Cultural cross-fertilisation to rescue soils

As more food than ever is being grown, it is important to find ways to promote and maintain soil quality.

Sharing best practice farming techniques with farmers from different cultures and traditions could help increase the quality of our soils – a vital step in ensuring that we can grow enough food for people in the coming decades. At Wageningen University in the Netherlands, scientists are coding an app that will allow farmers in countries … Read more

Simple blood test could reveal epilepsy risk

It is difficult for doctors to diagnose epilepsy as they usually do not observe the symptoms in a patient, but a blood test could overcome this challenge.

A finger-prick blood test to diagnose epilepsy could be available within five years, according to scientists who are using tell-tale molecules called biomarkers to overcome current diagnostic problems and guide treatment. More than 50 million people are affected by epilepsy worldwide. However, diagnosing the disease remains challenging and treatments are often unsuccessful: only 70% of patients taking … Read more

Personalised nutrition to serve up a healthy life with a side of living longer

A tool that accurately assesses someone's dietary intake will allow scientists to deliver highly personalised advice.

A new tool that uses molecular clues to determine what someone has eaten and a better understanding of how genes affect the way we break down food could pave the way for personalised dietary advice that not only helps people avoid diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, but could also lengthen life. Six … Read more

Oil-loving microbes could gobble up slicks and spills

The lingering oil slick from DeepWater Horizon was imaged off the Mississippi Delta on May 24, 2010.

Spills of crude oil that devastate huge areas of the oceanic environment could be cleaned up by naturally occurring microorganisms. It’s one application of new research into how bacteria break down oil, which could also help oil companies assess the quality of new reserves. In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill released around 5 million … Read more

Sea anemone sting cells could inspire new drug-delivery systems

A group of creatures known as cnidarians, which includes sea anemones, are the only animals that inject venom via sting cells.

A multi-stage genetic process for the formation of sting cells in sea anemones could inspire a new way of delivering drugs into the human body. It’s part of a field of work that looks at how venom and the way it’s produced in animals could be used to create life-saving treatments for humans. Dr Kartik … Read more

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