Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Technology

The role of technology in food production and preparation dates back to the neolithic discovery of controlled fire. These days new technologies in, for example, agricultural production, processing and food preservation are key to achieving a sufficient supply of food for a growing population. Controversies and disagreements exist around many technologies and their enabling infrastructure, most notably genetic modification, confined animal feeding operations and chemical crop protection.

19 April 2017

This paper models human and natural influences on the global capture of wild marine fish. The researchers show that wild fish harvest increases during the 20th century were most likely explained by improvements in fishing technology. Their simulated future projections, that assume ongoing technological progress and open access (i.e. no policy constraints), suggest a long-term decrease in harvest due to over-fishing.

12 April 2017

This Data Science Insights talk hosted by Thomson Reuters sees presentations from Professor Nilay Shah from Imperial College, Judith Batchelar, Director of Brand at UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, and Derek Scuffell, Head of R&D Information Systems at Syngenta, who share insights on how their supply chains are driven by data.  They discuss how advances in genetically modified foods and in agricultural technology could help prevent food shortages and price fluctuations and help the world feed itself by 2025.

4 April 2017

In this post in the Conversation, crop scientist Matthew Wallenstein, Associate Professor and Director at the Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Colorado State University, discusses the potential of natural microbes to improve agriculture and make it more sustainable. 

15 February 2017

This chapter by Elias Fereres and Francisco J. Villalobos in the book Principles of Agronomy for Sustainable Agriculture argues that sustainable intensification of production would be best achieved through continuous, small productivity improvements rather than through a few revolutionary discoveries, at least in the medium term.

15 February 2017

This article in Nature Scientific Reports details a new approach for generating skeletal muscle from pigs which can be used to make skeletal muscle – the main component of pork meat – in vitro. The techniques are potentially applicable to other types of muscle, such as heart muscle tissue, as well.

10 January 2017

In this evidence review, co-written by FCRN member Ken Giller, the authors assess the extent to which agronomic fortification, the application of micronutrient fertiliser to crops, can improve the nutritional quality of diets in sub-Saharan Africa. They find that, while the technique has been shown to be effective in increasing the nutritional content and yield of crops, more research is required to establish the degree to which it can alleviate micronutrient deficiencies in humans.

10 January 2017

This paper describes the operation of a bubble-insulated greenhouse system that recycles organic waste, through its anaerobic conversion into biogas and digestate, into inputs for new food. It reports that commercial crop yields were repeatedly matched and bettered, while an 80% reduction in heat energy demand and 95% reduction in CO2eq emissions was realised compared to conventional greenhouse production.

29 November 2016

Nitrification inhibitors are thought to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of nitrous oxide — a potent greenhouse gas — from land. However, they may not be as effective as once thought, a new study suggests. The researchers found that, while inhibitors decrease emissions of nitrous oxide, they can increase emissions of ammonia — which is later converted to nitrous oxide. They recommend these effects are considered when evaluating inhibitors as a mitigation technology.’

3 February 2016

This BBC News – Health article describes the new smartphone app that has been released by Public Health England (PHE) as part of its Change4Life advertising campaign. The app allows the user to scan the bar-codes of over 75,000 food and drink items and be told how much sugar the item contains, either as sugar cubes or grams.

3 February 2016

This publication summarises the work of the FAO with the agricultural community to tackle climate change and its effects. The report begins by summarising four key underpinning principles of their work with food production systems:

18 January 2016

The certification organisation Rainforest Alliance states that scaled-up efforts to support climate-smart agriculture practices are desperately needed to support the millions of cocoa farmers that are suffering from the negative impacts of climate change.

17 December 2015

This paper entitled Creating When You Have Less: The Impact of Resource Scarcity on Product Use Creativity, argues that resource scarcity actually translates into enhanced consumer product-use creativity.

9 November 2015

The food and agriculture (F&A) industry must increase production, availability and access to food significantly over the next ten years if it is to meet the demands of a larger, increasingly urban global population according to a new report presented by Rabobank at Expo Milano 2015.

18 February 2015

Two reports this week by the US National Research Council look at whether humans could artificially steer Earth's climate by reflecting sunlight back into space, or by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The twin reports– Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration and Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool the Earth argue that carbon dioxide removal might have a place in a broader response plan, but sunlight-reflecting technologies are too risky.

23 October 2014

This report, Closing the door on HFCs, documents the continued shift away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the supermarket refrigeration sector. Now in its sixth year, EIA’s Chilling Facts reports have become an important resource used to disseminate information about progress in the shift away from HFC-based technology.