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06. Safe fragrances
05. DNA mass information store
04. Garden mounds for permaculture
03. Silver as high-tech material
02. Micro needle transmits medications and light
01. Electricity storage in gravity systems

12. An eye on space hazards
11. Water purification through freezing
10. Solar shingles
09. Trinary code
08. Vegetation-based battery materials
07. Indoor position location
06. The interface industry
05. Hypersonic aircraft
04. Re-usable glass packaging
03. Vein patterns as personal ID
02. Magnet making bacteria
01. Ultra-light solids

12. Ultrasound in water
11. Projected touchscreen
10. Electric airplane
08. Glass hard disc
04. Nuclear hazard
03. Clearing “sewer soap”
02. Water harvesting
01. Tea bag size personal water filter

12. Human powered water transport
11. The Technium
08. Bio-remediation of oil spills
07. Cleaner coal
05. Oil spill remediation
04. Solar towers
03. Brain-computer
02. Biodiesel producing bacteria
01. Hydrogen producing bacteria

12. Levitating living organisms
11. A new blue
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07. Algal biofuel
06. Geo-Thermal Heat Pump
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01. Air cleansing building material

12. ebooks
11. Energy Harvesting
10. Private space-flights
09. Virus identification chip
08. Bio-fuels
07. Electronic financial trading
06. Bio-remediation
05. New tech agriculture
04. Manufactured Hotels
03. Magnetic Induction
02. Genetic Vaults
01. Solid-state lighting

12 Bacteria in agriculture and industry
11. Blue revolution
10. Electronic nose
09. Nuclear sarcophagus
08. Shape shifting technology
07. Thought activated technology
06. Green is cool - make me look green
05. Electronic 'drugs'
04. Super-canals and super-ships
03. Environmentally friendly technology: greens versus grays
02. Agriculture: food,fiber and fuel
01. FPGA floating-point performance surpasses microprocessor

08. Energy sources for electricity compete
07. Universal interface (UI)
06. Magnetic levitation
05. Light pipes
04. Storage of electricity
03. Automotive engines
02. Molecular assembly
01. Introducing Technoscan Newsbriefs

Vol. 3, No. 05. May 31, 2008
ISSN 1932-3018

New-tech agriculture
Positioning this technology in the
Functionality Grid
Reformatted from: Van Wyk, Rias J: Technology - A Unifying Code, 2004, SMG, Cape Town, p.34. Based on: Ropohl, Gunter: Eine Systemtheorie der Technik, 1979, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich and Vienna, p.178.
This Newsbrief focuses on a new advance in agricultural productivity, the increase in crop yields due to "marker-assisted selection". This is a procedure beyond traditional selection and beyond genetic manipulation. In terms of the Atlas of Technological Advance it is concerned with the functionality of matter processing.
Two trends focus attention on new-tech agriculture:
  • The rapidly growing demand for food
  • The desire to move beyond genetic engineering
In an article by Andrew Pollack, "Monsanto Seeks Big Increase in Crop Yields" New York Times, June 5, 2008, p. C3, the author reports Monsanto's pledge to "double the yields of corn, soybeans and cotton by 2030" while requiring "30 percent less water, land and energy to grow".
Increased productivity would be achieved through a new technique called "marker assisted selection". Rather than inserting new genes into organisms this technique uses "genetic tests to help choose which plants to use in conventional cross-breeding". The expected impact is shown in curve A in the adjacent graph. Curve B shows the continuation of historical rates of advance.
Executives should explore the further evolution of this technology. It seems to hold much promise for increased agricultural production. Does it meet the demands of environmental harmony as well?

Compilers: Biltz, George, and Van Wyk, Rias J. George Biltz is a practicing physician and teaches human physiology at the University of Minnesota. E-mail:

© Rias J. van Wyk, 2013. Editor.