Can we improve heat tolerance in rice? An interview with Dr Jordan Robson

Jordan Robson works on heat tolerance in rice populations. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Palaeobenchmarking Resilient Agricultural Systems project. Prior to this she completed her PhD in Prof Zoe Wilson’s lab in Plant Sciences at UoN.   Tell me about your work. What is your research about? My research is based on …

How should uncertainty in spatial information be communicated?

This post is written by Dr Christopher Chagumaira with contributions from Prof Murray Lark.  Many and varied people have to make decisions about environmental management, be they farmers, policy-makers or managers, and spatial information about environmental variables (e.g., soil properties) is essential for this task. Within the Future Food Beacon, the GeoNutrition project is concerned …

Underutilized crops and their future potentials

The importance of crop diversification, for biodiversity and to cope with extreme weathers brought on by climate change, has never been more important. At the University of Nottingham, we have set up a Crop Diversification Unit, led by Dr Sean Mayes, to examine traditionally underutilized crops and their potentials as alternative sources of food for …

Future Food PhD wins prestigious Carlos Fuentes award

Karla G. Hernandez-Aguilar, a PhD candidate with the Palaeobenchmarking Resistant Agricultural Systems project, has been awarded a Carlos Fuentes award by the Mexican Society of the UK for her PhD research. Karla’s PhD project is titled: Understanding microenvironments and the potential of traditional agricultural systems in a changing climate in Mexico and Belize. Her interdisciplinary …

Small Islands and Developing States, food systems and climate change

The food systems of Small Islands and Developing States are particularly susceptible to climate change. They therefore require different strategies and thinking on this challenge, argue Ee Von Goh,  Chiew Foan Chin, Christina Vimala Supramaniam, Andrew Clarke, and Pau Loke Show. Small island developing states (SIDS) are disproportionately affected by climate change. SIDS are considered …

Supporting small scale farmers in developing countries

Diversifying agriculture away from limited cereal crops is important for surviving and building resilience to climate change. It also enables small scale farmers to build socio-economic flexibility, and food and nutritional security, argue Sean Mayes and Festo Massawe. Our current reliance on three major cereal crops for 60% of plant-based calories worldwide is risky. Climate …

Surviving drought: The root of the problem in Bambara groundnut

We must pay attention to those parts of plants we cannot see, to fully understand why some plants withstand environmental stress, like drought, better than others, says Kumbirai Ivyne Mateva. Imagine walking out into a crop field. What do you notice? Perhaps you see lush green vegetation swaying ever so majestically in the breeze (Figure 1). …

The nutritional quality of crops and the impact of climate change

Today at COP26, discussions are focused around public empowerment and education in climate action. Galvanising public action is difficult but not impossible. Grace Kangara explains how promoting locally available organic nutrient resources to farmers is key to both improving soils and improving the nutritional quality of crops, ensuring the availability of micronutrient-dense foods at the …

The problem of cadmium in cocoa beans

We are identifying ways to produce safer chocolate in order to help small-holder farmers, say David Salt, David Gopaulchan and Gabriel Castrillo Cadmium is a potentially toxic heavy metal that can be found in various foods through bioaccumulation from the soil. It occurs naturally in soils (from volcanic activity, forest fires, and rock weathering), but …

The effects of increasing night time temperatures on plants

It is vital to explore the night time processes of plants to protect our crops from changing climatic conditions, say Prof Erik Murchie and Dr Lorna McAusland The last decade (2009-2019) was the warmest on record. With global temperatures predicted to increase between 2-5 °C over the next 30 years, and more frequent, longer lasting …