Agriculture

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding emissions flow with trade matters for climate action. Trade-adjusted emission accounting would close the carbon loophole generated by trade for more effective climate action targeted at producers, consumers, and intermediary traders

    • Adrian Foong
    • , Prajal Pradhan
    •  & Jürgen P. Kropp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Flash droughts can have devastating impacts but are notoriously difficult to predict. This study identifies global hotspots of flash drought, driven by evaporative demand and precipitation deficits across varying geographic regions and crop-type, providing a framework for flash drought prediction.

    • Jordan I. Christian
    • , Jeffrey B. Basara
    •  & Robb M. Randall
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Spectral screening can be used to monitor plant health. Here via airborne hyperspectral imaging of tree species, the authors show that spectral pathways associated with vascular pathogens can be distinguished from those linked to abiotic stress providing the potential for early detection of threatening diseases.

    • P. J. Zarco-Tejada
    • , T. Poblete
    •  & J. A. Navas-Cortes
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Global demand for “blue food” is growing. In this quantitative synthesis, the authors analyse global seafood demand and project trends to 2050, finding considerable regional variation in the relationship between wealth and consumption.

    • Rosamond L. Naylor
    • , Avinash Kishore
    •  & Beatrice Crona
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Crop diversification could be important for food security. Here, using methods from network science, the authors find that a positive relationship between crop diversity and nutritional stability globally does not necessarily equate to improving nutritional stability in a given country.

    • Charlie C. Nicholson
    • , Benjamin F. Emery
    •  & Meredith T. Niles
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In chocolate production, a complicated tempering process is used to guide the crystallization of cocoa butter towards its most desirable polymorph, which gives the chocolate proper melting behavior, gloss, and snap—hallmarks of good quality chocolate. Here, the authors find that simply adding a specific phospholipid also directs crystallization towards this polymorph, producing chocolate with comparable microstructure and properties to tempered chocolate.

    • Jay Chen
    • , Saeed M. Ghazani
    •  & Alejandro G. Marangoni
  • Article
    | Open Access

    European Union’s vulnerability to climate change stretches far beyond its borders. Here the authors find that more than 44% of the EU agricultural imports will become highly vulnerable to drought in future because of climate change.

    • Ertug Ercin
    • , Ted I. E. Veldkamp
    •  & Johannes Hunink
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Yellow fever virus (YFV) is an arbovirus affecting humans and non-human primates (NHPs) with seasonal transmission. Here Hamlet et al. model the monthly occurrence of YF in humans and NHPs across Brazil and show that seasonality of agriculture is an important predictor of seasonal YF transmission.

    • Arran Hamlet
    • , Daniel Garkauskas Ramos
    •  & Neil M. Ferguson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    China has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality in 2060. Here the authors find a promising option to abate 1.0 Gt CO2-eq yr1 of carbon emissions at a marginal cost of $69 (t CO2-eq)−1 by retrofitting 222 GW of coal power plants to co-fire with biomass and upgrading to CCS operation across 2836 counties in China.

    • Xiaofan Xing
    • , Rong Wang
    •  & Siqing Xu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Quantifying land use change is critical in tackling global challenges related to food, climate and biodiversity. Here the authors show that land use change has affected 32 % of the global land area in six decades (1960- 2019) by combining multiple open datasets to create the HIstoric Land Dynamics Assessment +.

    • Karina Winkler
    • , Richard Fuchs
    •  & Martin Herold
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Agricultural sectors receive US$600 billion per year in government support, providing incentives for GHG emission-intensive production. Here, the authors show that removing this support will not reduce global GHG emissions by much; rather it will need to be radically redirected to contribute to climate change mitigation.

    • David Laborde
    • , Abdullah Mamun
    •  & Rob Vos
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Agricultural greenhouse gas emissions not only amplify the global climate crisis, but cause damage currently unaccounted for by food prices. Here the authors show the calculation of prices with internalized climate costs for food categories and production systems, revealing strong market distortions.

    • Maximilian Pieper
    • , Amelie Michalke
    •  & Tobias Gaugler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Long-term dynamics of species’ range sizes play a crucial role in determining extinction risks. Here the authors simulate global vegetation cover and scenarios of anthropogenic land cover change to estimate habitat range sizes of thousands of mammal, bird, and amphibian species since 1700, and project trajectories up to 2100 under four emission scenarios and five socio-economic pathways.

    • Robert M. Beyer
    •  & Andrea Manica
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Fraudulent adulteration of edible oils is based on the fact that their characteristic fatty acid profile can be mimicked with mixtures of other oil types. Here, the authors use a deep learning method to uncover fatty acid patterns discriminative for ten different plant oil types and to discern composition of mixtures.

    • Kevin Lim
    • , Kun Pan
    •  & Rong Hui Xiao
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Biofortification is an effective means to reduce micronutrient malnutrition. Here, the authors review recent advances in biofortification and propose stacking multiple micronutrient traits into high-yielding varieties through the combination of conventional breeding and genetic engineering approaches.

    • Dominique Van Der Straeten
    • , Navreet K. Bhullar
    •  & Howarth Bouis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Switching and relocating crops could be a key pathway for agricultural adaptation to climate change. Here, Rising and Devineni use data-driven Bayesian modelling to estimate the potential for crop switching to mitigate climate impacts on US crop production under a high-emission scenario, showing considerable opportunities but also limitations.

    • James Rising
    •  & Naresh Devineni
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Phosphorus is an essential nutrient critical for agriculture, but because it is non-renewable its future availability is threatened. Here the authors show that across the globe most nations have net losses of phosphorus, with soil erosion as the major route of loss in Europe, Africa and South America.

    • Christine Alewell
    • , Bruno Ringeval
    •  & Pasquale Borrelli
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Wheat yield is sensitive to temperature, but there could be substantial variation in this response across cultivars. Here the authors present data on the climatic responses of wheat cultivars in South Africa, highlighting which cultivars might be better able to maintain yield under warming.

    • Aaron M. Shew
    • , Jesse B. Tack
    •  & Petronella Chaminuka
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Global largest agricultural ammonia (NH3) emissions in China have caused severe damage to both ecosystem and human health, yet no policy is formulated to reduce NH3 emissions. Here, the authors show that halving agricultural NH3 emissions with feasible technical mitigation options in China generates far more societal benefits than abatement costs.

    • Xiuming Zhang
    • , Baojing Gu
    •  & Deli Chen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Studies on examining the climate impact on irrigated agriculture do not account for regional specific details. Here the authors studied both the direct and indirect impact of climate change on irrigated agriculture in the Yakima River Basin (YRB) and found that increasingly severe droughts and temperature driven reductions in growing season significantly reduces expected annual agricultural productivity.

    • Keyvan Malek
    • , Patrick Reed
    •  & Michael Brady
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Insect population control using conditional lethal systems could break down due to spontaneous mutations that render the system ineffective. Here the authors analyse the structure and frequency of such mutations in Drosophila and suggest the use of dual lethality systems to mitigate their survival.

    • Yang Zhao
    • , Marc F. Schetelig
    •  & Alfred M. Handler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Extreme high temperature events are increasing in frequency and severity, threatening the capacity for crops and farmers alike to adapt. Here Sloat and colleagues track the movement of cereal crops over the past 40 years, finding a global migration away from warming climates.

    • Lindsey L. Sloat
    • , Steven J. Davis
    •  & Nathaniel D. Mueller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The role of paddy rice agriculture in the spatial and temporal dynamics of atmospheric methane concentration remains unclear. Here, Zhang et al. show that regions with dense rice paddies have high satellite-based column averaged CH4 concentrations (XCH4), and that seasonal dynamics of XCH4 mirror those of paddy rice growth.

    • Geli Zhang
    • , Xiangming Xiao
    •  & Berrien Moore III
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, the authors combine in silico analysis of 435 genomes of ruminal bacteria and archaea with transcriptomics and in vitro assays to investigate the distribution, expression and mobility of antibiotic resistance genes within the ruminal microbiota, finding that the tet(W) gene is under positive selective pressure.

    • Yasmin Neves Vieira Sabino
    • , Mateus Ferreira Santana
    •  & Hilário Cuquetto Mantovani
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of organic methods is poorly understood. Here, the authors assess the GHG impact of a 100% shift to organic food production in England and Wales and find that direct GHG emissions are reduced with organic farming, but when increased land use abroad to allow for production shortfalls is factored in, GHG emissions are elevated well-above the baseline.

    • Laurence G. Smith
    • , Guy J. D. Kirk
    •  & Adrian G. Williams
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The processes driving soil carbon accretion remain to be poorly understood. Here the authors combined X-ray micro-tomography and zymography to demonstrate that plant-stimulated soil pore formation is a major, hitherto unrecognized, determinant of whether new C inputs are stored or lost to the atmosphere.

    • A. N. Kravchenko
    • , A. K. Guber
    •  & Y. Kuzyakov
  • Article
    | Open Access

    So far identified clostridial neurotoxins target vertebrates. Here, Contreras et al. isolate the clostridial-like neurotoxin PMP1 from Paraclostridium bifermentans strains and show that it selectively targets anopheline mosquitoes by targeting mosquito syntaxin.

    • Estefania Contreras
    • , Geoffrey Masuyer
    •  & Sarjeet S. Gill
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The increase in needs for agricultural commodities is projected to outpace the growth of farmland production globally, leading to high pressure on farming systems in the next decades. Here, the authors investigate the future impact of cropland expansion and intensification on agricultural markets and biodiversity, and suggest the need for balancing agricultural production with conservation goals.

    • Florian Zabel
    • , Ruth Delzeit
    •  & Tomáš Václavík
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether or not China can be rice self-sufficient in the future is in question. Here the authors provide a spatially explicit yield-gap analysis of Chinese rice production under future scenarios, identifying priority areas for improving yields to meet demands by 2030.

    • Nanyan Deng
    • , Patricio Grassini
    •  & Shaobing Peng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    When bees carry pollen, it sticks to their legs and it can be carried without being dropped in a range of different humidity conditions. Here the authors find that the adhesive holding the pollen together consists of two phases and the oily phase stabilizes the aqueous phase with respect to humidity changes.

    • Donglee Shin
    • , Won Tae Choi
    •  & J. Carson Meredith
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There has been a lack of multi-year landscape-scale studies on the effect of neonicotinoids on honeybee health. Here, Osterman et al. show that clothianidin exposure via seed-treated rapeseed has no negative impact on honeybee colony development, microbial pathogens/symbionts or immune gene expression.

    • Julia Osterman
    • , Dimitry Wintermantel
    •  & Joachim R. de Miranda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The potential impact of neonicotinoid field exposure on bumblebee microbiota remains unclear. In a landscape—scale study, Wintermantel et al. show that whilst exposure to clothianidin impacts Bombus terrestris performance, it does not affect levels of gut bacteria, viruses or intracellular parasites.

    • Dimitry Wintermantel
    • , Barbara Locke
    •  & Joachim R. de Miranda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Drivers of crop yield variability require quantification, and historical records can help in improving understanding. Here, Webber et al. report that drought stress will remain a key driver of yield losses in wheat and maize across Europe, and benefits from CO2 will be limited in low-yielding years.

    • Heidi Webber
    • , Frank Ewert
    •  & Daniel Wallach
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Rising demand for ruminant meat and dairy products in developing nations drives increasing GHG and ammonia emissions from livestock. Authors show here that only long-term adoption of global best-practice in sustainable intensification buffered by a short-term coping strategy of green-source trading can offer a way forward.

    • Yuanyuan Du
    • , Ying Ge
    •  & Raphael K. Didham
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Yields vary between different cropping systems, though their temporal stability has not been quantified. Here, Knapp and van der Heijden present a meta-analysis showing that yields in organic agriculture have, per unit food produced, a lower temporal stability.

    • Samuel Knapp
    •  & Marcel G. A. van der Heijden
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Paraquat is a widely used herbicide that is highly toxic to humans upon acute ingestion or chronic exposure. Here, the authors generate a photosensitive formulation that releases paraquat upon exposure to UV light or sunlight, which shows an improved safety profile in zebrafish and mouse models, while maintaining substantial herbicidal activity.

    • Cheng Gao
    • , Qiaoxian Huang
    •  & Ruibing Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate oscillations such as El Niño Southern Oscillation may impact global crop production. Here, the authors, using a unified framework of multiple climate oscillations, find that from 1961 to 2010 over two-thirds of the global cropland is located where crop productivity is influenced by climate oscillations.

    • Matias Heino
    • , Michael J. Puma
    •  & Matti Kummu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    To achieve the climate target of the Paris Agreement substantial emission reductions will be required across economic sectors. Here the authors show that agriculture can make a significant contribution to non-CO2 mitigation efforts through structural change in the livestock sector and the deployment of technical options.

    • Stefan Frank
    • , Robert Beach
    •  & Michael Obersteiner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Organic agriculture requires fewer inputs but produces lower yields than conventional farming. Here, via a modeling approach, Muller et al. predict that if food waste and meat consumption are reduced, organic agriculture could feed the world without requiring cropland expansion.

    • Adrian Muller
    • , Christian Schader
    •  & Urs Niggli
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Quantifying the toxicity of herbicides applied in the field is difficult. Here, the author applies a quotient to evaluate changes in relative toxicity over the past 25 years and finds that increased herbicide use does not necessarily constitute increased toxicity.

    • Andrew R. Kniss