What will be on our dinner plates in 50 years’ time? In October, Horizon examines how science is shaping the future of food.
As the pressure to feed more people grows alongside the urgency of reducing our environmental footprint, we talk to the scientists attempting to maximise our crop yields without increasing our environmental impact.
We look at how genetic screening could lead to an era of personalised nutritional advice, with people advised to follow diets specifically tailored to their own biology. We also find out how technology is transforming food packaging, and what impact cryopreservation could have on the way we store our food.
Finally, we find out how EU researchers are developing ways to enhance the healthy ingredients found in foods, making them even better for us.
Cryopreservation, in which organic material is stored at extremely low temperatures, may not yet have reached the science fiction dream of placing people in suspended animation, but technology inspired by hard-to-freeze fish is helping make it an effective way of preserving genetic plant material for future use.
‘I would like to show that when one uses novel concepts or thinks outside the box, there is no limit to yield ... the limit is just in our head,’ according to Professor Dani Zamir from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.
The world’s oceans are overfished, polluted and – for something that makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – still little understood. This month, Horizon looks at some of the science that could help us take better care of our oceans, from robots trash collectors out at sea to finding ways to track the plastic that enters our waters. Plus, we look at how climate change is affecting plans for sustainable aquaculture, tech that can help divers reduce the cost of their dives by more than 50%, and the challenges facing research in the Black Sea.
To mark the European year of cultural heritage, Horizon explores how science is helping to uncover more about our past and to preserve our art, landscapes, buildings and ways of life for the future. We discover why prehistoric humans chose to paint rock art where they did, and how farming techniques from hundreds of years ago could help fight climate change today. Plus, we learn how cultural heritage feeds into European identities and what can be done to prevent the destruction of historical sites during wartime.
The rise of alternative health practices and a quest for purity can partly explain the falling confidence in vaccines which is driving outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, according to Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision medicine at the UK’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is working to understand the causes of vaccine hesitancy in order to devise ways of rebuilding trust.
Some materials are special not for what they contain, but for what they don’t contain. Such is the case with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – ultra-porous structures that are being developed for a variety of future applications from fire-proofing to drug-delivery.
Understanding people’s fears is the key to increasing confidence.
Are metal organic frameworks the hole-y grail of nanomaterials?
A new report on how to reinvigorate Europe's industrial sector recommends prioritising AI and cyber security research.