Politics, ethics and economy
Agricultural land on Earth is limited. However, the increased need for food and feed coupled with the increasing use of biomass feedstocks leads to areas of conflict such as intensive farming, biodiversity loss, land grabbing and indirect land use change. Governments are faced with the major challenge of having to deal with and shape the bioeconomy while taking equally into account the ecological, economic and ethical concerns and integrating them in sustainable solutions.
Article - 29-May-2018
The Karlsruhe Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) is one of the largest and most renowned institutions in Germany involved in evaluating scientific and technological developments. The institute assesses the impacts and possible effects of new methods from a wide range of scientific fields - including the life sciences.
Article - 14-Dec-2017
A recent study on the disappearance of insects is making headlines: it found that the insect biomass has declined by more than 75% in certain areas in Germany that were monitored by the study over a period of 27 years. The authors believe that the dramatic decline in insect biomass is down to industrial agriculture, which is therefore in conflict with certain bioeconomic principles: the sustainable cultivation of biomass and the safeguarding of food supply.
Article - 08-Jun-2017
One billion people worldwide rely on forests as living spaces. Illegal and legal deforestation endangers people’s livelihoods as well as social and economic structures. It also has a detrimental effect on the global climate. Prof. Dr. Daniela Kleinschmit, Professor for Forest and Environmental Policy at the University of Freiburg, discusses the causes and consequences of deforestation. She is co-editor of an international report on illegal logging and timber trading which was written on the initiative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).
Article - 17-May-2017
The Biopolymers/Biomaterials cluster was one of five clusters that won the BioIndustry 2021 competition in 2007 and that received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The cluster’s ”Biotechnological process development for novel membranes based on collagen” research project was funded by the BMBF from 1st February 2013 to 31st January 2016. The project involved four companies and one university and aimed at improving the processing of collagen using biotechnological methods. Dr. Hans Füßer from Naturin Viscofan GmbH managed the project and here he talks with Dr. Ariane Pott from BIOPRO about how a new sausage skin prototype was developed.
Article - 23-Aug-2016
A project called ”Energiebündel & Flowerpower" run by the “Netzwerk Streuobst Mössingen" has established a complex local recycling network for biomass from meadow orchards. The network involves the city of Mössingen, the neighbouring municipality of Nehren, the KFB institution for the physically disabled and their self-help work group called “Streuobst und Naturschutz”, a biogas operator from Nehren, a start-up company called Vital Carbon, a wood pellet company and first and foremost the owners of small orchards around the city of Mössingen.
Article - 16-Aug-2016
Grapevines are treated with pesticides more frequently than any other crop. Peter Nick from the Botanical Institute at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is pursuing an ambitious goal: sustainable viticulture rather than toxins. Sustainable viticulture takes into account plants’ natural capacities of resistance. Nick uses the European Wild Grape, the ancestor of cultivated grapevine varieties, for his research as the plant is able to successfully fight off many pathogens.
Article - 07-Jul-2016
Experts from various industries met in Stuttgart on 15th June 2016 to kick off the Special Interest Group (SIG) for Marketing, Communication, Ecobalance and Sustainability, which is the second of four SIGs that will be established under the auspices of the ”Akteursplattform Bioökonomie Baden-Württemberg”.
Article - 06-Jun-2016
New plant breeding technologies, and the CRISPR/Cas technique in particular, are making headlines. For the first time in the history of agriculture, these technologies enable the quick and, in particular, precise modification of DNA at a predetermined locus. However, these methods provide authorities with an unexpected headache: are genome-edited plants genetically modified organisms or not?