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Latest University of Illinois Stories

Team Reports On First Decade Of US Trials Of Bioenergy Grasses
2013-12-04 19:13:34

University of Illinois The first long-term US field trials of Miscanthus x giganteus, a towering perennial grass used in bioenergy production, reveal that its exceptional yields, though reduced somewhat after five years of growth, are still more than twice those of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), another perennial grass used as a bioenergy feedstock. Miscanthus grown in Illinois also outperforms even the high yields found in earlier studies of the crop in Europe, the researchers found....

How Membrane Transporter Moves
2013-12-03 09:50:42

University of Illinois Researchers have tried for decades to understand the undulations and gyrations that allow transport proteins to shuttle molecules from one side of a cell membrane to the other. Now scientists report that they have found a way to penetrate the mystery. They have worked out every step in the molecular dance that enables one such transporter to do its job. The new findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will help scientists figure...

2013-11-21 14:21:09

When reading text or listening to someone speak, we construct rich mental models that allow us to draw conclusions about other people, objects, actions, events, mental states and contexts. This ability to understand written or spoken language, called “discourse comprehension,” is a hallmark of the human mind and central to everyday social life. In a new study, researchers uncovered the brain mechanisms that underlie discourse comprehension. The study appears in Brain: A Journal of...

Culling Of Deer Controls Disease With Little Effect On Hunting
2013-10-21 13:33:52

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chronic wasting disease, the deer-equivalent of mad cow disease, has crept across the U.S. landscape from west to east. It appeared first in captive mule deer in Colorado in the late 1960s. By 1981, it had escaped to the wild. It reached the Midwest by 2002. Little is known about its potential to infect humans. Now researchers at the University of Illinois offer a first look at the long-term effectiveness of the practice of culling deer in...

2013-10-15 20:39:04

Congress should minimally modify – and not, as petroleum-related interests have increasingly lobbied for, repeal – the Renewable Fuel Standard, the most comprehensive renewable energy policy in the U.S., according to a new paper from two University of Illinois researchers. In the study, U. of I. law professor Jay P. Kesan and Timothy A. Slating, a regulatory associate with the Energy Biosciences Institute, argue that RFS mandates merely ought to be adjusted to reflect current and...

Researchers Have Developed New Quantitative Method Of Identifying Pollen Grains
2013-10-07 13:10:51

University of Illinois Since the invention of the earliest light microscopes, the classification and identification of pollen and spores has been a highly subjective venture for those who use these tiny particles to study vegetation in their field, palynology. However, according to the lead author of the study, Luke Mander, a former postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Illinois professor of plant biology Surangi Punyasena, the limitations imposed by these descriptive rather than...

New Paradigm For Nanoscale Resolution MRI Experimentally Achieved
2013-09-27 13:13:41

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign A team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University has devised a novel nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique that delivers a roughly 10­nanometer spatial resolution. This represents a significant advance in MRI sensitivity—modern MRI techniques commonly used in medical imaging yield spatial resolutions on the millimeter length scale, with the highest-resolution experimental instruments giving...

Tiny Antennas Allow Long Light Waves See In Infrared
2013-09-25 15:32:28

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed arrays of tiny nano-antennas that can enable sensing of molecules that resonate in the infrared (IR) spectrum. “The identification of molecules by sensing their unique absorption resonances is very important for environmental monitoring, industrial process control and military applications,” said team leader Daniel Wasserman, a professor of electrical and computer...

Removing Nitrogen From The Environment The Natural Way
2013-09-17 12:57:56

University of Illinois Removing nitrogen from the environment "the natural way" by creating a wetland is a long-term, nutrient-removal solution, more cost effective than upgrading a wastewater treatment plant, but it isn't necessarily socially beneficial to offer landowners multiple payments for the environmental services that flow from such wetlands, according to a study conducted at the University of Illinois. "In the areas we studied in Bureau County with small wastewater treatment...

Researchers Transport Endangered Mussels To Save Them
2013-09-12 09:11:52

University of Illinois Researchers have transported two endangered freshwater mussel species from Pennsylvania to Illinois in an attempt to re-establish their populations in the western part of the Ohio River Basin. The team of biologists, led by Jeremy Tiemann, of the Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), traveled to the site of a bridge-replacement project on Pennsylvania’s Allegheny River to collect northern riffleshell (Epioblasma rangiana) and clubshell (Pleurobema clava)...