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Mitigating microplastic exposure from water consumption in junior high students and teachers

Chow et al. | May 10, 2024

Mitigating microplastic exposure from water consumption in junior high students and teachers
Image credit: Pixabay

Microplastics (MPs) are inorganic material that have been observed within items destined for human consumption, including water, and may pose a potential health hazard. Here we estimated the average amount of MPs junior high students and teachers consumed from different water sources and determined whether promoting awareness of microplastic (MP) exposure influenced choice of water source and potential MPs consumed.

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Analysis of electrodialysis as a method of producing potable water

Shen et al. | May 03, 2024

Analysis of electrodialysis as a method of producing potable water

Here, seeking a way to convert the vast quantity of seawater to drinking water, the authors investigated the purification of seawater to drinking water through electrodialysis. Using total dissolved solids (TDS) as their measure, they found that electrodialysis was able to produce deionized water with TDS values under the acceptable range for consumable water.

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Enhancing marine debris identification with convolutional neural networks

Wahlig et al. | Apr 03, 2024

Enhancing marine debris identification with convolutional neural networks
Image credit: The authors

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a major global concern. Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) have promise for removing debris from the ocean, but more research is needed to achieve full effectiveness of the ROV technology. Wahlig and Gonzales tackle this issue by developing a deep learning model to distinguish trash from the environment in ROV images.

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Investigating ecosystem resiliency in different flood zones of south Brooklyn, New York

Ng et al. | Mar 23, 2024

Investigating ecosystem resiliency in different flood zones of south Brooklyn, New York
Image credit: Ng and Zheng et al 2024

With climate change and rising sea levels, south Brooklyn is exposed to massive flooding and intense precipitation. Previous research discovered that flooding shifts plant species distribution, decreases soil pH, and increases salt concentration, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels. The authors predicted a decreasing trend from Zone 1 to 6: high-pH, high-salt, and high-nutrients in more flood-prone areas to low-pH, low-salt, and low-nutrient in less flood-prone regions. They performed DNA barcoding to identify plant species inhabiting flood zones with expectations of decreasing salt tolerance and moisture uptake by plants' soil from Zones 1-6. Furthermore, they predicted an increase in invasive species, ultimately resulting in a decrease in biodiversity. After barcoding, they researched existing information regarding invasiveness, ideal soil, pH tolerance, and salt tolerance. They performed soil analyses to identify pH, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) levels. For N and P levels, we discovered a general decreasing trend from Zone 1 to 6 with low and moderate statistical significance respectively. Previous studies found that soil moisture can increase N and P uptake, helping plants adopt efficient resource-use strategies and reduce water stress from flooding. Although characteristics of plants were distributed throughout all zones, demonstrating overall diversity, the soil analyses hinted at the possibility of a rising trend of plants adapting to the increase in flooding. Future expansive research is needed to comprehensively map these trends. Ultimately, investigating trends between flood zones and the prevalence of different species will assist in guiding solutions to weathering climate change and protecting biodiversity in Brooklyn.

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What is the optimal fuel for space flight? Efficiency, cost, and environmental impact

Kapitonova et al. | Dec 28, 2023

What is the optimal fuel for space flight? Efficiency, cost, and environmental impact
Image credit: NASA

Here, the authors sought to investigate the efficiency, cost, and environmental impact of several possible propellants that are or could be used for space flight. By deriving three novel equations, they identified harm, energy, and cost scores for each fuel, suggesting that considering each factor will be essential to the ongoing growth of the space industry.

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Alloferon improves the growth performance and developmental time of mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)

Shon et al. | Oct 20, 2023

Alloferon improves the growth performance and developmental time of mealworms <em>(Tenebrio molitor)</em>

Mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) are important food sources for reptiles, birds, and other organisms, as well as for humans. However, the slow growth and low survival rate of mealworms cause problems for mass production. Since alloferon, a synthetic peptide, showed long-term immunological effects on mealworms, we hypothesized that alloferon would function as a growth promoter to maximize mealworm production. We discovered that the overall weight of the alloferon-containing gelatin diet group was 39.5-90% heavier, and the development time of the experimental group was shortened up to 20.6-39.6% than the control group.

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