ETH News

12.07.2017 | News

Obstacle course for caterpillars

Spines and thorns keep hungry mammals at bay – or at least, that's the conventional wisdom. However, ETH researchers have now shown that spiky growths on plants make life difficult for caterpillars too. This finding could be important for crop breeding. Read more 

21.04.2017 | Zukunftsblog | 1 Comment

More variety? Eat buckwheat!

What will it take to make our agroecosystems more diverse and secure? Take buckwheat, for example – an ancient grain-like plant with considerable potential. It's not related to cereals, yet produces storable seeds and can taste anything from deliciously tart to bitter. Read more 

13.03.2017 | Zukunftsblog

More biological diversity in agriculture

From the wealth of agricultural biodiversity in Switzerland, only a few old fruit and vegetable types find their way to the major distributors. However, these old crops could help overcome the genetic bottleneck in farming. Read more 

15.02.2017 | News

Laissez-faire is not good enough for reforestation

If degraded and logged areas of tropical forests are left to nature, the populations of certain endangered tree species are not able to recover. This applies in particular to trees with large fruit where the seeds are distributed by birds, as ETH scientists have shown in a rainforest in India. Read more 

16.12.2016 | News

Battlefield of the sexes

How the differences between the sexes evolve depends not only on which parts of the genome are sex-specifically active. The question also arises concerning the sex in which such changes take place. ETH researchers demonstrate this using a closely related pair of plants. Read more 

09.12.2016 | Zukunftsblog | 3 Comments

The benefits of plant breeding

In the midst of today’s organic food boom and romantic glorification of nature, plant breeding is in a difficult position: one often forgets that we as humans owe our very survival to the supply of food. Almost nothing that we eat today was originally found in the natural world. Read more 

23.11.2016 | News

Starch from yeast

Researchers at ETH Zurich have produced starch in yeast - the first time this has been achieved in a non-plant organism. The new model system now makes it easier for them to investigate how starch is formed and what role is played by the enzymes involved. In future, it may be possible to use yeast to trial specific modifications of starch. Read more 

09.09.2016 | Zukunftsblog

The future of plant breeding

People began to domesticate wild plants more than 10,000 years ago. Since then, we have been breeding crops in order to make them more resistant and to increase yields. New techniques now make it possible to modify genetic material precisely, which raises questions that our society must discuss and try to answer. Read more 

27.06.2016 | News | 1 Comment

Eye in the sky to monitor crops

Plant scientists at ETH Zurich have recently celebrated a world first at the ETH Zurich’s research station in Lindau-Eschikon: the launch of the ETH Field Phenotyping Platform (FIP), a unique crop phenotyping system. This gives researchers an incredibly accurate tool for measuring and monitoring the health and performance of field crops. Read more 

26.04.2016 | Zukunftsblog | 1 Comment

On the Sea Coconut and vanishing habitats

The Seychelles archipelago in the western Indian Ocean is home to the Coco de Mer, a legendary palm tree that grows the biggest seeds in the world. These have been highly prized for centuries and still are popular tourist souvenirs today. But can the Coco de Mer flourish in the face of adversity? Read more 

16.03.2016 | News

“In collaborative work like this, trust and respect are essential.”

On 10 and 11 March, a delegation of board members and researchers from South Africa visited ETH Zurich. ETH News spoke to two researchers who have been working together for more than 10 years: Jens Kossmann, Director of the Institute for Plant Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University, and Samuel Zeeman, Head of the Group of Plant Biochemistry at ETH Zurich, explain what goes into making a collaboration across 10,000 km successful. Read more 

14.01.2016 | Zukunftsblog

Beekeeping to prevent the pollination problem?

Wild bees pollinate our crops, and in doing so produce much of the food on which the world depends. But the destruction of their natural habitats, mostly due to agricultural spread and intensification, means we are losing these valuable insects. Promoting beekeeping to compensate for the loss of wild pollinators is not a straight forward solution, however. Read more 

15.12.2015 | Zukunftsblog

Oil Palm: Beyond Controversy

“It’s complicated…”, or at least “it’s more complicated than you think“. Our opinion on issues, from the futile to the most pressing, tends to be based on an illusion of understanding [1]. We think we know, and this entitles us to take action. But it’s actually more complicated than you think. Read more 

02.12.2015 | News

The first comprehensive collection of plant bacteria

Researchers in Zurich and Cologne have collected a large number of bacterial strains that live on plants. The collection marks the beginning of a promising new field of research. Scientists can now systematically perform targeted laboratory investigations into how bacteria promote the growth and health of plants. Read more 

09.10.2015 | News | 2 Comments

A cure for vitamin B6 deficiency

Plant scientists have engineered the cassava plant to produce higher levels of vitamin B6 in its storage roots and leaves. This could help to protect millions of people in Africa from serious deficiencies. Read more 

09.06.2015 | News

The Agrovet-Strickhof construction project is underway

The building permit has been issued: ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich and the Canton of Zurich have permission to build the Agrovet-Strickhof, a jointly operated agricultural education and research centre in Eschikon Lindau. Research director Carla Soliva and IT director Hans-Rudolf Wettstein are here to share their thoughts on the planned buildings and the opportunities for livestock research.   Read more 

19.05.2015 | Zukunftsblog

For the Love of Trees

Since the dawn of human civilization, trees and forests have provided us with food, resources, and energy. And humans often have a strong sense of connection with trees – we display an affection and tenderness for them. But the history of human development is also one of forest loss and transformation. Read more 

31.03.2015 | News

From tobacco to cyberwood

Scientists from ETH Zurich have developed a thermometer that is at least 100 times more sensitive than previous temperature sensors. It consists of a bio-synthetic hybrid material of tobacco cells and nanotubes. Read more 

05.02.2015 | Zukunftsblog

Phosphor in der Landwirtschaft

Phosphor spielt als Pflanzennährstoff eine zentrale Rolle für die Landwirtschaft. Durch eine zielgerichtete Züchtung könnten Pflanzen den vorhandenen Bodenphosphor besser nutzen. Doch es gibt auch innovative Strategien um das Phosphorrecycling zu verbessern. Read more 

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