In the past 15 years, more than a billion hectares — an area greater than the land masses of China or the United States — have been cultivated with genetically engineered crops, according to an industry study. Biotech crop cultivation increased 87-fold between 1996 and 2010, making transgenic crops the fastest-adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture. Biotech advocates say it shows genetically modified agriculture is here to stay.
A century of agricultural innovation vastly increased the amount of food--but with it came an increased population, and now hunger is on the rise. Fixing it will require an unlikely alliance
By Frederick KaufmanPosted 01.20.2011 at 4:30 pm 0 Comments
Among the tree-lined bike paths, automated livestock pens and darkened lecture halls of the University of California at Davis, a tiny room holds a weapon of mass destruction. Here, behind locked doors, sits a chunk of Xanthomonas, a bacterial blight that has decimated rice harvests in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and West Africa. Since the passage of the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the U.S.
Large scale farming is a dirty business, but Taiwan’s environmental authorities have come up with a novel way to clean up it’s six-million-swine pig farming industry: a href="http://green.yahoo.com/news/afp/20110105/od_afp/taiwananimalspollutionfa...">potty train the pork. The Environmental Protection Administration has pledged to increase the number of toilet trained pigs in that country after one breeder successfully reduced the amount of waste water on his 10,000-pig operation by 80 percent by teaching his pigs to use the toilet.
Since they were introduced 15 years ago, genetically modified foods have taken astonishing hold in North America. This time of year, the result is a Thanksgiving menu that may, on the surface, look much the same as the one your grandma cooked 20 years ago. But at the genetic level, it is very different, and it's a far cry from the fabled feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians in the 17th century. In celebration of Thanksgiving, the most food-focused day of the year, here's a look at how biotechnology is changing the way we eat.
Since early man fashioned that first stone tool, technology has been a cumulative process – we had to have stone tools to get to metals to get to spaceships to get to Facebook. Or something like that. The point is, every field of technological inquiry has its waypoints and milestones, and robotics – a field that notches mind-blowing advances with increased regularity – has just hit upon another monumental breakthrough: teat detection.
Office workers in Japan are adding some rural relaxation, if you can call it that, to their usual workaday routines. In Tokyo’s bustling business hub of Otemachi, a 1,000-square-foot indoor rice paddy is providing office workers a way to get back to their horticultural roots – and 100 pounds of rice for the building’s cafeteria. That’s actually kind of a big deal for a country that grows only half of the food it requires.
A portable, collapsible greenhouse inspired in part by a crop-producing system at a South Pole research station could someday provide fresh vegetables and other foods in future manned lunar or Martian outposts. Working in conjunction with private industry, the University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) has set up a demo lunar greenhouse to demonstrate how a hydroponic system could grow peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes and other crops for colonists on other planets.
Hoping to entice young residents to work outside, authorities in southern India announced a contest worth more than $20,000 to the winning designer of an air-conditioning jacket.
Authorities in the southern state of Kerala challenged individuals and research groups to come up with a viable prototype. A committee will select 10 options, and each inventor will get about $2,200 to develop their concepts. The winner gets $22,000, which is 1 million rupees.
On October 16, more than 150 countries will observe World Food Day to raise awareness of poverty and hunger. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations established the occasion in 1979 and held the first one in 1981 with the theme "Food Comes First." The October 16 date commemorates the founding of the FAO, which was born after President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited representatives of Allied Nations to Hot Springs, Virginia, to discuss the founding of an international organization dedicated to food and agricultural development.
Although World Food Day is only 29 years old, malnutrition has plagued our planet's citizens since the dawn of mankind. Feeding billions of starving people poses a daunting challenge, and many argue that industrialization has only drained the world of its natural resources. Convinced that that's not always the case, we consulted our archives to find ways that science and technology actually worked to fight the hunger crisis.