Volume 23. Number 4. 2018

Agriculture Minister of The Netherlands Opens Door to Genetic Modification

The Minister of Agriculture of The Netherlands, Carola Schouten, opens door to genetic modification. Minister Schouten wants to use genetic modification to make agriculture in The Netherlands more sustainable. She is currently working with companies, farmers, and Wageningen University to look at the possibilities for experimenting with the gene editing CRISPR-Cas method. According to reports, Minister Schouten will send a letter to the Parliament about their progress in the coming weeks. Crop Biotech Update (November 7, 2018)

USDA Approves GE Low-Gossypol Cotton

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the deregulation of genetically engineered cotton with ultra-low levels of gossypol in its seed, which was developed by experts at Texas A&M University.

Gossypol is a natural compound present in the pigments of cotton plants which protects them from pests and diseases. Scientists at Texas A&M modified the cotton plant to produce protective levels of gossypol in various plant parts but reduced in the seed. Low gossypol in the seeds is beneficial for agriculture because it reduces the refining cost of cottonseed oil and expands the application of cottonseed in the livestock and aquaculture feed industries. Crop Biotech Update. 24 October 2018

Soil Organic Matter Underlies Crop Nutritional Quality and Productivity in Smallholder Agriculture

Frédéric Baudron explains how research in Ethiopia has shown that soil with higher amounts of organic matter produces wheat with more nutrients. Managing soil in ways that makes it healthier can help fight poor nutrition. The Conversation 16-10-2018. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment Volume 266, 1 November 2018, Pages 100-108

Probiotics Protect Cantaloupes From Pathogens

Cantaloupes are subject to pathogenic contamination for a variety of reasons, including their proximity to soil and irrigation water, as well as contact with insects, animals, or humans during growth, harvesting, or processing. Now, scientists have identified a group of probiotics that successfully prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria on cantaloupe rinds. Read more... IFTNEXT Newsletter 10/10/18.

Suppressing Rice's Serotonin Production May Protect it From Pests

Rice is one of the world's most important foods, but insects like the brown plant-hopper and striped stem borer destroy billions of dollars of rice annually. Researchers from Zhejiang University (China) and Newcastle University (United Kingdom) recently published a study in Nature Plants that shows that it may be possible to enhance rice plants' resistance to insects by suppressing their serotonin production. IFTNEXT Newsletter 2 October 2018

An Effective Natural Flavonoid-Based Food Preservative

Most modern food preservatives are synthetic chemicals and some recent research has focused on the health risks concerned with consumption of these chemicals. This has fuelled interest in natural sources of food preservatives from plants and essential oils amongst other. A study conducted by researchers from Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, published in the journal Food Chemistry, has recently demonstrated the ability of a natural plant-based food preservative.

Rssl - Food e-news Edition 658 - September 2018

Cooking Oil Repels Bacteria On Food Equipment Surfaces

Researchers at the University of Toronto have come up with what appears to be an easy and cost-effective approach to reducing the threat of microbial pathogen contamination on food processing equipment: coating it with a thin layer of cooking oil. They found that the oil fills in microscopic scrapes, scratches, and grooves, creating a barrier to bacteria and biofilms. IFT Weekly 19 September 2018 (Link) Read more...

Taking Probiotics May Be Useless or Might Cause Harm.

Supplements of "friendly" bacteria often don't improve our gut microbiota and can be harmful after antibiotics, according to the most in-depth study yet. New Scientist 14/09/2018.

FOE Report Claims Gene-edited Crops Pose Health, Environmental Risks

Genetic editing of agricultural crops poses new health and environmental risks, according to a report titled "Gene-edited organisms in agriculture: Risks and unexpected consequences" from Friends of the Earth (FOE) and Logos Environmental.

"The unexpected and unintended effects of all genetically engineered organisms, regardless of whether 'traditional' or gene-edited genetic engineering techniques have been used, have the potential to cause environmental and human health problems," notes the report. "New genetic engineering techniques, like CRISPR, require further analysis in the context of agricultural ecosystems and the food system as a whole in order to properly assess their potential risks and hypothetical benefits."

The report recommends that "all genetic engineering techniques should fall within the scope of government regulatory oversight of genetic engineering and GMOs; the products of all techniques of genetic engineering, including gene editing, should be regulated using the Precautionary Principle to protect human health and the environment; and oversight and regulations should include independent assessment for safety and other long-term impacts before entering the market or environment, and products of all genetic engineering should be labeled and traceable." IFT Weekly 12 September 2018. Report (pdf)

Compounds in Giant Radish May Confer Cardiovascular Benefits.

Could a radish the size of a watermelon help to protect coronary blood vessels and prevent heart disease? That's one of the questions Katsuko Kajiya and her colleagues in the Department of Food Science & Biotechnology at Kagoshima University sought to answer when they investigated the effects of the giant Sakurajima daikon radish. IFTNEXT Newsletter 12 September 2018


GM Approval Updates

Nigeria approved maize events MON863 (IR), DAS40278 (HT), MON863 x MON810 x NK603 (HT + IR), and MON89034 x NK603 (HT + IR) for food and feed use.

Singapore approved soybean event SYHTØH2 (HT) and maize events MZHG0JG (HT) and 3272 (MPQ) for food use.

Nigeria approved soybean events A2704-12 (HT), DP 356043 (HT), A5547-127 (HT), MON87708 (HT), and FG72 (HT) for food and feed use.

Brazil approved maize event MZIR098 (HT + IR) for food and feed use.

Brazil approved cotton event 81910 (HT) for commercialization.

USA approved cotton event MON88702 (IR) for food use.

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fax +27 (0)86 625 2869 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.