Scientists look to get more mileage out of plant enzymes

Science Notes: A way has been found to evaluate how long a given enzyme lasts

Reading Time: 2 minutes Enzymes play essential roles in the cells of every living thing, from bacteria to plants to people. Some do their jobs a few times and fizzle out. Others can repeat a task hundreds of thousands of times before they quit. Organisms put a lot of energy into replacing worn out enzymes, energy they could put […] Read more

Higher protein levels suggested for dairy calf starter

Higher protein levels suggested for dairy calf starter

Science Notes: University study looks to find a winning combination

Reading Time: 2 minutes Dairy producers know early nutrition for young calves has far-reaching impacts, both for the long-term health and productivity of the animals and for farm profitability.  With the goal of increasing not just body weight but also lean tissue gain, a new University of Illinois study finds enhanced milk replacer with high crude-protein dry starter feed […] Read more

Drones and AI detect soybean maturity with high accuracy

Drones and AI detect soybean maturity with high accuracy

Science notes: The technology could greatly reduce the need for boots on the ground

Reading Time: 2 minutes Walking rows of soybeans in the midsummer heat is an exhausting but essential chore in breeding new cultivars. Researchers brave the heat daily during crucial parts of the growing season to look for plants showing desirable traits such as early pod maturity. But without a way to automate detection of these traits, breeders can’t test […] Read more

When resistance genes become a secret door

When resistance genes become a secret door

Science Notes: Genetic mechanism that produces oat blight discovered

Reading Time: 2 minutes A multi-institution team co-led by a Cornell University researcher has identified the genetic mechanisms that enable the production of a deadly toxin called Victorin — the causal agent for Victoria blight of oats, a disease that wiped out oat crops in the United States in the 1940s. Victoria blight is caused by the fungus Cochliobolus […] Read more

Forests in northern countries sequester more carbon when there are more trees versus more species diversity.

Density, not diversity key to northern forest carbon sequestration

Science Notes: Forests can play a crucial role in mitigating climate change

Reading Time: 2 minutes An international team led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) has found that carbon sequestration is best in forests in cold and dry regions with an abundance of trees, not diversity of species. Inventory data from natural forests on five continents show that species diversity is optimal for equatorial and tropical rainforests, and that, conversely, […] Read more


Total factor productivity is growing at an average annual rate of 2.37 per cent, driven largely by China and Brazil.

Uneven farm productivity report shows COVID impacts

Science Notes: Some countries more vulnerable to pandemic-scale outbreaks than others.

Reading Time: 2 minutes The 2020 Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report) — Productivity in a Time of Pandemics — released by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, raises concerns about the resilience of agricultural systems in the face of pandemic-scale outbreaks that afflict people, crops, and livestock. New data from the United States Department of […] Read more

Enzyme helps grafting among different plant species

Science Notes: Tobacco plant maintains grafts among many scions and rootstocks

Reading Time: 2 minutes Grafting is a horticultural technique that joins plants together by means of tissue regeneration, combining desirable characteristics of both plants. Generally, grafts have been thought to be compatible only between the same or closely related species. However, scientists at Nagoya University and colleagues in Japan recently found that the tobacco plant Nicotiana benthamiana promotes adhesion […] Read more

A Monarch butterfly only lays its eggs on milkweed plants.

Milkweed key to building monarch butterfly numbers

Science Notes: Monarchs appear to successfully migrate, but there’s concern about declining numbers

Reading Time: 2 minutes A recently published analysis of data on tagged monarch butterflies migrating from the United States to Mexico emphasizes the importance of creating new habitat to ensure the future of the species’ iconic migratory pattern. The study, published recently in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, drew on data collected on 1.4 million monarch butterflies […] Read more


Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have been rare in part because of the amount of rare materials needed to manufacture fuel cells.

Breakthrough could make hydrogen vehicles more feasible

Science Notes: Less platinum generates more promise for fuel cells' potential

Reading Time: 2 minutes Only a few of the roughly one billion cars and trucks on global roads run on hydrogen. This could change after a breakthrough achieved by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, a new catalyst that can be used to produce cheaper and far more sustainable hydrogen powered vehicles. Hydrogen has held potential as an alternative […] Read more

Specialized cellular compartments discovered in bacteria

Specialized cellular compartments discovered in bacteria

Science Notes: Discovery of bacterial “organs” could pave the way for a new generation of antibiotics

Reading Time: 2 minutes Researchers at McGill University have discovered bacterial organelles involved in gene expression, suggesting that bacteria may not be as simple as once thought. This finding could offer new targets for the development of new antibiotics. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to show that E. coli uses similar […] Read more