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  • richardmitnick 12:22 pm on November 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Food security thanks to faeces and waste", Agriculture, , , ETH Zürich researchers are creating circular economies that use processed organic waste and human excreta as fertilizer or animal feed resulting in higher crop yields and new jobs.,   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Food security thanks to faeces and waste” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    11.23.22
    Christoph Elhardt

    Together with partners in Ethiopia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa, ETH Zürich researchers are creating circular economies that use processed organic waste and human excreta as fertilizer or animal feed, resulting in higher crop yields and new jobs.

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    The Runres team visiting Maggot Farm Black Soldier Fly Larvae facility in Kamonyi, Rwanda.  (Photograph: Runres / ETH Zürich)

    Around 250 million Africans – 1 in 5 people on the world’s second-​largest continent – suffer from hunger or malnourishment. One reason for this is that agricultural soils have not been receiving enough nutrients. As a result, crop yields are declining. At the same time, many cities in sub-​Saharan Africa face challenges with their sanitation and solid waste management. In many places, rapid urbanization is overstraining the waste and sanitary infrastructure.

    Usually, researchers regard these two problems as separate issues. This is not the case, however, in ETH Zürich’s Sustainable Agroecosystems research group, led by Professor Johan Six: “We want to establish regional circular economies in which local people reuse nutrients from faecal matter and organic waste as fertilizer for growing food or as animal feed,” he says.

    In collaboration with ETH Zürich’s Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab), Six’s group has since 2019 been leading the Runres research for development project, which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The researchers and their local partners in Ethiopia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa have shown that they are able to improve food security as well as waste management by recycling organic waste in a clever way. Local entrepreneurs’ direct and active involvement in these projects has created new jobs, particularly for women.


    Runres – ETH Zürich (Video: Nicole Davidson / ETH Zürich)

    Compost from human excreta and organic waste

    In many rural areas of South Africa, people still dispose of their human excreta in pit latrines. This poses a great challenge for municipalities as the latrines fill up quickly. It also increases people’s risk of coming into contact with pathogens.

    Benjamin Wilde, a native of Texas and a postdoc at the Chair of Sustainable Agroecosystems, is trying to solve this problem together with local partners in the Msunduzi municipality: “We’re working with the local company Duzi Turf, a public utility, and the municipality to produce compost from sewage sludge and urban green waste. This is then used as fertilizer,” Wilde says. He coordinates RUNRES from Zürich.

    While the municipality supplies the green waste and the public utility company the sewage sludge, the company is responsible for the composting. This collaboration of public and private actors, however, does more than just empty latrines: the organic fertiliser also enhances soil fertility and thus increases local farmers’ crop yields. The compost is used to fertilize green spaces as well as the fields of a neighboring farmers’ cooperative, increasing its agricultural yields. What’s more, the local company creates new jobs by selling the compost.

    Similar to South Africa, the Runres project in Bukavu, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is about producing compost from organic waste. To improve the collection of this waste in the city, Runres social scientist Leonhard Spaeth worked with researchers from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to conduct an education campaign that encouraged residents to better separate household organic waste. “Sorting behavior at household level is essential for getting an efficient and cost-​effective process-​chain from waste to usable input for the agriculture”, Spaeth explains. This work is not only improving waste management in the city, but also public health. The compost is then sold to local coffee farmers, where it is used as fertilizer.

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    Duzi Turf.

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    Composting Facility

    Sustainable animal feed from organic waste

    Recycling organic waste is central to another Runres project as well. In Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, the ETH Zürich researchers are working together with a local company that collects organic waste and feeds it to the larvae of the black soldier fly.

    “The larvae eat the organic waste and convert it into their own biomass. They are an excellent source of protein for livestock such as chickens or fish,” Wilde says.

    Rwanda still imports most of its animal feed from abroad. Small farmers cannot afford these expensive imports. The fly larvae are a cheap and locally produced alternative that creates jobs and reduces waste management costs. 

    This new source of animal feed also counteracts overfishing; up to now, poultry and fish farmers have mainly used fish from local lakes to feed their livestock.

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    Black Soldier Fly Larvae are grown on organic waste collected from the surrounding communities and sold as a high quality poultry feed (Photograph: Runres / ETH Zürich)

    A banana-​based circular economy

    The ETH Zürich researchers are also involved in a Runres project in Arba Minch, a city in the south of Ethiopia. This area is a big banana-​growing region. Many farmers send their raw bananas to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where they are then sold to urban consumers. Being at the bottom end of the value chain, the farmers themselves make very little money.

    Over the past two years, the ETH Zürich researchers have established a factory to produce value added banana products such as flour and banana chips together with a local business. The company sells these products directly to supermarkets, schools and hospitals.

    “Due to the higher profit margins, the company can pay farmers a higher price for their bananas. That means more added value and, ultimately, more jobs stay in the region,” Wilde says. The company is also planning to make baby food from bananas, which will further increase the value added.

    As fertilizer, the banana farmers are now using compost made from organic waste by another company that is also part of the Runres project. This company is also using the potassium-​rich banana peels produced by the banana processing facility to make compost and animal feed. In keeping with the Runres ethos, all these innovations lead to a regional circular economy that recycles waste and uses it as fertilizer in agriculture. 

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    RUNRES scientist Abebe Arba showing the banana yield increases associated with application of compost.  (Photograph: Runres / ETH Zürich)

    Local partners are involved from the start

    Not only is the Runres project improving the income and living conditions of the local population; the way in which they have been carried out is also new: In each of the four African countries where Runres operates, it employs at least two well-​connected local project assistants who have intimate knowledge of the country. Together with the ETH Zürich researchers, they identified players from the worlds of business, politics and administration who might be interested in setting up a circular economy.

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    The Runres team and community stakeholders meeting in Bukavu, DRC, to develop project implementation strategies. (Photograph: Runres / ETH Zürich)

    These potential partners then met on transdisciplinary innovation platforms moderated by Runres staff. “Rather than approach local players with ready-​made solutions, we developed and implemented innovations with them,” says Pius Krütli, the co-​director of ETH Zürich’s TdLab. “What is special about this is that the local partners also participate financially right from the start. With this approach, we not only share responsibility, but also create a common knowledge base and create ownership among the local actors.” The researchers focused on companies that stood to benefit from these innovations and were therefore motivated to commit to the project.

    During the project’s initial phase, which ends in the first half of coming year, the researchers aim to demonstrate that their concept of regional circular economies works: soil health is building, while waste water management has improved; agricultural yields are increasing, while new jobs are being created and the exchange of knowledge and experience is working.

    In the second phase, which will last until 2027, the ETH Zürich researchers and their partners in Africa intend to expand their projects. The goal is for them to become self-​sustaining activities – without SDC assistance.

    See the full article here .

    Comments are invited and will be appreciated, especially if the reader finds any errors which I can correct.

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on November 19, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Study - Turning Wastewater into Fertilizer Is Feasible and Could Help to Make Agriculture More Sustainable", A new method: “Air-stripping”, Agriculture, , , “Air-stripping”: removing ammonia by raising the temperature and pH of the water enough to convert the chemical into a gas which can then be collected in concentrated form as ammonium sulfate., , , Drexel University, , The current options for removing ammonia are generally time and space consuming and can be energy-intensive undertakings., The production of nitrogen for fertilizer is an energy-intensive process and accounts for nearly 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions., The wastewater draining from massive pools of sewage sludge has the potential to play a role in more sustainable agriculture.   

    From Drexel University: “Study – Turning Wastewater into Fertilizer Is Feasible and Could Help to Make Agriculture More Sustainable” 

    Drexel U bloc

    From Drexel University

    11.18.22

    The wastewater draining from massive pools of sewage sludge has the potential to play a role in more sustainable agriculture, according to environmental engineering researchers at Drexel University. A new study, looking at a process of removing ammonia from wastewater and converting it into fertilizer, suggests that it’s not only technically viable, but also could help to reduce the environmental and energy footprint of fertilizer production — and might even provide a revenue stream for utilities and water treatment facilities.

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    Agriculture fertilizer Credit: iStock.

    The production of nitrogen for fertilizer is an energy-intensive process and accounts for nearly 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions. In the last several years researchers have explored alternatives to the Haber-Bosch nitrogen production process, which has been the standard for more than a century. One promising possibility, recently raised by some water utility providers, is gleaning nitrogen from the waste ammonia pulled from water during treatment.

    “Recovering nitrogen from wastewater would be a desirable alternative to the Haber-Bosch process because it creates a ‘circular nitrogen economy,’” said Patrick Gurian, PhD, a professor in Drexel’s College of Engineering who helped lead the research, which was recently published in the journal Science of the Total Environment [below]. “This means we are reusing existing nitrogen rather than expending energy and generating greenhouse gas to harvest nitrogen from the atmosphere, which is a more sustainable practice for agriculture and could become a source of revenue for utilities.”

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    Graphical abstract. Credit: Science of The Total Environment (2022).

    A Cleaner Way to Clean

    Under the Clean Water Act of 1972 municipal water treatment facilities have been challenged to meet water quality standards for water that they discharge into waterways. Increasingly ammonia is seen as both a concern for aquatic environments as elevated levels of ammonia can result in overgrowth of vegetation in streams and rivers which can endanger fish species. The options for removing ammonia are generally time and space consuming and can be energy-intensive undertakings.

    One option being explored by several facilities in North America and Europe is a process called “air-stripping”. It removes ammonia by raising the temperature and pH of the water enough to convert the chemical into a gas, which can then be collected in concentrated form as ammonium sulfate.

    But deciding on making the investment to convert to air-stripping requires a complex study – called a lifecycle analysis — of its technological and financial viability.

    Exploring the Option

    The team, led by Gurian and Sabrina Spatari, PhD, from Technion Israel Institute of Technology, regularly perform these analyses to take stock of the full environmental and economic impact of various options for recycling and reuse of waste or side-stream products as sustainable solutions. Their analysis of this wastewater scenario suggests there is a complementary relationship that could result in a more sustainable path for both farmers and water management authorities.

    “Our analysis identifies a significant potential for environmental mitigation and economic benefit from implementing air-stripping technology at wastewater treatment plants for producing ammonia sulfate fertilizer,” they wrote. “In addition to ammonia sulfate production as a marketable product, the benefit of reducing the ammonia load in the side-stream before it is recycled into the wastewater stream at the wastewater treatment plant provides an additional justification for adopting air-stripping.”

    Using data from Philadelphia’s water treatment facility and several others across North America and Europe, the team conducted its lifecycle assessment and economic feasibility studies. They looked at factors ranging from the cost of installing and maintaining an air-stripping system, to the concentration of ammonia and flow rate of the wastewater; to the sources of energy used to drive the collection and conversion process; to the production and transportation cost and market price of the fertilizer chemicals.

    Promising Results

    Findings of the life-cycle analysis show that air-stripping emits about five to 10 times less greenhouse gas than the Haber-Bosch nitrogen-producing process and uses about five to 15 times less energy.

    From an economic perspective, the overall cost of producing fertilizer chemicals from wastewater is low enough that the producer could sell them at a price more than 12 times lower than Haber-Bosch-produced chemicals and still break even. 

    “Our study suggests that recovering ammonia can be cost-effective even at low concentration,” they write. “Although high ammonia concentration is environmentally favorable, and can simultaneously support marginal production of ammonium sulfate with lower environmental impact, particularly for life cycle energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and several human and ecosystem health indicators, compared to the Haber-Bosch production.”

    In addition, the study suggests that water treatment facilities may enjoy energy savings by air-stripping the ammonia to reduce levels before the water it reenters the waste treatment process. This is because it would cut the time and processing needed to treat the water and fits in well with softening processes that help to slow chemical deposition on the treatment plant infrastructure.

    While the team acknowledges that air-stripping would churn out fertilizer in smaller amounts than the industrial Haber-Bosch process, being able to collect and reuse any quantity of resources helps to improve the sustainability of commercial agriculture and prevents them from becoming water pollutants.

    “This indicates that air-stripping for recovery of ammonium sulfate could be a small part – but an important step – toward recovering and reusing the massive amount of nitrogen we use to sustain global agriculture,” Spatari said. “And, significantly it presents an alternative for chemical production that does not have the same level of deleterious environmental and human health effects as the current process. This research suggests that water utility providers could also consider investing in technologies that would capture phosphorous and recycle it for agricultural use.”

    Science paper:
    Science of the Total Environment

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Drexel campus

    Global Research University, Experiential Learning Leader

    Drexel University is a comprehensive global research university ranked among the top 100 in the nation. With approximately 26,000 students, Drexel is one of America’s 15 largest private universities.

    Drexel has built its global reputation on core achievements that include:

    Leadership in experiential learning through Drexel Co-op.
    A history of academic technology firsts.
    Recognition as a model of best practices in translational, use-inspired research.

    Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel now engages with students and communities around the world via:

    Three Philadelphia campuses and other regional sites.
    The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the nation’s oldest major natural science museum and research organization.
    International research partnerships including China and Israel.
    Drexel Online, one of the oldest and most successful providers of online degree programs.

    Drexel is one of Philadelphia’s top 10 private employers, and a major engine for economic development in the region. Drexel has committed to being the nation’s most civically engaged university, with community partnerships integrated into every aspect of service and academics.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:48 am on November 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Stanford researchers find dams could play a big role in feeding the world more sustainably", Agriculture, Amongst all supply and demand side options to increase food and water security building more dams should be the last resort., , Dams’ socio-environmental consequences such as fragmentation of rivers and impacts on fish migration and sediment transport and displacement of people make them undesirable., , , Food security, , , The full potential of storage-fed irrigation could feed about 1.15 billion people., The Woods Institute for the Environment, The world’s dams could supply enough water storage to irrigate crops for about 641 million people or 55% of the total., Two-thirds of global cropland depends on rainfall and often makes up for its absence by using non-sustainable water resources., Typical agricultural practices in many parts of the world deplete and pollute water resources and generate one-fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions.   

    From The Woods Institute for the Environment At Stanford University: “Stanford researchers find dams could play a big role in feeding the world more sustainably” 

    1

    From The Woods Institute for the Environment

    At

    Stanford University Name

    Stanford University

    11.14.22
    Rob Jordan

    Analysis finds that dammed reservoirs could store more than 50% of the water needed to irrigate crops without depleting water stocks or encroaching on nature. The researchers caution against building new dams, however, and urge consideration of alternative storage solutions.

    A bogeyman to many environmentalists, dams could actually play a significant role in feeding the world more sustainably, according to new Stanford University research. The study, published the week of Nov. 14 in PNAS [below], quantifies for the first time how much water storage would be required to maximize crop irrigation without depleting water stocks or encroaching on nature, and how many people this approach could feed. While the researchers find that dammed reservoirs could be used to store more than 50% of the water needed for such irrigation, they emphasize that large reservoirs are only part of the solution and recommend evaluating alternatives to building new dams due to their damaging impacts on river ecosystems.

    1
    A farm worker carries an irrigation pipe in San Luis, Arizona. (Image credit: Getty Images)

    “There is an urgent need to explore alternative water storage solutions, but we have to acknowledge that many dams are already in place,” said study lead author Rafael Schmitt, a lead scientist with the Stanford Natural Capital Project. “Our research illuminates the crucial role of water storage for ensuring food security in the future.”

    Typical agricultural practices in many parts of the world deplete and pollute water resources, damage natural landscapes, and together generate one-fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Two-thirds of global cropland depends on rainfall and often makes up for its absence by using non-sustainable water resources, such as non-renewable groundwater, or impeding environmental flows.

    Sustainable irrigation’s potential

    The researchers analyzed the amount of freshwater in surface and groundwater bodies generated and renewed by natural hydrological cycles, as well as water demands of current crop mixes on irrigated and rain fed lands. They estimated that the full potential of storage-fed irrigation could feed about 1.15 billion people. If all 3,700 potential dam sites that have been mapped for their hydropower potential were built and partially used for irrigation, the world’s dams could supply enough water storage to irrigate crops for about 641 million people or 55% of the total.

    Despite dams’ potential, the researchers caution against relying on them as a significant part of the sustainable irrigation solution, citing dams’ socio-environmental consequences, such as fragmentation of rivers, with impacts on fish migration and sediment transport, and displacement of people. Dams are also less appealing for irrigation storage because of water loss, expense, and ecological damage related to the need for conveyance to distant agricultural fields, as well as higher levels of evaporation across large reservoirs’ large water surfaces.

    “Amongst all supply and demand side options to increase food and water security, building more dams should be the last resort,” the researchers write.

    Alternative solutions to provide more environmentally sound water storage for irrigation include water harvesting with small dams, recharging groundwater systems with excess surface water from winter storms or spring snow melt, and better management of soil moisture on farm fields. These decentralized approaches lose less water due to evaporation, require less conveyance infrastructure, and often create co-benefits for local communities and wildlife.

    Food systems might be an important driver of future dam construction, an aspect that has been so far overlooked, as debates around future dams have predominantly focused on hydropower, according to Schmitt. Where irrigation will require more reservoir storage after alternatives are exhausted, the researchers urge strategic planning approaches to minimize impacts of future irrigation dams.

    Additionally, the researchers highlight that the demand for stored water can be reduced through better irrigation techniques, or adoption of crops that are better aligned with water availability. With storage being such a bottleneck for future agriculture, better land management that reduces erosion – and thus sedimentation and storage loss – in existing reservoirs is an additional priority.

    “Nutritional security is a core challenge for sustainable human development,” said study senior author Gretchen Daily, co-founder and faculty director of the Stanford Natural Capital Project. “Our study highlights the urgent need and opportunity for nature-positive investments into irrigation and water management to reduce harmful impacts of agriculture while supporting other vital benefits of farmland and freshwater ecosystems.”

    Science paper:
    PNAS
    See the science paper for detailed material with images.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    2

    The Woods Institute for the Environment is working toward a future in which societies meet people’s needs for water, food, health and other vital services while sustaining the planet. As the university’s hub of interdisciplinary environment and sustainability research, the Stanford Woods Institute is the go-to place for Stanford faculty, researchers and students to collaborate on environmental research. Their interdisciplinary work crosses sectors and disciplines, advancing solutions to the most critical, complex environmental and sustainability challenges.

    Our Mission
    To produce breakthrough environmental knowledge and solutions that sustain people and planet today and for generations to come.

    Our Vision

    We can feed people, sustain communities and provide clean water while stewarding the environment.

    Working on campus and around the globe, the Stanford Woods Institute community develops environmental leaders; informs decision-makers with unbiased scientific data; and convenes experts from all of Stanford’s seven schools, other leading academic institutions, government, NGOs, foundations and business. The Stanford Woods Institute is pursuing breakthrough knowledge and solutions that link knowledge to action and solve the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory(originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.

    Land

    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    https://www6.slac.stanford.edu/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.

    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.

    Athletics

    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

    Traditions

    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 10:14 am on October 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "EEFs": Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers, "MPNs": Metal-Phenolic Networks, "Smart fertilizers for food security", A primary research focus is engineering new fertilizer coatings for the controlled release of nutrients and inhibitors in a range of soil types., Agriculture, , , , , , , , , Fertilizers that increase nitrogen efficiency are being designed to boost crop productivity while reducing farming costs and environmental impact., , Granular urea is the most widely used form of N fertilizer in agriculture., How can more food be produced without further damage to the natural environment?, If the conversion to ammonia occurs before urea is fully dissolved in the soil ammonia is lost to the atmosphere before the plants can use it., Nitrogen (N) fertilizers, Nitrogen pollution causes loss of biodiversity; contributes to global warming; depletes stratospheric ozone; damages human health and imposes economic costs., , , , The ARC Research Hub for Innovative Nitrogen Fertilizers and Inhibitors ("Smart Fertilizers"),   

    From The University of Melbourne (AU): “Smart fertilizers for food security” 

    u-melbourne-bloc

    From The University of Melbourne (AU)

    10.20.22
    By Dr Shu Kee Lam, Dr Emma (Xia) Liang, Professor Uta Wille, Professor Hang-wei Hu, Professor Frank Caruso, Associate Professor Kathryn Mumford, Professor Bill Malcolm, Dr Baobao Pan, Professor Ji-zheng He, Associate Professor Helen Suter and Professor Deli Chen, University of Melbourne.

    Fertilizers that increase nitrogen efficiency are being designed to boost crop productivity while reducing farming costs and environmental impact.

    By 2050, we will need to feed a population of ten billion people, which is around 70 per cent more food than we currently produce.

    Factoring in the added challenges of climate change and ecosystem degradation, how can this extra food be produced without further damage to the natural environment?

    1
    Nitrogen fertilizers are used to produce half the world’s food supply. Picture: Getty Images.

    Crops – be they grains, cereals, fruits or vegetables – are integral to human food security given that they’re eaten directly as well as fed to animals.

    So, one key potential improvement is to increase fertilizer efficiency – particularly nitrogen (N) fertilizers – by using the right amounts of N when and where plants need it and finding ways to reduce N losses to the environment.

    Currently, N fertilizers are used to produce half the world’s food supply. However, 50 to 80 per cent of N applied to crops is lost from production [Nature (below)], polluting the natural environment in the form of nitrous oxide and ammonia emissions into the atmosphere as well as nitrate leaching and runoff to groundwater and waterways.

    Nitrogen pollution also causes loss of biodiversity, contributes to global warming, depletes stratospheric ozone, damages human health and imposes economic costs.

    DESIGNING SMART FERTILIZERS

    Enhanced-efficiency fertilizers (“EEFs”) exist but have not been adopted widely because of inconsistent performance across soils, crops, and climates, and uncertainty about economic benefits [Nature Food (below)].

    In 2021, the ARC Research Hub for Innovative Nitrogen Fertilizers and Inhibitors (“Smart Fertilizers”) was founded to overcome the limitations of existing EEFs.

    The Hub is a partnership between leading researchers and industries to deliver next-generation EEFs that increase the efficiency of nitrogen use by up to 20 per cent. The partnership will also develop decision-making tools to assist farmers in reducing costs and nitrogen loss to the environment.

    2
    Granular urea is the most widely used form of N fertilizer, but can be lost to the atmosphere before plants use it. Picture: Getty Images.

    In pursuing major breakthroughs in the design and development of EEFs, the Hub takes a multidisciplinary approach, integrating agronomy and soil science with synthetic chemistry, chemical engineering, plant physiology, plant biochemistry and economics.

    A primary research focus is engineering new fertilizer coatings for the controlled release of nutrients and inhibitors in a range of soil types, climatic conditions and diverse agroecosystems and land uses.

    Granular urea is the most widely used form of N fertilizer in agriculture. Urea is rapidly converted to ammonia through a reaction with water in the soil, and subsequently to nitrate, that plants take up.

    However, if the conversion to ammonia occurs before urea is fully dissolved in the soil, ammonia is lost to the atmosphere before the plants can use it.

    A recent study [Advanced Functional Materials (below)] that included researchers from the Smart Fertilizers Hub showed that Metal-Phenolic Networks (“MPNs”) can provide a physical barrier against water, controlling the dissolution of urea and its release into soil reducing the risk of N losses.

    This simple MPNs fabrication method is a new chapter in creating environmentally-friendly materials in controlled-release fertilizers.

    Another research focus is on the development of a new suite of inhibitors, which are small synthetic molecules that slow the conversion of urea to ammonia by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme urease (urease inhibitors) or slowing the microbial autotrophic oxidation of ammonia to nitrite and nitrate (nitrification inhibitors).

    3
    Proposed scenarios that harness plant signals for designing new fertilizer coatings. Picture: Supplied.

    The aim is to retain desirable forms of N in the soil for the plant and limit N losses.

    These new inhibitors will be tailored to different soils, climates and cropping systems, at the same time ensuring that their eventual degradation in the soil is environmentally benign.

    ‘LISTENING’ TO PLANTS

    The soil immediately around plant roots – the rhizosphere – is an especially active zone populated by billions of fungi, bacteria and other microbes.

    These microorganisms break down organic matter in the soil to produce nutrients that plants can use for growth and help plants to improve immunity and promote resistance to drought, salinity and N stresses.

    Research shows [Nature Reviews Microbiology (below)] that plants can influence how fungi and bacteria behave by sending chemical signals like sugars, organic acids, lipids and proteins, especially when lacking a specific nutrient or under stress.

    These messengers can be identified and incorporated into the coatings of fertilizer beads. Beneficial microbes are then attracted by these messengers to the plant root, improving the absorption of N and promoting the resistance of a crop to environmental stresses.

    EEF coating can also be designed to include sensors that respond to the signalling molecules released by plants suffering from N stress. When the sensors detect these stress molecules in the soil, the fertilizer is then released via the coating.

    COSTS AND BENEFITS OF SMART FERTILIZERS

    Farmers adopting new fertilizers need evidence of their consistent performance across soils, crops and climates as well as information about likely net benefits.

    Wider adoption of next-generation EEF technologies hinges on demonstrating the net benefits to farmers, which requires sharing relevant and plausible information to farmers and their networks.

    The Smart Fertilizers Hub team analyzed [Nature Food (below)] the results of 21 meta-analyses about the potential of EEFs to reduce N losses from food production systems, at both regional and global scales.

    This data shows that EEFs show a lot of promise for reducing N losses from agricultural systems. Considering the immense social costs associated with N pollution globally – US$200−2000 billion each year – EEFs have great potential to reduce these social costs.

    POLICY IMPLICATIONS

    By measuring the N loss pathways and yield benefits of existing and newly developed products in field trials, the agronomic, environmental and social benefits of the new fertilizer technologies developed by the Hub can then be evaluated.

    The Hub will develop indicators of N losses to allow farmers to understand the full impact of their fertilizer management practices on their production and on the environment.

    The team will map the potential benefits of new fertilizers [Global Environmental Change (below)], identify sources of added benefit in commercial value chains, while informing farmers and consumers about the usefulness of products grown using EEFs.

    Smart fertilizers avoids the social and environmental costs of N pollution, a benefit that will far outweigh the economic cost and a more efficient approach than cleaning up environmental damage afterwards.

    Sound policies that lead to the adoption of smart fertilizers are vital to achieving food security and environmental health for our growing population.

    Science papers:
    Nature 2015
    Nature Food
    Advanced Functional Materials
    Nature Reviews Microbiology 2020
    Nature Food
    Global Environmental Change 2021

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    u-melbourne-campus

    The University of Melbourne (AU) is an Australian public research university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is Australia’s second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria. Times Higher Education ranks Melbourne as 33rd in the world, while the Academic Ranking of World Universities places Melbourne 44th in the world (both first in Australia).

    Melbourne’s main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb north of the Melbourne central business district, with several other campuses located across Victoria. Melbourne is a sandstone university and a member of the Group of Eight, Universitas 21 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. Since 1872 various residential colleges have become affiliated with the university. There are 12 colleges located on the main campus and in nearby suburbs offering academic, sporting and cultural programs alongside accommodation for Melbourne students and faculty.

    Melbourne comprises 11 separate academic units and is associated with numerous institutes and research centres, including the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and the Grattan Institute. Amongst Melbourne’s 15 graduate schools the Melbourne Business School, the Melbourne Law School and the Melbourne Medical School are particularly well regarded.

    Four Australian prime ministers and five governors-general have graduated from Melbourne. Nine Nobel laureates have been students or faculty, the most of any Australian university.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:12 pm on October 14, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Engineering Duckweed to Produce Oil for Biofuels and Bioproducts", Agriculture, , , As an aquatic plant oil-producing duckweed wouldn’t compete with food crops for prime agricultural land., , , , , , , , This engineered plant could potentially clean up agricultural waste streams as it produces oil.   

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory: “Engineering Duckweed to Produce Oil for Biofuels and Bioproducts” 

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory

    10.11.22
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    Brookhaven biochemists engineered duckweed, an aquatic plant, to produce large quantities of oil. If scaled up the approach could produce sustainable bio-based fuel without competing for high-value croplands while also potentially cleaning up agricultural wastewater.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborators at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have engineered duckweed to produce high yields of oil. The team added genes to one of nature’s fastest growing aquatic plants to “push” the synthesis of fatty acids, “pull” those fatty acids into oils, and “protect” the oil from degradation. As the scientists explain in a paper published in Plant Biotechnology Journal [below], such oil-rich duckweed could be easily harvested to produce biofuels or other bioproducts.

    The paper describes how the scientists engineered a strain of duckweed, Lemna japonica, to accumulate oil at close to 10 percent of its dry weight biomass. That’s a dramatic, 100-fold increase over such plants growing in the wild—with yields more than seven times higher than soybeans, today’s largest source of biodiesel.

    “Duckweed grows fast,” said Brookhaven Lab biochemist John Shanklin, who led the team. “It has only tiny stems and roots—so most of its biomass is in leaf-like fronds that grow on the surface of ponds worldwide. Our engineering creates high oil content in all that biomass.

    “Growing and harvesting this engineered duckweed in batches and extracting its oil could be an efficient pathway to renewable and sustainable oil production,” he said.

    Two added benefits: As an aquatic plant, oil-producing duckweed wouldn’t compete with food crops for prime agricultural land. It can even grow on runoff from pig and poultry farms.

    “That means this engineered plant could potentially clean up agricultural waste streams as it produces oil,” Shanklin said.

    Leveraging two Long Island research institutions

    The current project has roots in Brookhaven Lab research on duckweeds from the 1970s, led by William S. Hillman in the Biology Department. Later, other members of the Biology Department worked with the Martienssen group at Cold Spring Harbor to develop a highly efficient method for expressing genes from other species in duckweeds, along with approaches to suppress expression of duckweeds’ own genes, as desired.

    As Brookhaven researchers led by Shanklin and Jorg Schwender over the past two decades identified the key biochemical factors that drive oil production and accumulation in plants, one goal was to leverage that knowledge and the genetic tools to try to modify plant oil production. The latest research, reported here, tested this approach by engineering duckweed with the genes that control these oil-production factors to study their combined effects.

    “The current project brings together Brookhaven Lab’s expertise in the biochemistry and regulation of plant oil biosynthesis with Cold Spring Harbor’s cutting-edge genomics and genetics capabilities,” Shanklin said.

    One of the oil-production genes identified by the Brookhaven researchers pushes the production of the basic building blocks of oil, known as fatty acids. Another pulls, or assembles, those fatty acids into molecules called triacylglycerols (TAG)—combinations of three fatty acids that link up to form the hydrocarbons we call oils. The third gene produces a protein that coats oil droplets in plant tissues, protecting them from degradation.

    From preliminary work, the scientists found that increased fatty acid levels triggered by the “push” gene can have detrimental effects on plant growth. To avoid those effects, Brookhaven Lab postdoctoral researcher Yuanxue Liang paired that gene with a promoter that can be turned on by the addition of a tiny amount of a specific chemical inducer.

    “Adding this promoter keeps the push gene turned off until we add the inducer, which allows the plants to grow normally before we turn on fatty acid/oil production,” Shanklin said.

    Liang then created a series of gene combinations to express the improved push, pull, and protect factors singly, in pairs, and all together. In the paper these are abbreviated as W, D, and O for their biochemical/genetic names, where W=push, D=pull, and O=protect.

    The key findings

    Overexpression of each gene modification alone did not significantly increase fatty acid levels in Lemna japonica fronds. But plants engineered with all three modifications accumulated up to 16 percent of their dry weight as fatty acids and 8.7 percent as oil when results were averaged across several different transgenic lines. The best plants accumulated up to 10 percent TAG—more than 100 times the level of oil that accumulates in unmodified wild type plants.

    Some combinations of two modifications (WD and DO) increased fatty acid content and TAG accumulation dramatically relative to their individual effects. These results are called synergistic, where the combined effect of two genes increased production more than the sum of the two separate modifications.

    These results were also revealed in images of lipid droplets in the plants’ fronds, produced using a confocal microscope at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) [below], a DOE Office of Science user facility at Brookhaven Lab. When the duckweed fronds were stained with a chemical that binds to oil, the images showed that plants with each two-gene combination (OD, OW, WD) had enhanced accumulation of lipid droplets relative to plants where these genes were expressed singly—and also when compared to control plants with no genetic modification. Plants from the OD and OWD lines both had large oil droplets, but the OWD line had more of them, producing the strongest signals.

    “Future work will focus on testing push, pull, and protect factors from a variety of different sources, optimizing the levels of expression of the three oil-inducing genes, and refining the timing of their expression,” Shanklin said. “Beyond that we are working on how to scale up production from laboratory to industrial levels.”

    That scale-up work has several main thrusts: 1) designing the types of large-scale culture vessels for growing the modified plants, 2) optimizing large-scale growth conditions, and 3) developing methods to efficiently extract oil at high levels.

    This work was funded by the DOE Office of Science (BER). CFN is also supported by the Office of Science (BES).

    Science paper:
    Plant Biotechnology Journal

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Brookhaven Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the The DOE Office of Science, The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

    Research at BNL specializes in nuclear and high energy physics, energy science and technology, environmental and bioscience, nanoscience and national security. The 5300 acre campus contains several large research facilities, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider [below] and National Synchrotron Light Source II [below]. Seven Nobel prizes have been awarded for work conducted at Brookhaven lab.

    BNL is staffed by approximately 2,750 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel, and hosts 4,000 guest investigators every year. The laboratory has its own police station, fire department, and ZIP code (11973). In total, the lab spans a 5,265-acre (21 km^2) area that is mostly coterminous with the hamlet of Upton, New York. BNL is served by a rail spur operated as-needed by the New York and Atlantic Railway. Co-located with the laboratory is the Upton, New York, forecast office of the National Weather Service.

    Major programs

    Although originally conceived as a nuclear research facility, Brookhaven Lab’s mission has greatly expanded. Its foci are now:

    Nuclear and high-energy physics
    Physics and chemistry of materials
    Environmental and climate research
    Nanomaterials
    Energy research
    Nonproliferation
    Structural biology
    Accelerator physics

    Operation

    Brookhaven National Lab was originally owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and is now owned by that agency’s successor, the United States Department of Energy (DOE). DOE subcontracts the research and operation to universities and research organizations. It is currently operated by Brookhaven Science Associates LLC, which is an equal partnership of Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute. From 1947 to 1998, it was operated by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), but AUI lost its contract in the wake of two incidents: a 1994 fire at the facility’s high-beam flux reactor that exposed several workers to radiation and reports in 1997 of a tritium leak into the groundwater of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens on which the facility sits.

    Foundations

    Following World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission was created to support government-sponsored peacetime research on atomic energy. The effort to build a nuclear reactor in the American northeast was fostered largely by physicists Isidor Isaac Rabi and Norman Foster Ramsey Jr., who during the war witnessed many of their colleagues at Columbia University leave for new remote research sites following the departure of the Manhattan Project from its campus. Their effort to house this reactor near New York City was rivalled by a similar effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to have a facility near Boston, Massachusetts. Involvement was quickly solicited from representatives of northeastern universities to the south and west of New York City such that this city would be at their geographic center. In March 1946 a nonprofit corporation was established that consisted of representatives from nine major research universities — Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, and Yale University.

    Out of 17 considered sites in the Boston-Washington corridor, Camp Upton on Long Island was eventually chosen as the most suitable in consideration of space, transportation, and availability. The camp had been a training center from the US Army during both World War I and World War II. After the latter war, Camp Upton was deemed no longer necessary and became available for reuse. A plan was conceived to convert the military camp into a research facility.

    On March 21, 1947, the Camp Upton site was officially transferred from the U.S. War Department to the new U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    Research and facilities

    Reactor history

    In 1947 construction began on the first nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor. This reactor, which opened in 1950, was the first reactor to be constructed in the United States after World War II. The High Flux Beam Reactor operated from 1965 to 1999. In 1959 Brookhaven built the first US reactor specifically tailored to medical research, the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, which operated until 2000.

    Accelerator history

    In 1952 Brookhaven began using its first particle accelerator, the Cosmotron. At the time the Cosmotron was the world’s highest energy accelerator, being the first to impart more than 1 GeV of energy to a particle.

    BNL Cosmotron 1952-1966.

    The Cosmotron was retired in 1966, after it was superseded in 1960 by the new Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    BNL Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    The AGS was used in research that resulted in 3 Nobel prizes, including the discovery of the muon neutrino, the charm quark, and CP violation.

    In 1970 in BNL started the ISABELLE project to develop and build two proton intersecting storage rings.

    The groundbreaking for the project was in October 1978. In 1981, with the tunnel for the accelerator already excavated, problems with the superconducting magnets needed for the ISABELLE accelerator brought the project to a halt, and the project was eventually cancelled in 1983.

    The National Synchrotron Light Source operated from 1982 to 2014 and was involved with two Nobel Prize-winning discoveries. It has since been replaced by the National Synchrotron Light Source II. [below].

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source.

    After ISABELLE’S cancellation, physicist at BNL proposed that the excavated tunnel and parts of the magnet assembly be used in another accelerator. In 1984 the first proposal for the accelerator now known as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)[below] was put forward. The construction got funded in 1991 and RHIC has been operational since 2000. One of the world’s only two operating heavy-ion colliders, RHIC is as of 2010 the second-highest-energy collider after the Large Hadron Collider (CH). RHIC is housed in a tunnel 2.4 miles (3.9 km) long and is visible from space.

    On January 9, 2020, it was announced by Paul Dabbar, undersecretary of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, that the BNL eRHIC design has been selected over the conceptual design put forward by DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility [Jlab] as the future Electron–ion collider (EIC) in the United States.

    In addition to the site selection, it was announced that the BNL EIC had acquired CD-0 from the Department of Energy. BNL’s eRHIC design proposes upgrading the existing Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which collides beams light to heavy ions including polarized protons, with a polarized electron facility, to be housed in the same tunnel.

    Other discoveries

    In 1958, Brookhaven scientists created one of the world’s first video games, Tennis for Two. In 1968 Brookhaven scientists patented Maglev, a transportation technology that utilizes magnetic levitation.

    Major facilities

    Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which was designed to research quark–gluon plasma and the sources of proton spin. Until 2009 it was the world’s most powerful heavy ion collider. It is the only collider of spin-polarized protons.

    Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), used for the study of nanoscale materials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II, Brookhaven’s newest user facility, opened in 2015 to replace the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), which had operated for 30 years. NSLS was involved in the work that won the 2003 and 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, a particle accelerator that was used in three of the lab’s Nobel prizes.
    Accelerator Test Facility, generates, accelerates and monitors particle beams.
    Tandem Van de Graaff, once the world’s largest electrostatic accelerator.

    Computational Science resources, including access to a massively parallel Blue Gene series supercomputer that is among the fastest in the world for scientific research, run jointly by Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University-SUNY.

    Interdisciplinary Science Building, with unique laboratories for studying high-temperature superconductors and other materials important for addressing energy challenges.
    NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, where scientists use beams of ions to simulate cosmic rays and assess the risks of space radiation to human space travelers and equipment.

    Off-site contributions

    It is a contributing partner to the ATLAS experiment, one of the four detectors located at the The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] Large Hadron Collider(LHC).

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] map.

    Iconic view of the European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear] [Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] ATLAS detector.

    It is currently operating at The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] near Geneva, Switzerland.

    Brookhaven was also responsible for the design of the Spallation Neutron Source at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee.

    DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Spallation Neutron Source annotated.

    Brookhaven plays a role in a range of neutrino research projects around the world, including the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China.

    Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China .


    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II.

    BNL NSLS II.

    BNL Relative Heavy Ion Collider Campus.

    BNL/RHIC Phenix detector.


     
  • richardmitnick 3:30 pm on October 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "CSIRO on a mission to chart Australia's low emissions future", Agriculture, , , Develop new low emissions steel and iron ore processes, Develop sustainable aviation fuel to support our aviation sector, Economic growth by building national capability and reimagining how we live and work., The "Towards Net Zero Mission" will help Australia respond to the multiple challenges facing our regions as we work to achieve our net zero ambitions., The transition to net zero is underway and gaining pace across Australia., Transformation of these hard to abate industries and regions is critical to our nation’s future prosperity.   

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization: “CSIRO on a mission to chart Australia’s low emissions future” 

    CSIRO bloc

    From CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

    10.11.22

    Mr Nick Kachel

    CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, today launched a new research Mission to help Australia’s regions and hard-to-abate industries transform and accelerate towards a low emissions economy.

    An initial $90 million will be invested in CSIRO’s Towards Net Zero Mission, a large-scale scientific and collaborative research initiative bringing together research, industry, government, and communities to help Australia’s hardest to abate sectors – including steel and agriculture – halve their emissions by 2035.

    1
    Barley plantation

    2
    Plantation farm forestry

    Announcing the Mission today, CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said transitioning these industries is not just about using new technology to solve a global problem, but deliberately turning that problem into new economic growth by building national capability and reimagining how we live and work.

    “Our hard to abate industries like resources and agriculture are critical Australian advantages and are deeply embedded into the fabric of our regions – regions that our country is built on,” Dr Marshall said.

    “So, our Mission must be co-developed not just with those in the hard to abate industries, but also in partnership with their communities to understand the impacts and opportunities arising from new science-enabled technologies and ways of doing business.

    “The transformation of these hard to abate industries and regions is critical to our nation’s future prosperity, and Australian science will ensure no one gets left behind in this enormous transition. Every Australian is part of the journey to net zero.”

    The “Towards Net Zero Mission” will help Australia respond to the multiple challenges facing our regions as we work to achieve our net zero ambitions and will:

    -Support a profitable and sustainable agriculture industry in a low emissions world;
    -Identify what is required to develop new low emissions steel and iron ore processes;
    -Identify what is required to develop sustainable aviation fuel to support our aviation sector;
    -Help regions navigate the transition to net zero through new collaborations, analysis, and support; and
    -Expand Australia’s carbon offset capacity by using and scaling negative emission technologies such as carbon sequestration.

    The “Towards Net Zero Mission” Lead, Dr Michael Battaglia, said: “The transition to net zero is underway and gaining pace across Australia. We see industry starting to transform itself, setting goals and testing technology.”

    “We know that the transition to net zero involves more than just low emissions technology. If these technologies are to be widely adopted, we need to create pathways for them that support prosperity and generate other benefits to the environment and society.”

    The “Towards Net Zero Mission” brings together CSIRO with government partners and collaborators Climate Change Authority; Department of Climate Change, Energy; Environment and Water; Department of Industry, Science and Resources; Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC); Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries; along with industry partners and collaborators BHP; Boeing; Climate Leaders Coalition (CLC); Climate-Kic; ClimateWorks; Incitec Pivot; KPMG Australia; Meat & Livestock Australia; Qantas; and a number of universities and research organisations including Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre.

    Comments from Mission partners

    Quote from Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries:
    “Agriculture and its supply chains will play a critical role in Queensland’s decarbonisation. CSIRO has provided independent analysis to guide our vision and policy response for the sector, as evidenced in the draft Low Emissions Agriculture Roadmap released for public consultation in June. The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries looks forward to continuing to work with the Towards Net Zero Mission and other key research programs to ensure the agribusiness sector capitalises on low emissions economic opportunities.”
    Mr Salvo Vitelli, General Manager, Agriculture Policy, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

    Quote from Climate Change Authority:
    “We are excited to be collaborating with the Towards Net Zero Mission on an upcoming report to better understand Australia’s carbon sequestration potential. This will help inform choices about our pathways to net zero emissions, ensuring those choices are backed by rigorous, science-based evidence.”
    Mr Brad Archer, Climate Change Authority Chief Executive Officer

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO campus

    CSIRO (AU)-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organizations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organization as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organized into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities
    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:

    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:17 am on October 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "DOE Funds Pilot Study Focused on Biosecurity for Bioenergy Crops", Agriculture, , , , , , , , Research into threats from pathogens and pests would speed short-term response and spark long-term mitigation strategies.,   

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory: “DOE Funds Pilot Study Focused on Biosecurity for Bioenergy Crops” 

    From The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory

    10.6.22

    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Research into threats from pathogens and pests would speed short-term response and spark long-term mitigation strategies.

    1
    Pilot study on an important disease in sorghum (above) will develop understanding of threats to bioenergy crops, potentially speeding the development of short-term responses and long-term mitigation strategies. (Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Genomic Science program)

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has selected Brookhaven National Laboratory to lead a new research effort focused on potential threats to crops grown for bioenergy production. Understanding how such bioenergy crops could be harmed by known or new pests or pathogens could help speed the development of rapid responses to mitigate damage and longer-term strategies for preventing such harm. The pilot project could evolve into a broader basic science capability to help ensure the development of resilient and sustainable bioenergy crops as part of a transition to a net-zero carbon economy.

    The idea is modeled on the way DOE’s National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory (NVBL) pooled basic science capabilities to address the COVID-19 pandemic. With $5 Million in initial funding, allocated over the next two years, Brookhaven Lab and its partners will develop a coordinated approach for addressing biosecurity challenges. This pilot study will lead to a roadmap for building out a DOE-wide capability known as the National Virtual Biosecurity for Bioenergy Crops Center (NVBBCC).

    “A robust biosecurity capability optimized to respond rapidly to biological threats to bioenergy crops requires an integrated and versatile platform,” said Martin Schoonen, Brookhaven Lab’s Associate Laboratory Director for Environment, Biology, Nuclear Science & Nonproliferation, who will serve as principal investigator for the pilot project. “With this initial funding, we’ll develop a bio-preparedness platform for sampling and detecting threats, predicting how they might propagate, and understanding how pests or pathogens interact with bioenergy crops at the molecular level—all of which are essential for developing short-term control measures and long-term solutions.”

    The team will invest in new research tools—including experimental equipment and an integrating computing environment for data sharing, data analysis, and predictive modeling. Experiments on an important disease of energy sorghum, a leading target for bioengineering as an oil-producing crop, will serve as a model to help the team establish optimized protocols for studying plant-pathogen interactions.

    In addition, a series of workshops will bring together experts from a range of perspectives and institutions to identify partnerships within and outside DOE, as well as any future investments needed, to establish the full capabilities of an end-to-end biosecurity platform.

    “NVBBCC is envisioned to be a distributed, virtual center with multiple DOE-labs at its core to maximize the use of unique facilities and expertise across the DOE complex,” Schoonen said. “The center will support plant pathology research driven by the interests of the bioenergy crop community, as well as broader plant biology research that could impact crop health.”

    Building the platform

    2
    The pilot study experiments and workshops will be organized around four main themes: detection and sampling, biomolecular characterization, assessment, and mitigation.

    In this initial phase, the research will focus on energy sorghum. This crop’s potential oil yield per acre far exceeds than that of soybeans, currently the world’s primary source of biodiesel.

    “Sorghum is susceptible to a devastating fungal disease, caused by Colletotrichum sublineola, which can result in yield losses of up to 67 percent,” said John Shanklin, chair of Brookhaven Lab’s Biology Department and co-lead of the assessment theme. “Finding ways to thwart this pathogen is a high priority for the bioenergy crop community.”

    The NVBBCC team will use a range of tools—including advanced remote-sensing technologies, COVID-19-like rapid test strips, and in-field sampling—to detect C. sublineola. Additional experiments will assess airborne propagation of fungal spores, drawing on Brookhaven Lab’s expertise in modeling the dispersal of aerosol particles.

    The team will also use state-of-the-art biomolecular characterization tools—including cryo-electron microscopes in Brookhaven’s Laboratory for BioMolecular Structure (LBMS) and x-ray crystallography beamlines at the National Synchrotron Light Source-II (NSLS-II)—to explore details of how pathogen proteins and plant proteins interact. In addition, they’ll add a new tool—a cryogenic-focused ion beam—to produce samples for high-resolution three-dimensional cellular imaging and other advanced imaging modalities.

    Together, these experiments will reveal mechanistic details that provide insight into how plants respond to infections, including how some strains of sorghum develop resistance to C. sublineola. The team will also draw on extensive information about the genetic makeup of sorghum and C. sublineola to identify factors that control expression of the various plant and pathogen proteins.

    The program will be supported by an integrating computing infrastructure with access to sophisticated computational tools across the DOE complex and at partner institutions, enabling integrated data analysis and collaboration using community data standards and tools. The infrastructure will also provide capabilities to develop, train, and verify new analytical and predictive computer models, including novel artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

    “NVBBCC will build on the Johns Hopkins University-developed SciServer environment, which has been used successfully in large data-sharing and analysis projects in cosmology and soil ecology,” said Kerstin Kleese van Dam, head of Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative. “NVBBCC’s computational infrastructure will allow members to easily coordinate research across different domains and sites, accelerating discovery and response times through integrated knowledge sharing.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Brookhaven Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the The DOE Office of Science, The DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

    Research at BNL specializes in nuclear and high energy physics, energy science and technology, environmental and bioscience, nanoscience and national security. The 5300 acre campus contains several large research facilities, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider [below] and National Synchrotron Light Source II [below]. Seven Nobel prizes have been awarded for work conducted at Brookhaven lab.

    BNL is staffed by approximately 2,750 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support personnel, and hosts 4,000 guest investigators every year. The laboratory has its own police station, fire department, and ZIP code (11973). In total, the lab spans a 5,265-acre (21 km^2) area that is mostly coterminous with the hamlet of Upton, New York. BNL is served by a rail spur operated as-needed by the New York and Atlantic Railway. Co-located with the laboratory is the Upton, New York, forecast office of the National Weather Service.

    Major programs

    Although originally conceived as a nuclear research facility, Brookhaven Lab’s mission has greatly expanded. Its foci are now:

    Nuclear and high-energy physics
    Physics and chemistry of materials
    Environmental and climate research
    Nanomaterials
    Energy research
    Nonproliferation
    Structural biology
    Accelerator physics

    Operation

    Brookhaven National Lab was originally owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and is now owned by that agency’s successor, the United States Department of Energy (DOE). DOE subcontracts the research and operation to universities and research organizations. It is currently operated by Brookhaven Science Associates LLC, which is an equal partnership of Stony Brook University and Battelle Memorial Institute. From 1947 to 1998, it was operated by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), but AUI lost its contract in the wake of two incidents: a 1994 fire at the facility’s high-beam flux reactor that exposed several workers to radiation and reports in 1997 of a tritium leak into the groundwater of the Long Island Central Pine Barrens on which the facility sits.

    Foundations

    Following World War II, the US Atomic Energy Commission was created to support government-sponsored peacetime research on atomic energy. The effort to build a nuclear reactor in the American northeast was fostered largely by physicists Isidor Isaac Rabi and Norman Foster Ramsey Jr., who during the war witnessed many of their colleagues at Columbia University leave for new remote research sites following the departure of the Manhattan Project from its campus. Their effort to house this reactor near New York City was rivalled by a similar effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to have a facility near Boston, Massachusetts. Involvement was quickly solicited from representatives of northeastern universities to the south and west of New York City such that this city would be at their geographic center. In March 1946 a nonprofit corporation was established that consisted of representatives from nine major research universities — Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, and Yale University.

    Out of 17 considered sites in the Boston-Washington corridor, Camp Upton on Long Island was eventually chosen as the most suitable in consideration of space, transportation, and availability. The camp had been a training center from the US Army during both World War I and World War II. After the latter war, Camp Upton was deemed no longer necessary and became available for reuse. A plan was conceived to convert the military camp into a research facility.

    On March 21, 1947, the Camp Upton site was officially transferred from the U.S. War Department to the new U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), predecessor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    Research and facilities

    Reactor history

    In 1947 construction began on the first nuclear reactor at Brookhaven, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor. This reactor, which opened in 1950, was the first reactor to be constructed in the United States after World War II. The High Flux Beam Reactor operated from 1965 to 1999. In 1959 Brookhaven built the first US reactor specifically tailored to medical research, the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor, which operated until 2000.

    Accelerator history

    In 1952 Brookhaven began using its first particle accelerator, the Cosmotron. At the time the Cosmotron was the world’s highest energy accelerator, being the first to impart more than 1 GeV of energy to a particle.

    BNL Cosmotron 1952-1966.

    The Cosmotron was retired in 1966, after it was superseded in 1960 by the new Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    BNL Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS).

    The AGS was used in research that resulted in 3 Nobel prizes, including the discovery of the muon neutrino, the charm quark, and CP violation.

    In 1970 in BNL started the ISABELLE project to develop and build two proton intersecting storage rings.

    The groundbreaking for the project was in October 1978. In 1981, with the tunnel for the accelerator already excavated, problems with the superconducting magnets needed for the ISABELLE accelerator brought the project to a halt, and the project was eventually cancelled in 1983.

    The National Synchrotron Light Source operated from 1982 to 2014 and was involved with two Nobel Prize-winning discoveries. It has since been replaced by the National Synchrotron Light Source II. [below].

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source.

    After ISABELLE’S cancellation, physicist at BNL proposed that the excavated tunnel and parts of the magnet assembly be used in another accelerator. In 1984 the first proposal for the accelerator now known as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)[below] was put forward. The construction got funded in 1991 and RHIC has been operational since 2000. One of the world’s only two operating heavy-ion colliders, RHIC is as of 2010 the second-highest-energy collider after the Large Hadron Collider (CH). RHIC is housed in a tunnel 2.4 miles (3.9 km) long and is visible from space.

    On January 9, 2020, it was announced by Paul Dabbar, undersecretary of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, that the BNL eRHIC design has been selected over the conceptual design put forward by DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility [Jlab] as the future Electron–ion collider (EIC) in the United States.

    In addition to the site selection, it was announced that the BNL EIC had acquired CD-0 from the Department of Energy. BNL’s eRHIC design proposes upgrading the existing Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, which collides beams light to heavy ions including polarized protons, with a polarized electron facility, to be housed in the same tunnel.

    Other discoveries

    In 1958, Brookhaven scientists created one of the world’s first video games, Tennis for Two. In 1968 Brookhaven scientists patented Maglev, a transportation technology that utilizes magnetic levitation.

    Major facilities

    Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), which was designed to research quark–gluon plasma and the sources of proton spin. Until 2009 it was the world’s most powerful heavy ion collider. It is the only collider of spin-polarized protons.

    Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN), used for the study of nanoscale materials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II, Brookhaven’s newest user facility, opened in 2015 to replace the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), which had operated for 30 years. NSLS was involved in the work that won the 2003 and 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    Alternating Gradient Synchrotron, a particle accelerator that was used in three of the lab’s Nobel prizes.
    Accelerator Test Facility, generates, accelerates and monitors particle beams.
    Tandem Van de Graaff, once the world’s largest electrostatic accelerator.

    Computational Science resources, including access to a massively parallel Blue Gene series supercomputer that is among the fastest in the world for scientific research, run jointly by Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University-SUNY.

    Interdisciplinary Science Building, with unique laboratories for studying high-temperature superconductors and other materials important for addressing energy challenges.
    NASA Space Radiation Laboratory, where scientists use beams of ions to simulate cosmic rays and assess the risks of space radiation to human space travelers and equipment.

    Off-site contributions

    It is a contributing partner to the ATLAS experiment, one of the four detectors located at the The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] Large Hadron Collider(LHC).

    The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH)[CERN] map.

    Iconic view of the European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear] [Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] ATLAS detector.

    It is currently operating at The European Organization for Nuclear Research [La Organización Europea para la Investigación Nuclear][Organization européenne pour la recherche nucléaire] [Europäische Organization für Kernforschung](CH) [CERN] near Geneva, Switzerland.

    Brookhaven was also responsible for the design of the Spallation Neutron Source at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee.

    DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory Spallation Neutron Source annotated.

    Brookhaven plays a role in a range of neutrino research projects around the world, including the Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China.

    Daya Bay Neutrino Experiment (CN) nuclear power plant, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China .


    BNL Center for Functional Nanomaterials.

    BNL National Synchrotron Light Source II.

    BNL NSLS II.

    BNL Relative Heavy Ion Collider Campus.

    BNL/RHIC Phenix detector.


     
  • richardmitnick 9:03 am on October 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What it takes for plants to survive drought", Agriculture, , , , , , Michigan State University researchers are studying plants that can survive extreme drought and what they can teach us about life without water., Most biology across all life occurs within a narrow window of water content and most things need to be fully hydrated for them to function, The College of Natural Science   

    From The College of Natural Science At Michigan State University: “What it takes for plants to survive drought” 

    From The College of Natural Science

    At

    Michigan State Bloc

    Michigan State University

    9.21.22
    Emilie Lorditch

    Michigan State University researchers are studying plants that can survive extreme drought and what they can teach us about life without water.

    1
    Rose Marks rappelling and researching drought-resistant plants. Image courtesy of Rose Marks.

    As climate change causes more frequent drought conditions, Michigan State University researchers are learning more about the biology of plants, fungi and microscopic animals that survive on very little water in a drought or desiccation state. This research is part of a $12.5 million multi-institution and cross-disciplinary National Science Foundation grant as part of the NSF Biology Integration Institutes.

    “Most biology across all life occurs within a narrow window of water content and most things need to be fully hydrated for them to function,” said Robert “Bob” VanBuren, an assistant professor in MSU’s Plant Resilience Institute and the colleges of Natural Science and Agriculture and Natural Resources. “If we can understand the ways that these extreme plants can survive without water, we could use those to engineer more drought tolerance into some of our staple crops.”

    The grant, led by Seung Yon “Sue” Rhee at the Carnegie Institution for Science, will create the virtual Water and Life Interface Institute — WALII, pronounced “Wally” — to explore the evolutionary history of drought-resistant plants and organisms, genetic and physical factors that make them able to survive long periods of time without water, how plants and organisms rehydrate when they are exposed to water again and the connection between protein structures and how they tolerate drought conditions.

    One of the research teams at MSU is focused on resurrection plants, which can survive without 90% of the water in their cells.

    2
    Resurrection plants go from dehydrated on the left to hydrated on the right. Image courtesy of Rose Marks.

    “Resurrection plants are amazing,” said Rose Marks, a postdoctoral researcher in the Plant Resilience Institute and the colleges of Natural Science and Agriculture and Natural Resources, and a postdoctoral fellow in the NSF Plant Genome Research Program.

    “These plants go from looking completely dead and dormant to springing back to life in just a few hours. The first time I saw this in the field, I was like a child jumping up and down — it’s just one of those exciting things in the natural world.”

    VanBuren and Marks will be looking at the genetic makeup of resurrection plants to identify the genes that are essential for protecting these plants when water is lost or regained.

    In addition to MSU researchers and the Carnegie Institution for Science, scientists from Baylor College of Medicine, California State University Channel Islands, the USDA Agricultural Research Service National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation, the University of California Merced, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wyoming and Washington University in St. Louis are also participating in the grant.

    “It’s a relatively large program,” VanBuren said. “You get the chance to work with people that you maybe wouldn’t have traditionally worked with, and it really pushes you to think beyond the boundaries of your current research.”

    By branching out its research, the team is excited about future possibilities. “We could develop drought tolerance or climate resilience in plants,” Marks said. “We can look toward nature for inspiration and find that plants have naturally evolved to survive extreme stress.”

    Another part of a plant that experiences desiccation and rehydration is its seeds. Seeds are all around us and are dry too.

    “You can dry anything,” said Margaret Fleming, an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “But the question is, does it revive when it gets wet?”

    Fleming and her team are drying and rehydrating seeds under various conditions and imaging them using an MRI scanner to track the path the water takes as it rehydrates the seed.

    3
    MRI image of a soybean as it is being rehydrated. The water is white. Image courtesy of Margaret Fleming.

    4
    Mullein seeds and fruits collected to study. Image courtesy of Margaret Fleming.

    The grant also has an extensive outreach component. One outreach program geared toward middle school students is modeled after MSU’s famous, long-running Beal buried seed experiment, which began in 1879 when Professor William J. Beal buried 20 bottles filled with sand and seeds from weed species to see how long the seeds could remain viable. Seeds keep best in dry, cool, unchanging environments, but these buried seeds have gone through many cycles of wetting and drying. And in 2021 — 142 years later — 20 seeds from a common weed called mullein did germinate.

    “We plan to bury bottles filled with seeds each year so that students can have something new to test every year,” said Margaret Fleming, an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “There are endless possibilities for ways to inspire students.”

    5
    Margaret Fleming nurturing mullein plants. Image courtesy of Margaret Fleming.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    About The College of Natural Science

    The College of Natural Science at Michigan State University is home to 27 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences.

    The college averages $57M in research expenditures annually while providing world-class educational opportunities to more than 5,500 undergraduate majors and 1,200 graduate and postdoc students. There are 800+ faculty and academic staff associated with NatSci and more than 63,000 living alumni worldwide.

    College of Natural Science Vision, Mission, Values

    The Michigan State University College of Natural Science is committed to creating a safe, collaborative and supportive environment in which differences are valued and all members of the NatSci community are empowered to grow and succeed.

    The following is the college’s vision, mission and values, as co-created and affirmed by the College of Natural Science community:

    Vision:

    A thriving planet and healthy communities through scientific discovery.

    Mission:

    To use discovery, innovation and our collective ingenuity to advance knowledge across the natural sciences. Through equitable, inclusive practices in research, education and service, we empower our students, staff and faculty to solve challenges in a complex and rapidly changing world.

    Core Values:

    Inclusiveness-

    Foster a safe, supportive, welcoming community that values diversity, respects difference and promotes belonging. We commit to providing equitable opportunity for all.

    Innovation-

    Cultivate creativity and imagination in the quest for new knowledge and insights. Through individual and collaborative endeavors, we seek novel solutions to current and emergent challenges in the natural sciences.

    Openness-

    Commit to honesty and transparency. By listening and being open to other perspectives, we create an environment of trust where ideas are freely shared and discussed.

    Professionalism-

    Strive for excellence, integrity and high ethical standards. We hold ourselves and each other accountable to these expectations in a respectful and constructive manner.

    Michigan State Campus

    Michigan State University is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan, United States. Michigan State University was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities.

    The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became coeducational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, Michigan State University is one of the largest universities in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has approximately 634,300 living alumni worldwide.

    U.S. News & World Report ranks its graduate programs the best in the U.S. in elementary teacher’s education, secondary teacher’s education, industrial and organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, African history (tied), supply chain logistics and nuclear physics in 2019. Michigan State University pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, supply chain management, and communication sciences. Michigan State University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university’s campus houses the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, the Abrams Planetarium, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, the the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the country’s largest residence hall system.

    Research

    The university has a long history of academic research and innovation. In 1877, botany professor William J. Beal performed the first documented genetic crosses to produce hybrid corn, which led to increased yields. Michigan State University dairy professor G. Malcolm Trout improved the process for the homogenization of milk in the 1930s, making it more commercially viable. In the 1960s, Michigan State University scientists developed cisplatin, a leading cancer fighting drug, and followed that work with the derivative, carboplatin. Albert Fert, an Adjunct professor at Michigan State University, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.

    Today Michigan State University continues its research with facilities such as the Department of Energy -sponsored Plant Research Laboratory and a particle accelerator called the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory [below]. The Department of Energy Office of Science named Michigan State University as the site for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB). The $730 million facility will attract top researchers from around the world to conduct experiments in basic nuclear science, astrophysics, and applications of isotopes to other fields.

    Michigan State University FRIB [Facility for Rare Isotope Beams] .

    In 2004, scientists at the Cyclotron produced and observed a new isotope of the element germanium, called Ge-60 In that same year, Michigan State University, in consortium with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the government of Brazil, broke ground on the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) in the Andes Mountains of Chile.

    The consortium telescope will allow the Physics & Astronomy department to study galaxy formation and origins. Since 1999, MSU has been part of a consortium called the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which aims to develop biotechnology research in the State of Michigan. Finally, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences’ Quello Center researches issues of information and communication management.


    The Michigan State University Spartans compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference. Michigan State Spartans football won the Rose Bowl Game in 1954, 1956, 1988 and 2014, and the university claims a total of six national football championships. Spartans men’s basketball won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 and has attained the Final Four eight times since the 1998–1999 season. Spartans ice hockey won NCAA national titles in 1966, 1986 and 2007. The women’s cross country team was named Big Ten champions in 2019. In the fall of 2019, MSU student-athletes posted all-time highs for graduation success rates and federal graduation rates, according to NCAA statistics.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:38 pm on September 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Can engineering biology feed more people with fewer resources?", Agriculture, , , , ,   

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS : “Can engineering biology feed more people with fewer resources?” 

    From CSIRO (AU) ECOS

    9.26.22
    Sibel Korhaliller

    A changing climate, declining arable lands and an increasing demand for more environmentally friendly products is making us think outside the box when it comes to food production and traditional agricultural production. How can we produce more food with fewer resources?

    One way this can be achieved is through what is known as engineering biology. It combines the fields of biology and engineering to create safer, more sustainable, and in time, potentially cheaper products. These include feed ingredients, agricultural chemicals and even biofuels.

    Last year we released a Synthetic Biology Roadmap that estimated products made using engineering biology could generate more than $19.2 billion for Australia’s food and agricultural industry by 2040.

    While there has been a lot of research in this space over the past two decades, commercialization opportunities are still in their infancy. But understanding what these are can help the sector prioritize their efforts in the short to medium term.

    1
    Engineering biology techniques could benefit Australia’s agriculture, aquaculture (pictured) and forestry industries over the next 10 years.

    Revolutionizing agriculture

    To feed everyone on the planet, we need to revolutionise agriculture in the next 30 years.

    Greg Williams is Associate Director for Health and Biosecurity in the CSIRO Futures team, CSIRO’s strategic consulting arm. He says engineering biology can help us address the increasing pressures that global agriculture producers face.

    “Engineering biology solutions are one way we can help keep our food systems resilient to future demand. However, we still have a lot to learn to move the science out of the lab and onto farms for real-world impact,” he says.

    Engineering biology opportunities on farm

    We recently explored eight key engineering biology opportunities for the agriculture industry as part of research funded by AgriFutures Australia, who invest in research, innovation and learning across Australian rural industries.

    “We explored both research and commercial applications of this technology globally to assess what Australia’s agriculture and aquaculture sectors could start to prepare for,” Greg says.

    “The applications range from biosensors that detect pathogens in livestock or disease in crops, to biomanufacturing sustainable proteins and additives that can be added to animal feed, to creating agricultural chemicals, such as insecticides or fertilisers.”

    One of these opportunities involves engineering biological agricultural treatments to create new crops that can fix their own nitrogen for growth. In doing so, this helps to overcome environmental challenges in conventional agricultural practices, such as the overuse of nitrogen fertilizer.

    On the Sunshine Coast, we have also supported a local company, Provectus Algae through the Australian Government’s Innovation Connections program to synthetically produce algae for several applications, including food and beverage (natural and sustainable food flavourings, fragrances and colourings), aquaculture feed, natural pesticides and also therapeutics (such as medicines).

    3
    Biofungicides are new microbial-derived tools for protecting crops such as canola.

    CSIRO researcher Louise Thatcher says a collaboration with Melbourne-based business Nufarm is helping to develop and run a pre-commercial pilot trial of a novel biofungicide to prevent sclerotina outbreaks.

    “Fungal diseases of crops cause billions of dollars of losses globally,” Louise says.

    “Part of what I do at CSIRO is to find alternative solutions to the use of synthetic agrichemicals. These chemicals contribute to increased yields but can have negative impacts on the environment.

    “We’re screening and researching a collection of beneficial microbes that could kill fungal diseases that affect crops such as canola.

    “A product from this research would be engineered to maximise effectiveness against sclerotinia whilst minimising off target effects to the environment and people.

    “We were able to successfully isolate a new biocontrol microbe that is found naturally in West Australia soils. We engineered a new biofungicide formulation and tested its application to treat sclerotinia outbreaks, with very positive results to far.”

    3
    We are evaluating biofungicides to supress sclerotinia in canola.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    CSIRO -Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU) , is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.

    CSIRO works with leading organisations around the world. From its headquarters in Canberra, CSIRO maintains more than 50 sites across Australia and in France, Chile and the United States, employing about 5,500 people.

    Federally funded scientific research began in Australia 104 years ago. The Advisory Council of Science and Industry was established in 1916 but was hampered by insufficient available finance. In 1926 the research effort was reinvigorated by establishment of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which strengthened national science leadership and increased research funding. CSIR grew rapidly and achieved significant early successes. In 1949 further legislated changes included renaming the organisation as CSIRO.

    Notable developments by CSIRO have included the invention of atomic absorption spectroscopy; essential components of Wi-Fi technology; development of the first commercially successful polymer banknote; the invention of the insect repellent in Aerogard and the introduction of a series of biological controls into Australia, such as the introduction of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus for the control of rabbit populations.

    Research and focus areas

    Research Business Units

    As at 2019, CSIRO’s research areas are identified as “Impact science” and organised into the following Business Units:

    Agriculture and Food
    Health and Biosecurity
    Data 61
    Energy
    Land and Water
    Manufacturing
    Mineral Resources
    Oceans and Atmosphere

    National Facilities

    CSIRO manages national research facilities and scientific infrastructure on behalf of the nation to assist with the delivery of research. The national facilities and specialized laboratories are available to both international and Australian users from industry and research. As at 2019, the following National Facilities are listed:
    Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
    Australia Telescope National Facility – radio telescopes included in the Facility include the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the Parkes Observatory, Mopra Radio Telescope Observatory and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder.

    STCA CSIRO Australia Compact Array (AU), six radio telescopes at the Paul Wild Observatory, is an array of six 22-m antennas located about twenty five kilometres (16 mi) west of the town of Narrabri in Australia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (AU) Parkes Observatory [Murriyang, the traditional Indigenous name], located 20 kilometres north of the town of Parkes, New South Wales, Australia, 414.80m above sea level.

    NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, AU, Deep Space Network. Credit: NASA.

    CSIRO Canberra campus.

    ESA DSA 1, hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, near the town of New Norcia.

    CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (AU)CSIRO R/V Investigator.

    UK Space NovaSAR-1 satellite (UK) synthetic aperture radar satellite.

    CSIRO Pawsey Supercomputing Centre AU)

    Magnus Cray XC40 supercomputer at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Galaxy Cray XC30 Series Supercomputer at at Pawsey Supercomputer Centre Perth Australia.

    Pausey Supercomputer CSIRO Zeus SGI Linux cluster.

    Others not shown

    SKA

    SKA- Square Kilometer Array.

    SKA Square Kilometre Array low frequency at Murchison Widefield Array, Boolardy station in outback Western Australia on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

    EDGES telescope in a radio quiet zone at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in Western Australia, on the traditional lands of the Wajarri peoples.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:37 am on September 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Agriculture, ,   

    From The California Institute of Technology: “‘Greener’ Fertilizer and Carbon-free Fuels Come Closer to Reality” 

    Caltech Logo

    From The California Institute of Technology

    8.31.22
    Emily Velasco
    (626) 372‑0067
    evelasco@caltech.edu

    1
    Credit: Caltech.

    A little over 100 years ago, humankind learned how to take nitrogen from the atmosphere (where it is plentiful) and turn it into ammonia that can be used as source of fertilizer for growing food. That chemical process, known as nitrogen fixation, has allowed huge increases in crop production and a subsequent boom in human populations fed by those crops.

    Nearly all artificial nitrogen fixation is done with what is known as the Haber–Bosch process, which uses a metal catalyst to combine gaseous nitrogen and hydrogen into ammonia, at high pressures and temperatures. Ammonia fixed through this process is estimated to be responsible for growing crops that feed half the world’s population.

    But there is another large source of nitrogen fixation: bacteria that live in soil, which fix nitrogen at normal atmospheric temperatures and pressures. In recent decades, researchers searching for sustainable agriculture practices have looked to these microbes as inspiration for developing nitrogen-fixation processes that are easier to conduct and more environmentally friendly than the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process. Now, a team at Caltech led by Jonas Peters, Bren Professor of Chemistry and director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, has made a breakthrough that increases the efficiency of one of these low-temperature and low-pressure processes, further opening the door to greener fertilizer, and even the production of zero-carbon fuels.

    In a paper appearing in the August 31 issue of the journal Nature [below], the team outlines how they have reduced a major inefficiency in an earlier nitrogen-fixation process developed in Peters’s lab. That process uses electricity and a specialized catalyst in a solution to combine nitrogen with hydrogen. Though that catalyst offered proof of principle, the reaction needed to take place at cold temperatures, and a significant portion of the electrical current was wasted creating hydrogen gas, which then bubbles away unused. This unwanted effect is called the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER), and its mitigation has been an important goal of Peters’s nitrogen-fixation research.

    “Devising clever approaches to convert electron/proton currency to highly desired products other than hydrogen is a major goal in catalysis research, especially in the context of ammonia synthesis and solar fuels,” Peters says.

    The new research shows how HER can be reduced through the use of a cobalt-based co-catalyst that mediates the reaction and prevents the creation of hydrogen gas. The presence of this co-catalyst allows the primary catalyst to efficiently generate ammonia at room temperature, while requiring less voltage than the earlier process to do so.

    “Our strategy was to devise a scheme where a co-catalyst mediator successively shuttles a temporarily stored proton and electron—effectively a hydrogen atom—to a separate catalyst that binds and fixes nitrogen,” Peters says. “The key is to pass off the stored hydrogen atom before it can combine with itself to produce hydrogen.”

    Though the process they have developed is not yet practical for real-world applications, the researchers say it is an important step forward in the development of nitrogen-fixation methods that are less energy-intensive. That means fertilizer production could be conducted with solar or wind power in parts of the globe that do not have reliable electrical grids. It could also make ammonia as fuel for vehicles an economic reality. Ammonia used in this way would not generate any climate change-inducing carbon dioxide.

    “Ammonia is needed for fertilizer, but is also promising as a storable high-energy density fuel. Nitrogen makes up about 80 percent of the atmosphere, and along with water and sunlight, is essentially available in infinite supply,” Peters says. “The trick is to unlock the chemistry that will enable efficient combination of these reagents for a more sustainable future.”

    The paper describing the work is titled: “Tandem electrocatalytic N2 fixation via proton coupled electron transfer.” In addition to Peters, co-authors include: Pablo Garrido-Barros, senior postdoctoral scholar research associate; Joseph Derosa, Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemical Sciences; Matthew J. Chalkley (PhD ’20) of UC San Francisco.

    Funding for the research was provided by Dow Next Generation Educator Funds and Instrumentation Grants, Caltech’s Resnick Water and Environment Laboratory (WEL), the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health.

    Science paper:
    Nature

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Caltech campus

    The California Institute of Technology is a private research university in Pasadena, California. The university is known for its strength in science and engineering, and is one among a small group of institutes of technology in the United States which is primarily devoted to the instruction of pure and applied sciences.

    The California Institute of Technology was founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G. Throop in 1891 and began attracting influential scientists such as George Ellery Hale, Arthur Amos Noyes, and Robert Andrews Millikan in the early 20th century. The vocational and preparatory schools were disbanded and spun off in 1910 and the college assumed its present name in 1920. In 1934, The California Institute of Technology was elected to the Association of American Universities, and the antecedents of National Aeronautics and Space Administration ‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which The California Institute of Technology continues to manage and operate, were established between 1936 and 1943 under Theodore von Kármán.

    The California Institute of Technology has six academic divisions with strong emphasis on science and engineering. Its 124-acre (50 ha) primary campus is located approximately 11 mi (18 km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. First-year students are required to live on campus, and 95% of undergraduates remain in the on-campus House System at The California Institute of Technology. Although The California Institute of Technology has a strong tradition of practical jokes and pranks, student life is governed by an honor code which allows faculty to assign take-home examinations. The The California Institute of Technology Beavers compete in 13 intercollegiate sports in the NCAA Division III’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

    As of October 2020, there are 76 Nobel laureates who have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology, including 40 alumni and faculty members (41 prizes, with chemist Linus Pauling being the only individual in history to win two unshared prizes). In addition, 4 Fields Medalists and 6 Turing Award winners have been affiliated with The California Institute of Technology. There are 8 Crafoord Laureates and 56 non-emeritus faculty members (as well as many emeritus faculty members) who have been elected to one of the United States National Academies. Four Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 have won the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. Numerous faculty members are associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as National Aeronautics and Space Administration. According to a 2015 Pomona College study, The California Institute of Technology ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of its graduates who go on to earn a PhD.

    Research

    The California Institute of Technology is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”. Caltech was elected to The Association of American Universities in 1934 and remains a research university with “very high” research activity, primarily in STEM fields. The largest federal agencies contributing to research are National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Science Foundation; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

    In 2005, The California Institute of Technology had 739,000 square feet (68,700 m^2) dedicated to research: 330,000 square feet (30,700 m^2) to physical sciences, 163,000 square feet (15,100 m^2) to engineering, and 160,000 square feet (14,900 m^2) to biological sciences.

    In addition to managing NASA-JPL/Caltech , The California Institute of Technology also operates the Caltech Palomar Observatory; the Owens Valley Radio Observatory;the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory; the W. M. Keck Observatory at the Mauna Kea Observatory; the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington; and Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, California. The Institute launched the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at The California Institute of Technology in 2006; the Keck Institute for Space Studies in 2008; and is also the current home for the Einstein Papers Project. The Spitzer Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center located on The California Institute of Technology campus, is the data analysis and community support center for NASA’s Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope [no longer in service].

    The California Institute of Technology partnered with University of California at Los Angeles to establish a Joint Center for Translational Medicine (UCLA-Caltech JCTM), which conducts experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

    The California Institute of Technology operates several Total Carbon Column Observing Network stations as part of an international collaborative effort of measuring greenhouse gases globally. One station is on campus.

     
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