SDG 2| Zero Hunger
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Nutrition is a basic human need. Global warming will lower crop productivity and may result in famines in some developing countries. Thus, it is important to maintain a sustainable supply of safe and nutritious food. CUHK has contributed to this goal by conducting pioneering research on sustainable agriculture to maintain crop productivity despite environmental changes. We also reach out to the community and promote the message of sustainable agriculture and local food.
14 related courses were offered in the 2021–22 academic year.
CUHK strives to minimize environmental impacts and to apply fair prices and ethical terms when purchases are made. Under its Sustainable Procurement Policy and Sustainable Procurement Guidelines, the University supports the purchase of products or ingredients grown or manufactured in Hong Kong or in adjacent Guangdong Province so as to reduce the carbon emissions generated during transportation. It also supports the purchase of fair trade products, to protect producers by guaranteeing stable prices for produce. To further support sustainable seafood consumption, CUHK’s Sustainable Procurement Guidelines prohibit the consumption of shark’s fin and bluefin tuna in meals served in restaurants on campus and at any activities either organized or paid for by the University.
Rapid climate change reduces productivity in crops. A balance in nutrition and energy recycling is critical for plants to survive under different stress conditions. A research team from the School of Life Sciences identified a novel competitive mechanism of autophagy in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This work provides an important basis for improving the nutrient and energy efficiency in crops to achieve sustainable development. The results were published in Autophagy, a top journal in this field.
Environmental stresses, such as drought, salinity and extreme temperatures, cause over 50% of the worldwide yield loss of major crops every year. A research team from the School of Life Sciences has identified the anti-aggregation mechanism of small heat shock proteins (sHsps) and revealed the structure of sHsps using advanced single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) technology. This study provides opportunities for potential enhancement of thermo-tolerance in crop plants and improvement in crop production. The findings were published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Communications.
The Centre for Organelle Biogenesis and Function has made a major breakthrough in identifying and functionally characterising a new population of giant COPII vesicles in response to hormone regulation and abiotic (drought) stresses in plants. The discovery may lead to the development of more drought-tolerant crops and contribute to future environmental sustainability. The results were published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Plants.
Improving farming efficiency
In 2021, the State Key Laboratory (SKL) of Agrobiotechnology held a series of academic talks on agriculture and food production, and conducted seminars on local farming and the importance of intercropping with soybeans to improve crop yields. These events were open to the public.
The Summer Research Placement Programme 2021 was held to forge closer relationships and strengthen research collaboration with the laboratory’s partner SKL at the China Agricultural University, the Northwest A&F University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Good Health and Well-being