blog postsSeven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influentialDec 21, 2015 9:15 am8335 views 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.Pollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the goodDec 7, 2016 8:30 am7644 views Weed scientists in at least two Midwestern states have been reporting for years that a conservation program meant to provide habitat for pollinating insects is sowing bad seeds – including seeds of the potentially devastating agricultural weed Palmer amaranth – along with the good. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have traced the weed seeds to at least one source: pollinator habitat seed sold by a company in the Midwest.Eight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 18, 2016 9:15 am6492 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."Corn better used as food than biofuel, study findsJun 20, 2017 9:00 am3679 views Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.Genetic study shakes up the elephant family treeJun 6, 2017 3:00 am3208 views New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago – ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct – is more closely related to today’s African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant.Scientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yieldNov 17, 2016 1:00 pm3143 views Researchers report that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. This confirms a hypothesis some in the scientific community once doubted was possible.Some plants grow bigger – and meaner – when clipped, study findsOct 11, 2017 8:30 am3121 views Some plants behave like the mythical monster Hydra: Cut off their heads and they grow back, bigger and better than before. A new study finds that these “overcompensators,” as they are called, also augment their defensive chemistry – think plant venom – when they are clipped.Report: Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declinesMar 13, 2017 4:15 pm2949 views Monarch butterfly declines cannot be attributed merely to declines in milkweed abundance, researchers report.Kidwell named College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences deanJul 15, 2016 9:15 am2652 views Currently the executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, Kimberlee Kidwell will be the new U. of I. dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences effective Nov. 1, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. She also will hold the inaugural Robert A. Easter Chair.Hand-picked specialty crops ‘ripe’ for precision agriculture techniquesMar 2, 2017 9:15 am2455 views Using precision agriculture, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed an algorithm to help producers of hand-picked crops such as strawberries determine the optimal time to transport their highly perishable crop from the field to cold storage.Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees, study findsJan 8, 2018 9:30 am1997 views When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.U. of I. alumna Temple Grandin elected to the American Academy of Arts and SciencesApr 21, 2016 9:30 am1978 views Temple Grandin, a University of Illinois alumna and a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Pineapple genome offers insight into photosynthesis in drought-tolerant plantsNov 2, 2015 10:00 am1913 views 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 suggests commercial bumble bee industry amplified a fungal pathogen of beesApr 4, 2016 2:00 pm1900 views Scientists hoping to explain widespread declines in wild bumble bee populations have conducted the first long-term genetic study of Nosema bombi, a key fungal pathogen of honey bees and bumble bees. Their study found that Nosema infections in large-scale commercial bumble bee pollination operations coincided with infections and declines in wild bumble bees.Illinois sportfish recovery a result of 1972 Clean Water Act, scientists reportOct 18, 2017 9:45 am1819 views Populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and other sportfish are at the highest levels recorded in more than a century in the Illinois River, according to a new report. Their dramatic recovery, from populations close to zero near Chicago throughout much of the 20th century, began just after implementation of the Clean Water Act, the researchers say.Supersweet Sweet Corn: 50 Years in the MakingAug 7, 2003 9:00 am1807 views Fifty years ago, sweet corn wasn't all that sweet and had a short shelf-life, which made it difficult for grocery stores to stock it. As a result of the persistence of some UI corn researchers, today's sweet corn not only lives up to its name in taste, it maintains its high quality for more than a week, long enough to get it into stores and onto dinner tables. Jerald "Snook" Pataky, UI plant pathologist in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, has researched the history of UI’s contribution to the existence of today's supersweet corn and will be one of the featured speakers at Agronomy Day on Aug. 21. sChill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures, team findsJul 28, 2015 8:00 am1799 views 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.Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agricultureJul 25, 2016 8:00 am1677 views University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching.Study finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, autism in humansJul 31, 2017 2:00 pm1543 views Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.Study rewrites early history of corn in corn countryFeb 14, 2017 8:15 am1509 views A new study contradicts decades of thought, research and teaching on the history of corn cultivation in the American Bottom, a floodplain of the Mississippi River in Illinois. The study refutes the notion that Indian corn, or maize, was cultivated in this region hundreds of years before its widespread adoption at about 1000 A.D.Survival of many of the world’s nonhuman primates is in doubt, experts reportJan 18, 2017 1:00 pm1488 views A report in the journal Science Advances details the grim realities facing a majority of the nonhuman primates in the world – the apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises inhabiting ever-shrinking forests across the planet. The review is the most comprehensive conducted so far, the researchers say, and the picture it paints is dire.Study identifies chemical in diet that determines a honey bee’s casteAug 28, 2015 1:00 pm1471 views 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.Study: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissionsJan 11, 2016 10:30 am1457 views 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.Scientists: Expanding Brazilian sugarcane could dent global CO2 emissionsOct 23, 2017 9:45 am1433 views Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 5.6 percent, researchers report in the journal Nature Climate Change.E-Learning can have positive effect on classroom learning, scholar saysNov 26, 2008 9:00 am1430 views 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.Many Midwestern retailers sell mislabeled invasive vinesJan 8, 2018 9:00 am1327 views Gardeners hoping to celebrate the beauty of American bittersweet – a native vine that produces orange berries in the fall and is used for wreaths – may be unwittingly buying an invasive bittersweet instead. That’s because many Midwestern retailers are selling oriental bittersweet with labels misidentifying it as the native plant, researchers report. These sales are occurring in stores and online.Paper: Nutrition label readers favor food quality over quantityApr 18, 2017 8:45 am1317 views Although nutrition-label users eat roughly the same amount of food as less-discerning diners, the two groups diverge when it comes to the quality of the food they eat, says a new paper co-written by Brenna Ellison, a professor of agriculture and consumer economics at Illinois and an expert in consumer food preferences and behaviors.Science at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planetApr 17, 2017 8:30 am1188 views Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.Export of wood pellets from US to EU more environmentally friendly than coalNov 20, 2015 9:30 am1156 views 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.Study: Future drought will offset benefits of higher CO2 on soybean yieldsSep 5, 2016 10:00 am1075 views An eight-year study of soybeans grown outdoors in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere like that expected by 2050 has yielded a new and worrisome finding: Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations will boost plant growth under ideal growing conditions, but drought – expected to worsen as the climate warms and rainfall patterns change – will outweigh those benefits and cause yield losses much sooner than anticipated.Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto RicoNov 16, 2017 9:30 am1045 views A genomic study of Puerto Rico’s Africanized honey bees – which are more docile than other so-called “killer bees” – reveals that they retain most of the genetic traits of their African honey bee ancestors, but that a few regions of their DNA have become more like those of European honey bees. According to the researchers, these changes likely contributed to the bees’ rapid evolution toward gentleness in Puerto Rico, a change that occurred within 30 years.Giant reed is a photosynthetic outlier, study findsMar 7, 2016 11:30 am1018 views Arundo donax, a giant reed that grows in the Mediterranean climate zones of the world, isn’t like other prolific warm-weather grasses, researchers report. This grass, which can grow annually to 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) in height, uses a type of photosynthesis that is more common to crop plants like soybeans, rice and peanuts.Study links fish stress hormones to whether they take the baitAug 22, 2017 10:00 am1001 views Take a fish out of water and its stress hormones will go up. Adrenaline and noradrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormones, peak first, followed more gradually by cortisol. A new study finds that largemouth bass whose cortisol levels rise most after a brief bout of stress are inherently harder to catch by angling.Livestock donation programs reduce poverty, improve food security and nutritionOct 11, 2016 9:00 am922 views Research from U. of I. agricultural economists Peter Goldsmith and Alex Winter-Nelson found that the direct donation of livestock to impoverished communities in rural Africa had numerous positive effects ranging from a reduction in poverty to an increase in gender empowerment.Team nebulizes aphids to knock down gene expressionMar 17, 2017 2:45 pm916 views Researchers are nebulizing soybean aphids with RNA to speed the process of discovering the function of many mystery genes.Fast-growing kudzu making inroads in Illinois, authorities warnOct 20, 2005 9:00 am898 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - To all Illinois residents: Be on the lookout for kudzu. This high-climbing, fast-growing weed, which is illegal to buy, grow and plant in Illinois, smothers existing vegetation and has been spotted in more than 30 Illinois counties.Illinois growers are running out of options in fight against waterhempSep 14, 2016 8:00 am887 views Resistance to multiple herbicides is the new norm for populations of waterhemp, a common agricultural weed. With their herbicide options dwindling and nothing new on the horizon, Illinois growers must be strategic in how they manage waterhemp-infested fields, says a University of Illinois expert on crop weed management.Is our flood insurance model broken?Sep 8, 2017 8:30 am884 views Craig Lemoine, the director of the Financial Planning Program at the College of ACES, discusses the flood insurance market in light of Hurricane Harvey losses.Study: Ground-level ozone reduces maize and soybean yieldsNov 5, 2015 9:00 am857 views 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.Consumer perception of organic foods affected by food type and where they’re soldJan 14, 2016 9:00 am777 views The organic food industry has grown from fresh produce and grains to snack foods and condiments – from farmers markets to supercenters. Has this new variety in organic products, and the availability of them, affected consumers’ perceptions?Drones give farmers eyes in the sky to check on crop progressJun 4, 2014 9:00 am757 views 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.Two undergrads improve plant carbon-cycle modelsJul 24, 2017 10:00 am701 views In the summer of 2012, two undergraduate students tackled a problem that plant ecology experts had overlooked for 30 years. The students demonstrated that different plant species vary in how they take in carbon dioxide and emit water through stomata, the pores in their leaves. The data boosted the accuracy of mathematical models of carbon and water fluxes through plant leaves by 30 to 60 percent.Apologies may fuel settlement of legal disputes, study saysJun 2, 2010 9:00 am484 views 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.Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soilOct 2, 2014 9:00 am474 views 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.Master Naturalists needed to preserve Illinois' environmentAug 11, 2015 1:00 pm429 views 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.Should states be in the lottery business?Sep 5, 2017 1:00 pm395 views A major downside to record-breaking lottery jackpots is that money flows from poorer communities into the hands of one incredibly lucky person, said Craig Lemoine, the director of the Financial Planning Program at the College of ACES.Growing numbers of corn farmers ignoring refuge requirementMay 12, 2011 9:00 am378 views 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.Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity, develops soybean rust-resistant plantMay 12, 2015 2:30 pm367 views 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.Study: Groundwater from aquifers important factor in food securityJun 29, 2015 2:00 pm364 views 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.Stink bugs a threat to farmers, smelly guests for homeownersAug 23, 2011 9:00 am296 views 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.