Scientists speed up the evolution of yeast to create tastier and healthier alcohol

Scientists are speeding up the natural selection process of yeasts to help develop beer and wine that is low in alcohol content. Image credit - U3144362, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Researchers across Europe have started to speed up the evolutionary process of yeast to develop new or better flavours for wine and beer. The objective is for beer and wine producers to better accommodate changing consumer tastes and trends, such as anti-GMO sentiments and demand for low-alcohol products. ‘All kinds of fermentation beverages start out … Read more

Public action and ‘fundamental social change’ needed to reverse biodiversity decline

Getting the general public to monitor local plants and animals could help paint a clearer picture of the global biodiversity crisis, but fundamental social change is needed if we are to reverse the loss of nature critical to our survival, say biodiversity experts. A million species are under threat of extinction, according to a global landmark … Read more

Mobile forests could help cities cope with climate change

Cities across Europe are trialling schemes such as roof gardens and ‘mobile forests’ to embed more nature into urban areas in an effort to protect their citizens from climate change events like heatwaves, floods and droughts. Cities are becoming harder places to live in as climate change brings higher temperatures, water scarcity and flooding that … Read more

Removing old structures from rivers could restore vital water flow

Removing older unused barriers brings environmental benefits, such as helping vital nutrients flow downstream, says Prof Garcia de Leaniz. Image credit - Zdeněk Chalupský, licensed under Pixabay licence

Rivers in Europe are so congested with concrete obstructions like weirs, bridges and other man-made barriers that they no longer flow freely, which harms the wider environment. Removing these blockages could restore these vital aquatic ecosystems to their former glory. Countless dams, bridges, weirs, and fords have sprung up over the centuries along Europe’s rivers … Read more

Sharing seeds could help farmers grow better food

A seed-sharing network would allow European farmers to manage their own seed resources rather than depend on what big agribusiness want to sell. Image credit - Pixabay/ StockSnap, licensed under pixabay license

Tapping into the genetic diversity contained within the seeds of wild relatives and forgotten crop plants could help farmers decrease their dependency on global agribusiness and grow food better suited to local conditions. Since the start of the 20th century, global demand for certain fruit and vegetables has seen farmers shift away from using local … Read more

Small farms produce more food than statistics show

Recording the true production levels of small farms could help farmers access greater support, according to researchers.

Small farms sometimes get overlooked as a feasible solution for feeding a growing population, but researchers say they should be given greater support, with some producing more food than official statistics report. While small farms can play an important role in supporting rural economies, many owners struggle to earn a decent living which can lead … Read more