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How do plant roots branch towards water?

Plant roots need to forage for water and nutrients in the soil. These key resources are not distributed equally through the soil so plants therefore have to send their roots towards the best available sources of water and nutrients. If plants couldn’t flexibly adapt to changing conditions in their environments, they would struggle to thrive …

The new agricultural bill: soils, sustainability and farming

It may have already left your news feed, but a few weeks ago a new agricultural bill was presented in parliament. We spoke to some of our local soil and plant scientists, Prof Sacha Mooney, President of the British Society of Soil Science, and Prof Malcolm Bennett, and Prof David Salt on what the new …

Giant Swamp Taro: plant for the future?

Giant Swamp Taro (Cyrtosperma merkusii) is an underutilised but highly productive plant native to the North Sulawesi region of Indonesia. It can grow up to 5 metres tall, and may produce tubers underground that are 2 metres in diameter and up to 3 metres in length. It grows in flooded, brackish conditions. This makes it an …

Global-local knowledge systems for innovation and entrepreneurship in the developing world: An international workshop in Nottingham, 2-3 May 2019

This post was written by Dr Bin Wu and Dr Peter Noy. About 2 billion people (two thirds of the population) in the developing world live on about 500 million small farms, defined as plots of land smaller than 2 hectares. Smallholder farmers are “knowledge-rich, but economically poor” and there is a significant gap in …

The Inaugural University Food Challenge!

Wednesday 27 February 2019 was a truly special day for the Institute of Food Science and Technology Student Group. The inaugural IFST University Food Challenge event was held at Coventry University. Teams from five different institutions: University College Birmingham, University of Nottingham, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Coventry University and Oxford Brookes University competed against each other to …

Meet the Beacon: Dr Michael Pound

Michael Pound is a Nottingham Research Fellow in Computer Vision and member of the Future Food Beacon of Excellence. Mike is a computer scientist whose research focuses on the development of novel computer vision techniques. Within the Beacon, he is working with bioscientists to apply these computer vision techniques to plant phenotyping, providing accurate measurement of …

How to feed the mission to Mars, a talk by Dr Michele Perchonok

In December, the University of Nottingham Division of Food Science, and the Future Food Beacon were pleased to host Dr Michele Perchonok, current president of IFT, to a lecture on the question of feeding the mission to Mars. In this blog post, third year PhD candidate, James Huscroft, reflects on her talk and the logistics …

Innovation Challenge: Reflections and Project Announcements

The focus of the Future Food Beacon is to find solutions to the twinned challenges of enough nutritious food for the planet under changing and increasingly testing conditions; and providing foods that reduce diseases of affluence, like diabetes and obesity. Our focus runs along two themes: agricultural resilience, and food for health and healthy ageing. We …

CEPHaS: understanding soil water and its potentials for agriculture

Conservation agriculture (CA) is a set of practices which have been proposed to improve the resilience and sustainability of crop production, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where food security is endangered by the increasing frequency and intensity of drought seasons under climate change.  In CA, the structure of the soil is not disturbed by cultivation, …