"Environment" research area

Agriculture & Farming

The State of Minnesota contains an abundance of fertile farmland and, not uncoincidentally, is home to a number of the nations and worlds largest and best known Food & Ag sector corporations. It therefore should not be a surprise that the state's single Land Grant Intitution is one of the leading research institutions on food, agriculture, and related sciences. MnDRIVE Environment coalesces much of the expertise across the University to focus research solutions on environmental remediation challenges with the food, farming, and agricultural space.

Research Projects

A Novel Way to Extract Resources from MN Food Waste while Removing PFAS
Awarded July 2022
Bridget Ulrich and her team apply an approach that optimizes resource extraction from food waste while minimizing PFAS contamination

Putting the 'Morph' Back in Morphology for Fungal Remediation
Awarded January 2022
Schilling explores ways to optimize mycoremediation using fungi.

Phytoremediation of PFAS Using Nanomaterials
Awarded June 2021
Christy Haynes enhances PFAS remediation by using novel nanomaterials.

Reducing Nitrous Oxide from Agriculture
Awarded January 2021
Timothy Griffis and team explore the potential of procyanidin soil amendments to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from environmental systems. 

Reducing the Environmental Cost of Glyphosate
Awarded June 2020
The Cotner Team tests the glyphosate degradation abilities of cyanobacteria species and their connection to the presence of algae in Minnesota's waters. 

Repurposing Drainage Ditches to Remove Nitrogen
Awarded December 2019
Strock and his team engineered and installed low-grade weirs to catalyze the removal of nitrogen and contaminants from drainage ditches and consequently improve the quality of the water systems.

Using Nano-silica Materials to Remove Nitrate from Water
Awarded December 2019
Kara Nell’s lab investigates how novel silica materials used in filtration systems perform when tasked with selectively targeting specific anions during wastewater treatment.

Green Alternatives to Toxic Fertilizer Components
Awarded June 2019
The Wackett Lab researches a Minnesota-based solution for biomremediation of contaminants in fertilizer to find replacements to a toxic chemical waste.

Bioaugmented Nitrogen Removal from Drainage System Water 
Awarded December 2018
Mike Sadowsky and a team of researchers develop bioreactors designed to mitigate loading of nitrate and phosphorus in drainage and run-off waters from farm fields.

Using Fungi to Protect Soybean Crop from Nematodes 
Awarded December 2018
The Salomon Lab investigates fungal biocontrol for soybean cyst nematode disease.

Fueled by Food Waste
Awarded February 2018
Bo Hu and team designed and installed an Anaerobic Digestion system at Second Harvest Heartland's facility to dispose of excess food waste and generate methane gas for fuel.

Fungi for Phosphate Removal
Awarded February 2018
Chris Lenhart and team propose a mycorrhizal fungi amendment designed for increased phosphate removal in agricultural buffers.

Algal Biofertilizer to Improve Soil Health
Awarded August 2017
Lab-based work led by Rob Gardner examines how replacing synthetic fertilizers with algal biofertilizers influences specific soil health criteria like erosion rate, water retaining capacity, carbon content, and microbial dynamics, in order to slow the throughput of nutrients from application to runoff and ultimate dimish nutrient loads in connected waterbodies. 

Identifying the Best Genetic Sequences for Removing Nitrate
Awarded August 2017
The Gralnick Lab uncovers principals of genetic deregulation to overcome aerobic repression.

Optimizing the Treatment and Use of Manure to Reduce Nitrogen Runoff
Awarded June 2016
Researchers degrade amino acids to separate nitrogen and create a healthy fertilizer source.

On-Site Fungal Treatment to Remove Phosphorus from Animal Manure
Awarded December 2015
The Hu Lab investigates the cost-effectiveness of lowering the phosphorus to nitrogen ratioe in manure for field application by fungal treatment. 

Lowering Copper Concentrations in Agricultural Pesticides
Awarded December 2015
The Salomon Lab investigates the reduction of copper pesticide application using soil microbes. 

Using Bacteria to Recycle Wasted Phosphorus
Awarded August 2015
The Elias Lab develops innovative phosphorus removal methods using molecular mechanisms of bacterial phosphate uptake.

Using Beneficial Microbes to Protect Minnesota's Potato Crops from Disease
Awarded August 2014
The Kinkel Lab uses microbiological inocula as a means of protecting critical Minnesota crops from disease.