Horizon takes you to the Expo Milano 2015 world fair in Italy, where researchers show how they will feed future generations nutritiously and sustainably.
We talk to the scientists who are using genetic techniques and molecular methods to create pest-resistant feed crops, resilient fish, and plants that can produce food in hot and dry weather conditions.
We look at how traditional African foods are being improved through research, and discover how to manage forest lands to make the most of scarce rainfall.
We also speak to the next-level recyclers – the researchers who are finding ways to turn waste water into plastic bottles, and make food wrappers from lobster and shrimp shells.
Researchers may have figured out how to reduce the risk of becoming ill from eating chicken, and the answer is surprisingly simple. After trying without success to eliminate risky bacteria by vaccinating poultry or using viruses to kill bacteria, they have now launched an e-learning programme to prevent bacteria being carried into the slaughterhouse.
A strong bioeconomy, which uses technology to maximise the use of renewable resources, is the best way to ensure the sustainable production of food, materials, chemicals, and energy, according to Professor Erik Mathijs, chair of the foresight expert group for the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research, which presented its fourth foresight report at Expo Milano on 19 June.
Extreme weather and a changing climate are presenting new threats to the safety of our fish, seafood and vegetables, according to European scientists who are working out how to keep our food safe to eat.
The inability to access nutritious food due to poverty is the main reason people face food insecurity, an issue that affects people within the EU as well as in developing countries, according to Prof. Johan Swinnen, who is on the project management team of the EU-funded FOODSECURE project and sits on the EU scientific steering committee for Expo Milano.
The world looks very different from this time last year. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the centrality of science, research and innovation, accelerated some changes already in the works, but also exposed our weaknesses. In September, Horizon looks at how the pandemic is reshaping Europe in areas including health research, work, tech, transport and food – and how research can contribute to Europe’s recovery over the coming years. We will also be covering the European Research & Innovation Days at the end of the month, which will bring together scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs and citizens to debate how research and innovation can ensure that the transition to a post-coronavirus society is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.
In August, Horizon looks at one of the features that makes Earth unique and habitable: plate tectonics. We explore what we know – and still don’t know – about how the shifting plates beneath our feet shape our planet. We speak to researcher Dr Kate Rychert, who wants to understand what makes a plate plate-like, and delve into one of the outstanding mysteries in the subject – how and why plate tectonics began. We find out about the link between mountain formation, erosion and climate change, and we look at what moonquakes and marsquakes can reveal about tectonic activity elsewhere.
The ability of certain fish to heal damage to their hearts could lead to new treatments for patients who have suffered heart attacks and may also help to unravel how the lifestyle of our parents and grandparents can affect our own heart health.
A strange species of cavefish is helping to reveal why heart attacks cause permanent damage.
‘Industrial symbiosis’ is encouraging industry byproducts to be used for new purposes.
Dr Kate Rychert studies ocean plate structures.