3 Picks: Root Microbiomes, Maggot Feed, Food Outdates


Photo source: Flickr CC via Jim Linwood

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

1) The Importance of Plant root microbiomes: “‘Understanding how the microbiome can regulate plant performance could have enormous implications for many of the world’s most pressing problems, such as utilizing marginal lands and fragile ecosystems to meet the food demands of a growing global population, minimizing losses of land and biodiversity due to plant invasions, or mitigating impacts of climate change on plant communities’ … Interactions between plants and their microbial communities are dynamic—plants can manipulate the microbiome to their advantage (such as defense), and microbiomes can influence which plants survive in certain habitats (such as facilitating invasive species).”

2) Maggots for Animal Feed: By Dan Charles. “The larvae are insatiable eaters. They can consume twice their weight each day, turning it into protein and fat. They’ll eat almost anything … These larvae are some of the world’s great waste recyclers. ‘We make stuff go away!’ … there now are quite a few projects around the world that have picked up on this idea. People are trying it in South Africa, Canada and Indonesia.”

3) Is Your Food Expired? Don’t Be So Quick to Toss It: By Alexandra Sifferlin. “according to the new analysis, words like ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ are used so inconsistently that they contribute to widespread misinterpretation — and waste — by consumers. More than 90% of Americans throw out food prematurely, and 40% of the U.S. food supply is tossed–unused–every year because of food dating.” K.M. Comment: I sure hope this information is relayed to the high school home kitchen and consumer science educators of this country. Our grown boys still go through our refrigerator and cabinets to check the food expiration dates. They try to throw food out because teachers taught them that in school. We protest, and they think we’re being unsafe.

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

About the photo: The Rhizotron, Kew Gardens, London. The “rhizotron” — the name is derived from the Greek for roots and device or instrument — uses animatronic robots to show the development of roots. It seeks to explain how roots and soil work as “the engine room” of the forest and reveals the diversity of “creepy crawlies” and fungi that thrive underground and on the forest floor.

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