Environmental Science

Development of automated sensors to track pH changes elicited by iron deficiency in hydroponic cultures

We developed an automated pH tracking system to monitor pH changes in hydroponic systems. As a proof of concept, we tracked the acidification of media on maize plants grown over a week with and without Fe.

Atrazine: An Issue Needing Action

In Northeastern Missouri, the Mark Twain Lake Watershed covers 2,318 square miles (United States, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis Environmental Water Quality Section - Water Quality). This watershed, shown in Figure 1, provides drinking water, water for crops and livestock, fishing, beaches, and water for boating and canoeing (Missouri Department of Natural Resources).…

A Plan for Plastics

Consumption of plastic and efforts to reduce plastic waste have been a popular topic of the past year. When a video showcasing plastic straw litter went viral, many businesses, such as restaurants and dining chains, stopped providing plastic straws unless by request. Struck by the amount of plastic in the ocean, many took a pause…

Science of Environmental Effects of Nuclear War

The only atomic bombs to ever be used outside of testing were those used by the United States in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the Second World War. These blasts exploded with the force of about 15 kilotons and 21 kilotons of TNT respectively (World Nuclear Association, 2016). The total nuclear arsenal in the world…

Breakthrough Biotechnology in Animal Agriculture

A recent article published by the Washington Post articulates that new gene-editing practices in farm animals may be one of the largest research breakthroughs, though society may not be prepared for such a change (Johnson, 2018). Biotechnology, the genetic manipulation of living organisms, has made progress in the animal agricultural industry, but so has the…

A-po(pulation)-ca-lypse- The Danger of Overpopulation on the Environment Within America

Many reasons for the “apocalyptic” demise of the Mayan civilization have been hypothesized including the occurrence of a severe drought, thought to be exacerbated by rapid deforestation. Extensive logging was conducted to clear the land for growing more food and for producing construction materials needed to accommodate the growing population’s cityscape, further magnifying the environmental…

Meating Expectations: Challenges of Meat Production and a Growing Population

As the human population grows, the task of producing enough food for everyone becomes increasingly difficult; by 2050 we will need to produce enough food for 2 million more people. To meet current food demands, an industrialized agricultural system has been created including concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Concentrated animal feeding operations make it possible…

Old Habits Out and New Habits In: The New Way to Waste Food

Throughout my life I have had my fair share of wasteful habits. I have thrown food out because I thought it looked funky, to simply being too full and not wanting to eat another bite. In the moment, I never stop to think about the impact it may have on the world. However, try to…

Precision Agriculture: Feeding the Future

Agriculture has faced its fair share of adversity. In the 1930’s and 40’s, it was the dust bowl. The 1980’s Farm Crisis was a byproduct of overproduction, poor investments, and bad decisions made during the boom years of the late 1970’s.  As a result, farmers were pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and many lost…

Takeover of Invasive Species Due to Climate Change: The Bush Honeysuckle

The Midwest region of the United States is composed of a variety of organisms that come from many different species and origins. From the western bank of the Mississippi River, to the eastern ridge of the Rocky Mountains, life of all forms thrive across this region. Some of these life forms originated here in the…