Troubled times ahead for tuna

The World Wide Fund for Nature has warned that tuna stocks are disappearing at an alarming rate. The depletion is thought to be due to a combination of poor management of existing stocks and high levels of illegal, unreported fishing. According to WWF, Atlantic bluefin tuna used for high value sushi and sashimi are "massively…
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Trees for flights?

It’s been difficult to avoid the current debate about carbon offsetting in the news recently and one topic that comes up again and again is planting trees. In a world where people are flying shorter distances more frequently can we really make up for this by planting a few trees here and there? A number…
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Reducing soil erosion in the real world

It is well understood that soil erosion has serious impacts on water quality because of the pollutants carried in runoff from the fields into water courses. Sustainable practices to limit soil erosion are available, “but it is the economical and socio-political factors that lead to erosion which need to be tackled if sustainable practices to…
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Dangerous rust puts strain on food security

Back in the 1950s, North America saw 40% of the continent’s spring wheat crop lost to stem rust fungus infections. In the late 80s, yellow rust went on a rampage across North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia causing crop losses worth over 1 billion US Dollars. In 2007 and beyond, the world could…
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‘Obese people like chewing’

While Professor Steve Bloom’s statement on BBC Radio 1’s ‘news’ this morning did at least see me giggling into the office this morning (it’s Monday, so well done, Prof. Bloom!), it did strike me that his statement was a little like suggesting nicotine should be available in inhalable form…because smokers like inhaling (aren’t they called…
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Dolly for Dinner?

In the future your Sunday roast may come from a cloned animal but would this be such a bad thing? The US Food and Drug Administration has recently released draft documentation of the safety of animal clones which reports that meat and milk from cloned animals and their offspring is as safe to eat as…
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Bunny Rabbits

Fluffy and cute they may be, but rabbits cause around £115m worth of damage to UK crops annually. New research suggests that a quick and cheap method for repelling the fuzzy little menaces is to dust a wheat crop with slag – a readily available and cheap-as-chips byproduct of blast furnaces. The scientists at Central…
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A Whiter Shade of Pale found in Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums may appear fairly uninteresting compared to the many exotics of the plant world, but recent research proves they really are fascinating. As the world’s most important ornamental flower, it is thought that today’s modern varieties originated from white and yellow flowered plants. Crosses showed that white petal colour is dominant over yellow and it…
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Send a rat?

Charitable giving to developing countries has shown a new trend in recent years with ‘send a cow’, and ‘send a goat’- schemes supporting the supply of said livestock to farmers in Africa. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the latest is- ‘send a rat’. A rat? However for reducing food insecurity farming-rats and…
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Chikungunya virus – hard to pronounce but becoming easier to catch.

Hundreds of tourists from South and South East Asia have been going home to the US, and Europe with Chikungunya virus. Quiescent for many years this mosquito-borne virus has reemerged in the last 2 years in India, South East Asia and Indian Ocean Islands. In the island of Réunion, the main industry, tourism has been…
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