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A potentially underestimated source of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in agriculture

Corcimaru et al. | May 18, 2022

A potentially underestimated source of CO<sub>2</sub> and other greenhouse gases in agriculture

Here the authors investigated the role of agricultural fertilizers as potential contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast to the typical investigations that consider microbiological processes, the authors considered purely chemical processes. Based on their results they found that as much as 20.41% of all CO2 emission from land-based activities could be a result of mineral nitrogen fertilizers.

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More efficient sources of water distribution for agricultural and general usage

Jung et al. | Nov 11, 2022

More efficient sources of water distribution for agricultural and general usage

Here, the authors investigated alternative methods to irrigate plants based on the their identification that current irrigation systems waste a large amount of fresh water. They compared three different delivery methods for water: conventional sprinkler, underground cloth, and a perforated pipe embedded in the soil. They found the cloth method to save the most water, although plant growth was slightly less in comparison to plants watered with the sprinkler method or pipe method.

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Reduce the harm of acid rain to plants by producing nitrogen fertilizer through neutralization

Xu et al. | Apr 25, 2023

Reduce the harm of acid rain to plants by producing nitrogen fertilizer through neutralization
Image credit: Ave Calvar Martinez, pexels.com

The phenomenon of dying trees and plants in areas affected by acid rain has become increasingly problematic in recent times. Is there any method to efficiently utilize the rainwater and reduce the harmfulness of acid rain or make it beneficial to plants? This study aimed to investigate the potential of neutralizing acid rainwater infiltrating the soil to increase soil pH, produce beneficial salts for plants, and support better plant growth. To test this hypothesis, precipitation samples were collected from six states in the U.S. in 2022, and the pH of the acid rain was measured to obtain a representative pH value for the country. Experiments were then conducted to simulate the neutralization of acid rain and the subsequent change in soil pH levels. To evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of this method, cat grass was planted in pots of soil soaked with solutions mimicking acid rain, with control and experimental groups receiving neutralizing agents (ammonium hydroxide) or not. Plant growth was measured by analyzing the height of the plants. Results demonstrated that neutralizing agents were effective in improving soil pH levels and that the resulting salts produced were beneficial to the growth of the grass. The findings suggest that this method could be applied on a larger agricultural scale to reduce the harmful effects of acid rain and increase agricultural efficiency.

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Analysis of biofertilization impacts on Pisum sativum

Holden et al. | May 18, 2023

Analysis of biofertilization impacts on <i>Pisum sativum</i>
Image credit: David Boozer

This study explored the various effects of three different produce-based biofertilizers on pea plant growth, using red apple, pear, strawberry, and control treatments. It was hypothesized that the application of fruit biomatter would increase the growth of pea plants, with the application of strawberry biomatter having the most significant effect due to strawberries containing a higher nutrient content compared to pears and apples. Analysis confirmed the hypothesis. The application of strawberry biomatter could prove to be an effective way to increase plant growth in commercial agriculture.

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Utilizing meteorological data and machine learning to predict and reduce the spread of California wildfires

Bilwar et al. | Jan 15, 2024

Utilizing meteorological data and machine learning to predict and reduce the spread of California wildfires
Image credit: Pixabay

This study hypothesized that a machine learning model could accurately predict the severity of California wildfires and determine the most influential meteorological factors. It utilized a custom dataset with information from the World Weather Online API and a Kaggle dataset of wildfires in California from 2013-2020. The developed algorithms classified fires into seven categories with promising accuracy (around 55 percent). They found that higher temperatures, lower humidity, lower dew point, higher wind gusts, and higher wind speeds are the most significant contributors to the spread of a wildfire. This tool could vastly improve the efficiency and preparedness of firefighters as they deal with wildfires.

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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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Efficient synthesis of superabsorbent beads using photopolymerization with a low-cost method

Wang et al. | Jun 09, 2023

Efficient synthesis of superabsorbent beads using photopolymerization with a low-cost method

Superabsorbent beads are remarkable, used throughout our daily lives for various practical applications. These beads, as suggested by their name, possess a unique ability to absorb and retain large quantities of liquids. This characteristic of absorbency makes them essential throughout the medical field, agriculture, and other critical industries as well as in everyday products. To create these beads, the process of photopolymerization is fast growing in favor with distinct advantages of cost efficiency, speed, energy efficiency, and mindfulness towards the environment. In this article, researchers explore the pairing of cheap monomers with accessible equipment for creation of superabsorbent beads via the photopolymerization process. This research substantially demonstrates the successful application of photopolymerization in producing highly absorbent beads in a low-cost context, thereby expanding the accessibility of this process for creating superabsorbent beads in both research and practical applications.

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