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科学家要掀起“餐桌革命”

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2017年12月25日

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Remarkably few plant and animal species dominate global agriculture and food production. Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry make up most of the livestock sector, while wheat, maize, rice and soya account for 60 per cent of the world’s total crop output. Fewer than 30 species account for more than 95 per cent of human food needs.

为数极少的植物和动物种类在全球农业和粮食生产中占据了主导地位。畜牧业主要由牛、羊、猪和禽类占主导,而小麦、玉米、水稻和大豆则占全球谷物总产量的60%。不到30个物种占据了逾95%的人类食物需求。

Food security experts are pressing for diversification. “We rely too much on a very small number of crops,” says Professor Toby Bruce, a plant pest expert at Keele University.

粮食安全专家一直在推动粮食来源多样化。“我们对极少数作物种类依赖过大,”英国基尔大学(Keele University)的植物害虫专家托比•布鲁斯(Toby Bruce)教授说。

“We see four crops travelling around the world, yet as human beings we have harvested 7,000 crops,” says Sayed Azam-Ali, professor of food security at Nottingham University, who runs the Crops for the Future research centre near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“我们注意到,全世界都在种植的作物只有4种,而事实上,人类种植或采集过的作物种类多达7,000种,” 马来西亚吉隆坡附近的未来作物(Crops for the Future)研究中心的负责人、诺丁汉大学(Nottingham University)食品安全教授赛义德•阿扎姆-阿里(Sayed Azam-Ali)说。

His institute is one of several aiming to identify underexploited food sources — sometimes known as orphan, neglected or underutilised crops — that could be grown more widely, particularly in the developing world.

这家研究机构旨在发现目前开发不足的食物来源——有时也被称为“孤儿作物”、被忽视的作物、或未被充分利用的作物——这些作物可以被更加广泛地种植,特别是在发展中国家。类似的研究机构在全球还有几家。

One of Prof Azam-Ali’s favourite examples is the Bambara groundnut, which is traditionally grown by female subsistence farmers in west Africa. It is a so-called “complete food”, containing a healthy combination of carbohydrate, protein and fat. The nuts are versatile; they can be eaten whole after boiling or roasting — or dried and milled to yield a flour for making dumplings, cakes and biscuits.

阿扎姆-阿里教授最喜欢举的例子之一是班巴拉豆(Bambara groundnut)。这种作物传统上是由西非自给自足的女性农户种植。班巴拉豆是一种所谓的“完整食物”,其碳水化合物、蛋白质和脂肪含量配比非常有益健康。这种豆子有多种食用方法:可以在煮熟或烤熟后直接食用,也可以在风干后磨成面,做成饺子、蛋糕和饼干等不同的食物。

Although Bambara groundnut is easily cultivated in poor, arid soil, it only grows well in the tropics. Research by Prof Azam-Ali and colleagues showed that this is because development of the nuts depends on the amount of daylight in any given day, which should not change much over the year. However, cross-breeding is now producing Bambara varieties that will do well in places further from the equator that have significant seasonal changes in the length of night and day, such as the Mediterranean.

虽然班巴拉豆很容易在贫瘠干旱的土壤里种植,但它只有在热带地区才长得好。阿扎姆-阿里教授及其同事的研究表明,出现这一情况的原因是,班巴拉豆的生长发育取决于每一天的日照量,且日照量在一年中不应有太大的变化。不过,通过杂交育种培育出的班巴拉豆品种在离赤道较远、昼夜长短有明显季节性变化的地方,例如地中海地区,也能有很好的长势。

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation is promoting the rediscovery of crops that have been forgotten over the last century, in collaboration with the African Orphan Crops Consortium. Examples include the African yam bean, desert date, prickly pear cactus, baobab tree, teff (a grain native to Ethiopia and Eritrea) and ber (a stocky tree with a vitamin-rich berry).

联合国粮农组织(The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation)正在与非洲孤儿作物联合会(African Orphan Crops Consortium)合作,推动重新发现过去一个世纪被遗忘的作物。这些作物包括非洲豆薯、沙漠枣、梨果仙人掌、猴面包树、苔麸(原产自埃塞俄比亚和厄立特里亚的一种谷物)和沙枣树(一种果实含丰富维生素的树干低矮的浆果树)。

The collaboration aims to enhance Africa’s food security, with “African scientists using some of the best tools and equipment available anywhere in the world to make safe, nutritious and affordable foods available on a sustainable basis,” says Tony Simons, director-general of the World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi. “This information will allow breeders to use the same strategies and technologies as those for western crops, such as maize, to make rapid improvements in African crops.”

此项合作旨在加强非洲的粮食安全,“非洲科学家利用世界上最好的一些可用工具和设备,以可持续的方式生产安全、营养和负担得起的食品”,总部设在肯尼亚首都内罗毕的世界农林中心(World Agroforestry Centre)的总干事托尼•西蒙斯(Tony Simons)说。“这一信息将有助于育种人员使用与西方作物(如玉米)相同的育种策略和技术,来快速改良非洲作物。”

When talk turns to diversifying from livestock to new sources of food from animals, insects usually top the list of alternatives, followed by lab-grown meat. In the past six months two UK research teams, one at Edinburgh University and Scotland’s Rural College, and the other at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire and Nottingham University, have published studies of the potential of entomophagy — the consumption of insects — to replace conventional livestock production.

当谈到动物性食物多元化时,昆虫通常是替代家畜的新动物性食物来源的首选,其次是实验室培养的肉类。在过去六个月里,两个英国研究小组,一个在爱丁堡大学(Edinburgh University)和苏格兰农业学院(Scotland’s Rural College),另一个在赫特福德郡的洛桑研究所(Rothamsted Research)和诺丁汉大学,已经发表了关于以食虫——以昆虫为食物——来取代传统家畜养殖可能性的研究论文。

The Scottish study found that replacing half of the meat eaten worldwide with crickets and mealworms would cut farmland use by a third, substantially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. However, in practice, the aversion of many western consumers to eating insects — and the infrastructure investment that would be required — mean that this will not happen on such a large scale.

苏格兰的研究小组发现,用蟋蟀和黄粉虫取代全球食用的一半肉类,将会使农场用地减少三分之一,并大大减少温室气体的排放。 不过,实际情况是,由于许多西方消费者对吃昆虫很排斥,且需要进行基础设施投资,意味着昆虫大规模取代家畜成为人类盘中餐的可能性不大。

The researchers say, though, that even a relatively small increase in entomophagy, for example by using insects as ingredients in some pre-packaged foods, would bring environmental benefits. By contrast, they found that lab-grown meat was no more sustainable in environmental terms than poultry production.

不过,研究人员表示,用昆虫取代家畜哪怕只迈出一小步,例如,在部分预包装食品中使用昆虫作为配料,也会造?;肪?。相反,他们发现,在环境可持续性方面,实验室培养肉类并不优于禽类养殖。

The Rothamsted/Nottingham study also found that “insects present a huge nutritional opportunity as an increasing global population seeks sustainable sources of food and feed”, but large-scale entomophagy faces cultural, social and economic hurdles, the researchers say.

洛桑研究所和诺丁汉大学的研究小组也发现,“随着全球人口与日俱增,人们寻求可持续的食品和饲料来源,昆虫提供了巨大的营养机会”,但是大规模食用昆虫会面临文化、社会和经济因素的阻碍,研究人员说。

“In ideal conditions, insects have a smaller environmental impact than more traditional western forms of animal protein,” says Darja Dobermann, study leader. “Less known is how to scale up insect production while maintaining these environmental benefits.”

该研究小组的负责人达尔然•多贝曼(Darja Dobermann)说:“理想状况下,昆虫对环境的冲击小于西方较为传统的动物蛋白来源。现在还不太清楚的是,如何在维持这种环保优势的情况下扩大昆虫养殖规模。”

The review found that more than 2,000 insect species are food sources, particularly in Asia and Africa. In parts of central Africa as much as half of dietary protein has historically come from insects; their market value is often higher than other sources of animal protein. In order of popularity, species for consumption include: beetles; caterpillars; bees, wasps and ants; grasshoppers, locusts and crickets; cicadas, leafhoppers, planthoppers, scale insects and bugs; termites; dragonflies, and flies. They are eaten raw, fried, boiled, roasted or dried and ground into meal.

该研究发现,目前有2000多种昆虫被当做食物,特别是在亚洲和非洲。 在中部非洲的部分地区,历史上多达一半的膳食蛋白质来自昆虫;昆虫的市场价值通常高于其他动物蛋白质来源。按照普及的程度排列,人们食用的昆虫品种包括:甲虫;毛毛虫;蜜蜂、黄蜂和蚂蚁;蚱蜢、蝗虫和蟋蟀;蝉、叶蝉、飞虱、介壳虫;白蚁;蜻蜓和苍蝇。他们可以生吃、油炸、水煮、烘烤,或干燥后磨成粉再制作成食物。

There may be more scope for breeding insects for animal feed, including fishmeal in aquaculture, than for direct human consumption. For example, nextProtein, an agritech start-up based in Paris, rears larvae from the black soldier fly on fruit and vegetable waste from the food industry. These grubs are turned into components for aquaculture, livestock feed, pet food and agricultural fertiliser.

繁殖昆虫用于生产动物饲料,包括水产养殖中的鱼粉等,比直接供人类食用的空间更大。以一家总部位于巴黎的农业科技创业型公司nextProtein为例,该公司用从食品行业回收的水果和蔬菜垃圾养殖黑水虻的幼虫。然后以这些幼虫为原料,生产水产和家畜养殖使用的饲料、宠物食品,以及农业肥料等。
 


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