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

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

Online observatory aims to combat energy poverty

The Disease Cold Winter Blanket Frost Hands

If you have ever run up arrears on your bills or shivered without turning on the heat at home during winter because you are concerned about the cost, then you may be experiencing energy poverty. Household energy poverty has been described as a lack of adequate energy services for warmth, cooling, lighting and to power … Read more

Arsenic and permafrost microbes help hunt for life on Mars

Bacteria survive in the harsh conditions of the Andean lakes of Argentina among high concentrations of arsenic.

Studying environments that are similar to Mars, and their microbial ecosystems, could help prepare biologists to identify traces of life in outer space. In some of the most remote areas of our planet, scientists are examining how life can persist in the form of tiny microbes that inhabit a niche that would be fatal to … Read more

Marine scientists steer trawlers away from sensitive sea floors

Newly developed trawling gear can lower the impact of fishing on the sea floor.

Bottom trawling, where fishing boats drag a heavy net along the seafloor, can devastate marine habitats and cause fish stocks to plummet, but scientists have developed new eco-friendly techniques to support the sustainability of an industry employing tens of thousands of people. Bottom (benthic) trawling indiscriminately catches bottom-feeder fish and seafood like plaice, cod, shrimp, … Read more

Eco espresso and upcycled inks set to make coffee greener

Recycling old coffee waste can help create environmentally friendly inks.

An environmentally friendly coffee machine and a way to turn used coffee grounds into a new type of ink are helping to increase the green credentials of one of the most popular beverages in the world. Globally, more than 2 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. At a rate of around 2.64 cups per … Read more