A Water Quality Activist Tests Missouri Waters For Tiny Pieces Of Plastic

Read the full story from NPR. ISTC researchers are analyzing the samples for this project.

Missouri waters are polluted with microplastics, small pieces of plastic smaller than a pencil eraser.

Microplastics can come from large pieces of plastic that degrade into smaller pieces and consumer products, like toothpaste and cosmetics, that contain microbeads. While research has shown that plastic pollution can threaten aquatic life, scientists are still trying to understand how microplastics could affect human health.

Understanding the impact of microplastics starts by knowing how much is in local waters, said Rachel Bartels, co-founder of the nonprofit Missouri Confluence Waterkeeper.

ISTC researcher demonstrates nutrient reduction project at Fulton County Field Day

On July 16, farmers and researchers came together at Fulton County Field Day. The event allowed researchers to showcase peer-reviewed applied science and demonstrate to working farmers that these conservation practices work. Individual farmers could then take aspects of what they learned and apply it in on their land.

ISTC researcher Wei Zheng demonstrated the system he has developed  for using biochar to recycle nutrients from tile drainage systems. The project is funded through a grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC).

The event was hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau, Fulton County Farm Bureau, Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Prairie Research Institute and University of Illinois Extension. Read more about the event in FarmWeek.

 

 

 

 

Chemical recycling may offer help on e-plastics

This article in E-Scrap News summarizes Closed Loop Partners market-landscape report, which was released last month. The report included work by ISTC researchers B.K. Sharma and Sriraam Chandrasekaran. The article specifically mentions ISTC’s work on solvent and pyrolysis systems that target e-plastics for chemical recycling feedstock.

Read more about Sharma’s and Chandrasekaran’s work on e-plastics recycling in this article from the University of Illinois News Bureau and on ISTC’s web site.

Scientist seeks to capture, recycle phosphorus from tile drainage

ISTC researcher Wei Zheng recently received a grant from the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council (NREC) to develop specially designed biochar to capture and recycle phosphorus. Read FarmWeek’s story about the project here.

Specially designed biochar, seen lower right, would absorb phosphorus from tile drainage water filtered by a woodchip bioreactor. ISTC researcher Wei Zheng is studying special biochar as a water filter, which could be used as slow-release fertilizer. (Illustration by Wei Zheng, ISTC)
Specially designed biochar, seen lower right, would absorb phosphorus from tile drainage water filtered by a woodchip bioreactor. ISTC researcher Wei Zheng is studying special biochar as a water filter, which could be used as slow-release fertilizer. (Illustration by Wei Zheng, ISTC)