2006 Research Fair Archive - Chemistry Abstracts
Novel Sample Preparation, PCR, and
It is estimated that nearly two million deaths result from tuberculosis each year (W.H.O. 2005). The threat, however, is not limited to human casualties. Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a concern for public health as well as food protection. Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis in the cattle industry and M. avium complex amongst poultry and wild birds both possess potential for human transmission. These vectors are in addition to the potential for human to human transmission through the respiratory system. These menacing threats pointedly aim at the necessity for rapid detection. We are developing assays for the rapid detection of five major strains: Mtb (+)IS6110, Mtb (-)IS6110, M. bovis, M. avium complex, and M. avium ssp. paratuberculosis. Here, we have combined the use of a new cell lysis chemistry with PCR and an electrochemical biosensor system for both rapid and sensitive detection applicable to samples from diverse vectors.
Analyzing the Effect of a Brita Water Filter
The calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, and fluoride concentration of municipal water samples was determined before and after being passed through a Brita© water filtration system. The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of a Brita© filter on the ion concentration of a typical water sample. The concentration of calcium, sodium, and potassium cations was determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Results showed that calcium concentrations decreased, while sodium and potassium concentrations increased when the water samples were passed through the filter. Chloride and fluoride anion concentrations were analyzed using specific ion electrodes and ion chromatography. The results from these experiments showed that both the chloride and fluoride concentrations remained essentially the same in the unfiltered and filtered water samples. Evaluation of the results indicates that the filtration system contains a cation exchange resin. This research will be used to create an inquiry-based lab experiment for an introductory chemistry course which will allow students to investigate the operation of a familiar device by utilizing a variety of instrumental methodologies.
Analysis of Selenium in the Great Salt Lake
Currently the EPA has no standard for Se concentration in salt water lakes such as the Great Salt Lake. The current limit for freshwater lakes is 5 ppb. Se has the ability to bioaccumulate in fish, birds and various other animals resulting in detrimental effects to the species in direct contact with Se, as well as to those other species who feed on them. Knowing the potential danger of high levels of Se, it is important to establish the concentration of Se presently in the Great Salt Lake. The concentration of Se in the Great Salt Lake was determined in several samples by standard addition and flourescence spectrophotometry. Results indicated a range of 1.94-6.82 ppb total Se in the sampled areas indicating elevated levels of Se, but not at levels that would cause serious concern.