Science Over Coffee

Responding to climate change not as simple as planting more trees

 

The world is ready to take action on climate change and planting trees is often put forward as a solution. But, trees require water. We speak with Professor Karen Hussey from The University of Queensland about the options we have to combat climate change and weighing them up to protect our valuable resources.

 

 
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Can organic farms feed the world?

 

We consider organic foods to be healthier because they are produced without synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. However, organic farms are often less productive than conventional farms. We talk to Professor Susanne Schmidt from The University of Queensland about the role science has to play to improve the productivity of organic farms.

 

 
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What Motivates a Superbug Scientist?

 Matt Cooper tells us how he became interested in infectious diseases, and what motivates him to find new solutions to the growing superbug problem.

 

 

 
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Antibiotics and the Emerging Superbug Threat

About 100 years ago bacteria spread through a cough or an open wound could easily kill us, thanks to antibiotics this is no longer the case. But bacteria are fighting back! New strains of bacteria known as superbugs are developing resistance to antibiotics. The World Health Organization has highlighted this as one of the greatest threats to human health. We spoke with Professor Matt Cooper about superbugs and potential

 

 
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Are GMOs and organic foods compatible?

Dr Lee Hickey chat with Professor Ian Godwin from The University of Queensland about genetically modified food crops.

Ian believes that GMO foods and organic agriculture are perfectly compatible. He explains that scientists are creating GMO plants to achieve a more sustainable agriculture. The idea is to create plants resistant to pests and diseases, that don’t require the use of chemicals, but provide the same productivity and food quality.
He points out that our beloved “organic” potato is actually sprayed with copper to control disease and the use of copper fungicides in organic farming may be resulting in increased levels of copper in the soil and the food we eat.
So maybe it’s time we embrace GMOs for more sustainable agriculture and healthier food?
If you are after more information about this topic, below are a few good articles to get you started.
This article illustrates Ian’s example about the potato, traditional breeding won't work and production requires a lot of pesticides:
A huge meta analysis showing how GMOs have reduced pesticide use wherever it has been adopted.

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