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— Health and Wellbeing

Antibiotic-free method to protect animals from common infections

A herd of cattle or a flock of chickens may appear very bucolic, but they're actually ground zero for an ongoing arms race between scientists and disease-causing bacteria. Antibiotics have been a major weapon in the fight against animal infection, but they've also sparked evolutionary forces that create drug-resistant bacteria that render those very antibiotics ineffective, posing a major risk to animals and humans alike. Now a University of Wisconsin-Madison team is developing a method of fighting a major group of animal infections without antibiotics. Read More
— Environment

Researchers develop system for on-farm biofuel and animal feed production

Building on methods used by farmers to produce silage for feeding livestock, Japanese researchers have developed a technology for simultaneous biofuel and animal feed production which doesn't require off-site processing. The solid-state fermentation (SSF) system captures ethanol produced as a result of fermentation resulting from wrapping rice plants grown to feed livestock in a plastic-covered bale containing yeast, enzymes and bacteria. Read More
— Environment

ESA successfully tests FLEX instrument, designed to create maps of photosynthetic activity

The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully tested its Fluorescence Explorer mission (FLEX), which is vying for a spot on the organisation’s eight Earth Explorer satellite. The mission, which aims to create global maps of photosynthetic activity, will allow for the identification of vegetation suffering degrees of stress that simply aren’t visible to the human eye. It has the potential to significantly further our understanding of the global carbon cycle, and could have an impact on agricultural management. Read More
— Robotics

VineRobot will keep tabs on the grapes

While many of us may fantasize about running a vineyard someplace like the south of France, doing so wouldn't actually be all ... well, wine and roses. For one thing, you'd need to regularly walk up and down all those rows of vines, continuously stopping to check on the plants themselves and their grapes. It's the sort of thing that it would be nice if a robot could do. A robot like the VineRobot. Read More
— Around The Home

Plantui Plantation gives the smart garden room to grow

Harsh, cold winters and scarce arable land make growing crops a challenge in Finland. A team of entrepreneurs hailing from the icy nordic nation believe this gives them a certain authority when it comes to growing crops indoors. Launched on Indiegogo yesterday, the team's Plantui Plantation hydroponic smart garden is aimed at giving urban green thumbs the capability to raise almost any kind of plant indoors, up two meters (6.6 ft) in height. Read More
— Good Thinking

Barsha pump provides irrigation water, but doesn't need fuel

Climate-KIC, a European-union climate innovation initiative, recently selected a jury of entrepreneurs, financiers and business people to award funding to what they felt were Europe’s best clean-tech innovations of 2014. Taking first place was Dutch startup aQysta, a Delft University of Technology spin-off company that manufactures what's known as the Barsha irrigation pump. It can reportedly boost crop yields in developing nations by up to five times, yet requires no fuel or electricity to operate. Read More