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Author: Subject: Group 4 project--Pollutant suggestions
Tinton
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[*] posted on 22-2-2009 at 18:29
Group 4 project--Pollutant suggestions


In the years I've been reading ScienceMadness(I lurked here for a year or more before I registered), it has always been the initiator or the concluder of my quests for knowledge.

Recently, as a requirement of International Baccalaureate HL Chemistry, I have to take part in a Group 4 project.
For those not familiar, each school chooses a topic area, each group chooses a research question, and each member chooses a hypothesis. The groups consist of a Chemistry student, Biology student, and Environmental Systems student.

Adopting a research question out of interest and challenge rather than the modal topic inspiration of easiness led me directly to this forum—the biochemistry section specifically.
Our research question involves the detection of pollutants using bioluminescent bacteria. Originally our bacteria of choice was Vibrio Phosphoreum. http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=1485

As we reside in Missouri, fish fresh enough to grow bacteria have been impossible to obtain.
After consulting an area Microbiologist, we decided to purchase a culture of Vibrio Fischeri instead of growing our own culture of p phosphoreum. V Fischeri is cheap; p phosphoreum bacteria cost $280 per culture. The differences between the two are minute.

I will be analytically determining the change in oxyluciferins (product of luminescence) caused by a polluted environment. This should give an estimate of the change in luminescence, thus, the detection of pollutants. In other words, a decrease in luminescence should occur in the presence of pollution.

The biology student and I will be working with the same cultures. He will use a luminometer to detect change in bioluminescence and pass the culture on to me. I then need to lyse the cells and use a spectrophotometer/GCMR to look for the chemical structure of luciferins and check the amount of oxyluciferins in comparison.

One of my duties is making pollution solutions. I came here looking for suggestions on pollutants—it’s pretty open, as long as they are metals or organics.
The microbiologist recommended Copper, Mercury, and pesticides.

Pesticides can probably be bought somewhat easily, but ease isn’t something too desired in this project, obviously. Pollutants can be too interesting to not be ambitious.

Anything out of the ordinary, with special properties, created in obscure industries, easy to synthesis in a high school lab, or just different and ambitious is welcome.

Sorry if the background is excessive. I wanted to avoid the painful extraction of topic information that seems to occur in novice threads. I also wouldn’t want to pass up an opportunity to have our project critiqued/improved by ScienceMadness. :D

Edit: Added paragraph breaks-forgot to after copying from Microsoft Word.

[Edited on 22-2-2009 by Tinton]
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vulture
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[*] posted on 23-2-2009 at 14:53


NaCl and CaCl2 pollution (road salt)
Phosphate and Nitrate pollution (fertilizer)
Effect of pH (acid rain and again fertilizers)
Effect of hormones or medication in wastewater




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Tinton
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[*] posted on 24-2-2009 at 13:59


First off, thank you for the suggestions.
but
What about pesticides?
Any individual medicines or hormones?

I was looking for specific organic compounds.
Our pollutants, to function with the Biology hypothesis, have to be metals or individual organic compounds.
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[*] posted on 24-2-2009 at 18:52


Allow me to clarify somewhat--does anybody have suggestions for cool organic chemicals that could be classified as pollutants?
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[*] posted on 24-2-2009 at 22:40


Bisphenol-A (silly, but a hot-topic), PCBs, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), disinfection byproducts in drinking water (eg. DBCP, chloroform, etc), BTEX, Formaldehyde, Atrazine (in ground water), pentachlorophenol, DDT, heptachlor epoxide (and other CLP pesticides), chlorpyrifos (banning of which was silly), perchlorate (not organic, but one to look for), dioctylphthalate, octylsulphonates, creosote (lots of possibilities in there, one of which, phenol, is an acute toxicity standard), motor oil, antibiotics (think ciprofloxacin in Indian rivers), progestin (and other birth control related steroids, I am not sure if the antibiotics or steroids are classified as pollutants, yet, but I'd keep an eye ot two on those:o.

Oh yes, 2,4-D; 2,4,5-T, dicofol (one shake of a horses tail from DDT) are also out there.

Off of the top of my head, that's all I have patience to type out. Searching for any of those should prove fruitful.

Cheers,

O3




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[*] posted on 25-2-2009 at 04:27


Chlorinated organic solvents might be interesting, something like tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene or dichloromethane. It seems as of late, trichloroethylene is being phased out of consumer products, for environmental reasons I assume.



"Titanium tetrachloride…You sly temptress." --Walter Bishop
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