1. Agriculture

    A tweaked yeast can make ethanol from cornstalks and a harvest’s other leftovers

    By genetically modifying baker’s yeast, scientists figured out how to get almost as much ethanol from cornstalks as kernels.

  2. Animals

    Focusing on Asian giant hornets distorts the view of invasive species

    2021’s first “murder hornet” is yet another arrival. This is the not-so-new normal.

  3. Agriculture

    Nanoscale nutrients can protect plants from fungal diseases

    Applied to the shoots, nutrients served in tiny metallic packages are absorbed more efficiently, strengthening plants’ defenses against fungal attack.

  4. Plants

    Modified genes can distort wild cotton’s interactions with insects

    In a Yucatan nature park, engineered genes influence nectar production, affecting ants’ and maybe pollinators’ attraction to the wild cotton plants.

  5. Agriculture

    How does a crop’s environment shape a food’s smell and taste?

    Scientific explorations of terroir — the soil, climate and orientation in which crops grow — hint at influences on flavors and aromas.

  6. Tech

    Bubble-blowing drones may one day aid artificial pollination

    Drones are too clumsy to rub pollen on flowers and not damage them. But blowing pollen-laden bubbles may help the machines be better pollinators.

  7. Animals

    Insects’ extreme farming methods offer us lessons to learn and oddities to avoid

    Insects invented agriculture long before humans did. Can we learn anything from them?

  8. Life

    Engineered honeybee gut bacteria trick attackers into self-destructing

    Tailored microbes defend bees with a gene-silencing process called RNA interference that takes on viruses or mites.

  9. Ecosystems

    Can forensics help keep endangered rosewood off the black market?

    Timber traffickers are plundering the world’s forests, but conservationists have a new set of tools to fight deforestation.

  10. Earth

    Too much groundwater pumping is draining many of the world’s rivers

    Too much groundwater use could push over half of pumped watersheds past an ecological tipping point by 2050, compromising aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

  11. Agriculture

    Birds fed a common pesticide lost weight rapidly and had migration delays

    Scientists have previously implicated neonicotinoid pesticides in declining bee populations. Now a study suggests that songbirds are affected, too.

  12. Animals

    U.S. honeybees had the worst winter die-off in more than a decade

    Colonies suffered from parasitic, disease-spreading Varroa mites. Floods and fire didn’t help.