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Science AMA Series: I’m Derek Stewart, I’m a Professor of plant and food chemistry at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee and Heriot Watt University Edinburgh. I do research on making the way we grow our food more sustainable. AMA!
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Reddit-ors! As someone who started off as a drug designer in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries I have always had a keen interest in natural products. Consequently I have worked for many years in the use of plant and natural products for things like improving human health, colours, food ingredients, shelf life extension etc. Over the last decade or so I have become passionate about fully utilizing crops and plants and am leading efforts into promoting and realizing a circular economy approach to agriculture and industry. A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible and get the most use out of them, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. Can we take this forward in plant and crops science, and industries? I think sustainability is key to our continued survival and lifestyles. I am on the Sense About Science’s Plant Science Panel, where you can put questions and opinions for response from researchers. The Panel is made up of over 50 independent plant science researchers. You can ask questions to them on Twitter (@senseaboutsci #plantsci) Facebook or using this online form. Answers are sent back within a couple of days and posted online. The Panel has answered close to 400 questions over the last three years and it’s a great want to cut through the noise around what can sometimes be a really polarised debate. I will be back at 12 am EDT (5 pm GMT, 9 am PST) to answer all your questions.