Africa’s food requirements, along with its population, are growing fast. Three research programmes ask how a better understanding of viruses, parasites and the spread of disease can pave the way to improving agricultural yields.
Nothing quite says ‘Christmas party’ like the smell of mulled wine drifting around an office. It’s an easy drink to make – all of the ingredients can be purchased at your local supermarket. But have you ever wondered where the ingredients come from? Like Santa Claus, many of them have travelled halfway round the world to get here, say students from the Cambridge Global Food Security strategic research initiative.
The University of Cambridge is one of a number of British universities and companies that have won access to a £340 million EU Innovation programme to change the way we eat, grow and distribute food.
A photoreceptor molecule in plant cells has been found to moonlight as a thermometer after dark – allowing plants to read seasonal temperature changes. Scientists say the discovery could help breed crops that are more resilient to the temperatures expected to result from climate change.
Study of bee-manipulating plant virus reveals a “short-circuiting” of natural selection. Researchers suggest that replicating the scent caused by infection could encourage declining bee populations to pollinate crops – helping both bee and human food supplies.
Pablo Monsivais (MRC Epidemiology Unit) and Annalijn I. Conklin (University of California, Los Angeles) discuss what sort of diet can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Theresa Marteau (Behaviour and Health Research Unit) discusses how to get people to consume less sugar.
Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology) discusses how genetically modified crops could help solve the problem of food security.
People who live or work near to a greater number of takeaway outlets are more likely to eat more takeaway food and to be overweight, but new research indicates that neighbourhoods that are saturated with fast food outlets may be particularly unhealthy for people who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Thomas Burgoine and Pablo Monsivais (Centre for Diet and Activity Research) discuss how takeaways can make social inequality worse.