Environment

Researchers are searching for a sustainable, environmentally-friendlier source of soil conditioner and crop fertilizer that could reduce costs to farmers -  all from renewable energy waste.

A collaborative project between Stopford Energy and Environment Limited, the James Hutton Institute, Aqua Enviro Limited and the University of Lancaster builds upon Stopford research looking at using a mixture of digestates, derived from anaerobic digestion, and ash, from burnt biomass, as an alternative to existing crop fertilizers.

In quantitative genetics,  genomic prediction is a statistical approach to predicting the value of an economically important trait in a plant, such as yield or disease resistance. The method works if the trait is heritable, as many traits tend to be, and can be performed early in the life cycle of the plant, helping reduce costs.

A research team led by plant geneticists at the University of California, Riverside and Huazhong Agricultural University, China, has used the method to predict the performance of hybrid rice (for example, the yield, growth-rate and disease resistance). The new technology could potentially revolutionize hybrid breeding in agriculture.


Drier conditions at the edges of forest patches slow down the decay of dead wood and significantly alter the cycling of carbon and nutrients in woodland ecosystems, according to a new study.

Forests around the world have become increasingly fragmented, and in the UK three quarters of woodland area lie within 100 meters of the forest edge. It has long been known that so-called 'edge effects' influence temperature and moisture (the 'microclimate') in woodlands, but the influence on the carbon cycle is largely unknown. 


In some women abnormally high levels of the common and pervasive chemical perchlorate may lead to adverse effects in their offspring. The study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology  &  Metabolism says is the first of its kind to shed light on the possible harmful side effects of perchlorate in mothers and their children.  


Southern California is aghast that cities are now enforcing water usage cutbacks during the ongoing drought - it's because during the mandatory restrictions, while the farming regions of central California have met their targets, water usage in southern California actually went up.

They may not know something that most people in California realize - California is a desert and its water comes from dams and rivers north of them in California, and in Colorado. Rather than being a green paradise, California was mostly sparsely-inhabited desert prior to European colonization - its history has been drought and fire, the boom and bust of nature that gives and takes away.


You aren't always what you eat – and that's a good thing. It's also why pesticides in reasonable usage haven't harmed arctic mammals such as caribou. Not only can caribou metabolize some current-use pesticides ingested in vegetation, they also limit the exposure of humans, including those who eat caribou.


Miles of linked habitat sounds like a good thing - until the ants show up.

Environmentalists who promote the notion of unintended consequences regarding genetic modification never considered that wildlife corridors might have risks also - but they do, as a recent study showed. Julian Resasco and colleagues at the University of Florida found that one type of fire ant used wildlife corridors to dominate recently created landscapes.

"Although habitat corridors are usually beneficial, they occasionally have negative effects," Resasco said."Sometimes they can help invasive species spread in exactly the same way they help native species."


Fires and the resultant smoke that comes from them are both just as widespread and heavy as they were in the month of July. Hundreds of fires dot the landscape and the Northwest Territories Live Fire map shows the extent of the wildfires and hot spots that have been reported. Fire danger around this area of the Northwest Territories remains in either the high or extreme range.

On the live fire map, notated detections of new fires number in the dozens. These fires are ones having been detected within the last 24 hours. Residents of Yellowknife were witness to red lightning recently due to the amount of smoke in the atmosphere coloring the lightning strikes.


Before there was a war on wheat and a war on sugar, there was a war on dairy products. Nutritionists need science insight the most and are least likely to want it, they instead listen to Yogic flying instructors, actresses and Food Babes at conferences embracing the latest fad.


Insecticides that behave like nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, became popular in the late 1990s as replacements for more toxic products. They have been effective but like all products there is concern about ongoing environmental effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified all neonicotinoids as safe for humans.