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  • Crop exposure to sunlight may be affected by air pollution, climate change and geoengineering. Empirical estimates of the effects of atmospheric opacity on sunlight reveal important changes in maize and soy yields in the United States, Europe, Brazil and China.

    • Jonathan Proctor
  • Molecular interactions between polyphenol targets and proteins associated with disease are explored through a network medicine framework. The network proximity of polyphenol protein targets to disease proteins can predict therapeutic effects, highlighting more broadly the potential of network medicine as a tool for nutritional sciences.

    • Italo F. do Valle
    • Harvey G. Roweth
    • Albert-László Barabási
  • Conservative to disruptive changes in dietary patterns of French adults from the NutriNet-Santé cohort are considered for reducing environmental impacts, increasing organic food consumption, providing adequate nutrition and being economically acceptable. A progressive substitution of animal products by plant products across dietary scenarios more closely aligned dimensions of sustainability.

    • Louise Seconda
    • Helene Fouillet
    • Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot
  • Using spatial statistics and scenario analysis, Wang et al. identify the rural land most suitable for crop production in more than 2,800 Chinese counties. They estimate that a targeted increase in China’s urbanization level could release almost 6 million hectares of rural land for agriculture.

    • Sitong Wang
    • Xuemei Bai
    • Baojing Gu
  • Data on GHG emissions from the food system are mostly scattered across sectors and remain unavailable in many countries. EDGAR-FOOD, a globally consistent food emission database, brings together emissions from food-related land use and land-use change, production, processing, distribution, consumption and residues over 1990–2015 at country level.

    • M. Crippa
    • E. Solazzo
    • A. Leip
  • Food systems rely on plastics, but a top-level understanding of their effects on environmental, food security and human health remains poorly explored. The systematic scoping review presented here describes the research landscape from 2000 onwards, finding many publications on agricultural production, but gaps in our knowledge on low-income regions and outcomes for human health.

    • Joe Yates
    • Megan Deeney
    • Suneetha Kadiyala
  • Demand for animal products in East Africa is projected to rise, but climate change-induced temperature increases will negatively impact livestock production. This modelling study quantifies the potential frequency and length of dangerous heat-stress events for the six main livestock types, identifies the regions that will be most affected and highlights the types of livestock that will be most at risk.

    • Jaber Rahimi
    • John Yumbya Mutua
    • Klaus Butterbach-Bahl
  • In South Africa, GM white maize has been grown for direct human consumption, whereas GM yellow and conventional hybrid maize have been cultivated primarily for livestock feed. Across 106 locations, 28 years, 491 cultivars, and 49,335 dryland and 9,617 irrigated observations in South Africa, GM maize showed increased mean yields over conventional hybrid maize, and GM white maize showed higher increased yields than GM yellow maize.

    • Aaron M. Shew
    • Jesse B. Tack
    • Safiah Maali
  • Starch bioaccessibility is limited by an intact cell wall. Type 1 and type 2 cell walls, exemplified by chickpea and durum wheat, confer variable dimensions of cell integrity, digestion kinetics and starch bioaccessibility to unprocessed and processed foods. Tissue fracture properties and cell wall permeability emerge here as mechanisms by which dietary fibre affects starch bioaccessibility.

    • Cathrina H. Edwards
    • Peter Ryden
    • Peter R. Ellis
  • Sudan faces population growth to 80 million people, rising temperatures and trebling in demand for wheat by 2050. Crop modelling under climate and socioeconomic scenarios indicates the regional rates of yield growth that must be achieved by breeding heat-tolerant varieties to adapt wheat production to climate change and increased demand.

    • Toshichika Iizumi
    • Imad-Eldin A. Ali-Babiker
    • Hisashi Tsujimoto
  • System-level analysis on the effects of soil biodiversity on cropping system is lacking. Across conventionally managed European fields, the proportion of time with crop cover during the past ten-year rotation has a greater impact than crop diversity on soil microbial diversity, soil multifunctionality and crop yield.

    • Gina Garland
    • Anna Edlinger
    • Marcel G. A. van der Heijden
  • Understanding the propagation or attenuation of environmental variability and shocks along food supply chains is key to food security. This scoping review identifies entry points for variability, the main factors for variability diffusion, research gaps in terms of food items and types of shock studied, and risk reduction responses at individual, company and governmental levels.

    • Kyle Frankel Davis
    • Shauna Downs
    • Jessica A. Gephart
  • Chinese vegetable production accounts for 1.7% of the global harvest area of crops but uses 7.8% of the chemical fertilizer and produces 6.6% of the crop-sourced greenhouse gas emissions of the global agricultural sector. An innovative management programme offers opportunities for producing more vegetables with lower environmental impacts.

    • Xiaozhong Wang
    • Zhengxia Dou
    • Xinping Chen
  • The European Union relies on imports of soybean for protein-rich animal feeds. Scenarios of animal-source food supply in the EU under constraints relating to soybean production and imports for animal feed are assessed for effect on land use and human diets in the EU.

    • Johan O. Karlsson
    • Alejandro Parodi
    • Elin Röös
  • Increasing pressure on the world’s water resources raises serious concerns about future food security. This global, spatially explicit assessment of water consumption reveals where and by how much sustainable blue water flows are infringed. The study covers 146 food items for 174 countries over 1996–2005.

    • Mesfin M. Mekonnen
    • Arjen Y. Hoekstra
  • Disentangling the impacts of anti-deforestation interventions from other conservation efforts remains a challenge. An econometric analysis of remotely sensed data reveals the efficacy of the Soy Moratorium in the Brazilian Arc of Deforestation and the extent to which its success relies on complementary policies.

    • Robert Heilmayr
    • Lisa L. Rausch
    • Holly K. Gibbs