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U. of I. postdoctoral researcher Katarzyna Glowacka, left, crop sciences professor Erik Sacks, visiting scholar Shailendra Sharma and their colleagues found that chill-tolerant sugarcane hybrids, called miscanes, also photosynthesize at lower temperatures.

Chill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:July 28, 2015

U.S. farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane’s growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these “miscanes,” as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips.

Published Date: July 28, 2015


Scientists discovered that gut microbes, gene expression and enzyme activity all differ between rotation-resistant rootworms and their rotation-susceptible counterparts.

Study: Crop-rotation resistant rootworms have a lot going on in their guts

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:June 9, 2015

After decades of effort, scientists are finally figuring out how insects develop resistance to environmentally friendly farming practices – such as crop rotation – that are designed to kill them. The researchers say their insights will help develop more sustainable agricultural practices.

Published Date: June 9, 2015


Research geneticist Ram Singh crossed soybean with a related wild, perennial plant from Australia, introducing new genetic diversity to the soybean plant.

Plant breeder boosts soybean diversity, develops rust-resistant plant

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:May 12, 2015

It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens of soy.

Published Date: May 12, 2015


Significant room for improvement exists in the environmental efficiency of both crop production and the control of pollution from nitrogen-fertilizer runoff, says a new study from Teresa Serra, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois.

Paper: 'Considerable scope' for improvement in agricultural pollution

Author: Phil Ciciora, Business & Law Editor

Published Date:April 21, 2015

While different sustainability indicators have been developed at an aggregate level, less attention has been paid to farm-level sustainability measures. A study from a University of Illinois expert in production economics and efficiency analysis has developed technical and environmental efficiency indices for agriculture that can be used to assess sustainability at the farm level.

Published Date: April 21, 2015


Plant biology professor Stephen Long and colleagues report on advances and challenges in improving plant photosynthesis.

Report: Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050

Author: Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor

Published Date:March 26, 2015

Using high-performance computing and genetic engineering to boost the photosynthetic efficiency of plants offers the best hope of increasing crop yields enough to feed a planet expected to have 9.5 billion people on it by 2050, researchers report in the journal Cell.

Published Date: March 26, 2015