Scientists have now found a way to increase vitamin D content in eggs by exposing lay hens to UV light. | File photo

UV light increases vitamin D in chicken eggs

A lack of vitamin D can lead to brittle and painful bones, muscle weakness and a variety of health risks. During summer, people are able to get about 90 percent of their daily requirements naturally through the skin by exposure to the sun. The remainder is consumed through foods such as oily fish or chicken […] Read more

Temperature extremes, drought and heavy precipitation account for 18 to 43 percent of variations in global crop yields. | File photo

Weather extremes devastate yields: study

International researchers have more precisely measured how extreme weather events driven by a changing climate can devastate crop yields. Hot and cold temperature extremes, drought and heavy precipitation account for 18 to 43 percent of variations in global yields for maize, spring wheat, rice and soybeans. “Climate extremes such as heat waves or droughts can […] Read more

John  Williams, director of the School of Animal and Veterinary Science’s Davies Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, has shown it is possible to breed cattle to reduce their methane emissions.  |   University of Adelaide photo

Cattle bred to produce less methane

Genetic makeup of an individual cow significantly controls the level and type of methane-producing microbes in its rumen

Cattle and other ruminants are known as significant producers of the greenhouse gas methane. According to Agriculture Canada, a lactating dairy cow produces about 400 grams of methane each day. In one year, that adds up to the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from a mid-sized car driven 20,000 kilometres. Given there are about 1.5 […] Read more

Kai Voss-Fels’s research focused on varieties that played a major role in wheat production in Western Europe, but the University of Quensland researcher said the results can be extrapolated to other production regions because wheat breeding is similar throughout the world.  |   University of Queensland photo

Research discredits wheat hardiness myth

An Australian study finds today’s wheat out-performs older strains in both optimum and challenging conditions

Contrary to popular opinion, modern wheat varieties are not heavily dependent on pesticides and fertilizer to remain productive. In fact, recent research from the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia shows that today’s wheat out-performs older strains not only in optimum conditions but under challenging growing situations. In addition, the modern wheat gene pool is […] Read more

Sophia Sonnewald, left, Guenter Lehretz, José María Corral García and professor Uwe Sonnewald study plant growth in potatoes. |   University of Erlangen-Nuremberg photo

New discovery may help potatoes resist heat

German researchers learn how to turn off a small RNA that blocks the formation of tubers when temperatures rise

Potato plants don’t like heat. If it’s too hot, they form fewer tubers. Now biochemists at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany have discovered the reason. When the temperature rises, a small RNA blocks the formation of tubers. Researchers have also discovered how to turn off this RNA so potatoes are more heat resistant. “Not […] Read more

Molecular biologist James Giovannoni of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Laboratory in Ithaca, New York, studies how fruit ripening is controlled genetically in tomatoes.  |  USDA photo

Genomic project discovers new tomato genes

Previously unknown genes, including some for flavour, were missing from the original genome map done in 2012

If you think that store-bought tomatoes lack flavor and sweetness, you’re not alone. It’s been a complaint of consumers for years. But now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service may have found the solution by developing the tomato pan-genome. A genome is the reference map for an organism’s genes and what […] Read more

A corn plant is measured with a bar code stick and scanner. Future experiments will explore whether bacteria communities change the further they are from the ground.  |  Merritt Melacon photo/University of Georgia photo

Environment a major influence on corn health

Bacteria are more affected by the environment than they are by a plant’s genetics, which plays just a small role

Corn is one of the most important crops worldwide with more than one billion tonnes harvested each year from 13 percent of the world’s arable land. It represents 37 percent of global cereal production. Recently, the University of Georgia conducted one of the largest leaf microbe studies to date, in which it monitored bacteria on […] Read more

Complex cattle network discovery reveals disease risks

Half of all British cattle farms were connected to more than 1,000 other farms every year when they bought cattle

As the buying and selling at cattle auctions plays out each week, data is building up, and it is not related just to the exchange of money. A new study by researchers at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom profiled the buying and selling of beef and dairy cattle. It analyzed a network […] Read more

Genetics work aimed at livestock production efficiency

Leading U.S. animal genomics scientists have developed a blueprint for improving the future of livestock production

Researchers at Iowa State University have been part of a team designing a blueprint for animal genomics. With a growing global population and a need to improve livestock welfare and production, researchers are looking at how to improve efficiencies in animal agriculture. “The priorities listed in this blueprint all pertain to improving the genetic potential […] Read more

The findings could help farmers and landowners plant crops, flowers, shrubs, bushes and wildflowers that will produce nectar over a wider expanse of time when pollinators depend on them. | File photo

Pollinators need more timely nectar sources

A study from Great Britain could help farmers plant species that produce nectar over a longer period of time

Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom have for the first time measured farmland nectar supplies throughout the entire year and have been able to highlight when a lack of food fails to meet a pollinator’s demand. The findings could help farmers and landowners plant crops, flowers, shrubs, bushes and wildflowers that […] Read more