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Combined Progestin-estrogenic Contraceptive Pills May Promote Growth in Crop-plants

Saha et al. | Feb 21, 2020

Combined Progestin-estrogenic Contraceptive Pills May Promote Growth in Crop-plants

Ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel are commonly present in contraceptive tablets and it is unknown how they affect the environment. In this study, the authors investigate the role that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel have on the growth of flowering plants. The percentage germination, embryonic and adventitious tissue proliferation, root length, and shoot length were measured in V. radiata and T. aestivum treated with each compound and results demonstrate that ethinyl estradiol and progestin norgestrel can induce growth in both plants at certain concentrations. These findings have important implications as societal use of chemicals increases and more make their way into the environment.

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Effects of Coolant Temperature on the Characteristics of Soil Cooling Curve

Wang et al. | Jan 16, 2020

Effects of Coolant Temperature on the Characteristics of Soil Cooling Curve

In this article, the authors investigate whether coolant temperature affects soil cooling curves of soil with otherwise identical properties. The coolant temperature is representative of environmental temperature, and the authors hypothesized that differences in this temperature would not affect the freezing temperature of soil. Their findings validated their hypothesis providing helpful information relevant to understanding how frost heaves happen and how to predict their occurrence more accurately.

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Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of Chaetoceros gracilis in the Monterey Bay

Harvell et al. | Jan 16, 2020

Effects of Ocean Acidification on the Photosynthetic Ability of <i>Chaetoceros gracilis</i> in the Monterey Bay

In this article, Harvell and Nicholson hypothesized that increased ocean acidity would decrease the photosynthetic ability of Chaetoceros gracilis, a diatom prolific in Monterey Bay, because of the usually corrosive effects of carbonic acid on both seashells and cells’ internal structures. They altered pH of algae environments and measured the photosynthetic ability of diatoms over four days by spectrophotometer. Overall, their findings indicate that C. gracilis may become more abundant in Monterey Bay as the pH of the ocean continues to drop, potentially contributing to harmful algal blooms.

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Heavy Metal Contamination of Hand-Pressed Well Water in HuNan, China

Long et al. | Oct 20, 2019

Heavy Metal Contamination of Hand-Pressed Well Water in HuNan, China

Unprocessed water from hand-pressed wells is still commonly used as a source of drinking water in Chenzhou, the “Nonferrous Metal Village” of China. Long et al. conducted a study to measure the heavy metal contamination levels and potential health effects in this area. Water samples were analyzed through Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICPOES) and the concentrations of 20 metal elements. Results showed that although none of the samples had dangerous levels of heavy metals, the concentrations of Al, Fe, and Mn in many locations substantially exceeded those suggested in the Chinese Drinking Water Standard and the maximum contaminant levels of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The authors have made an important discovery regarding the water safety in HuNan and their suggestions to install water treatment systems would greatly benefit the community.

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Repulsion of Ants Using Non-Toxic Household Products

Ambati et al. | Sep 10, 2019

Repulsion of Ants Using Non-Toxic Household Products

Ant invasion causes damage exceeding $5 billion annually in North America. In this study, Ambati and Duvvuri aim to identify natural products with ant-repelling properties using a custom ring apparatus designed to quantify ant-repellence. They report that cinnamon and lemon were the most effective ant repellents of the tested products. These data suggest that compounds found in non-toxic household products, such as cinnamon oil and lemon juice, could be used in low-dose combinations as potent, effective, eco-friendly, and safe ant repellents.

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An Analysis of Soil Microhabitats in Revolutionary War, Civil War, and Modern Graveyards on Long Island, NY

Caputo et al. | May 05, 2019

An Analysis of Soil Microhabitats in Revolutionary War, Civil War, and Modern Graveyards on Long Island, NY

Previously established data indicate that cemeteries have contributed to groundwater and soil pollution, as embalming fluids can impact the microbiomes that exist in decomposing remains. In this study, Caputo et al hypothesized that microbial variation would be high between cemeteries from different eras due to dissimilarities between embalming techniques employed, and furthermore, that specific microbes would act as an indication for certain contaminants. Overall, they found that there is a variation in the microbiomes of the different eras’ cemeteries according to the concentrations of the phyla and their more specific taxa.

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A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Tsai et al. | Apr 05, 2019

A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Sweet potatoes are one of the most common starches in Taiwan, and sweet potato peels hold significant potential to make biodegradable plastics which can alleviate the environmental impact of conventional petroleum-based plastics. In this paper, Tsai et al created starch-based bioplastics derived from sweet potato peels and manipulated the amount of added glycerol to alter the plastic’s strength and flexibility properties. Their results indicated that higher concentrations of glycerol yield more malleable plastics, providing insights into how recycled agricultural waste material might be used to slow down the rate of pollution caused by widespread production of conventional plastics.

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Performance of Panicum virgatum cultivars in competition with Bromus inermis and differing amounts of N fertilizer

Ferris et al. | Mar 04, 2019

Performance of Panicum virgatum cultivars in competition with Bromus inermis and differing amounts of N fertilizer

With growing demands for ethanol, many researchers are turning to Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) as a feedstock of cellulosic ethanol. In this study, Ferris and Gillan examine the germination, biomass, nitrogen, survival, and chlorophyll absorbance of two switchgrass cultivars of grown in competition with Bromus inermis (smooth brome) with two varying levels of nitrogen fertilizer. Results presented indicate that during establishment, competition from other species has a greater effect than nitrogen fertilizer.

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