Tailor-made crop varieties for farmers

Bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) is one of the world’s most devastating plant diseases, with major crops such as tomato, potato and pepper being severely affected. Until now, crop breeders and farmers have had to simply wait for their crops to mature to determine the level of resistance to the disease. New research has shown that…
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TerraSentia: the automated crop monitoring robot

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois have developed a completely automated robot capable of monitoring crops in the field during growth periods with the aim of aiding crop breeders in the extensive task of developing and comparing plant cultivars.
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Nuclear technology used to develop high altitude barley in Peru

A new video from the International Atomic Energy Agency shows how radiation can be used to make mutations in crop plant DNA. This process applied to a large number of seeds creates a selection of mutants that can be tested to see how well they perform as crops. Research in Peru has led to the…
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Speedy crop breeding to help Japanese rice growers

The devastating tsunami that hit northeastern parts of Japan last March left thousands of acres of farmland damaged by saltwater. Much of this agricultural land was paddy fields, which were left with up to 25 cm of sand and mud deposited and highly saline conditions resulting from evaporation of the seawater. Scientists from the Sainsbury…
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Stopping Striga before it’s started

Striga, or witchweed, is the main weed affecting many cereals including rice, maize, sorghum and millet. One species, Striga hermonthica, is responsible for more crop loss in Africa than any other individual species of weed. Striga is a hemi-parasitic weed; its roots latch onto the roots of its host (e.g. a crop plant such as…
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