CentroAmericano and Other New Coffee Varieties: Can They Save Coffee?

With the different factors that affect the growth all over the world, scientists are now looking for ways to save the crop. Recently, Centroamericano and seven other new hybrid coffee varieties are slowly being introduced to the market.

They might not be a popular coffee variety yet, like the ones people normally order at their favorite coffee shops, but these kinds are the coolest.

Centroamericano can withstand the effects of climate change, which is one of the most common factors why coffee crops die. See, coffee requires specific temperatures to flourish.

Doug Welsh, vice president of Peet’s coffee, a company which has invested in the World Coffee Research, said that coffee is still not ready to adapt to climate change without help.

The WCR kicked off with 46 new coffee varieties that will soon change the coffee growing game.

More information here:

Pesticide Exposure: What’s the risk?

Pesticides are indeed pest killers. But do you know that it can also cause health issues for you, too?

Pesticides can harm people in so many ways – most of which, we don’t even realize. Farmers who use pesticides are at risk of dermal and respiratory exposure. On the other hand, consumers are at possible risk of oral exposure if the produce was overly exposed or not washed properly.

Dermal Exposure
– It results when the pesticide was absorbed by your skin or eyes after contact. Absorption will continue until the chemical is on your skin or eyes.

You should know that the pesticide residues can be transferred easily from one body part to another. Thus, the applicator increases the potential of pesticide poisoning.

Respiratory Exposure
– Respiratory exposure is one of the most critical because pesticide particles can be absorbed by the lungs directly into your bloodstream. If you inhaled sufficient amount of pesticides, it can instantly cause serious damage to your nose, throat, and lung tissues.

– Lungs can be exposed to pesticides by airborne droplets, inhalation of powders, or vapor inhalation. Handling concentrated wettable powders can pose a hazard if inhaled during mixing.

Oral Exposure
– The risk of oral exposure to pesticides is high. It can result in severe injury and serious illness. In fact, it can even cause death if swallowed.

– It’s common to have accidental oral exposures as well. This happens when pesticides have been removed to their original, labeled bottles and moved into a jar or food container.

– 50% of accidental oral exposure victims in the United States are under 10 years old.

A Recent Study Shows That Coffee Rust Isn’t Caused By Climate Change After All

Recently, a group of scientists conducting researches and studies about coffee rust found out something that can possibly help all coffee producers all over the world. The researchers from the University of Exeter discovered that climate change is not the main cause of the devastating coffee rust disease.

Throughout these years, we all thought that this epidemic coffee disease is caused by the changes in our weather. Apparently, this new study shows signs that weather isn’t the main cause of coffee rust.

Published in the Philosophical Transactions B, the paper states: “We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, while weather conditions were more conducive to disease outbreaks from 2008 to 2011, we reject the climate change hypothesis.” Read More here. 

Upon examining the coffee rust disease in Colombia from 2008 to 2011, researchers concluded that the coffee rust disease can be caused by multiple factors like the rise and fall of the fertilizer price, and the frequent weather changes.

This recent discovery is both good news and bad news to all coffee producers all over the world.

It’s good news because since the epidemic is not solely caused by weather changes, we can still find more ways to get rid of this problem.

On the other hand, this discovery is also bad news because it means that we need to start all over again and it requires more in-depth research to know how we can fully get rid of this epidemic.

Fighting Coffee Rust: How Small Farmers and Organizations Deal With This Problem

Coffee rust is one of the most leading problems in the coffee industry all over the world. Affected countries struggle in looking for ways to eliminate this devastating problem.

In fact, coffee rust highly affects a country’s industry especially those that mainly depend on their coffee industry. With that being said, the government and huge companies spend millions of dollars to get rid of this problem. In fact, thousands of farmers lose their jobs because of this.

If the government itself and some huge companies are already having a hard time, how much more for those small coffee producers?

Small farmers depend on their coffee crops for their living. So, when signs of coffee rust start to show, they know that they need to find a way to contain this epidemic.

Aside from the government’s continued support, small farmers also get help from co-op organizations. These organizations support the farmers by providing them financial assistance and helping them in looking for solutions.

Oikocredit is a cooperative itself, headquartered in the Netherlands but operating across the world with a focus on social impact investing and capacity building in low-income countries.

It provides loans and equity to mid-stage, revenue-generating cooperatives, fair trade organisations and small-to-medium- sized enterprises operating in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy sectors in Africa, Asia, Latin America and cental and eastern Europe.

Learn more about it here.

Newly developed ‘Trojan horse’ molecule might help in fighting crop fungus linked to cancer

A few months ago, researchers from the University of Arizona said that they were able to develop a new method to neutralize a dangerous toxin caused by fungi, that can lead to childhood stunting, cancer, and other health problems. These researchers made a genetically modified, edible maize plant, even when infected with a mold that produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. ROME – Scientists said on Friday they had developed a new method to neutralize a dangerous fungal toxin affecting crops that can lead to cancer, childhood

Every year, more than 16,000 tons of maize are being thrown because of aflatoxin contamination. In most developed countries, they are able to screen their crops. However, some small farmers do not have the technology to do so. Therefore, people are consuming unknown levels of these dangerous toxins.

This latest research found out that a Trojan Horse molecule can jump onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

In a study published in the journal Science Advances, Schmidt and her team said they had created a genetically engineered maize plant, which produces a “Trojan horse” molecule that jumps onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

Schmidt said the method should be transferable to other crops prone to aflatoxin contamination, like rice, soy and peanuts, as it exploits a naturally occurring biological mechanism known as RNA interference.

For more information, visit this site.

Though the modified corns shouldn’t have side effects, it’s still important to get some testings done.

The Importance of Disinfecting Organic Produce

In the world we live in today, from fast-food to all the chemicals used in creating modern food, we need something organic and natural to live a healthier life. We all know for a fact that we always have to include fruits and leafy greens in our daily diet.

We stick to what’s natural. But how natural is natural? Regardless if we picked our produce from our own backyard or we bought them at the market, it’s important to make sure that our fruits and vegetables are properly disinfected.

Why Do We Need To Disinfect Our Produce?

As much as it’s healthy to eat organic, it’s also important to make sure that what we eat is free from harmful substances. Buying from the market doesn’t really ensure our safety from the chemicals and pesticides used on the produce.

Now, even if we grow our own produce, it doesn’t exactly mean that they are free from pesticides and chemicals. In fact, According to a study conducted in 2002, organically grown food contains up to one-third as much pesticide residue as conventionally grown food  due to drift from conventional farms, as well as contaminated soil. (Food Additives and Contaminants, 2002, vol. 19, no. 5).

Not only that, our produce is not safe from possible fungi contaminants. Some fungi are not visible to the naked eye. The worst part is, some fungi can cause serious diseases such as mycotoxins and aflatoxins.

Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by molds found in grain and nut crops. They can also be found on grape juice, apples, celery, and other produce. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that one fourth of the world’s food crops are affected by mycotoxins.

Meanwhile, Aflatoxin is a cancer-causing poison produced by certain fungi in or on food, especially in field corn and peanuts. Aflatoxins have been associated with different serious diseases like aflatoxicosis in livestock, domestic animals, and humans all over the world.

The prevention of aflatoxin is one of the most challenging toxicology issues of present time.

Therefore, it’s really important to make sure that our produce and the food we eat are safe from those. We need to disinfect them properly and wash them very well before consuming.

The Agricultural Health Study: What We Need To Know

It’s been more than 20 years since the AHS or Agricultural Health Study was created. The main goal of this study is to collect agricultural information to have a greater understanding of the role of agricultural exposures in or health. Throughout the years, the study has collected a lot of information that links chemical substances used in agriculture to serious health illnesses like cancer.

Pesticides and Cancer

Women who reported using OP insecticides were more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never used these insecticides. In addition, some specific OPs were associated with other cancers:

  • Malathion, the most commonly used OP insecticide, was associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
  • Diazinon, another common OP insecticide, was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

This is the first comprehensive evaluation of the use of these insecticides among women; it will be important to confirm these findings in other studies.

Know more about the study here.

BioNovelus Invited to Speak at USAID event with Feed The Future and Fintrac in Guatemala

USAID has invited BioNovelus at their next event in Guatemala.

Jean Ekobo will speak about the danger of chemical overuse,  introduce eco-friendly disinfectant and biofungicide CR-10, and explain CR-10 unique mode of action.

The participants include biological producers and farmers, local distributors, Exporters, Investors, NGOs, and Faculty.
Feed The Future partnering for Innovation, and Fintrac are supporting the event.


Importance of Using Organic Disinfectant for Post-Harvest Agriculture

As crucial it is to achieve an economically rewarding enterprise via the marketing of organic produce before the harvest phase is, it’s also important to make sure that the post-harvest phase is done properly.

The National Organic Program or NOP Rule has been established by the USDA to enforce uniform standards for producing and handling agricultural and processed food labeled as organic. Therefore, it is important that the chemicals used in organic post-harvest operations must comply with the rules set by the NOP. Of course, each produce falls into a different category and each category has its own list of disinfectants.

Post-Harvest Management

In order to have the best post-harvest management quality, it’s important to ensure that you are using an organic disinfectant. A lot of farms and companies use chemicals like chlorine, acetic acid, alcohol, peroxyacetic acid, and other ammonium sanitizers.

Though these disinfectants have been approved, they are still chemicals. Using an organic disinfectant helps a lot in improving the quality of post-harvest management.

Why Is It Important To Use Organic Disinfectant?

You may or may not agree, but organic is always better. It’s all natural and can definitely spare you from the effects of harmful chemicals.  If we can use organic disinfectants instead of bleach, chlorine, or alcohol, it’s definitely worth it!

Interesting references on the topic:

Health effects of chemical exposure:

Effects of chemicals and pesticides upon health:

On Pesticides and Health:

Agricultural Health Study:

The Effects of Phytosanitary Regulations on U.S. Imports of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

What are the regulations for the fruits and vegetable we import and consume? Foodborne illnesses and Food Biosecurity are essential matters. The United States Department of Agriculture, particularly its Economic Research Service, created an interesting report on the topic.

Get a summary of the report here.
Get the direct link to USDA website here.

By Peyton Ferrier 

Since 2006, Peyton Ferrier has been an economist in the Food and Specialty Crops Branch in the Market and Trade Division at ERS. His work considers the welfare effects of the evolving market structure of food industries, especially relating to import regulation and quality assurance.