FOOD BITES: JUNE 2018

Vegetables Harvested in Antarctica Without Sun, Soil or Pesticides

Scientists in Antarctica have harvested the first crop of vegetables grown without soil, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets. Researchers at Germany’s Neumayer Station III say eight pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes....

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FOOD BITES: JULY 2018

Magnesium Treats Depression

As little as 248 mg of magnesium per day leads to an astounding reversal of depression syndrome, according to research conducted at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and published in the journal PLoS One in June 2017.

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FOOD BITES: AUGUST 2018

Source of Yuma E. Coli Romaine Found

Federal officials first announced on April 13 an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown and produced in the Yuma, Ariz., area. Federal investigators found the source of the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 on July 28: canal water.

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FOOD BITES: JUNE 2018

Vegetables Harvested in Antarctica Without Sun, Soil or Pesticides

Scientists in Antarctica have harvested the first crop of vegetables grown without soil, daylight or pesticides as part of a project designed to help astronauts cultivate fresh food on other planets. Researchers at Germany’s Neumayer Station III say eight pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes were grown inside a high-tech greenhouse as temperatures outside dropped below -4 degrees Fahrenheit. The plants were grown without soil in a closed-water circle with an LED light system. The German Aerospace Center DLR, which coordinates the project, announced on April 5 that by May scientists hope to harvest more than eight to 11 pounds of fruit and vegetables a week. While NASA has successfully grown greens on the International Space Station using a similar system, DLR’s Antarctic project aims to produce a wider range of vegetables and a more substantial harvest that might one day be grown on Mars or the moon, says Daniel Schubert, project leader of the DLR research initiative E.D.E.N. (Evolution and Design of Environmentally-closed Nutrition Sources).


USDA: No Regulations For CRISPR-Edited Foods

CRISPR-edited foods will not be regulated in the same way as other GMOs, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since 2016, at least a dozen CRISPR-edited crops have fallen outside the organization’s regulatory purview, and this announcement makes its stance official: Effective immediately, certain gene- edited plants can be designed,

grown and sold for consumption without regulation. “With this approach, the USDA seeks to allow innovation when there is no risk present,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in a statement. The logic says gene editing is simply a faster, more direct way to genetically alter plants than other plant-breeding techniques currently not regulated. This new regulation only effects genetic editing between similar plant species. Previously, scientists would merge genes from bacteria and viruses found in plant pests with a plant’s DNA. Although it worked, scientists weren’t able to control where those genes would be inserted, and this led to concerns about unnatural genetic manipulation. With this new ruling, crops will not be subject to special regulations as long as the gene alteration could have been bred in the plant and the gene-edited plants don’t contain foreign material. This gives CRISPR-edited plants a bypass through the red tape required for other GMOs and the regulations overseeing agricultural biotechnology. Using CRISPR, engineers can breed plants to enhance shelf life, make them taste better or increase their resilience in the face of ongoing environmental pressures. Already in the works are extra-sweet strawberries, white button mushrooms that don’t brown, better- tasting tomatoes and drought-resistant corn.


ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover