Agriculture

ICRISAT and the policy environment on biosafety in Africa

Icrisat has been using conventional breeding methods as well as modern biotechnology to solve problems constraining production of its mandate crops. Modern technology has been applied to groundnuts to incorporate resistance to the Indian peanut clump virus, an Asian disease and to the groundnut rosette disease, predominantly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research on this is at an advanced stage and the transgenic plants are ready for field evaluations. Icrisat's guidelines regarding genetically modified crops require working in countries that have developed biosafety legislation or guidelines. Plant...

Legumes and Striga suicide

IITA, inew Morals aren't at the root of what these legumes do, but their promiscuity and knack for prompting suicide of weeds are of great help to African farmers. Legumes make the soil more fertile, and many cause the seeds of a noxious weed to germinate without the means to survive. IITA scientists are improving and promoting the virtues of legumes so African farmers will grow more of this high-protein, low-cost food. The soybean takes nitrogen from air in the soil and fixes it in nodules on its roots. To form these nodules, soybean roots need mutually beneficial associations with bacteria...

A Sickening Solution to save cowpeas

i.new IITA. By making cowpea’s most damaging attacker sick with a virus, IITA scientists may be able to help African farmers harvest much more of this vital, protein-rich food. Larvae of a moth called Maruca vitrata are eating up cowpea crops throughout Africa. They feed on buds, flowers, leaves, and pods—the older ones move the quickest, feeding continuously and severely damaging the plants. If some of the pests can be infected with a virus, they will reproduce less and live shorter lives. Lowering the population of Maruca in cowpea fields would also lower crop losses, which can reach 80%...

Blocking growth stunting toxins in food

i.new IITA Harmless competitors used to block growth-stunting toxins from food may help children in West Africa grow up healthier, and IITA researchers are working toward a way to make it happen. The maize on the left of the image to the right is contaminated by aflatoxins. Clean, healthy maize is on the right. They found a less toxic strain of a fungus that grows on grain stored in warm, humid conditions. It can displace harmful strains that produce large amounts of aflatoxins— toxic chemicals known to cause liver cancer and, through IITA research, recently shown to be associated with below-...

Food for thought - mycotoxins

Izelle Theunissen, MRC News Mention the words 'food safety' and you're guaranteed to stir up some emotions around organic ("organic is natural and good") and genetically modified or GM foods ('Frankenstein foods'). But people are less knowledgeable about mycotoxins - and this can shed a different light on the food safety debate. Mycotoxins are naturally produced food-borne metabolites of fungi that are natural contaminants of agricultural crops. Their toxic effects in animals have been known for a long time, and therefore health authorities worldwide have regulated mycotoxin levels in human...

Pages

Subscribe to Biotechnology