3 Picks: Gluten-Free Wheat, Plant Microbiology, Economic Optimism

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Washington State University Researcher ‘very close’ on celiac-safe wheat, herbicide-tolerant barley: By Matthew Weaver. “Von Wettstein is working to develop nutritionally improved, celiac-safe wheat cultivars and breeding barley cultivars for the Pacific Northwest that would be resistant to the herbicide imidazolinone, commonly used by farmers. Von Wettstein said he has wheat lines where he’s obtained a 76.4 percent reduction in the accumulation of the key gluten proteins. The next step is silencing the remaining percentage.” [Sorry about the dead link, but Cap.Press website is under construction today. It should be available later.] UPDATE: Article still not available. I also found this, “Taking the Glower out of gluten.”

2) Report Proposes Microbiology’s Grand Challenge to Help Feed the World: “A greater focus on the role of microbiology in agriculture combined with new technologies can help mitigate potential food shortages associated with world population increases according to a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology. “Microbes are essential partners in all aspects of plant physiology, but human efforts to improve plant productivity have focused solely on the plant,” says Ian Sanders of University of Lausanne, chair of the colloquium that produced the report. ‘Optimizing the microbial communities that live in, on and around plants, can substantially reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.'” Improved understanding of plant-microbe interactions has the potential to increase crop productivity by 20% while reducing fertilizer and pesticide requirements by 20%, within 20 years, because all plants rely on microbial partners to secure nutrients, deter pathogens and resist environmental stress.

3) Calculated Risk is Bullish on the Economy: by Bill McBride. Some of you may know that McBride has almost never been wrong in his outlooks, so everyone pays attention when he provides one. He is more optimistic about the economy right now, than previously, he says. “It still appears economic growth will pickup over the next few years. With a combination of growth in the key housing sector, a significant amount of household deleveraging behind us, the end of the drag from state and local government layoffs (four years of austerity mostly over), some loosening of household credit, and the Fed staying accommodative (even if the Fed starts to taper, the Fed will remain accommodative).”

BONUS: This link provides state and regional farms that allow pick-your-own produce. Since it is harvest time, this is a great way to support these farms and find a healthy source of local food, too.

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

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