Commentary

Biochar Knowledge Gaps

Biochar is biomass burned in the near absence of oxygen and it is basically identical to charcoal, but used for different purposes. It is being widely promoted by various interests as a soil amendment and to sequester carbon, often with little detailed argument or evidence in support of the claims made.
The book "Biochar for Environmental Management" provides of a large collection of articles about biochar by a total of some 50 researchers and specialists from a wide range of universities, government departments and companies. It demonstrates clearly that there are major gaps in knowledge. However, at the same time, some writers speak of biochar as a means to address climate change and propose it for carbon markets, in spite of these knowledge gaps.

GM chicken - a solution to bird flu?

On 14 January 2011, Science published an article by Lyall et al. entitled 'Suppression of Avian Influenza Transmission in Genetically Modified Chickens'. The authors state themselves that their research and results are about a 'proof of principle' - something which by definition is a long way away from actual applicability and does not consider any safety issues.

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