ISTC News Highlights

Biochar may boost carbon storage, but benefits to germination and growth appear scant

by Lois Yoksoulian - Physical Sciences Editor, U of I News Bureau

Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new study by ISTC researchers and collaborators at the USDA Agricultural Research Service and Loyola University. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils – especially poor quality ones – but there is no consensus on its effectiveness. Researchers tested different soils’ responses to multiple biochar types and were unable to verify their ability to increase plant growth. However, the study did show biochar’s ability to affect soil greenhouse gas emissions.


Highlights from the 2019 Emerging Contaminants in the Environment Conference

The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant co-hosted the 2019 Emerging Contaminants Conference (ECEC19) on May 21-22 in Champaign, IL. The fourth annual conference featured presentations on the latest in emerging contaminant research, policies, and outreach strategies.

This year’s conference focused on a variety of pollutants in water, soil, and air ranging from pharmaceuticals, viruses, algal toxins and endocrine disruptors to pesticides, flame retardant chemicals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and microplastics.


Microplastic contamination found in common source of groundwater, researchers report

by Lois Yoksoulian - Physical Sciences Editor of U of I News Bureau

Photo by Fred Zwicky

Microplastics contaminate the world's surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems. A new study is the first to report microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers – a groundwater source that accounts for 25 percent of the global drinking water supply.


Read previous ISTC News 
By Lois Yoksoulian, University of Illinois News Bureau Biochar may not be the miracle soil additive that many farmers and researchers hoped it to be, according to a new University of Illinois study. Biochar may boost the agricultural yield of some soils – especially poor quality ones – but there is no consensus on its …
Elizabeth Meschewski is a Senior Scientific Specialist with ISTC’s Sponsored Research, Public Engagement, and Communications team. She joined ISTC in 2011 as a research assistant in the ARIES group. Beth communicates ISTC’s research and technical assistance activities by creating displays, posters, and website content. She  coordinates ISTC’s Sponsored Research Program, which is funded by the …

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