Plant proteins key to fighting hunger and global warming – TCD research

Legumes are high in protein density and have a relatively low environmental production cost (Source: Monash University)

The consumption of plant protein found in peas, beans and lentils can stave off global hunger and reduce the environmental impact of food production.

That’s according to a TCD study which shows that plant protein from legumes has the high nutrient density and the lowest environmental production costs.

The study led by Assistant Professor in Botany Mike Williams and conducted by students Shauna Maguire and Conor O’Brien was part of Project TRUE which is an initiative of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The TCD researchers scored dietary protein sources in terms of both the environmental cost of production (which incorporates greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater pollution and land requirement), and their nutrient content.

“Plant protein sources, in this case legumes such as peas, beans and lentils, show the highest nutrient density and the lowest environmental costs associated with production,” said Professor Williams.

“For example, peas have a nutrient density to environmental footprint ratio approximately five times higher than equivalent amounts of lamb, pork, beef or chicken,” Prof Williams said.

“In other words, you receive more beneficial nutrients per 100 kcals of legumes than similar amounts of meat, and at far less an environmental cost,” Prof Williams added.

The researchers believe that providing quantitative estimates for sustainable food and agriculture can help consumers make more informed choices about how they will source the main protein component in their diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The consumption of plant protein found in peas, beans and lentils can stave off global hunger and reduce the environmental impact of food production.

That’s according to a TCD study which shows that plant protein from legumes has the high nutrient density and the lowest environmental production costs.

The study led by Assistant Professor in Botany Mike Williams and conducted by students Shauna Maguire and Conor O’Brien was part of Project TRUE which is an initiative of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The TCD researchers scored dietary protein sources in terms of both the environmental cost of production (which incorporates greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater pollution and land requirement), and their nutrient content.

“Plant protein sources, in this case legumes such as peas, beans and lentils, show the highest nutrient density and the lowest environmental costs associated with production,” said Professor Williams.

“For example, peas have a nutrient density to environmental footprint ratio approximately five times higher than equivalent amounts of lamb, pork, beef or chicken,” Prof Williams said.

“In other words, you receive more beneficial nutrients per 100 kcals of legumes than similar amounts of meat, and at far less an environmental cost,” Prof Williams added.

The researchers believe that providing quantitative estimates for sustainable food and agriculture can help consumers make more informed choices about how they will source the main protein component in their diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was Sir Tim Hunt treated fairly? Are humans ‘walking dead’? Should we fear facial recognition technology? Why men are better at maths

Tim Hunt

Sir Tim Hunt was forced to resign from several prestigious positions following allegedly ‘sexist’ remarks (Credit: nobelprize.org)

The allegedly ‘sexist’ remarks made by Sr Tim Hunt, Nobel Prize winner, led to his resignation from several posts within days and his career is in shreds.

But were the remarks genuinely sexist? Was he treated fairly by the press?

Species of plants and animals are disappearing faster than any time since the dinosaurs. Legendary scientist and advocate Paul Ehrlich believes we have three generations left to do something about it, or we’ll end up like other ‘walking dead’, doomed species.

Facial recognition software is improving all the time, and governments and private companies are very interested in the data it provides. What’s now possible and how worried should be?

In education there is a well-known theory called the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is where a student meets the expectations of teachers and parents.

Does this explain the apparently strange reality where men are better at maths than women, while girls do better than boys in maths in primary school?

Click below to hear a discussion of these topics on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan

This was first broadcast on 25th June 2015 on East Coast FM

Pollinators in trouble; drunk and in love; 1mm thin TVs; why we sleep & dream

Honeybee

Half of managed honeybee colonies in the U.S.A. have disappeared in the last 10 years (Credit: beneficialbugs.org)

The honeybee is a vital pollinator of crops that enable humans to survive on this planet, yet, in the U.S.A. half of managed honeybee populations have disappeared in the last 10 years.

The U.S. administration was so alarmed about the threat to human existence this represents that President Obama, in 2014, launched a National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and other Pollinators.

We discuss the theories put forward to explain why honeybees are in trouble, and the main planks of the U.S. strategy to maintain and build up honeybee numbers again.

Most of us love our TV, but large screen LED TVs can take up a lot of space, when fixtures, fittings, and the width of the set are all taken into account. Imagine a large screen TV, just 1 mm in width, that can be stuck to the wall for viewing, and peeled off and put away when not required.

South Korean electronics giant, LG, say such ultra-thin, wide screen TVs will be available for sale in Autumn this year. They are based on new technology which removes the need for bulky light boxes.

We’ve heard the expression being ‘drunk in love’. Well, scientists have found that the effect of alcohol is very similar on the mind and body, as the impact of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin.

Scientists have long wondered why sleep, which made our ancestors, vulnerable to attack, evolved in human beings. They are finding that it has a lot to do with making sense of each day’s experience.

We also discuss how Japanese scientists are making remarkable progress with a ‘dream reading machine’ that can predict the content of people’s dreams – after the fact – with up to 80 per cent accuracy.

Listen below to discuss on all of the above with Declan Meehan on The Morning Show with Declan Meehan.

This was first broadcast on 21st May 2015

Wildflowers of Ireland, A Personal Record

Zoe Devlin, the author of ‘Wildflowers of Ireland – A Personal Record’ (the cover of which is above) began a love affair with Ireland’s wildflowers when she was just eight years old.

That was when she was first shown a delicate wild orchid under a magnifying glass by an elderly relative her family regularly visited near Glenmalure Co Wicklow.

She remembers the trackway where she was shown the orchid, her reaction, which was ‘wow’, and the kindly old lady relative that introduced her to a life-long passion.

Into adulthood, the interest in wildflowers remained strong, and she also became interested in photography – the two interests perfectly complimented one another.

Over the decades Zoe amassed a large body of work, photographing Irish wildflowers all over the country. Then her daughter suggested she do something with all her nice photos.

That prompted her to set up a top-quality website, www.wildflowersofireland.net. That, in turn, attracted the interest of Collins Press, who approached her about doing a book.

This is a book that will appeal to those who have a great interest in nature, in flowers, and in stories about Irish flowers, but are not that interested in academic terms and terminology.

Zoe is not a professional botanist, but someone who simply has had a great interest in flowers in Ireland throughout her life.

Wildflowers, in case you didn’t know, Zoe says are flowers that are often called weeds when they are in a place that they are not wanted. Context is everything.

The stories in this book will leave a mark on the memory in the way an academic book about Irish wild flowers could never do.

Zoe describes, for example, the winter heliotrope, which was introduced to Ireland because it flowers in the winter, and can, thus, provide nectar to bees out of season.

Or the delicate orchids of the Burren, which are very small, tiny even, need particular bacteria in the soil to flower, and even then flowering can take as long as 14 years.

She talks about the invasive aliens, like rhododendron (which came in as a flowering plant from the Himalayas) – plants that have “gone mad and choked a lot of our natives”

It’s not all about the countryside either, as the author says that even in Dublin, orchids can be found on Bull Island in June, or yellow water lilies on the Grand Canal.

There is a lack of books about Irish wild flowers and this book certainly fills the gap. The text is engaging and  informative, the passion of the author is clear, and the photographs are superb.

Listen: Interview with the author, Zoe Devlin

Price: €29.99

Publisher: The Collins Press

Saving the Burren, The ‘Root’ of Intelligence, The Future of Electric Cars in Ireland

Ireland’s world famous Burren region is under threat due to a change in farming practices in recent times (Credit: burrenforts.ie)

LISTEN:  Saving the Burren, the Root of Intelligence, The Future of Electric Cars in Ireland

Broadcast on 103.2 Dublin City FM, Science Spinning with Seán Duke, on 09/06/2011

To contact the show email: sciencespinning@dublincityfm.ie