College of ACES
College News

Agronomy Day 2016 field tour topics announced

Published June 27, 2016
agronomy day location
New location of 2016 Agronomy Day at 4202 S. 1st St., Savoy IL

URBANA, Ill. – Have questions about pest resistance or curious about the use of drones in agriculture? Plan to hear more on these and other topics related to crop sciences at the 59th annual Agronomy Day at the University of Illinois on August 18.

Field tour topics and speakers for Agronomy Day 2016 were recently announced. Topics include:

TOUR A      

  • Cataloging the weapons arsenal of the Fusarium head blight pathogen
  • Genetic resistance for northern leaf blight and Goss’ wilt in corn
  • Stripe rust and scab resistance in wheat
  • Bt resistance in corn rootworm beetles
  • Nematodes: How does the worm turn?


  • Nitrogen management: Balancing profitability with sustainability
  • Economics of nutrient management
  • Land values
  • Six weed management predictions to keep you up at night
  • Investigating low crop emergence in edamame


  • The show must go on: Balancing water use under continuously changing environmental conditions
  • Cover crops for soybean and corn rotation
  • Soybean planting date and variety maturity
  • Managing soybeans for high yields
  • Drone information and demonstration


*Offered at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (tentative) with limited availability, as attendees will be transported offsite to SoyFACE. Attendees will need to sign up in advance at the registration table. Tours will last one hour.

  • What is SoyFACE?
  • Improving maize tolerance in air pollution
  • CO2
  • Improving drought tolerance and water use efficiency in C4 crops

For a full list of this year’s speakers and topics, visit

Agronomy Day attracts more than 1,000 people each year seeking the latest information on technology and techniques to improve food and fuel production. This year, agronomy day will be held in a new location at 4202 South 1st Street in Savoy, Illinois. For more information on speakers, displays, and location, join Agronomy Day 2016 on Facebook or visit the Agronomy Day website.


News Source:

Bob Dunker, 217-244-5444

ACE Departmental Seminar - Dr. Ron Alquist

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
426-428 Mumford Hall

The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Seminar Series is proud to present

Dr. Ron Alquist
Chief Economist
Kings Peak Asset Management

Title:  Commodity-Price Comovement and Global Economic Activity (joins with O. Coibion)

Friday, September 16, 2016
12:00-1:00 p.m.
426-428 Mumford Hall

If you are interested in visiting with Dr. Alquist, please contact Melissa Warmbier at

Pizza will be served.

Latest NRES Bulletin Available

Published June 24, 2016
Alma Mater in Illini cap and gown
NRES Congratulates all 2016 Graduates!

View the latest edition of the NRES Bulletin e-newsletter online.

If you have content or ideas for future issues (next due out in early Fall Semester 2016), submit them to Lezli Cline at

News Source:

Lezli Cline, 217-244-6254

Childhood binge eating: Families, feeding, and feelings

Published June 23, 2016
  • Binge eating is the most prevalent type of eating disorder among all races, ethnic groups, genders, and ages.
  • Binge eating has been reported in children as young as 5 years old.
  • Parents may be able to reduce risk of childhood binge eating through responsive parenting and avoiding weight-related teasing in the family.
  • Parent weight, education, economic situation, race, or ethnicity, are not correlated with childhood binge eating.

URBANA, Ill. – Binge eating is the most prevalent type of eating disorder across races, ethnic groups, ages, and genders. Surprisingly, binge eating has even been reported in children as young as 5 years old.

In order to put childhood binge eating into context, a new systematic review from the University of Illinois identifies two potential risk factors for binge eating in children under the age of 12. With family being the most proximal and influential setting affecting behaviors and attitudes in children, the study reports that parental non-involvement or emotional unresponsiveness and weight-related teasing in the family are behaviors consistently associated with childhood binge eating.

Jaclyn Saltzman, a doctoral researcher in human development and family studies, and a scholar in the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program, explains that childhood binge eating can lead to many weight and eating behavior problems as the child grows and in to adulthood. “Intervening early to address binge eating may not only help prevent an eating disorder from emerging but also prevent lifetime habits of unhealthy weight-related behaviors,” she says.

Saltzman stresses that binge eating is not the same as feeling you have had too much dessert at dinner. “Binge eating is feeling like you are not in control when you are eating. You are eating past the point of fullness and to the point of discomfort. You are experiencing a lot of emotional distress because of it,” she explains.

She adds that binge eating is associated with depression and obesity.

Saltzman and Janet M. Liechty, a professor of medicine and of social work at U of I, reviewed studies on childhood binge eating spanning the last 35 years. They found that very few studies had been done over the last decade on kids and binge eating in the family context.

“We quickly found out that we had to focus specifically on family correlates and risk factors for childhood binge eating, because we were struck by how little research had explored contextual influences, especially in comparison to a much larger body of literature on individual psychological, behavioral, and biological influences. We thought there was a need for a more nuanced understanding of the context in which childhood binge eating develops,” Saltzman says.  

Initially, the researchers identified over 700 studies, to which they applied strict inclusion criteria to locate studies that looked at outcomes in children under age 12, using reliable instruments, and assessing the constructs of interest. “That left us with 15 studies, which we screened with a tool to assess risk for bias so that we could comment on the strengths and limitations in the studies,” she adds.

In their review, the researchers focused on binge eating and loss-of-control eating behavior. Loss of control is traditionally considered a symptom of binge eating in adults, but Saltzman explains that, according to recent research in the field, loss of control is used as a proxy for binge eating in young children, although this is not yet officially recognized in diagnostic manuals.

“Loss of control is something that researchers have used to describe binge eating in young children,” she says. “The idea is that the size of the binge—the amount of food they eat—is less important than the feelings of being out of control or the stress about that eating behavior, especially in young kids, because they don’t have all that much control over the food that they have access to. But they do have control of their emotions around eating and how much they eat and the sense of being out of control.”

Although they found parent ignoring, under-involvement, emotional non-responsiveness and weight-related teasing in the family to be associated with childhood binge eating, Saltzman says that parent weight, education, economic situation, race, or ethnicity, are not correlated. “Actually, no studies found any association between these constructs and childhood binge eating,” she says.

“This study found that childhood binge eating is really associated with parents’ weight-related beliefs, but not their actual weight, and their emotional availability but not necessarily the income availability,” she adds.  

Weight teasing is being made fun of, mocked, or “kidded with” about one’s weight, usually for being perceived as being overweight, Saltzman explains. “Family-based weight teasing would be any of those behaviors perpetrated by a family member, like a parent or a sibling.”

Despite finding that behavior in the family is an important context for childhood binge eating, Saltzman stresses that this does not indicate that parents are to blame for children’s binge eating behaviors. “Even though weight-related teasing was a correlate of childhood binge eating, it would be counterproductive and incorrect to blame parents for childhood binge eating behavior. In light of these findings, the large body of literature linking childhood binge eating to psychological factors such as negative affect, and other research studies our lab has done, we want to stress the importance of shifting the paradigm from focusing on weight alone—which is what weight teasing does—to addressing beliefs about weight and emotional coping strategies in the family.” 

This study was limited in that it focused only on peer-reviewed, English-language articles, and that it could not use meta-analytic techniques to identify the magnitude of associations between the identified correlates and childhood binge eating. Despite these limitations, the review finds evidence to suggest that focus on the emotional context of eating is critical to understanding childhood binge eating.    

“We want to emphasize to parents that weight isn’t the ‘be all end all,’ and that focusing on weight too much can be damaging. Instead, focusing on giving kids the tools they need to manage their emotions, particularly emotions around eating and weight, can help strengthen children’s coping skills so they are less likely to need binge eating.” Saltzman says.

“Family correlates of childhood binge eating: A systematic review” is published in the journal Eating Behaviors and is available online at doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2016.03.027. Co-authors are Jaclyn A. Saltzman and Janet M. Liechty of the University of Illinois.

The research was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program grant (2011-67001-30101) to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois.

News Source:

Jaclyn Saltzman

More reasons to eat your broccoli

Published June 22, 2016
  • Broccoli and related vegetables in the Brassica family are loaded with health-promoting compounds known as phenolics.
  • Researchers have identified a large number of candidate genes controlling phenolic compound accumulation in broccoli.
  • These genes will be used in future breeding programs to pack even more phenolic compounds into broccoli and other Brassica vegetables.

More reasons to eat your broccoli

URBANA, Ill. – Love it or hate it, broccoli is touted as a superfood, offering an array of health benefits. And it’s about to get even more super.

University of Illinois researchers have identified candidate genes controlling the accumulation of phenolic compounds in broccoli. Consumption of phenolic compounds, including certain flavonoids, is associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, asthma, and several types of cancer.

“Phenolic compounds have good antioxidant activity, and there is increasing evidence that this antioxidant activity affects biochemical pathways affiliated with inflammation in mammals. We need inflammation because it’s a response to disease or damage, but it’s also associated with initiation of a number of degenerative diseases. People whose diets consist of a certain level of these compounds will have a lesser risk of contracting these diseases,” explains U of I geneticist Jack Juvik.

The researchers crossed two broccoli lines and tested their progeny in terms of total phenolic content and their ability to neutralize oxygen radicals in cellular assays. They then used a genetic technique called quantitative trait locus analysis to search for the genes involved in generating phenolics in the most promising progeny.

By identifying the genes involved in accumulating these compounds, the researchers are one step closer to breeding broccoli and related Brassica vegetables like kale and cabbage with mega-doses of phenolic compounds.

“It’s going to take awhile,” Juvik notes. “This work is a step in that direction, but is not the final answer. We plan to take the candidate genes we identified here and use them in a breeding program to improve the health benefits of these vegetables. Meanwhile, we’ll have to make sure yield, appearance, and taste are maintained as well.”

The good news is that phenolic compounds are flavorless and stable, meaning the vegetables can be cooked without losing health-promoting qualities.

Once these vegetables are consumed, the phenolic compounds are absorbed and targeted to certain areas of the body or concentrated in the liver. Flavonoids spread through the bloodstream, reducing inflammation through their antioxidant activity.

“These are things we can’t make ourselves, so we have to get them from our diets,” Juvik says. “The compounds don’t stick around forever, so we need to eat broccoli or some other Brassica vegetable every three or four days to lower the risk of cancers and other degenerative diseases.”

The article, “QTL analysis for the identification of candidate genes controlling phenolic compound accumulation in broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica),” is published in Molecular Breeding. Lead author Alicia Gardner and Juvik are at the University of Illinois. Co-author Allan Brown is at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Tanzania. The research was supported by a grant from the Hatch Multistate Project.

The article can be accessed online at

News Source:

Jack Juvik, 217- 333-1966

Postemergence options for waterhemp control in soybean

Published June 21, 2016

URBANA, Ill. – Waterhemp is one of the most widespread and troublesome broadleaf weed species with which Illinois farmers must contend. Factors related to the species’ biology, such as prolonged germination and emergence, obligate outcrossing, and high seed production, contribute to management challenges. The evolution of herbicide resistance in Illinois waterhemp populations adds another very challenging obstacle for effective management.

“The topic of poor waterhemp control has constituted every phone call and email in the last week,” says University of Illinois weed scientist Aaron Hager.

Hager explains that prior to the evolution of herbicide resistance in waterhemp, ALS-, PPO-, EPSPS- and GS-inhibiting herbicides controlled waterhemp postemergence in soybean. Resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides (such as Raptor and Classic), first confirmed in Illinois during the mid-1990s, has become so widespread that this class of herbicides is largely considered functionally ineffective against waterhemp. Resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides (such as Flexstar, Cobra, and Ultra Blazer) was first identified in Adams County in 2001, and the first instance of resistance to the EPSPS-inhibiting herbicide glyphosate (Roundup, etc.) was confirmed in Fayette County in 2006. To date, no instance of waterhemp resistance to the GS-inhibiting herbicide glufosinate (Liberty, Interline, Cheetah) has been reported.

“The range of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp has expanded from 2006 to 2016, with resistant populations in almost every county last year,” Hager says. “The data used to track the distribution of glyphosate resistant were based on samples submitted to U of I for resistance verification with molecular marker assays.”

Waterhemp resistant to PPO inhibitors has been documented widely across the state as of 2015, as well. Hager points out that resistant populations could exist even if there has not been documentation of a resistant population in a particular county. “A better interpretation is simply that we have yet to test a positive sample from those counties. In other words, it is altogether likely resistance to glyphosate and PPO inhibitors occurs in all Illinois counties,” he says.

Waterhemp resistant to PPO-inhibiting herbicides can be controlled with glyphosate, and glyphosate-resistant waterhemp can be controlled by PPO-inhibiting herbicides. However, there are no effective herbicide options to control waterhemp resistant to both glyphosate and PPO inhibitors in conventional or glyphosate-resistant soybean varieties. As mentioned previously, ALS-inhibiting herbicides are ineffective, and 2,4-DB will not improve control.

“Inter-row cultivation or hand removal represent two options to control multiple-resistant waterhemp,” Hager says.

According to Hager, it remains very unlikely that a herbicide with a novel site of action will be commercialized in the foreseeable future. At the same time, the frequency of multiple resistant waterhemp will only increase.

“Many eagerly anticipate the ability to apply 2,4-D or dicamba to new herbicide-resistant soybean varieties, but the long-term utility of these herbicides to control multiple-resistant waterhemp will be compromised without thoughtful and implemented stewardship practices,” Hager notes.

For more details, visit The Bulletin at


News Source:

Aaron Hager, 217-333-4424