Recent Posts

Review: The genetic basis and nutritional benefits of pigmented rice (Frontiers Genetics)

Pigmented rice varieties are those in which a pigment is deposited in the bran, the outer layer of the grain. The pigment can be from brown to red (proanthocyanidins) or from purple to black (anthocyanins). In the course of domestication, humans have selected against the genetic factors responsible for…

Opinion. Anthropogenic seed dispersal: Rethinking the origins of plant domestication (Trends Plant Sci)

Studies regarding the development of agriculture have started to integrate a plant evolutionary perspective. In this context, Spengler explores how changes in seed dispersal allowed plant domestication during the first half of the Holocene (e.g., more than 5000 years ago). He starts by redefining domestication…

From population to production: 50 years of scientific literature on how to feed the world (Global Food Security)

Tamburino et al. analyzed text from more than 12,000 research articles published in the past 50 years that included the terms “global” or “world” and “food supply”, “food demand’, or “zero hunger”. From this dataset, they quantified terms related to population, total food production,…

Review: The impact of synthetic biology for future agriculture and nutrition

The synthetic biology field is going to be important for the decade we began in order to face climate challenges, including food security. However, plant synthetic biology lags behind bacterial and other eukaryotic systems. Roell and Zurbriggen summarize in this review, many of the projects that are…

Approaches to improve soil fertility in sub-Saharan Africa (J Exp Bot)

Food security is a major issue in sub-Saharan Africa, aggravated by rapid population growth and low soil fertility. Stewart et al. explore approaches to improve soil fertility, hence food production, in this region. They argue for a holistic approach that addresses not only yields, but also poverty reduction…

Editorial and Special Issue. Biotechnology of the sweetpotato: Ensuring global food and nutrition security in the face of climate change (Plant Cell Reports)

Global food security is increasingly threatened by expanding industrialization and skyrocketing human populations set in the backdrop of dramatically shifting environmental conditions due to climate change. Innovations in agricultural practices and technology are required to overcome the unprecedented…

Biofortification of field-grown cassava by engineering expression of an iron transporter and ferritin (Nature Biotech)

There are many forms of hunger, one of which is micronutrient deficiency. Cassava is a staple food, but low in iron and zinc, in many regions where deficiencies of these micronutrients are common; therefore efforts have been made to biofortify cassava. Traditional breeding methods are of limited value…

The global burden of pathogens and pests on major food crops (Nature Ecol Evol) ($)

Pathogens and pests are bad, but just how bad? And how do different regions of the world compare in terms of crop losses to pathogens and pests? Savary et al. surveyed crop experts from across the globe to address these questions, focusing on five major food crops (wheat, rice, maize, potato and soybean).…

Developing High-Yield Early-Maturation Crops by Manipulating Nitrogen Utilization

Wang et al. investigate the function of OsNRT1.1A in rice. Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00809. By Wei Wang, Bin Hu and Chengcai Chu Background: To cope with an increasing global population and decreasing availability of arable land, improving crop yield is a major agricultural…