Rapeseed has benefited in Europe from regulations encouraging its use for biodiesel, but a study is questioning whether the crop meets EU sustainability standards. The crop "is at best very questionable and in most scenarios simply unjustifiable," say the researchers.
Spanish police say that suspects in an olive oil-fraud investigation passed off palm, avocado, sunflower and other oils as olive oil, though there was no risk to human health. "This illegal practice causes very serious unfair competition in the sector given that, by not paying [value-added tax] and using inferior or other vegetable oils, the organization was able to price the product well below the market rate," police said.
A study of global freshwater supplies finds that agriculture accounts for 92% of use. Water-hungry grains such wheat, rice and corn account for 27% of the world's water footprint. Meat and dairy account for 22% and 7%, respectively. The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the U.S. is the third-largest consumer of freshwater after China and India, though it has larger per capita consumption than those countries.
U.S.-based scientists have discovered a fungus that converts some sugars and algae biomass to lipids for use as biodiesel. The fungus, called strain MK7, was obtained from Yellowstone National Park hot springs with low-pH water. Studies found that lipids made up 60% of the fungi's cell volume and the lipid profile was compatible with bio-applications.
Demand for and production of canola is on the rise, say farmers in the U.S. Midwest, as the oil is used as a healthful food ingredient and biodiesel feedstock. But in Oregon, where canola planting is banned, some farmers are worried that canola will displace or infect other crops.