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The Future of Food

Food CRISPR GMO Gene Modification Agriculture

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#181
caltrek

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It is my belief that the bias discussed in this article (see below) affects the overall credibility of science to the general public. this has consequences for such things as the acceptance of the findings of climate science.  

 

A Scary Amount of Nutrition Science Has Deep Ties to The Food Industry, Study Reveals

 

https://www.sciencea...ourable-results

 

Introduction:

(Science Alert) The food industry has their fingers all over our nutrition research. According to a new analysis, one out of every eight leading, peer-reviewed studies on nutrition is tied to business.

 

Even worse, this conflict of interest, although acknowledged explicitly within the scientific journals, tends to produce results that favour business, and potentially with misleading consequences.

 

"This study found that the food industry is commonly involved in published research from leading nutrition journals," researchers write.

 

"Where the food industry is involved, research findings are nearly six times more likely to be favourable to their interests than when there is no food industry involvement."

 

As far as the authors know, this is the first systematic review on the extent and nature of food industry involvement in peer-reviewed research. Similar studies focusing on industry involvement have produced mixed results, but far more research is needed.

 

 

refreshing-bubbly-soda-pop-ice-cubes-555

https://www.dreamsti...s/soda-pop.html


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#182
caltrek

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Wild Crops Could Help Save Our Food System — If We Don’t Destroy Them First

 

https://grist.org/fo...roy-them-first/

 

Introduction:

(Grist) It’s easy to forget how intensely agriculture depends on wilderness. Farmers of the past domesticated all crops and livestock from wild species, just as humans domesticated dogs from wolves.

 

And even today, farmers and plant scientists are constantly looking to wild plants rescue our foods and make farming more sustainable. Examples abound: In the 19th century, a soil-dwelling insect from North America nearly wiped out the wine industry — destroying the vineyards of England, France, and Germany. Wild grapes from North America, which had developed resistance to this pest, came to the rescue and saved European wines. In the past few years, plant scientists searched out wild potatoes that are able to resist so-called “late blight” — which turned potato stocks into festering piles of slime, triggering the Irish famine of the 1840s. Now breeders are working those blight-resistant traits into modern potatoes, which would keep farmers from depending on fungicides.

 

As the climate changes, scientists will likely turn to these wild crop relatives more and more frequently to protect farms from droughts, heatwaves, and pests. But at the same time, people are inadvertently bulldozing some of the last remnants of these plants to build strip malls and highway cloverleafs.

 

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have mapped out the remaining habitat for these critical cousins of our food crops. Some of these habitats are protected, but others are threatened, said Colin Khoury lead author of the paper and researcher at Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. “We found some of the highest diversity of these wild crop relatives near Washington D.C. Luckily there are preserves out there, but they are not that big.”

 

As suburbs sprawl, Khoury fears for the prospects of those plants. Some may already be gone, buried under concrete.

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#183
caltrek

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'If You Own the Seeds You Own the Food System': Campaigners Demand Public Ownership to Counter Big Ag Privatization

 

https://www.commondr...hip-counter-big

 

Extract:

(Common Dreams) The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has estimated that since the beginning of the 20th century, roughly 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops and 93% of unique seed varieties have disappeared. This biodiversity loss has been attributed to industrialized agriculture and what Genova called "the big boom in agrochemicals."

 

As the FAO has explained, the increasingly commercialized nature of plant breeding has permitted transnational seed and agrochemical corporations—which enjoy so-called plant breeders' rights that give "patent-like protection to breeders with limited monopoly rights over the production, marketing, and sale of their varieties"—to privatize access to genetic resources taken from countries in the global south.

 

Scholar-activist Pat Mooney of the ETC Group coined the term "biopiracy" to describe how genetic material originally nurtured by impoverished farmers is turned into patented seeds that now generate huge profits primarily for BASF, Bayer/Monsanto, ChemChina-Syngenta, and Corteva Agriscience.

 

In a 2018 report (pdf) on industrial food chain concentration, Mooney explained that these "four companies have gained oligopolistic control over more than two-thirds of commercial seed and pesticide sales, while decimating the innovative contribution of public sector researchers and threatening the 12,000-year-old right of peasants to breed, save, and exchange their seeds."

 

…Shalini Randeria…continued:

 

Less than 50 years ago, most of the world enjoyed food that came from entirely open-pollinated seed varieties, which could be saved for future crops. Much of the seed sold now by the large companies are, in contrast, GM or F1 hybrid seeds. These cannot be saved for use in following years because they are genetically unstable and are protected by seed and patent laws, meaning most farmers are tied to chains of dependency.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#184
caltrek

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Study Finds That Alarming Levels of Microplastics Are in Your Seafood

 

https://www.inverse....ter-study-finds

 

Introduction:

(Inverse) EVERY DAY, microplastics are quietly infiltrating every facet of human life, including our own bodies.

 

It's a vicious cycle that can begin and end at home. First household products and litter are thrown away, and eventually they break down into teeny tiny bits of plastic, and those teeny bits make end up in the ocean, and then in the bodies of the sea creatures that eventually wind up back at home on our dinner table.

 

New research published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives provides the first wide-scale review of the scientific literature on this subject, revealing high levels of microplastics in our seafood — especially mollusks.

 

WHAT THEY FOUND — Researchers from the University of Hull conducted a sweeping review of 50 different studies published between 2014-2020.

 

These studies examined microplastics in four types of marine animals: mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and echinodermata (sea urchins, sea cucumbers, etc.). The overwhelming majority of the studies found microplastics in these sea creatures' bodies.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#185
caltrek

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Here is an angle on the future of food that I did not think of when I started this thread:

 

Astronauts Able to Eat a Crop of Space Radishes on the ISS

 

https://www.slashgea...e-iss-04653301/

 

Entire Article:

(Slash Gear) About a month ago, we talked about astronauts aboard the ISS harvesting the first crop of radishes grown in space. Being able to grow radishes in space is a big deal as astronauts will require food they can grow on their own for longer duration missions away from the Earth. The first crop of radishes were packed up to be sent back to researchers on the ground. However, the astronauts were recently able to eat some of the radishes they’ve grown aboard the ISS.

 

The radishes were grown from seeds over the last 27 days in the microgravity of orbit as part of NASA’s attempt to develop space agriculture. Since the crew aboard the ISS typically eats foods that have been turned into a paste, the availability of fresh produce was very welcome. Astronaut Kate Rubins said that the radishes grown aboard the ISS were just as tasty as the ones she grew in her garden back home.

 

Rubins harvested the radishes last Thursday after clipping off the leaves to preserve material for study on Earth. Both she and fellow astronaut Mike Hopkins said eating something fresh while aboard the ISS was “a most enjoyable experience.” The astronauts weren’t allowed to eat the radishes harvested previously.

 

According to NASA, radishes grown aboard the space station are cleaner than anything shoppers could purchase at the store. For longer duration missions to the moon or Mars, growing food will be critical to survival. Nineteen radishes were harvested in the second crop aboard the space station, and the crew was allowed to eat nine. The other ten radishes were frozen to return to Earth for analysis.

 

The produce is grown in a bed of clay balls that retain moisture and fertilizer with artificial light simulating the sun. The chamber they’re grown in is known as the Advanced Plant Habitat and is about 20 inches square. NASA will attempt to grow different crops in the future, but exactly which hasn’t been decided yet.

space-radish-1280x720.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#186
caltrek

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Bill Gates, Sustainable Agriculture Champion, Is America's Biggest Farmland Owner

 

https://www.msn.com/...ocid=uxbndlbing

 

Introduction:

(Newsweek) Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates owns 242,000 acres of farmland, making him America's biggest farmland owner. His investment in farming may be connected to his investments in climate change agricultural developments and Impossible Foods, a company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products.

 

Gates' 242,000 acres of farmland includes at least 100,000 acres of farmland in California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, and 15 other states, according to a 2014 Wall Street Journal profile of Michael Larson. Larson, who manages the Gates' personal portfolio and the holdings of the philanthropic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, helped coordinate the land purchases as one way to diversify the couple's profitable investments away from technology.

 

In 2017, Gates purchased $520 million in U.S. farmland owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board through its 2013 acquisition of the Agricultural Company of America, a real estate investment trust launched by Duquesne Capital Management and Goldman Sachs in 2007, according to Land Report.

 

Now Gates owns farmland in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. His top five largest farm holdings are 69,071 acres in Louisiana, 47,927 acres in Arkansas, 25,750 acres in Arizona, 20,588 acres in Nebraska and 14,828 acres in Florida.

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's initiatives include Gates Ag One, which focuses on research to help "smallholder farmers adapt to climate change and make food production in low- and middle-income countries more productive, resilient, and sustainable." The initiative would also seek to spread its sustainable farming methods over as much acreage as possible.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#187
caltrek

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Foodtech: Investors Pile Into Vegan-focused Venture Capital Fund

 

https://www.aljazeer...ture-capital-fu

 

Introduction:

(Al Jazeera) Investors are piling into a vegan-focused venture capital fund as the coronavirus pandemic highlights growing stresses in global food production.

 

Blue Horizon Ventures, a Zurich-based venture capital firm focused on making food more sustainable, has closed a 183 million-euro ($222 million) fund that will invest in startups from alternative proteins to smart packaging. The fund has attracted more than 100 investors and exceeded its initial target of raising 100 million euros, according to Managing Partner Michael Kleindl.

 

 “Due to the pandemic, the awareness of sustainability and the loopholes in the food system became so evident,” Kleindl said in an interview. “Covid has accelerated the shift of capital toward more impactful, more sustainable investments.”

 

Climate change, a growing population, and most recently the pandemic, have spurred a push for alternative food sources. Hoping to find the next Beyond Meat Inc. – which has surged fivefold since its 2019 initial public offering – investors are tapping the drive to replace meat with environmentally friendly alternatives or tackle problems such as food waste. Much of the investment in food of the future is being handled by venture capital firms.

 

Venture-capital investors funneled $18.1 billion into foodtech startups in 2020, largely thanks to the appeal of food delivery apps or online grocers, according to researcher PitchBook.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#188
caltrek

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2021: The Year for Ocean Equity - Managing Our Fisheries

 

https://www.packard....r-ocean-equity/

 

Extract:

(The David and Lucille Packard Foundation) A healthy ocean is a powerful force for good, providing oxygen and food, economic benefits, and opportunities for recreation and spiritual renewal, while sustaining cultural traditions.

 

However, these ocean benefits do not flow equitably. A recent report from the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy found, “overwhelming evidence that current access to ocean benefits and resources, as well as exposure to harms, is distributed inequitably. This results in negative effects on the environment and human health, loss of livelihoods, limited financial opportunities for vulnerable groups and challenges to nutritional and food security.”

 

…At the Packard Foundation, we are examining how best to support more just and equitable approaches to managing ocean resources and ocean conservation outcomes. There is so much work to be done, and we are encouraged by what is already underway to prioritize and address ocean equity. 

 

Consider overfishing. All over the world, large industrial fleets take as much seafood as they can from the ocean. This impacts ocean health and crowds out small-scale fishers who rely on the ocean to make a living and feed their families. Yet, fishing remains largely unmanaged by governments – and the regulations that do exist are rarely enforced. Research shows that fishing vessels that violate existing fishing regulations are much more likely to be linked to slavery, human trafficking, and other human rights abuses.

 

…A more equitable approach to improving ocean health requires changes to how we produce seafood. Over the past 25 years, the ocean conservation community has made significant progress in working with industry leaders to improve the environmental sustainability of seafood production. This work has increasingly focused on social and economic inequities that exist within seafood supply chains, including labor abuses in how fishing crews are recruited and treated at sea, unsafe work environments on vessels and in processing plants, and unequal distribution of economic benefits, especially for small-scale fishers and women. Including human well-being and ocean health as co-equal goals in fisheries and ocean management more generally is long overdue.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#189
caltrek

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An aspect of food that is easy to overlook: feeding livestock via forage.

 

Multiple Genomes Give Switchgrass an Advantage

 

https://www.nature.c...586-021-00212-x

 

Introduction:

(Nature) Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a keystone species of the North American tallgrass prairie. The habitats of switchgrass have undergone many cycles of contraction and expansion over time, owing to the advances and retreats of glaciers1,2. This makes it a good species in which to study how plants adapt to varied and variable environments — a timely subject, given that Earth is experiencing what is projected to be the most rapid change in global temperature for at least the past 65 million years3. Moreover, given its high biomass yield and tolerance to drought, switchgrass has long been bred as a forage crop for livestock, and has been studied as a model bioenergy feedstock crop since 19921. As such, the high-quality genome sequence for switchgrass now reported by Lovell et al.4 in Nature is of great value.

 

Polyploidy — having more than two complete sets of chromosomes — is a common theme in plant evolution, and has been hypothesized to promote the generation and preservation of gene variants that can confer adaptation to new ecological niches5,6. Like most polyploid plants, switchgrass arose from a cross between two species and a whole-genome duplication, thereby giving it four sets of chromosomes (a state called tetraploidy, involving two subgenomes, one from each parental species). Switchgrass plants have many different versions of each gene because progeny are typically produced from the mating of two genetically different individuals (they are outbred), rather than by self-pollination. Such complexity makes the genomes of polyploid outbred plants difficult to sequence, but Lovell et al. took advantage of advances in long-read DNA sequencing technology to generate a complete and highly accurate reference genome for tetraploid switchgrass (varieties that have eight sets of chromosomes also exist, but were not included in the current study).

 

The authors used this genome to estimate that the two parental species of switchgrass diverged from a common ancestor about 6.7 million years ago, and that the two genomes came back together in a whole-genome duplication at least 4.6 million years ago.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#190
caltrek

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As technology allowing genetic modification of organisms advances, the need (or at least the perceived need) for new regulations develops.  Here is a recent example of that rule making process from the Federal Register:

 

https://www.federalr...tic-engineering

 

Extract;

As outlined in the ANPR (advanced notice of proposed rulemaking published December 28, 2020), the United States Department of Agriculture would promulgate regulations using the authorities granted to the Department through the Animal Health Protection Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Pursuant to these authorities, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service would conduct a safety assessment of animals subject to the FMIA or PPIA that have been modified or developed using genetic engineering that may increase the animal's susceptibility to pests or diseases of livestock, including zoonotic diseases, or ability to transmit the same. The Food Safety and Inspection Service would conduct a pre-slaughter food safety assessment to ensure that the slaughter and processing of certain animals modified or developed using genetic engineering would not result in a product that is adulterated or misbranded.

 

So, your comments on this are not only welcomed here in this thread, bur also by the federal government (see provided link regarding the comment submission process). Comments to the federal government are now due on or before May 7, 2021. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#191
caltrek

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Monkeyface Prickleback, the New Face of Aquaculture?

 

https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/blogs/monkeyface-prickleback-the-new-face-of-aquaculture

 

Introduction:

(California Sea Grant) What has big lips, a memorable name, and might one day be a fixture on California sushi menus? The monkeyface prickleback! This white-fleshed fish is an excellent substitute for Unagi, or freshwater eel. Populations of that popular delicacy have declined dramatically due to wild harvest, climate change, and other human-caused stressors. European, Japanese and American eels are all listed as endangered. But monkeyface prickleback has the potential to be grown sustainably in captivity, and some think it could be a great candidate for aquaculture.

 

Monkeyface pricklebacks are West Coast natives, and are found in near-shore rocky reef and tidal habitats from Oregon to Baja California, Mexico. Long and eel-like, these fish can grow up to 30 inches in length and live for 18 years. Mature monkeyface pricklebacks are herbivores, feeding mostly on red and green algae, and are the only large-bodied herbivorous fish in Central and Northern California. This makes them a more sustainable fish to use in aquaculture compared to other species with differing diets. Most fish used for aquaculture have a carnivorous or omnivorous diet, requiring fish feed made with proteins from other fish or land-based sources. This increases the carbon footprint of the farmed fish, drives up costs, and makes the aquaculture less sustainable.

 

monkey_03192020_47840.jpg

Monkeyface Prickleback

https://honesttopaws...799&asv=1&bdk=0


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#192
kjaggard

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with a life span like that it sounds like it might be harder to cultivate them as a steady food source.

 

also why would omnivore fish be harder. feed agricultural waste to crickets, and crickets to fish. this isn't rocket surgery.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Food, CRISPR, GMO, Gene Modification, Agriculture

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