Root architecture discoveries could help breed drought-resistant crops

A freesia's root architecture helps the plant store food to survive seasonal weather conditions.

We should breed new varieties of crops based on their root architecture rather than just focusing on the top half of the plant, according to scientists looking at how to cultivate plants that use water more efficiently and better withstand drought conditions. Yellow, parched fields were a common sight in Europe this summer. The severe … Read more

Chicken plastic and wine leather – giving waste new life

The production of this leather-like textile is considered to be zero impact as it is created from grape marc - a waste material from wine production.

A fashion collection made from the remains of grapes from the wine industry and plastic made from chicken feathers are two new twists on the practice of making new products from waste, and a growing demand for sustainability from consumers mean there could be a ready market for this type of innovation. Food waste isn’t just … Read more

Indoor farms could fine-tune the flavours of our food

In the future, produce could be grown directly in supermarkets or restaurants.

A new way to farm indoors using different wavelengths of light could boost the taste of fruits, salads and herbs, while also increasing food supply and nutritional value. Growing food inside brings many benefits to farmers by reducing the amount of land, fertilisers, energy and water needed to cultivate the plants. But it can come … Read more

Forensic accounting can predict future food fraud

Researchers are working on methods that are faster than laboratory tests to determine if food has been tampered with.

Food fraud, where different or low-quality food is deliberately mislabelled and sold as high-quality goods, risks the health of consumers as well as the economic viability of producers and manufacturers. To combat this, researchers have figured out that analysing the past and present behaviour of criminal activity could predict what they might target in the … Read more

Turning food waste into animal feed could take a chunk out of livestock emissions

Recycling food waste to use as animal feed and turning manure into green fertilizers can lead to lower environmental impacts from food production.

Using European plant and dairy waste as an alternative to soy-based animal feed could see a big drop in agricultural emissions and prevent deforestation. Every year around a third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, according to the United Nations. That equates to 1.3 billion tonnes of food down the drain and huge … Read more

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