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It's common wisdom that one rotten apple in a barrel spoils all the other apples, and that an apple ripens a green banana if they are put together in a paper bag. Ways to ripen, or spoil, fruit have been known for thousands of years -- as the Bible can attest -- but now the genes underlying these phenomena of nature have been revealed (Salk Institute for Biological Studies/ScienceDaily June 11, 2013).
Researchers from the University of Granada (Spain) have analysed the presence of patulin, a type of toxin produced by fungi, in several commercial apple juices. The results show that more than 50% of the samples analysed exceed the maximum limits laid down by law. They have also discovered a sample of rice with more mycotoxins than permitted. For their part, researchers from the University of Valencia have also found these harmful substances in beers, cereals and products made from them, such as gofio flour (Plataforma SINC/ScienceDaily June 7, 2013).
No food for the human race without bees? It is not quite as straightforward as that. A case study by ecologists from ETH Zurich in a coffee-growing area in India reveals that pollinating insects are just one production factor among many. Farmers have several possibilities to increase their harvest (ETH Zurich/ScienceDaily June 5, 2013).
Scientists have long suspected that a flourishing of green foliage around the globe, observed since the early 1980s in satellite data, springs at least in part from the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere. Now, a study of arid regions around the globe finds that a carbon dioxide "fertilization effect" has, indeed, caused a gradual greening from 1982 to 2010 (American Geophysical Union/ScienceDaily May 31, 2013).
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide, according to a researcher from the University of Waterloo in a controversial new study published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week (University of Waterloo/ScienceDaily May 30, 2013).
Improvements in crop water productivity -- the amount of food produced per unit of water consumed -- have the potential to improve both food security and water sustainability in many parts of the world, according to a study published online in Environmental Research Letters May 29 by scientists with the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment (IonE) and the Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES) at the University of Bonn, Germany (University of Minnesota/ScienceDaily May 29, 2013).
Plants have developed a number of strategies to capture the maximum amount of sunlight through their leaves. As we know from looking at plants on a windowsill, they grow toward the sunlight to be able to generate energy by photosynthesis. Now an international team of scientists has provided definitive insights into the driving force behind this movement -- the plant hormone auxin (Technische Universitaet Muenchen/ScienceDaily May 28, 2013).
Lawrence Livermore scientists have discovered and demonstrated a new technique to remove and store atmospheric carbon dioxide while generating carbon-negative hydrogen and producing alkalinity, which can be used to offset ocean acidification (DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/ScienceDaily May 28, 2013).
Dartmouth College researchers have identified a new regulator for plant hormone signaling -- the KISS ME DEADLY family of proteins (KMDs) – that may help to improve production of fruits, vegetables and grains (Dartmouth College/ScienceDaily May 27, 2013).
Tomatoes, said to be the world's most popular fruit, can be made both better-tasting and longer-lasting thanks to UK research with purple GM varieties (Norwich BioScience Institutes/ScienceDaily May 23, 2013).
Tropical plants flower at supra-annual irregular intervals. In addition, mass flowering is typical for the tropical forests in Borneo and elsewhere, where hundreds of different plant timber species from the Dipterocarpaceae family flower synchronously. This phenomenon is all the more puzzling because both temperature and day length are relatively constant all year round due to geographical proximity to the equator (University of Zurich/ScienceDaily May 22, 2013).
An insect-eating pitcher plant teams up with ants to prevent mosquito larvae from stealing its nutrients, according to research published May 22 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Mathias Scharmann and colleagues from the University of Cambridge and the University Brunei Darussalam (Public Library of Science/ScienceDaily May 22, 2013).
Archaeologists have made a discovery in southern subtropical China which could revolutionise thinking about how ancient humans lived in the region. They have uncovered evidence for the first time that people living in Xincun 5,000 years ago may have practised agriculture -- before the arrival of domesticated rice in the region (University of Leicester/ScienceDaily May 17, 2013).
Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances -- which are highly soluble in water -- has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms (EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology/ScienceDaily May 15, 2013).
A comprehensive analysis of peer-reviewed articles on the topic of global warming and climate change has revealed an overwhelming consensus among scientists that recent warming is human-caused (Institute of Physics/ScienceDaily May 15, 2013).
May 14, 2013 — Washington State University researchers have found they can control one of fruit growers' more severe pests, aphids, with a remarkably benign tool: flowers. The discovery is a boon for organic as well as conventional tree fruit growers. The researchers recently published their study in the journal Biological Control. They found that plantings of sweet alyssum attracted a host of spiders and predator bugs that in turn preyed on woolly apple aphids, a pest that growers often control with chemical sprays (Washington State University/ScienceDaily May 14, 2013).
The Solanaceae, also called the potato or nightshade family, includes a wide range of flowering plants, some of which are important agricultural crops. Tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, peppers and wolfberries are all representatives of the family present on many tables across the world. Solanum is the largest genus of the family, and with 1500 species, is one of the largest genera of flowering plants. Solanum has 13 major evolutionary groups,or clades (Pensoft Publishers/ScienceDaily May 14, 2013).
Scientists have developed techniques for the genetic improvement of sunflowers using a non-GMO based approach. The new technology platform can harness the plant's own genes to improve characteristics of sunflower, develop genetic traits, which will improve its role as an important oilseed crop (National University of Ireland, Galway/ScienceDaily May 13, 2013).
The sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) is a symbol of spiritual purity and longevity. Its seeds can survive up to 1,300 years, its petals and leaves repel grime and water, and its flowers generate heat to attract pollinators (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign/ScienceDaily May 10, 2013).
The sun provides the most abundant source of energy on the planet. However, only a tiny fraction of the solar radiation on Earth is converted into useful energy (University of Georgia/ScienceDaily May 9, 2013).