Congradulations to Kevin Yager (M.S. Ag Business/Ag Econ '75) and Jodi Nelson (M.S. Food Science and Nutrition '91) on being the first to answer the trivia question correctly!

April alumni trivia question:

Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering Assistant Professor Abdennour Abbas and his lab team created a sponge that can absorb mercury from a polluted water source within less than 5 seconds for tap and lake water, and around 5 minutes for industrial wastewater. This could be an extremely important advancement for the state of Minnesota.

According to Minnesota's 2004 Impaired Waters List, what percentage of the waters in Minnesota are impaired due to mercury contamination (ranging from 0.27 to 12.43 ng/L )?

a) 17%
b) 37%
c) 67%
d) 87%

The answer: 67%!

According to the US-EPA, cutting mercury emissions to the latest established effluent limit standards would result in 130,000 fewer asthma attacks, 4,700 fewer heart attacks, and 11,000 fewer premature deaths each year. That adds up to at least $37 billion to $90 billion in annual monetized benefits annually.

In addition to improving air and water quality, aquatic life and public health, the new technology would have an impact on inspiring new regulations. Technology shapes regulations, which in turn determine the value of the market. The 2015 EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards regulation was estimated to cost the industry around of $9.6 billion annually in 2020. The new U of M technology has a potential of bringing this cost down and make it easy for the industry to meet regulatory requirements.

To learn more about this innovative solution, check out this article