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Lead lurking in your soil? New Chicago project maps distribution

URBANA, Ill. – Lead exposure in early childhood can have lifelong consequences, including brain damage, developmental delays, and learning and behavioral disorders. Preventing these devastating outcomes means avoiding lead, but that’s only possible if you know where to find it.

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The little algae that could: algal growth helps clean up toxic wastewater

URBANA, Ill. – You may not want to see algae spreading a green carpet on your favorite lake. But in toxic wastewater, tiny algal organisms become potent powerhouses that eat nutrients and produce oxygen, helping to convert poisonous sludge to reusable biomass.

A new study from the University of Illinois explores growth and viability of four different algae species in wastewater from biocrude oil production.

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Brawn honored as inaugural Levenick Chair in Sustainability

URBANA, Ill. – In January 2020, professor Jeffrey Brawn was named the inaugural Stuart L. and Nancy J. Levenick Chair in Sustainability, the first endowed chair in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at the University of Illinois. A pandemic-belated ceremony happened yesterday on the Urbana campus.

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Can sustainability standards effectively mitigate food system challenges?

URBANA, Ill. – While agrifood production is essential for feeding our growing global population, it can also contribute to environmental and social problems, including deforestation, biodiversity loss, poor or precarious labor conditions, and persistent poverty. Certification and standards can encourage use of sustainable production practices, but how effective are such programs in addressing food system challenges?

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Marginal land available for bioenergy crops much scarcer than previously estimated

URBANA, Ill. -- Land is the planet’s limiting resource. We need land for food, biofuel, feed, ecosystem services, and more. But all land is not equal. Concerns about diverting land under food/feed crops to biofuel feedstocks have led to interest in using marginal land to produce these dedicated bioenergy crops for advanced biofuels. Marginal land has typically been defined as land that is of low quality and not in food crop production.

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Comparing the pathogen numbers in backyard and commercial composts

Compost—organic material that is added to soil to help plants grow—is widely used by gardeners because it improves soil health and reduces the amount of organic waste in landfills. Although several studies have looked at commercial composts, very few have investigated backyard compost samples. In a new study, researchers have measured the number of pathogens in both types of compost.

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Luis Rodriguez named associate director of iSEE

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment is pleased to welcome Luis Rodríguez as its new Associate Director for Education & Outreach.

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Energycane produces more biodiesel than soybean at a lower cost

URBANA, Ill. ­– Bioenergy from crops is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. New crops such as energycane can produce several times more fuel per acre than soybeans. Yet, challenges remain in processing the crops to extract fuel efficiently. 

Four new studies from the University of Illinois explore chemical-free pretreatment methods, development of high-throughput phenotyping methods, and commercial-scale techno-economic feasibility of producing fuel from energycane in various scenarios.

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CABBI challenges CRP status quo, mitigates fossil fuels

Researchers at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) found that transitioning land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to bioenergy agriculture can be ad­­­vantageous for American landowners, the government, and the environment.

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ACES student offers sustainability advice in her first book

While quarantine can be rough, something good that has come out of it for many people is the discovery of new hobbies.

Maybe you took an interest in bread baking or tried the famous whipped coffee? Or maybe you’re like University of Illinois student Alexa Smith and decided to write a book during quarantine.

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