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Illinois IGB

Stephen Long

15 Years of IGB: The RIPE Project

March 24, 2022

In honor of the IGB's anniversary, we're revisiting some of the history of our institute over the past 15 years with a series of articles highlighting IGB people, projects, and research.

Improving crop yields in collaboration with RIPE

Scientists having been breeding plants for over a century with the goal of feeding hungry people across the world. To that end, the Green Revolution in the 1960s used new technologies to increase food production in scale with the population growth. Unfortunately, these increases will not be enough in a few decades.


March 24, 2022


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Comparing photosynthetic differences between wild and domesticated rice

November 2, 2021

Millions of people in Asia are dependent on rice as a food source. Believed to have been domesticated as early as 6000 BCE, rice is an important source of calories globally. In a new study, researchers compared domesticated rice to its wild counterparts to understand the differences in their photosynthetic capabilities. The results can help improve future rice productivity.


November 2, 2021


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BBC’s Follow the Food to feature RIPE research

October 27, 2021

On October 29th, the Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE) project will be featured on an episode of Follow the Food on BBC World News. Hosted by world-renowned ethnobotanist James Wong, the multimedia series focuses on the biggest pressures on the world food system including RIPE’s central mission of how to feed the growing population, and climate change, which is the focus of the current season.


October 27, 2021


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Energycane produces more biodiesel than soybean at a lower cost

July 8, 2021

Bioenergy from crops is a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. New crops such as energycane can produce several times more fuel per acre than soybeans. Yet, challenges remain in processing the crops to extract fuel efficiently. 

Four new studies from the University of Illinois explore chemical-free pretreatment methods, development of high-throughput phenotyping methods, and commercial-scale techno-economic feasibility of producing fuel from energycane in various scenarios.


July 8, 2021


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Regeneron Science Talent Search scholar conducts at-home study on crop improvement

February 9, 2021

In a freshman biology class, a simple demonstration comprises a candle and a plant in an enclosed space. Through the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide emitted by the candle is converted into oxygen by the plant, allowing the candle to last longer. For 18-year-old Bailey Goldstein, this experiment sparked his interest in photosynthesis.


February 9, 2021


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Flag leaves could help top off photosynthetic performance in rice

January 5, 2021

The flag leaf is the last to emerge, indicating the transition from crop growth to grain production. Photosynthesis in this leaf provides the majority of the carbohydrates needed for grain filling--so it is the most important leaf for yield potential. A team from the University of Illinois and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) found that some flag leaves of different varieties of rice transform light and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates better than others. This finding could potentially open new opportunities for breeding higher yielding rice varieties. 


January 5, 2021


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