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  • Plant biology professor Evan DeLucia and co-authors found that the renewable fuel standards greater emphasis on second-generation biofuel can reduce emissions greatly despite economic considerations.

    Study: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissions

    Second-generation biofuel crops like the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass can efficiently meet emission reduction goals without significantly displacing cropland used for food production, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Illinois and collaborators published their findings in the inaugural edition of the journal Nature Energy. The researchers call it the most comprehensive study on the subject to date.

  • Plant biology professor Donald Ort is one of seven U. of I. researchers on the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015.

    Seven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influential

    Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters.

  • A photo of Madhu Khanna, right, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, and Weiwei Wang, a postdoctoral research associate at Illinois.

    Export of wood pellets from US to EU more environmentally friendly than coal

    A new study co-written by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, found that harvesting wood pellets in the U.S. and exporting them to the EU was more environmentally friendly than burning coal in the EU to generate electricity.

  • Craig Gundersen

    Links between hunger and health lead to recommendation that doctors screen patients for food insecurity

    Almost 50 million people in the United States are food insecure – that is, they lack access to adequate food because of limited money or other resources. University of Illinois economist Craig Gundersen and University of Kentucky’s James P. Ziliak examined recent research on food insecurity and its association with poor health, and offer suggestions including that doctors screen for hunger.

  • Study: Ground-level ozone reduces maize and soybean yields

    Despite government regulations, ground-level ozone – an odorless gas that forms as polluting nitrogen oxides drift in sunlight across the countryside – continues to threaten crop quality and yield. In a new study, researchers quantify this loss from historical yield data for the first time. They show that over the last 30 years, ozone emissions have reduced soybean and corn yields by 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

  • Pineapple genome offers insight into photosynthesis in drought-tolerant plants

    By sequencing its genome, scientists are homing in on the genes and genetic pathways that allow the juicy pineapple plant to thrive in water-limited environments. The new findings, reported in the journal Nature Genetics, also open a new window on the complicated evolutionary history of grasses like sorghum and rice, which share a distant ancestor with pineapple.

  • Study identifies chemical in diet that determines a honey bee’s caste

    A closer look at how honey bee colonies determine which larvae will serve as workers and which will become queens reveals that a plant chemical, p-coumaric acid, plays a key role in the bees’ developmental fate.

  • Master Naturalists, from left, John Marlin, Thom Uebele and Jana Uebele stand in the Florida Orchard Prairie, one of the demonstration gardens on campus that Marlin coordinates and maintains. An entomologist, Marlin is a research affiliate with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center. Thom Uebele is a research programmer with the School of Life Sciences, and his wife, Jana, is an artist.

    Master Naturalists needed to preserve Illinois' environment

    Adults who have a passion for the outdoors – and are interested in sharing that with others – are needed statewide as volunteers in the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist program.

  • Chill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures, team finds

    U.S. farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane’s growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these “miscanes,” as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips.

  • Groundwater from three main aquifers in the United States contributes to food shipped across the country and around the globe, says a new study from civil and environmental engineers at Illinois and Lehigh University.

    Study: Groundwater from aquifers important factor in food security

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Thirsty cities, fields and livestock drink deeply from aquifers, natural sources of groundwater. But a study of three of the most-tapped aquifers in the United States shows that overdrawing from these resources could lead to difficult choices affecting not only domestic food security but also international markets.

  • University of Illinois eco-physiologist Manfredo Seufferheld and his colleagues found substantial differences in gene expression between rotation-resistant rootworms and those that are susceptible to crop rotation.

    Study: Crop rotation-resistant rootworms have a lot going on in their guts

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After decades of effort, scientists are finally figuring out how insects develop resistance to environmentally friendly farming practices – such as crop rotation – that are designed to kill them. The researchers say their insights will help develop more sustainable agricultural practices.

  • Research geneticist Ram Singh crossed soybean with a related wild, perennial plant from Australia, introducing new genetic diversity to the soybean plant.

    Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity, develops soybean rust-resistant plant

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens of soy.

  • Professor Tandy Warnow developed a new statistical method that sorts genetic data to construct better species trees detailing genetic lineage.

    New method helps map species' genetic heritage

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Where did the songbird get its song? What branch of the bird family tree is closer to the flamingo - the heron or the sparrow?

  • Civil and environmental engineering professor Praveen Kumar led research that determined bioenergy crops such as miscanthus can store more carbon in the soil than traditional corn or soybean crops.

    Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.

  • Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, has received a 2014 MacArthur fellowship, commonly called a "genius grant."

    Illinois engineer wins MacArthur fellowship

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a "genius grant," from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

  • Craig Gundersen

    Solving food insecurity problems among older Americans

    A Minute With™... Craig Gundersen, the University of Illinois Soybean Industry Endowed Professor of Agricultural Strategy

  • Drones - unmanned aerial vehicles - scout wheat on the university's South Farms.

    Drones give farmers eyes in the sky to check on crop progress

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - This growing season, crop researchers at the University of Illinois are experimenting with the use of drones - unmanned aerial vehicles - on the university's South Farms.

  • Bruce M. Chassy

    Labeling genetically engineered food

    A Minute With™... Bruce M. Chassy, a professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition

  • Elizabeth Lowe, the director of the U. of I.'s Center for Translation Studies, says the program will offer a new master's program for translators and interpreters.

    New master's program at Illinois will train translators and interpreters

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The demand for translators and interpreters is projected to increase by at least 20 percent by the year 2020, and a new program at the University of Illinois will offer a master's degree to equip graduates to fill those jobs. Elizabeth Lowe, the director of the U. of I.'s Center for Translation Studies, says the program offers both on-campus and online options, and is accepting applications now for courses that will begin in the fall.

  • Illinois professor of animal and nutritional sciences Kelly Swanson, left, and his research team, including Maria de Godoy, recently published a study that shows how molecular biology technologies are making the mechanisms underlying the pet obesity epidemic more easily understood.

    Molecular techniques are man's new best friend in pet obesity research

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - According to the World Health Organization, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. And it's not just humans who are packing on the pounds. Our furry companions are plagued by an obesity epidemic of their own. More than 50 percent of the dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.

  • Urban and regional planning professor Arnab Chakraborty, left, and graduate students Robert Boyer, center, and Dustin Allred collaborated on a study of foreclosures from 2005 through 2008.

    Zoning restrictions also a key factor in foreclosure crisis, scholar says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The causes of the foreclosure crisis seem obvious: Buyers purchased homes they couldn't afford, lured in part by lenders pushing subprime mortgages. Real estate values escalated, and when the bubble burst, buyers were left owing more than their homes were worth.

  • Kathleen Graber, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award, began writing poetry after taking a group of high school students on a field trip.

    Carr visiting author series to showcase two acclaimed poets

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kathleen Graber - a former high school English teacher who was inspired to write poetry after taking students on a field trip - will read from her critically acclaimed collections at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 (Wednesday) at the Illini Union Bookstore.

  • Drought, crop insurance, and farm profitability

    A Minute With™... Gary D. Schnitkey, an agricultural economist

  • Aaron Hager

    What's the potential impact of herbicide-resistant weeds on agriculture in the U.S.?

    A Minute With™... Aaron Hager, a faculty member in the department of crop sciences

  • What the media call 'pink slime' is not new or dangerous

    A Minute With™... Anna Dilger, a professor of animal sciences

  • These Bt corn plants in LaSalle County, Illinois, have fallen over (lodged) as a result of rootworm damage. Like other Bt plants that are becoming susceptible to rootworm damage in Iowa, these corn plants contain the Cry3Bb1 Bt protein in a field planted year after year in corn expressing the same Bt protein.

    Researcher tracks agricultural overuse of bug-killing technology

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - High corn prices are leading many growers to plant corn every year and to overuse pesticides and other bug-killing technology to maximize yields, researchers report. In many instances, pesticides are applied without scouting fields to see if they are needed, violating a bedrock principle of integrated pest management. The result is a biological diversity desert in many corn and soybean fields in the agricultural Midwest, and signs that the surviving insects are becoming resistant to several key bug-fighting tools now available to farmers.

  • With many Americans now spending most of their adult lives owing debts to financial institutions, the need for a consumer financial agency free of "regulatory capture" is now more acute than ever, according to Robert M. Lawless, a University of Illinois expert in consumer credit.

    Expert: Keep consumer protection agency free of 'regulatory capture'

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - With many Americans now spending most of their adult lives owing debts to financial institutions, the need for a consumer financial agency free of "regulatory capture" is now more acute than ever, according to a University of Illinois expert in consumer credit.

  • Pest patrol Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator at the Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey, and Michael Gray, a professor of crop sciences, are urging Illinois farmers to be especially vigilant about scouting their fields for brown marmorated stink bugs.

    Stink bugs a threat to farmers, smelly guests for homeowners

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The brown marmorated stink bug - scientific name Halyomorpha halys - has been found in four Illinois counties and could be a major threat to fruit, vegetable and agronomic crops if it proliferates.

  • In a new study, University of Illinois law professor Jay P. Kesan, right, and Timothy A. Slating, a regulatory associate with the University of Illinois Energy Biosciences Institute, argue that regulatory innovations are needed to keep pace with technological innovations in the biofuels industry.

    Study: Regulatory hurdles hinder biofuels market

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Regulatory hurdles abound for the successful commercialization of emerging liquid biofuels, which hold the promise of enhancing U.S. energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and serving as a driver for rural economic development, according to new research at the University of Illinois.

  • University of Illinois plant biology and Energy Biosciences Institute professor Evan DeLucia, EBI feedstock analyst Sarah Davis and their colleagues found that replacing the least productive corn acres with miscanthus would boost both corn and biofuel production.

    Switch from corn to grass would raise ethanol output, cut emissions

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Growing perennial grasses on the least productive farmland now used for corn ethanol production in the U.S. would result in higher overall corn yields, more ethanol output per acre and better groundwater quality, researchers report in a new study. The switch would also slash emissions of two potent greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide.

  • How will widespread flooding of farmland affect commodity prices?

    A Minute With™... agricultural economist Gary D. Schnitkey

  • Michael Gray, a professor of crop sciences, has found growing non-compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's requirement that farmers who plant genetically modified corn plant 20 percent of their acreage with non-modified corn to prevent genetic resistance.

    Growing numbers of corn farmers ignoring refuge requirement

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - More than 90 percent of Illinois corn producers polled at the University of Illinois Extension Corn and Soybean Classic meetings indicated that they planned to plant corn that was genetically modified with the insect-killing protein Bacillus thuringiensis this spring.

  • Mike Hutjens

    Why does the FDA want to test milk for more drugs?

     

    A Minute With™...

  • ADM funds new postharvest institute

    Archer Daniels Midland Co. announced a $10 million grant to establish the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the UI. The global institute will work with farmers in the developing world to help preserve millions of metric tons of grains and oilseeds lost each year to pests, disease, mishandling and other factors.

  • Darrel Good

    Will 2011 be the year of the global food crisis?

    A Minute With™... Darrel Good, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics 

  • USDA awards $5.5 million to tackle childhood hunger

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $5.5 million to fund research that will help alleviate childhood hunger in the United States. Craig Gundersen, a UI professor of nutritional sciences in the department of agricultural and consumer economics, and James Ziliak, of the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research, will coordinate a research program on childhood hunger.

  • Salmon baby food? Babies need omega-3s and a taste for fish

    A UI food science professor has two important reasons for including seafood in a young child's diet, reasons that have motivated her work in helping to develop a tasty, nutritious salmon baby food for toddlers.

  • Jennifer Robbennolt, a UI professor of law and of psychology, says her studies show that apologies can potentially help resolve legal disputes ranging from injury cases to wrongful firings, giving wounded parties a sense of justice and satisfaction that promotes settlements and trims demands for damages.

    Apologies may fuel settlement of legal disputes, study says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Apologies may be good for more than just the soul, according to research by a University of Illinois professor of law and of psychology.

  • Will produce prices rise following Florida freeze, Chilean earthquake?

    A Minute With™... crop sciences professor John Masiunas

  • Sheldon H. Jacobson, right, a professor of computer science at Illinois, says legislation banning cell phone use while driving has more of an impact in densely populated urban areas that have a higher number of licensed drivers. Matthew J. Robbins, left, was one of two students who conducted the study with Jacobson.

    Study: Cell-phone bans while driving have more impact in dense, urban areas

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A new study analyzing the impact of hand-held cell phone legislation on driving safety concludes that usage-ban laws had more of an impact in densely populated urban areas with a higher number of licensed drivers than in rural areas where there are fewer licensed drivers, according to a University of Illinois researcher.

  • Joseph Spencer, an insect behaviorist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, and his colleague found that the western corn rootworm will lay its eggs on Miscanthus and that the rootworm larvae can survive on Miscanthus rhizomes.

    Miscanthus, a biofuels crop, can host western corn rootworm

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The western corn rootworm beetle, a pest that feasts on corn roots and corn silk and costs growers more than $1 billion annually in the U.S., also can survive on the perennial grass Miscanthus x giganteus, a potential biofuels crop that would likely be grown alongside corn, researchers report.

  • Physically active individuals have an increased sense of accomplishment, or situation-specific self-confidence, which in turn results in reduced depression and reduced fatigue, said Edward McAuley, a professor of kinesiology and community health at Illinois and lead author on the study.

    Mastery of physical goals lessens disease-related depression and fatigue

    CHAMPAIGN, lll. - Physical activity is known to reduce depression and fatigue in people struggling with chronic illness. A new study indicates that this effect may stem from an individual's sense of mastery over - or belief in his or her ability to achieve - certain physical goals.

  • Madhu Khanna

    What are the implications for agriculture under a proposed climate bill?

    A Minute With™... agricultural economist Madhu Khanna

  • Robin Orr

    Does the recent peanut scare indicate a need for stricter guidelines?

    A Minute With™... Robin Orr, the director of programming for the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program

  • E-Learning can have positive effect on classroom learning, scholar says

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Traditional classroom teaching in higher education could learn a thing or two from online teaching, otherwise known as e-learning, according to a University of Illinois professor who studies computer-mediated communication, information exchange and the Internet.

  • Gallery offers first comprehensive U.S. look at Japanese architect's work

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The first comprehensive U.S. exhibition of the work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma will be exhibited Oct. 10 through Nov. 15 at I space, the Chicago gallery of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

  • Madhu Khanna is a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

    As more corn is used for ethanol, how will we make up for lost food production?

    A Minute With™... Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics

  • Chickens may help aid in early detection of ovarian cancer

    Understanding and treatment of human ovarian cancer, known as the silent killer, may be a step closer thanks to some chickens at the UI. Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and unlike other cancers, its rate of mortality has not been reduced.

  • Tomato-broccoli together shown to be effective against prostate cancer

    A new UI study shows that tomatoes and broccoli – two vegetables known for their cancer-fighting qualities – are better at shrinking prostate tumors when both are part of the daily diet than when they’re eaten alone.

  • Research grant will help assessment of prairie seed banks

    CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois Natural History Survey has received a grant from the Conservation 2000 Program to assess seed banks at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in Will County.