Introducing the Gizmag Store

Agriculture

Scientists are hoping their computing tool prototype will lead to better crops, like longe...

Researchers engaged in developing new strains of crops, such as drought-resistant wheat and new pesticides that are more environmentally-friendly, are also creating a computing tool that could help scientists predict how plants will react to different environmental conditions. It’s hoped their findings will help create better crops, such as tastier and longer-lasting tomatoes.  Read More

Can the Earth sustain 9 billion people? We'll find out in the next 50 years.

We're living in lucky times. Living standards - in the Western world, at least - are the highest in history. It's an era of relative peace and plenty that would amaze our ancestors. But it's not going to continue forever; we're already stretching many of our natural resources to their limits, and the world's population will jump from 6.5 billion to around 9 billion over the next 50 years. Get ready for a painful correction - here are four interconnected resources that are headed for a catastrophic squeeze within our lifetime.  Read More

Gizcast #9: can Vertical Farming solve the impending global food crisis?

In this week's Gizcast, we're privileged to be joined by Dr. Dickson Despommier of New York City, who is perhaps the world's leading expert on Vertical Farming, a topic we've covered several times in the past few years. Dr. Despommier speaks with Loz Blain about the social, economic and environmental issues we'll have to face as the Earth's population jumps to 9 billion in the next 40-50 years. If we keep farming the way we are now, we're simply going to run out of land to feed ourselves - so the solution seems clear: we need to start bringing food production and agriculture into the high-rise age. The farms of the future, it seems, will be skyscrapers. Geoffrey Baird also joins us for a weekly roundup of top stories.  Read More

Ordinary plants struggle to grow in saline conditions while the modified plants thrive in ...

Salt might be great with popcorn and peanuts, but it’s not so good with soil. The U.N. estimates that the world loses at least three hectares of arable land every minute because of soil salinity. Most crops simply can’t cope with too much salt. Which is why a breakthrough by a team at the University of Adelaide in Australia could have a profound effect on the food supplies of our future: they’ve found a way to genetically modify plants to become more salt tolerant.  Read More

The vertical farm concept will be located on New York City's Rossevelt Island

Building another skyscraper in the middle of New York may not seem like an environmentally-sound project. That is of course, unless said skyscraper is capable of providing a sprawling urban populous with self-sustaining production of food, reuse of natural resources and biodegradeable waste. Enter The Dragonfly, a dazzling, ethereal design from Vincent Callebaut Architectures which underlines the future potential of vertical farming.  Read More

Graduate student Alex Bartman works with the M3 water filtration and desalination system (...

Desalination is a popular source of potable water in Middle Eastern countries, where large energy reserves and the relative scarcity of water suitable for drinking led to desalination in the region accounting for close to 75% of total world capacity in 2007. If that figure hasn’t already dropped it almost certainly will as access to clean water becomes an issue for many places around the globe. And the shortage isn’t just limited to developing countries, with places like California and parts of Australia facing their worst droughts in recorded history. A new mini-mobile-modular (M3) “smart” water desalination and filtration system could help determine the feasibility of desalination in areas that may be considering it for the first time.  Read More

Fish oils may reduce the methane released by cattle

Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have many documented benefits to humans including the reduction of cholesterol, but what of the benefits to animals and the environment in general? While assisting the heart and circulatory system in animals and improving the meat quality in cattle, it is also, according to researchers at the University College Dublin beneficial in reducing methane levels from flatulence when added to the diet of cattle, meaning it's also good for the environment.  Read More

Picking fruit 21st century style

March 26, 2009 When consuming your five a day of fruit and vegetables, have you ever stopped to consider the back breaking labor and significant resources involved in their production? According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratories (CSAIL), the robotic, computerized answer to minimizing these factors could be just around the corner. Students at the laboratory have undertaken a project that utilizes robots to take the thinking and manual labor out of producing specialty crops such as fruit and vegetables.  Read More

New Holland's prototype NH2 hydrogen powered tractor

Tractors may not be the sexiest of vehicles, and they probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind when thinking about environmental friendliness, but agricultural equipment manufacturer New Holland is looking to change that with the production of a prototype tractor that is powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell.  Read More

Eric Vergne's Dystopian Farm concept

More than 50% of our planet's massive human population is concentrated into urban centres - and on current estimates, that's likely to be as high as 80% by the year 2050, a year many of us will be around to see. So the challenge facing today's forward-thinking architects is how to create positive outcomes out of a crushing space constraint. Going upwards, in projects like Eugene Tsui's Ultima Tower and the London Vertical Village concept, seems to offer some practical solutions to the living space conundrum - but what about feeding all those people? Vertical Aeroponic Farming seems to be an idea whose time has come - it will let us use land, nutrients, power and water much more efficiently than ever before, while delivering a quality-controllable, year-round and emissions-positive food source for urban communities. Eric Vergne's Dystopian Farm is a design study that examines how a vertical farm might use the latest in agricultural and architectural technology to feed the cities of the future.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 26,500 articles