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 model of our universe as expanding at an accelerated rate has given rise to theoretical constructs such as dark energy and dark matter, which scientists believe could make up 95% of the universe. In September, Horizon takes a deeper look at what we really know about the expanding universe. We speak to Prof. Subir Sarkar, who believes that the Nobel-winning discovery that universe expansion acceleration could be a fluke, and the scientists who are trying to answer the question by allowing us to better measure the expansion rate. We also look at the significance of accurately measuring gravity in deep space, and what dark matter haloes can tell us about the existence of dark energy.
This month, Horizon takes an in-depth look at a shared human trait – our emotions. We find out how science is seeking to better understand and regulate human emotions across a range of applications, from mental health to politics. We uncover the implications of a neuroscientist’s efforts to determine how the brain controls fear and anxiety, with possible implications for treating mental health disorders and autism. We explore how emotions shape our politics and ask whether this can help provide a different perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we look at research examining how apps and online games can help people manage their emotional sides.
A sister and brother who created shock-activated protective gear featuring a starch liquid for people who in-line skate, motorcycle and do other risky sports, won one of the three first prizes at this year’s European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS).
Winners from Germany and Canada take home top prizes.
New observations may provide alternative explanations for dark energy.
We need to double-check the evidence on dark energy, as it may not exist at all, says Prof. Subir Sarkar.