Environmental Benefits of Biotechnology
Biotech crops contribute to reducing the environmental impact of productive agriculture, thereby increasing global food security without the need for increased land clearance. Insect resistant crops offer an alternative to chemical inputs on some crops and have allowed development of more targeted, flexible, effective and sustainable integrated pest management programmes. Biotech applications in the R&D pipeline (disease resistant, drought and stress tolerant crops) offer additional opportunities to increase global food security while further reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture.
The database contains 210 papers and supporting references that have been identified as having information on Agronomic Benefits of Biotechnology.
In 1950, the world population was 2.5 billion people. It is currently 7 billion, and projections are that it will reach 9 billion by 2050. It is estimated that the world needs at least 70% more food by 2050. Improvements in agricultural practices and technologies have achieved huge successes in helping to meet the food, feed and fibre needs of this growing population. However, by its very nature, agriculture is disruptive to the environment, and much work and research is now taking place to limit and decrease the “environmental footprint” it leaves.
Biotech crops help to reduce the environmental impact of productive agriculture in several ways. Biotech crops have helped reduce the use of pesticides for several economically important crops, contributing to reductions in fuel, water and packaging that are eliminated from the manufacturing, distribution and application processes.
Biotech crops assist in bringing higher yields per hectare, making farming more efficient and productive on limited land area. Habitat destruction is the biggest single threat to biodiversity. Higher yields mean farmers can produce increasing amounts of food without increasing arable land and this has a major impact on protecting wildlife habitats.
Herbicide tolerant crops are great enablers of zero-tillage agriculture, a substantial contributor to sustainable agriculture. Zero-tillage means sowing seed directly into the field, without first ploughing to remove weeds. By leaving the soil undisturbed, more moisture is retained, which is good for water conservation. Other indirect benefits of zero-tillage are improved conservation of beneficial soil insects and earth worms. By using fewer fuel powered agricultural machines, carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere are decreased and fossil fuels are conserved. Less tractor traffic also causes indirect benefits to soil quality, and hence a reduced contribution towards global warming.
Papers relating to Environmental Benefits of Biotechnology:
- Dissipation of Insecticidal Cry1Ac Protein and Its Toxicity to Nontarget Aquatic Organisms LI YL, Du J, Fang ZX, You J (2013)
- Bt cotton planting does not affect the community characteristics of rhizosphere soil nematodes Yang B, Chen H, Lui X, Ge F, Chen Q (2014)
- Bacterial Community Structure in the Rhizosphere of a Cry1Ac Bt-Brinjal Crop and Comparison to Its Non-transgenic Counterpart in the Tropical Soil singh AK, Rai GK, Singh M, Dubey SK (2013)
- Impact of Single and Stacked Insect-Resistant Bt-Cotton on the Honey Bee and Silkworm Niu L, Ma Y, Mannakkara A, Zhao Y, Ma W, Lei C, Chen L (2013)
- Eliminating host-mediated effects demonstrates Bt maize producing Cry1F has no adverse effects on the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris Tian JC, Wang XP, Long LP, Naranjo SE, Hellmich RL, Shelton AM (2013)
- Effect of Bt cotton expressing Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab2 protein on soil nematode community assemblages in Mwea, Kenya. Karuri H, Amata R, Amugune N, Waturu C (2013)
- Zero effect of Bt rice on expression of genes coding for digestion, detoxification and immune responses and developmental performances of Brown Planthopper Nilaparvata lugens (Stål) Mannakkara A, Niu L, Ma W, Lei C (2013)
- No effects of Bacillus thuringiensis maize on nontarget organisms in the field in southern Europe: a meta-analysis of 26 arthropod taxa Comas C, Lumbierres B, Pons X, Albajes R (2013)
- Effects of Two Bt Rice Lines T2A-1 and T1C-19 on the Ecological Fitness and Detoxification Enzymes of Nilaparvata lugens (Hemiptera: Delphacidae) From Different Populations Yang Y, He J, Dong B, Xu H, Fu Q, Zheng X, Lin Y, Lu Z (2013)
- Identification of relevant non-target organisms exposed to weevil-resistant Bt sweetpotato in Uganda Rukarwa RJ, Mukasa SB, Odongo B, Ssemakula G, Ghislain M (2013)
- Bt-maize event MON 88017 expressing Cry3Bb1 does not cause harm to non-target organisms Clercq PD, Devos Y, Kiss J, Romeis J, schrijver AD (2012)
- Laboratory assessment of the impacts of transgenic Bt rice on the ecological fitness of the soil non-target arthropod, Folsomia candida (Collembola: Isotomidae) Yuan Y, Xiao N, Krogh PH, Chen F, Ge F (2013)
- Global Socio-Economic and Environmental Dimensions of GM Maize Cultivation Popp J, Lakner Z (2013)
- Expression of Bt-Cry3A in transgenic Populus alba x P. glandulosa and its effects on target and non-target pests and the arthropod community. Chen M, Luan H, Su X., Tian Y, Zhang B, Zhang X (2011)
- A 2-Year Field Study Shows Little Evidence That the Long-Term Planting of Transgenic Insect-Resistant Cotton Affects the Community Structure of Soil Nematodes Li X, Liu B (2013)
- GM crops 1996-2012: A review of agronomic, environmental and socio-economic impacts (2013)
- Comparing Abundance of Predacious and Phytophagous Mites (Acarina) in Conjunction with Resistance Identification between Bt and non-Bt Cotton Cultivars Sarwar M (2013)
- Bt Crops Producing Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab and Cry1F Do Not Harm the Green Lacewing, Chrysoperla rufilabris Tian JC, Wang XP, Long LP, Romeis J, Naranjo SE, Hellmich RL, Wang P, Earle ED, Shelton AM (2013)
- Key environmental impacts of global genetically modified (GM) crop use 1996–2011 Brookes G, Barfoot P (2013)
- Effects of tillage and nitrogen rate on decomposition of transgenic Bt and near-isogenic non-Bt maize residue Al-Kaisi M, Guzman JG (2013)