Food and agriculture

Mealworms provide plastic solution

Mealworms are not only able to eat various forms of plastic, as previous research has shown, they can consume potentially toxic plastic additives in polystyrene with no ill effects, a new study shows. The worms can then be used as a safe, protein-rich feed supplement.

Reduced soil tilling helps both soils and yields

By monitoring crops through machine learning and satellite data, Stanford scientists have found farms that till the soil less can increase yields of corn and soybeans and improve the health of the soil – a win-win for meeting growing food needs worldwide.

Chemical ‘vaccine’ helps plants repel pathogens

Scientists knew that plants wage chemical war against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Now they’ve learned how to “vaccinate” tomato plants with a natural chemical to boost their defenses against a pest that makes leaves shrivel up and die.

Lead found in turmeric

Some spice processors in Bangladesh use an industrial lead chromate pigment to imbue turmeric with a bright yellow color prized for curries and other traditional dishes, elevating blood lead levels in Bangladeshis.

Food security from oceans

Our growing need for food poses one of the biggest threats to the environment. Examining contributions from the ocean more closely can be key to addressing the challenge.

Potential treatments for citrus greening

Finding a treatment for a devastating, incurable citrus disease was personal for Sharon Long and Melanie Barnett. Now, a system they developed could provide clues to a cure.

Where can flooded fields help replenish groundwater?

Overpumping in California’s Central Valley has depleted groundwater storage capacity and caused the land to sink. A new model could help zero in on where water managers can replenish aquifers by flooding fields.

Farming for natural profits in China

Expanding monoculture threatens valuable services from land, such as flood control, water purification and climate stabilization. Gretchen Daily and Hua Zheng are promoting a new approach.