Nav: Home

Tulane announces five finalists for $1 million Dead Zone Challenge

December 05, 2016

The National Advisory Committee for the Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge has selected five finalists for its $1 million cash prize, which will be awarded to the team that presents the best solution to combat hypoxia -- the deadly deficiency of oxygen that creates annual "dead zones" in the world's lakes and oceans. Such dead zones kill marine life and threaten the economies of coastal regions, including those along the Gulf of Mexico, home to the world's second-largest dead zone.

The purpose of the challenge is to find in-field solutions to hypoxia that reduce nitrogen runoff from crop fertilizers into rivers. Such runoff from the nation's farmlands is considered the primary cause of annual dead zones.

The five team finalists for the $1 million prize are ADAPT-N (Ithaca, N.Y.), AgDNA (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), Cropsmith (Farmer City, Ill.), PIVOT (Berkeley, Calif.) and Stable'N (Carmi, Ill.). The solutions presented by the finalists to combat the dead zones range from using electricity to inhibit nitrogen loss, utilizing microbes to enhance availability of nitrogen for crops, an integrated nutrient management system, and using real-time data and simulation scenarios through precision agriculture/model derivatives to determine nitrogen application rates.

The Tulane challenge received 77 registrants, including 10 international teams from Australia, Canada, Chile, Brazil, India, Ireland, Israel and Singapore. The 15-member Advisory Committee unanimously selected the five finalist teams in November based upon the teams' Technical Submissions.

"Narrowing down to just five finalists was a very competitive process because of the quantity and the quality of submissions received," Challenge Director Leah Berger Jensen said. "We are fortunate that these top five teams represent diverse innovations from across the world. We are at a critical stage of the Challenge as we venture into Phase 2- the in-field trial - and we look forward to observing these teams implement their solutions into practice on the farm."

Moving ahead into Phase 2, the five finalist teams will be provided a plot of farmland in Tensas Parish in northeast Louisiana to field test their innovation. The winning team will be judged based on the impact their solution has on crop yield, how well their solution manages nutrient runoff and how much it costs. The $1 million grand prize will be awarded in December 2017.
-end-
The Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge is funded by Mrs. Phyllis Taylor, president of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation and a member of the Board of Tulane.

Tulane University

Related Nitrogen Articles:

Fixing the role of nitrogen in coral bleaching
A unique investigation highlights how excess nitrogen can trigger coral bleaching in the absence of heat stress.
Universities release results on nitrogen footprints
Researchers have developed a large-scale method for calculating the nitrogen footprint of a university in the pursuit of reducing nitrogen pollution, which is linked to a cascade of negative impacts on the environment and human health, such as biodiversity loss, climate change, and smog.
A battery prototype powered by atmospheric nitrogen
As the most abundant gas in Earth's atmosphere, nitrogen has been an attractive option as a source of renewable energy.
Northern lakes respond differently to nitrogen deposition
Nitrogen deposition caused by human activities can lead to an increased phytoplankton production in boreal lakes.
Researchers discover greenhouse bypass for nitrogen
An international team discovers that production of a potent greenhouse gas can be bypassed as soil nitrogen breaks down into unreactive atmospheric N2.
Bacterial mechanism converts nitrogen to greenhouse gas
Cornell University researchers have discovered a biological mechanism that helps convert nitrogen-based fertilizer into nitrous oxide, an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas.
Going against the grain -- nitrogen turns out to be hypersociable!
Nitrogen is everywhere: even in the air there is four times as much of it as oxygen.
Soybean nitrogen breakthrough could help feed the world
Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed a way to dramatically increase the yield and quality of soybeans.
Trading farmland for nitrogen protection
Excess nitrogen from agricultural runoff can enter surface waters with devastating effects.
Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agriculture
What's good for crops is not always good for the environment.

Related Nitrogen Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".