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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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Glyphosate Levels in American Food Products Meet Government Safety Levels Yet Exceed Concentrations Associated with Negative Effects

Lee et al. | Mar 25, 2019

Glyphosate Levels in American Food Products Meet Government Safety Levels Yet Exceed Concentrations Associated with Negative Effects

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, frequently used in the agricultural industry worldwide. Current literature reveals contradictory findings regarding the effects of glyphosate on vertebrates, leading to concerns about human consumption and differing views on safety levels. Here, authors sought to measure glyphosate levels in common commercially available food products. While some product levels exceed the thresholds at which negative effects have been observed, none exceed government limits.

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Effect of Fertilizer on Water Quality of Creeks over Time

Chen et al. | May 02, 2021

Effect of Fertilizer on Water Quality of Creeks over Time

Fertilizers are commonly used to improve agricultural yield. Unfortunately, chemical fertilizers can seep into drinking water, potentially harming humans and other forms of life. Here, the authors investigate the effect of fertilizer on the water quality of Saratoga Creek over time. They find that fertilizers can alter the acidity of the creek's water, which can be harmful to aquatic species, as well as increase the levels of nitrates temporarily.

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The effects of early probiotic supplementation on the germination of Arabidopsis thaliana

Gambino et al. | Oct 25, 2020

The effects of early probiotic supplementation on the germination of <em>Arabidopsis thaliana</em>

The use of fertilizers is associated with an increase in soil degradation, which is predicted to lead to a decrease in crop production within the next decade. Thus, it is critical to find solutions to support crop production to sustain the robust global population. In this study, the authors investigate how probiotic bacteria, like Rhizobium leguminosarum, Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas fluorescens, can impact the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana when applied to the seeds.They hypothesized that solutions with multiple bacterial species compared to those with only a single bacterial species would promote seed germination more effectively.

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Exploring Unconventional Growing Methods to Promote Healthy Growth in Common Household Plants: Tagetes patula L. and Lepidium sativum

Nguyen et al. | Feb 25, 2021

Exploring Unconventional Growing Methods to Promote Healthy Growth in Common Household Plants: <i>Tagetes patula</i> L. and <i>Lepidium sativum</i>

This study focused on finding more sustainable growing methods that reduce chemical fertilizer or water usage and can be used at the household level for garden plants. Metrics for healthy plant growth were height at first bloom, growing time, and survival rate. The Deep Water Culture (DWC) treatment for garden cress plants significantly increased the height at first bloom compared to the control group. For rates of surviving plants, the treatments had little effect on garden cress, but the Eggshell Grounds, Wick System, and DWC system groups outperformed the control group for marigolds.

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Detection and Control of Spoilage Fungi in Refrigerated Vegetables and Fruits

Chari et al. | May 16, 2021

Detection and Control of Spoilage Fungi in Refrigerated Vegetables and Fruits

Food spoilage leads to a significant loss in agricultural produce each year. Here, the authors investigate whether certain essential oils can protect against fungus-mediated spoilage of fruits and vegetables. Their results suggest that the compounds they tested might indeed inhibit fungal growth, at various temperatures, a promising result that could reduce food wasting.

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Green Tea Extract as an Environmentally Friendly Antibacterial Agent Against Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato on Plants

Lo et al. | Oct 27, 2015

Green Tea Extract as an Environmentally Friendly Antibacterial Agent Against <i>Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato </i>on Plants

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.

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Developing a Method to Remove Inorganic Arsenic from Rice with Natural Substances

Mukai et al. | Oct 27, 2020

Developing a Method to Remove Inorganic Arsenic from Rice with Natural Substances

In this study, the authors tested different approaches for removing arsenic from rice. Due to higher arsenic levels in water, some areas grow rice with higher levels as well. This is a health hazard and so developing methods to remove arsenic from the rice will be helpful to many. Using a rapid arsenic kit, the authors found that activated charcoal was the most effective at removing arsenic from rice.

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The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

McHargue et al. | Oct 06, 2020

The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

Algal overgrowth often threatens to clog irrigation pipes and drinking water lines when left unchecked, as well as releasing possible toxins that threaten plant and human health. It is thus important to find natural, non-harmful agents that can decrease algal growth without threatening the health of plants and humans. In this paper, the authors test the efficacy of barely extract in either liquid or pellet form in decreasing algal growth. While their results were inconclusive, the experimental set-up allows them to investigate a wider range of agents as anti-algal treatments that could potentially be adopted on a wider scale.

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