Ireland’s scientific researchers are punching above their weight on the world stage and are quietly making a significant contribution to the improvement of our daily lives. This TV series will look at some of the most interesting research projects that are currently underway and assess the impact they may have in the future.
A diverse range of projects are examined ranging from the identification of a protein that may help to arrest and even reverse the onset of Alzheimer’s disease to the design of a camera that can picture an event in space that happened billions of years ago.
Crops of the future
On November 13, Teagasc researchers feature in an episode on ‘Crops of the Future’. Ireland’s agricultural economy is changing. Where once Irish crops were used almost exclusively for food, fuel and animal feed, there is now an array of new possibilities. New technologies and dedicated research into new areas has opened up new horizons for crop growers in areas such as human health. In the United Nations’ ‘International Year of the Potato’ it is appropriate that developments in genetic mapping will allow Irish researchers to develop new breeds of blight-resistant potatoes, which are being exported all over the world. As our knowledge of the genomes of a large variety of crops increases so does the capacity for crops to play key roles in people’s health and the environment.
Denis Griffin is one of Ireland’s key potato breeders. Based at Teagasc’s Crops Research Centre in Oak Park, Carlow, his work involves a long and intricate process which begins with the identification of notable or desirable characteristics in potato breeds. Over a period of 10 to 12 years the team at Teagasc carefully crosses breeds, produces the initial seeds, grows thousands of seedlings and finally whittles them down to 1 or 2 plants which go on to become varieties. Checks for key positive and negative traits are done and the process begins once again.
In collaboration with Dan Milbourne, a plant geneticist also based at Oak Park, key traits in potatoes are identified in a much quicker way using information gained by the ongoing mapping of the potato genome. Working together they can identify key traits in the potato, both for the consumer in terms of taste and cooking styles, but also for farmers in terms of their natural resistance to certain airborne blights and pesticides.
Nigel Bunton & Eimear Gallagher are researchers working at the Teagasc Ashtown Food Research Centre. They are continually looking at new ways to improve the inherent nutritional value of our foods. Barley is one of Ireland’s most important crops and contains a compound known as beta glucan, which has important properties that can help to lower cholesterol and aid the immune system. Nigel Brunton’s research has found that in fact there are over four times the amount of this compound in the barley ends, which are normally thrown away. For Nigel and his team in Teagasc the challenge now is to find ways to incorporate this compound into breads that the public will want to buy.Pharming
Eric Donald | alfa
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences