A low-cost absorbent derived from corn has shown positive results in removing a hazardous substance.

Researchers at Illinois State Geological Survey and University of Illinois, funded by corn checkoff dollars, looked at removing harmful mercury from coal-fired power plant emissions.

Initial research indicated activated carbon absorbents made from corn could work as well or better than current commercial products and might be cheaper to produce. Mercury is currently No. 3 on the federal government's list of top 20 hazardous substances.