A volunteer checks on plants inside a simulated space cabin in which he temporarily lives with others as a part of the scientistic Lunar Palace 365 Project, at Beihang University in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
China’s Pioneers to the Moon Will be Flowers and Silkworms
Seeds of potatoes and arabidopsis—a small flowering plant belonging to the mustard family—along with silkworm cocoons, will hitch a ride with the Chang’e-4 lander and rover on China’s first probe to the far side of the moon in December. China hopes to create a “mini lunar biosphere” as part of its research for building a lunar base and even the possibility of long-term residence on the moon.
Antarctic Veggies: Practice for Growing Plants on Other Planets
The EDEN ISS greenhouse project is now fully operational in Antarctica. The eight-nation team of researchers grows high-water-content, pick-and-eat-plants that can't normally be stored for long periods of time. The crops include lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, Swiss chard, and various herbs. One-tenth of the yield will become research data for the potential cultivation of food in space, while the rest will help feed the crew on location.
Bringing Blockchain to the Coffee Cup
Denver’s Coda Coffee Co. now offers what it calls “the world’s first blockchain-traced coffee,” giving customers access to a cloud-based ledger that tracks every stop along their coffee’s supply chain. By scanning a QR code associated with the batch of coffee they bought, customers can see the date and location of every transaction from collection at the farm to washing and drying, milling, export, roasting, and retail.
In North Carolina, Hog Waste is Becoming a Streamlined Fuel Source
The Optima KV Project in eastern North Carolina revealed the potential to turn every hog farm in the state into a source of renewable natural gas, or what's known as swine biogas. The main purpose of creating biogas is to destroy methane and earn valuable carbon offset credits. The project has the potential to create enough renewable natural gas to power the equivalent of 1,000 homes for a year.
Is This Tomato Engineered? Inside the Coming Battle over Gene-Edited Food
The new gene-editing technologies, like Crispr-Cas9, enable scientists to achieve some of the same effects by altering the plants’ own DNA, without inserting new genes. Gene editing in plants could transform agriculture and help feed a growing global population. However, it may pose risks to human health and permanently alter the environment by spreading beyond farms, as well.
Insect Farms Gear Up to Feed Soaring Global Protein Demand
The small but growing insect farming sector has captured attention and investments from some heavyweights in the $400 billion-a-year animal feed business, including US agricultural powerhouse Cargill Inc., feed supplier and farm products and services company Wilbur-Ellis Co, and Swiss-based Buhler Group, which makes crop processing machinery.