Environment

Anthocyanins, pigments that give plants their red, blue, or purple hues, are not typically produced in citrus fruits grown under tropical or subtropical conditions.

Now, scientists have genetically engineered a lime that contains anthocyanins, which they say has several potential benefits. Manjul Dutt, Daniel Stanton, and Jude Grosser, from the Citrus Research and Education Center at the University of Florida, say that the discovery will allow the cultivation of new citrus fruits in the major subtropical citrus belt and/or the production of ornamental plants, depending on the cultivar.

The process also creates opportunities for novel fruit, leaf, and flower colors to be produced by regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis.


If you live in one of four major U.S. cities chances are you're letting the benefits of a ubiquitous natural resource go right down the drain instead of using it to cut down your water bill.

Toilet flushing is the biggest use of water in households in the United States and the United Kingdom, accounting for nearly one-third of potable water use. But there is no reason that clean, treated, municipal water needs to be used to flush a toilet -- rainwater could do the job just as well.

A new paper indicates it rains enough in Philadelphia, New York, Seattle and Chicago that if homeowners had a way to collect and store even just the rain falling on their roofs, they could flush their toilets often without having to use a drop of municipal water. 


A new report describes how researchers analyzed a major 2011 Texas wildfire using a scientifically based post-fire data collection approach, a system they believe will lead to improved defensive measures and strategies for significantly reducing structural damage and property loss.


The types of beneficial fungi that associate with tree roots can alter the fate of a patch of tropical forest, boosting plant diversity or, conversely, giving one tree species a distinct advantage over many others, finds a study in Ecology Letters which sought to explain a baffling phenomenon in some tropical forests: Small patches of "monodominant forest," where one species makes up more than 60 percent of the trees, form islands of low diversity in the otherwise highly diverse tropical forest growing all around them.

The new study focused on mountain forests in Panama that harbor hundreds of tree species, but which include small patches dominated by the tree species Oreomunnea mexicana.


Soybean farmers in the United States can choose from a “candy store” of hundreds of varieties of soybean seed—high-yielding seed with proven performance traits for every region and latitude.

Not so in Africa. For a variety of political reasons, soybean farmers either only have access to a few seed varieties with an unimpressive yield potential, or a few high-yielding varieties for which no performance data exists for their latitude and altitude.

That may change, thanks to a new cultural fortitude which resists being controlled by Europe and a new coordinated soybean variety evaluation program to help give African growers more and better seed options.

Western elites may embrace a vegetarian lifestyle but impoverished countries would happily trade places with them. Despite claims like it takes a gallon of gas to create a pound of beef being long debunked, activists continue to promote the notion that a vegetarian lifestyle is better for people and the environment.

Residents of Zambia know the organic, vegetarian lifestyle better than anyone in San Francisco environmental groups, and they have had quite enough. Now economists are catching on as well. A cow, a pair of oxen, or a herd of goats for a poor household dramatically improves their quality of life, finds a recent analysis. 


Monsanto's signature herbicide glyphosate, first marketed as "Roundup," is now the most popular weed-killer in the history of chemical agriculture in both the U.S. and globally, according to a paper in Environmental Sciences Europe written by economist Dr. Chuck Benbrook, a staunch opponent of conventional agriculture.

Unlike 2,4-D, smart strategies have limited weed resistance and unlike DDT, glyphosate has never had a 'Rachel Carson event' which has kept it in use.


What is a great way to ensure that conservation has no support at all from the public? Hand nature over to centralized bureaucrats and create environmental groups full of lawyers to sue to make sure people are treated as the enemy.

Or just have centralized government tell people what to do, as in the communist dictatorship China.

Yet there is a better way. Communists love cold, hard cash just like capitalists, and conservation programs that compensate citizens for changing habitat-damaging behavior really work, according to results of a program in China that aims to restore forests and habitat for the endangered giant panda.


There is a growing demand for fruit and vegetables across the Western world, thanks to increased awareness of their nutritional and health benefits. But we’ve always been taught they might not be safe to eat straight out of the supermarket, and they have to be washed first. Is this the case? And what might happen if we don’t?