Reviews & Analysis

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  • Advancing wheat sowing dates has a large benefit to crop yields in the Eastern Ganges Plain of India. The contribution of better crop calendar management to yield gains should be studied more extensively around the world, especially in underperforming regions.

    • Beibei Liu
    • Yi Yang
    News & Views
  • Conventional nitrogen fertilizers are costly for human and environmental health. This Perspective discusses barriers and opportunities in designing enhanced-efficiency fertilizers and incorporating these alternative technologies into policy- and decision-making.

    • Shu Kee Lam
    • Uta Wille
    • Deli Chen
  • Nutrient security in the United Kingdom appears to be stable and secure, but it is unclear whether this will continue to be the case if dietary patterns change, or if new trade arrangements emerge.

    • Alan Matthews
    News & Views
  • In silico cultivar selection estimates that the global potential wheat yield may be doubled. However, there remain many challenges in leveraging the yield potential into practice.

    • Toshihiro Hasegawa
    • Lloyd T. Wilson
    News & Views
  • Tillage on slopes thins the soil and reduces crop yields. Increased yields in regions where soil is deposited partially compensate for this reduction in crop yields at regional scales. However, continued increases in tillage intensity and climate-change-induced increases in dry spells may lead to reduced crop yields.

    Research Briefing
  • Principles encompassed in ‘less but better’ meat could shift meat production and consumption towards greater sustainability. A systematic review identifies inconsistencies in the term’s definition and explores different interpretations that could lead to a shared vision of meat within food systems.

    • Maeve M. Henchion
    News & Views
  • Food production in a given solar footprint is limited by the efficiency of natural photosynthesis. Now, a hybrid electrochemical–biological artificial photosynthesis system demonstrates the potential for food synthesis from CO2 and electricity, enabling a paradigm shift in food production.

    • Tuo Wang
    • Jinlong Gong
    News & Views
  • A cost-effective, high-throughput fibre-based food packaging approach using non-toxic, biodegradable biopolymer materials offers a strategy to considerably increase food safety and security while minimizing food waste.

    • Yi Wang
    • Jaya Borgatta
    • Jason C. White
    News & Views
  • Trade enables food access and is therefore key to achieving global food security. However, greenhouse gas emissions associated with food transport are many times higher than what was indicated by previous estimates.

    • Prajal Pradhan
    News & Views
  • Climate change will severely influence the yield, production and water demand of processing tomatoes. Atmospheric CO2 concentration may offset, but not fully compensate, the adverse effects of elevated temperatures.

    • Ehsan Eyshi Rezaei
    • Heidi Webber
    News & Views
  • Achieving yield gains requires more insights into the deterministic pathways of crop yields. This Perspective proposes a wiring diagram as a platform to integrate knowledge of the interrelationships of physiological traits impacting wheat yield potentials and their interactions with the crop developmental stages that can be used to accelerate genetic gains through breeding.

    • Matthew Paul Reynolds
    • Gustavo Ariel Slafer
    • Richard Bailey Flavell
  • Improving manure management can reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, but its impacts on indirect N2O emissions and other greenhouse gases need to be assessed. Structural changes that address livestock demands and spatial planning are needed.

    • Xin Zhang
    • Luis Lassaletta
    News & Views
  • Food price data at the retail level are critical to assessing the impacts of covariate shocks on people’s access to healthy, nutritious diets. Through the calculation of cost and affordability, retail food prices can also help identify entry points to improve food and nutrition security, such as in the context of COVID-19.

    • Saskia de Pee
    • Zuzanna Turowska
    News & Views
  • Degrowth can aid climate mitigation in the food system by integrating reduced animal protein demand, emissions pricing and wealth redistribution into a global food systems transformation.

    • Manfred Lenzen
    • Lorenz Keyβer
    • Jason Hickel
    News & Views
  • Modelling the quantitative effects of sustainable degrowth and efficiency proposals on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, material output and economic activity shows that a combination of both can lead to a sustainable transformation of the food system.

    Research Briefing
  • A farmer’s decision whether to use fertilizer is complicated in rainfed areas because the resulting yield gains vary greatly depending on rainfall, temperatures, soil conditions and many other factors. Farmers on about 25% of sub-Saharan Africa’s rainfed maize-growing land face an unacceptably high likelihood that this productivity-enhancing input will not pay off.

    Research Briefing
  • Substituting animal-source foods with novel and future foods in our daily diets is essential to mitigate global environmental change. An integrated statistical approach and optimization model support a shift to alternative, more sustainable diets.

    • Asaf Tzachor
    News & Views