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

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


Climate change has consequences for agriculture worldwide.

Researchers say free trade can help climate change hunger

Science Notes: Climate change will impact regions in different ways

Reading Time: 2 minutes Researchers from KU Leuven, the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and RTI International investigated the effects of trade on hunger in the world as a result of climate change. They found that international trade can compensate for regional food shortages and reduce hunger, particularly when protectionist measures and other barriers to trade are […] Read more

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a tiny camera that can ride aboard an insect. Here a Pinacate beetle explores the UW campus with the camera on its back.

A GoPro for beetles

Science Notes: Camera backpack for insects could help researchers better understand insects

Reading Time: 2 minutes In the movie “Ant-Man,” the title character can shrink in size and travel by soaring on the back of an insect. Now researchers at the University of Washington have developed a tiny wireless steerable camera that can also ride aboard an insect, allowing a real-life view from the back of an insect. The camera, which […] Read more

A research paper estimates that 70 tonnes of two of the most critically important antibiotics in human medicine are sprayed on rice crops in Southeast Asia each year.

Antibiotic use on crops more widespread than thought

Science Notes: Few monitoring systems exist, compared to extensive tracking of animal use

Reading Time: 2 minutes The world is more aware of the overuse of antibiotics and the development of resistance in bacterial populations. This has led to calls for greater control and monitoring of their use in both human and veterinary medicine. What is less well known is that antibiotics are routinely used in crop production and according to new […] Read more


A new form of antimicrobial would be a significant help in combatting antimicrobial resistance.

New killing mechanism discovered in ‘game-changing’ antibiotic

Science Notes: AMR is seen as a threat to human health and prosperity

Reading Time: 2 minutes Scientists at the University of Liverpool and University of Utrecht have taken another step forward on their quest to develop a viable drug based on teixobactin – a new class of potent natural antibiotic capable of killing superbugs. Research published in Nature Communications provides fundamental new insights into how teixobactins kill bacteria, including the discovery of a […] Read more

Individual ash trees can be treated with insecticide to protect against Emerald Ash Borer, but that’s not a solution for a woodlot.

Resistant trees found to resist ash borer

Science Notes: Gene editing could place resistance genes into ash species currently affected by EAB

Reading Time: 2 minutes An international team of scientists have identified candidate resistance genes that could protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a deadly pest that is expected to kill billions of trees worldwide. In the new study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, […] Read more