Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biofuel Production Could Undercut Efforts To Shrink Gulf 'Dead Zone'

Date:
September 18, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists in Pennsylvania report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult task to shrink a vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico more difficult.

This is a map showing the Gulf of Mexico "Dead Zone." Low-oxygen areas appear in red.
Credit: NASA, NOAA

Scientists in Pennsylvania report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult task to shrink a vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico more difficult. The zone, which reached the size of Massachusetts in 2008, forms in summer and threatens marine life and jobs in the region.

Their study is scheduled for the Oct. 1 issue of ACS' semi-monthly journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Christine Costello and W. Michael Griffin and colleagues explain that the zone forms when fertilizers wash off farm fields throughout the Mississippi River basin and into the Gulf of Mexico. The fertilizers cause the growth of algae, which eventually depletes oxygen in the water and kills marine life. Government officials hope to reduce fertilizer runoff and shrink the zone to the size of Delaware by 2015. But that goal could be more difficult to reach due to federally-mandated efforts to increase annual biofuel production to 36 billion gallons by 2022, the study says.

The scientists studied the potential effects of increased biofuel production on the "dead zone," with a life-cycle analysis of nitrate fertilizer use on biofuel crops such as corn, soy, switch grass and stover (corn stems and leaves). They conclude that meeting the biofuel production goals will likely increase the depletion of oxygen compared to current levels in the Gulf due to more nutrient runoff.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Costello et al. Impact of Biofuel Crop Production on the Formation of Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Science & Technology, 2009; 090813095901020 DOI: 10.1021/es9011433

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Biofuel Production Could Undercut Efforts To Shrink Gulf 'Dead Zone'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916103422.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, September 18). Biofuel Production Could Undercut Efforts To Shrink Gulf 'Dead Zone'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916103422.htm
American Chemical Society. "Biofuel Production Could Undercut Efforts To Shrink Gulf 'Dead Zone'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916103422.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins