The authors test the ability of aloe vera gel to purify water of four separate contaminants. Aloe reduced the levels of copper, iron, and phosphate, but not nitrate. Potential applications of this purification system are discussed.
Habitat loss and global warming remain present-day issues that continue to place pressures on various ecosystems and their species. The authors of this paper performed studies over two years to understand whether birds feed more from wooded or exposed areas.
Chemicals used in fertilizers and pesticides often end up in nearby bodies of water due to runoff and may have negative impacts on these important ecosystems. In this study, the authors use water containing different nitrogen levels to investigate the effect on the growth of the English daisy.
Plant pathogens can cause significant crop loss each year, but controlling them with bactericides or antibiotics can be costly and may be harmful to the environment. Green tea naturally contains polyphenols, which have been shown to have some antimicrobial properties. In this study, the authors show that green tea extract can inhibit growth of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and may be useful as an alternative bactericide for crops.
The cause of insect colony collapse disorder (CCD) is still a mystery. In this study, the authors aimed to test the effects of two environmental factors, water vapor and smoke levels, on the social behavior and physical condition of insects. Their findings could help shed light on how changing environmental factors can contribute to CCD.
Duckweed plays an important role in its aquatic environment by removing pollutants, such as zinc, from the water. In this study, the authors demonstrate that uptake of zinc by duckweed is inhibited by the presence of oil in the water, but this effect can be reversed with the addition of a dispersing agent.
An integrated plant that would generate energy from solar power and provide clean water would help solve multiple sustainability issues. The feasibility of such a plant was investigated by looking at the efficacy of several different modules of such a plant on a small scale.
We are changing our environment with steadily increasing carbon dioxide emissions, but we might be able to help. The authors here use a computer program called Community Climate System Model 4 to predict the effects of spraying small particles into the atmosphere to reflect away some of the sun's rays. The software predicts that this could reduce the amount of energy the Earth's atmosphere absorbs and may limit but will not completely counteract our carbon dioxide production.
Farmers will need to increase crop yields to feed the world's growing population efficiently. The authors here investigate the effects of growing corn in the presence or absence of ragweed, an invasive weed found in many fields and gardens. Surprisingly, the authors found that corn grown in the presence of weeds grew taller and were more productive than corn that had weeds removed. This may help gardeners rethink the necessity of weeding, and may point a way to improve farm yields in the future.