The compound urea is currently the most popular nitrogen soil fertilizer. It's a way to get plants the nitrogen they need to grow. There's just one problem with urease: it works too well! New research suggests farmers may have a choice in how they slow the release of nitrogen, depending on their soil's acidity.
As allergy season intensifies, many people are cursing pollen -- the powdery substance released by plants for reproduction. However, pollen may serve a purpose beyond making new plants and triggering sneezes. In ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, researchers report a new method for cleaning out the insides of pollen grains so that the non-allergenic shells can be used to carry medicines or vaccines into the human body.
Sugarcane was the last major cultivated plant to have its genome sequenced. This was because of its huge complexity: the genome comprises between 10 and 12 copies of each chromosome, when the human genome has just two. It was an international team coordinated by CIRAD that achieved this milestone, as reported in Nature Communications on July 6. It will now be possible to 'modernize' the methods used to breed sugarcane varieties. This will be a real boon to the sugar and biomass industry.
A large-scale study published by researchers from Royal Holloway University of London has drawn together the findings of a decade of agrochemical research to confirm that pesticides used in crop protection have a significant negative impact on the learning and memory abilities of bees.
The American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology featured research by Carla Ng, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering, on the cover of its June 19 issue. Dr. Ng tracked the presence of a class of synthetic flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were once a popular additive to increase fire resistance in consumer products such as electronics, textiles, and plastics.
For many Americans, highly processed foods are on the menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even when the raw materials -- grains, for example -- are high in vitamins and health-promoting phenolic compounds, processing can rob the final product of these nutrients. In a set of recent studies, University of Illinois scientists reveal what happens to cancer-fighting phenolic acids in corn when it is processed into cornflakes.
If fully implemented, Brazil's Forest Code, an environmental law designed to protect the country's native vegetation and regulate land use, will not prevent growth in Brazilian agriculture, according to new IIASA-led research.
Goat domestication was a mosaic -- not a singular -- process, with capture from the wild impacting genetic diversity in different regions of the Fertile Crescent. These wild populations have left different genetic legacies in Asian, African and European populations today. Farmers were selecting specific traits in goats such as coat color and production ability as early as 8,000 years ago.
India will need to feed approximately 394 million more people by 2050. Meanwhile, many of its regions are chronically water-stressed, and nutrient deficiencies are widespread -- 30 percent of Indians or more are anemic. But a study published today in Science Advances shares a brighter outlook: replacing some rice with less thirsty crops could dramatically reduce water demand in India, while also improving nutrition.
A multidisciplinary team of experts from the University of Cincinnati determined that the sandy soils of Chaco Canyon were not too salty to grow crops such as maize, beans and squash for the more than 1,200 people who occupied this beautiful but harsh landscape during its most prolific years. The study suggests people of Chaco Canyon largely were self-sufficient.