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Interdisciplinary collaboration leads to new early sheep scab test

A new diagnostic technique has been developed by Scottish scientists to help in the early detection of sheep scab, marking a significant development towards improved monitoring and control of the parasite. This was made possible through an exciting interdisciplinary collaboration looking at new methods of protein expression and production.

Digital soil maps of Scotland now expanded to include Orkney

As part of wide-ranging efforts to provide Scotland’s land managers, agencies and the public with open access resources, the James Hutton Institute has progressively been digitising the published one inch to the mile (1:63,360) and 1:50,000 Soil Survey of Scotland maps, which now cover the Orkney Islands and land south-east of Inverness.

These maps were derived from more detailed 1:25,000 scale field survey, which have provided the basis for these digital maps.

Scientists launch key principles to preserve Scots plant health

Scotland’s plants underpin the health of the nation, but plant pests and diseases can cause major economic, environmental, and social costs. Increased global movements of plants and soil, coupled with the effects of climate change, are allowing novel pests and diseases to take hold or endemic ones to flourish. To raise awareness of these issues, and coinciding with the UK Plant Health Week (19-27 September), Scotland’s Plant Health Centre has launched a set of five Key Principles, which outline important steps to protect Scotland’s plant resources.

Research shows potential of gene editing to improve understanding of barley quality

International Barley Hub scientists at the James Hutton Institute, working with colleagues in the UK and Australia, have gained further insight into key genes responsible for grain composition, a process facilitated by using CRISPR gene editing as a research tool.

Barley grain is comparatively rich in (1,3;1,4)-β-D-Glucan, a source of fermentable dietary fibre that protects against various human health conditions. However, crops with a low content of this compound are preferred for brewing and distilling.

Natural world and humanity at a crossroads: UN Global Biodiversity Outlook report published

Despite encouraging progress in several areas, the health of the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. Eight transformative changes are, therefore, urgently needed to ensure human wellbeing and save the planet, the UN warns in a major report, and Hutton researchers are working across the spectrum of these challenges.

Restored river channel to bring benefits for nature in Deeside

A straightened burn in Deeside will be restored to a meandering stream channel this month, in a bid to enrich habitats for wildlife and improve the natural environment.

Huge potential of food waste to support circular economies

A new review paper by Hutton PhD student Camilla Negri, working alongside colleagues in Italy and China, shows that food waste has significant potential to replace crops in the production of energy and fertilisers through anaerobic digestion.

The findings could have major repercussions for the establishment of ‘circular economies’: economic systems aimed at the continuous use of resources and elimination of waste.

New RISS group members wanted: processing pulses for human consumption in Scotland

Are you involved in growing, processing or selling pulse-based products? A newly launched Rural Innovation Support Service (RISS) group is set to explore the potential of pulse supply chains in Scotland and associated challenges and possibilities, and collaborate to define a project that could benefit the locally-grown pulses market.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.