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Horticultural research institute uk.
In the past several years, a considerable number of articles have been published that indicate the important, unique, and often unexpected nature of plant-insect interactions. The primary role of the insect herbivore is to provide nutrition to the plant for its reproduction, yet in certain interactions, many insects also serve as pollinators. The insects, usually in the orders Lepidoptera, Diptera, and Hymenoptera, in many cases provide a significant part of the nutritional requirement for many plants. Some interactions between insects and plants are beneficial and increase plant production, while others may be detrimental, decreasing plant yield or quality, and sometimes resulting in death of the plant. Some insect pests have a negative impact on the quality of human foods. For example, diamondback moths, beet armyworms, and armyworm moths that are considered major pests to a wide range of plants. The use of insect pollinators to increase plant production is commonly referred to as biological pollination. A recent book, Biological Pollination, by Cane (1999), discusses the role of pollinators in agricultural development.
Insects that are a major pest of plant life can have an even more detrimental impact on the quality of human food. For example, the tobacco budworm moth (Heliothis virescens) that has been feeding on tobacco crop has caused more than two billion dollars in damage in the United States during the past 50 years. The beet armyworm (Spodoptera exigua) has also caused significant economic losses in the United States. In addition, many insect herbivores destroy valuable tree crops, such as walnut, and are a major concern in nurseries and the home garden market.
In the past, many plants were not available to the public in the plant material used to grow food, and the majority of commercial food sources of essential nutrients were obtained from animal products. Many of the plants that are cultivated for food production were originally collected by hunting and gathering activities. For example, wild potato (Solanum tuberosum), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), and cassava (Manihot esculenta) were all originally collected from wild sources.
Most crops grown for food use are cultivated from plant species that are grown as annuals. Some plant species, however, have a life cycle that is longer, and are able to survive in nature without human assistance. Other non-annual plants, such as the banana, citrus, and palm trees, have become essential crops because of their ability to grow in both tropical and subtropical regions. Because of their ease of cultivation, many annual crop plants have been modified to obtain certain desirable characteristics. For example, the plant species sweet corn was originally wild relative to the sweet potato, but was domesticated for its starchy edible substance.
A variety of crops, including fruit and vegetable crops, are grown on an industrial scale for human consumption and nutritional purposes. Crops grown on a large scale are usually those that are easier to grow and more profitable to produce. Crops that are usually grown in large amounts include potato, soybean, corn, and rice.
While agriculture has been practiced for hundreds of thousands of years, the first crop to be documented was wild wheat, which is thought to have been domesticated from a wild grass species Hordeum pusillum about 11,000 years ago. Wheat, and other grasses, were most likely spread through interplanting with barley (Hordeum vulgare), or between cultivation areas over the course of many years. Barley was the earliest known crop, having been domesticated for food about 10,000 years ago, and the first record of growing wild wheat is thought to have occurred about 11,000 years ago.
A study of the mitochondrial DNA of humans, for example, showed that farmers could have migrated from a region of the Middle East that was a center of cultivation to their present area in Europe only between 4000 and 3000 years ago. It was during this time that modern humans are thought to have migrated out of Africa.
Modern agriculture developed as foodstuffs were transported to regions other than that of their production. During the Middle Ages, agricultural areas outside of Europe began to benefit from European products. At the beginning of the 18th century, food production systems had been developed to such an extent that Europe's food supply was able to stretch across the rest of the world. During the 19th century, modern agriculture was introduced in most parts of the world.The Green Revolution led to the significant increase in food production that occurred in many regions. Currently, about 90% of the world's food is produced by agriculture.
Fruit and vegetable crops, for example, provide the necessary raw materials for the manufacture of a range of food products, including beverages, bakery, confectionery, dairy products, and snack foods.
Crop management is the practice of growing food crops or livestock to maximize economic production and productivity. Farmers choose which type of crop they want to plant, how much to plant, when to plant, and how many seeds to sow. Farmers also use the science of crop protection, which includes the use of pest-proofing and disease-resistant crops, as well as the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to keep pests and diseases under control.
The term "crop insurance" is often used to describe a government-backed program to reimburse farmers for losses they may incur from specific crops. The concept of a "program of crop insurance" was first established in the United States in the 1930s, where it was called a "temporary or emergency plan". The term "insurance" refers to the program for risk reduction. "Crop insurance" often involves crop prices and, by extension, a risk of future income, such as a farmer's ability to produce their crops with the cost of production taken into consideration.
Plant science is a branch of the life sciences which includes the study of plants, such as the study of the mechanisms of plant development, physiology, genetics, and metabolism.
The field of plant science also includes the study of plant products, which can be used for commercial, industrial, or medical purposes. Examples of the commercial uses of plant science include food, fiber, feed and fuel, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels. Plant science is one of the four branches of biological science that study life, and plant scientists are trained to be capable of understanding the study of all living organisms.
A plant science education involves the study of the various fields within plant science, including plant genetics, physiology, biochemistry, ecology, and taxonomy. A "plant geneticist" is a specialist in plant genetics.
Plant physiology includes the study of plant development, which includes the study of meristem development, the study of the control of cell differentiation, and the study of meristem homeostasis. Plant physiology is a sub-branch of plant science. "Plant physiology" also can be a synonym for "plant biochemistry" when talking about cellular biochemistry. "Biochemistry" includes studies of biochemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology, developmental biology, genetics, molecular biology, and cytology.
Plant biochemistry involves the study of biochemical processes in plants, such as energy pathways, the control of metabolism, and the study of plant nutrition. Plant biochemistry is a sub-branch of plant physiology. "Biochemistry" is a broad term that includes cytochemistry, biophysics, histochemistry, physiology, organic chemistry, molecular biology, genomics, and cell biology.
Plant taxonomy includes the study of the classification of plants. Plant taxonomy is one of the four main branches of botany