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What Are Bioproducts?

Bioproducts are defined as naturally occurring living organisms (bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, plants, etc.) and extracts of living organisms, used to control pests and diseases, enhance growth of and protect plants and animals in indoor and outdoor environments. Bioproducts basically fall into two categories – Biocontrol agents (or products) and Biostimulants.

Biological control – or biocontrol – is the use of living organisms, such as insects, or bacterial and fungal pathogens, to control pest populations. Biostimulants are products that stimulate natural processes in the plant or around the roots to enhance nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, increased tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality, vigour and yield.

Read more at SABO

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Sustainable Inputs Drive South Africa’s Quest for Thriving Ag Market

Agriculture comprises 2.7% of South Africa’s GDP, employs 4.6% of its labor force of 22.2 million (of its 59-million-strong population), and is dominated by production of corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables. Biopesticides, like in many developed ag economies, are in the nascent stage in South Africa and present untapped growth in Integrated Pest Management programs. Important export markets, most notably Europe, require stringent maximum residue limit (MRL) standards, which has increased buzz around and adoption of biosolutions. It isn’t just residue limits driving the market, but also pest resistance management, and the trend towards better quality and quantity in food production and ensuring a sustainable environment.

Read more at AgriBusinessGlobal

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Changing the fate of tons of fruit waste

Reducing waste in the fruit industry and taking care of the environment has been a central goal of the industry worldwide, and Chile’s new biodegradable plastic has been developed to further those efforts. The innovation – called NatPol – was created through a fermentation process in which scientists transformed fruit residue into plastics. Using waste and residue from agricultural products, researchers were able to create a plastic container that adheres to industry packing standards, makes production processes in packing more efficient and provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics.

Read more at FreshFruitPortal

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AGRICULTURE: A Guide to Alternative Delivery Systems for Local Producers

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts local food systems, local farmers and markets must adapt to ensure consumers can access fresh, nutritious food. There are numerous ways that local producers can offer products to consumers while practicing social distancing, and farmers’ markets can make adjustments to minimize community spread of COVID-19. Alternative delivery system options includes on-farm pickups or roadside stands, off-farm pickups or pop-up markets, on-farm grocery market, online orders, local grocers and co-ops/regional distributors.

Read more at Purdue University

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Pesticide Fear Is Ill-Founded and Harmful to Public Health

There is nothing inherently wrong with sharing information with the public about the presence of pesticide residues in food. Consumers are constantly asking for greater transparency about the food they eat. However, it is also critical to provide consumers with context for such information. Consumers should not be afraid of the food they eat. Instead they should feel confident that whatever fruits and vegetables they purchase will be safe and nutritious and contribute to the well-being of their family. A 2015 analysis of dietary exposure to pesticides in the International Journal of Food Contamination concluded that pesticides in the diet continue to be at levels far below those of health concern.

Media scare tactics leave consumers afraid rather than informed.

Read more at Futurity

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What is food loss and food waste?

Food loss is the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by food suppliers in the chain, excluding retailers, food service providers and consumers. Food waste refers to the decrease in the quantity or quality of food resulting from decisions and actions by retailers, food service providers and consumers. Reducing food loss and waste is critical to creating a Zero Hunger world and reaching the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2 (End Hunger) and SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns). 

Read more at FAO

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Indian govt exempts agriculture-farming, allied activities from Covid-19 lockdown

Government has granted relaxation in the nationwide lockdown for activities related to agriculture-farming and allied activities with a view to address problems being faced by the farming community. Categories exempted from the lockdown include agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, markets operated by the agriculture produce market committee, farming operations by farmers and farm workers in the field, manufacturing and packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seed, and intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines.

Read more at The Star

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Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?

Starting in the 1990s, as part of its economic transformation, China ramped up its food production systems to industrial scale. One side effect of this was that smallholding farmers were undercut and pushed out of the livestock industry. Searching for a new way to earn a living, some of them turned to farming “wild” species that had previously been eaten for subsistence only. Wild food was formalised as a sector, and was increasingly branded as a luxury product. But the smallholders weren’t only pushed out economically. As industrial farming concerns took up more and more land, these small-scale farmers were pushed out geographically too – closer to uncultivable zones. Closer to the edge of the forest, that is, where bats and the viruses that infect them lurk. The density and frequency of contacts at that first interface increased, and hence, so did the risk of a spillover.

Read more at The Guardian

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Revolutionary Carbon Foam from Wood

Carbon foam — a stiff, porous structure formed from a web of carbon atoms — is the stuff of manufacturers’ dreams. The breakthrough material is strong but lightweight, non-flammable and able to maintain its performance at high temperatures, and capable of absorbing sound and radiation. This unique combination of traits means carbon foam is brimming with potential applications across military, aerospace, and commercial industries. Scientists at the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Lab and Ligsteel LLC are working with Domtar, Inc to develop high-value carbon foam from lignin, the substance in a plant’s cell walls that makes it rigid. Lignin is cheap and readily available — 70 million tons are produced by the pulping and paper industries each year.

Read more at USDA

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Can cows be used to fight coronavirus?

Bovine plasma donors genetically engineered to produce human antibodies are in the front lines of the struggle against coronavirus. SAB Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company injects cows with a noninfectious part of the virus, causing them to produce fully human antibodies that will actually neutralize and bind to the live virus. Since the cows are born with human antibodies, “they recognize them as just being a part of themselves”. Polyclonal antibodies bind to multiple epitopes on the virus and so it’s much more difficult for the virus to mutate and become resistant.

Read more at Agri-Pulse