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Could AI-powered object recognition technology help solve wheat disease?

URBANA, Ill. – A new University of Illinois project is using advanced object recognition technology to keep toxin-contaminated wheat kernels out of the food supply and to help researchers make wheat more resistant to fusarium head blight, or scab disease, the crop’s top nemesis.   

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How have Illinois soils changed over 120 years? U of I scientist needs your help

URBANA, Ill. – When he heard an old barn on the University of Illinois campus was scheduled for demolition, soil scientist Andrew Margenot went to investigate. Inside, on dusty shelves, he discovered a time capsule in the form of thousands of jars of soil from around the state, some dating as far back as 1862. 

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iSEE seed-funds project on high tunnel farming with robotics

The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) is providing seed funding for a research project that will use automation to reduce manual labor costs in small urban farming operations.

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WormAtlas expanding beyond C. elegans with support from NIH

URBANA, Ill. – The National Institutes of Health recently pledged $2.6 million towards the Center for C. elegans Anatomy, also known as WormAtlas. The center provides anatomical resources for researchers studying C. elegans, the tiny nematode worm that serves as a model organism for higher animals, including humans.

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2022 Field crop disease and insect management report available

Each year, University of Illinois scientists conduct pest and disease surveys in corn and soybean crops across the state, along with in-field tests of insecticides, seed treatments, and more. The 2022 report, now available, describes ongoing Bt-resistance monitoring results; field evaluations of traits and insecticides for controlling corn rootworm; results of insect pest surveys, including dectes stem borer, soybean gall midge, and rootworm adults; and a summary of weather and crop production for Illinois' 2022 growing season. 

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Summer of research at U of I boosts success of community college students

URBANA, Ill. – Harrison Hall spends a lot of time staring at fungus. A senior in Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, Hall has worked for two years in a research lab studying the fungus responsible for a devastating wheat disease. For the former IT professional, it’s perhaps an odd passion, but it came naturally after Hall entered the PRECS program through Parkland College and U of I.

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CABBI and Crop Sciences team achieves first precision gene editing in miscanthus

For the first time, researchers have successfully demonstrated precision gene editing in miscanthus, a promising perennial crop for sustainable bioenergy production.

A team at the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a Bioenergy Research Center (BRC) funded by the U. S. Department of Energy, edited the genomes of three miscanthus species using CRISPR/Cas9 — a far more targeted and efficient way to develop new varieties than prior methods.

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Want a natural food dye? Amaranth delivers, according to Illinois study

URBANA, Ill. – Artificial food dyes have been linked to multiple health concerns, including hyperactivity in children, allergies, and certain cancers. The science isn’t settled and the Food and Drug Administration says color additives are safe, but consumers are nonetheless clamoring for natural alternatives.

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Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations extends RIPE funding with $34M grant

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations has awarded a grant of $34 million to the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency project, an international research effort led by scientists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In its 10-year history, RIPE has demonstrated large increases in crop productivity in replicated field trials on the university farm.

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Sweet corn sweltering in summer heat spells uncertainty for corn lovers

URBANA, Ill. – Few things say summer in America more than buttery corn on the cob, but as summer temperatures climb to unprecedented levels, the future of sweet corn may not be so sweet. New University of Illinois research shows sweet corn yields drop significantly with extreme heat during flowering, especially in rainfed fields in the Midwest.

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