Government uses terrorism laws to investigate seed thefts

Lawyers for two employees of a Chinese biotechnology company accused of stealing patented seed corn from companies in the United States are fighting the government’s use of laws established to fight terrorism and espionage to gather evidence against them.

In building the case against Mo Hailong, his sister Mo Yun, and five others, FBI agents used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to secretly place GPS monitors and audio recording devices in rental cars, tap cellphones, and place cameras on utility poles, court documents say. Agents also swept up thousands of documents through electronic surveillance that include pictures, emails and instant messages.

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Impact of insect-resistant GM rice on pesticide use and farmers’ health in China

The economic benefits of insect-resistant genetically modified (GM) crops have been well documented, but the impact of such crops and the consequent reduction in pesticide use on farmers’ health remains largely unknown. Through the analysis of the data collected from the physical examination from farmers in China, we show that GM rice significantly reduces pesticide use and the resultant not only visible but also invisible adverse effects on farmers’ neurological, hematological, and electrolyte system.

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Primary industry sector on verge of technological revolution

While farmers and other rural industries have always been innovators and pioneers, many city dwellers still think of them as tough, hardworking people who do without ‘modern’ technologies such as smart phones, tablets and big screen TVs.

Times have changed. The reality is something quite different. These and an array of new and innovative technologies are now a vital component of most rural businesses.

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Boosting food production through phosphorus

Lincoln University is joining forces with a prominent Chilean university research institute to address pressing issues involving the essential role of phosphorus in global food production.

Professor Leo Condron, of Lincoln University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, recently spent six weeks at the Scientific and Technological Bioresources Nucleus (BIOREN) of the Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, Chile, as part of a Biological Resource Management Fellowship funded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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Radical shift in agriculture critical to making future food systems smarter, more efficient ‘ UN

Climate change and increasing competition for natural resources have essentially rendered the agriculture model of the past 40 years unsustainable, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has stressed, calling for a “paradigm shift” in food production.

Food systems need to become smarter and more efficient if they are to feed the future, urged FAO Director-General Jos” Graziano da Silva at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture this past Friday as part of “Green Week” held in Berlin.

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Venture capitalists poured a whopping $48.3 billion into U.S. startup companies last year, investing at levels that haven’t been seen since the heady days before the dot-com bubble… Read

Venture capitalists poured a whopping $48.3 billion into U.S. startup companies last year, investing at levels that haven’t been seen since the heady days before the dot-com bubble burst in 2001.

Software and biotechnology companies were the leading recipients of venture funding in 2014, which rose more than 60 percent from the previous year, according to a new report issued Friday.

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Scientists working on new generation of nutritional products

The development of a stable delivery system for key health enhancing properties could soon be applied to general foodstuffs thanks to the efforts of a team of scientists from the Riddet Institute.

The health benefits of Omega 3 and other essential bioactive materials such as antioxidants, vitamins, lactoferrin and bovine serum albumin are widely known. However, bioactive material easily degrades during processing, storage and digestion so a group of Riddet Institute scientists have been studying delivery carriers.

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Agritech exports on the go

New Zealand’s agritechnology exports are worth about $1.2 billion annually and have the potential to grow to about $1.8 billion, research out yesterday shows.

The Coriolis Report into New Zealand’s agritech sector was commissioned by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to clarify New Zealand agritech companies’ export opportunities.

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GM food: time to devour the benefits

One of spiked’s people of the year for 2014 was Kenya’s Florence Wambugu, a pioneering and tireless supporter of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and biotechnology in food production in the developing world. Sadly, support for GMOs is singularly lacking in the developed world.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the battle currently being waged over GMOs in a courthouse in the US state of Vermont. In this case, federal judge Christina Reiss is deciding whether or not to dismiss the state’s mandatory labelling laws for GM food, which are due to be introduced in 2016. The first question she must consider is whether consumers should be made aware that the food they are eating ‘may be produced with genetic engineering’.

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