEL
One of the features of National Science Week each year is the award of the Unsung Hero of South Australian Science. This year’s recipient is Associate Professor Gil Hollamby from the Adelaide University’s Faculty of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

  ENGINEERS AND FARMERS UNITE TO MANUFACTURE EASY- DECOMPOSING PLASTIC PARTS FOR VEHICLES FROM AN AGRICULTURAL BIOCULTURE
Researchers from Worvick Univesity in collaboration with a group of farmers have started to grow a plant which is designed for manufacture of plastic parts for vehicles and which, having entered the ground, is decayed by microorganisms.

  GLOBAL WARMING MIGHT REDUCE A RICE CROP
Temperature change happening owing to global warming is expected to reduce a rice crop. The results obtained during the research are concerned a third of the world population who use rice as a main food product and who, thus, will suffer worst from a drop in a rice crop. Scientists of the University of Florida consider that air temperature growth will effect the lifeís cycle of the plant and the process of rice pollenation on plantations. Modest temperature rise, which some climate change scenario developers predict, could decrease rice crop by 20 to 40% in 2100. At the same time, more significant temperature growth could nullify rice crop at all.

  A POT WITH AZALEA IS BETTER TO SINK IN WATER THAN TO SHOWER
To keep azalea, a home plant, healthy, itís necessary to assure that itís roots are evenly supplied with water. Therefore, to water this plant properly, itís required to dip the plant in a container filled with water.


 

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