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Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Anand et al. | Nov 14, 2020

Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Oil spills are one of the most devastating events for marine life. Finding ways to clean up oil spills without the need for harsh chemicals could help decrease the negative impact of such spills. Here the authors demonstrate that using a combination of several biodegradable substances can effectively adsorb oil in seawater in a laboratory setting. They suggest further exploring the potential of such a combination as a possible alternative to commonly-used non-biodegradable substances in oil spill management.

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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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Correlation between shutdowns and CO levels across the United States.

Gupta et al. | Dec 05, 2021

Correlation between shutdowns and CO levels across the United States.

Concerns regarding the rapid spread of Sars-CoV2 in early 2020 led company and local governmental officials in many states to ask people to work from home and avoid leaving their homes; measures commonly referred to as shutdowns. Here, the authors investigate how shutdowns affected carbon monoxide (CO) levels in 15 US states using publicly available data. Their results suggest that CO levels decreased as a result of these measures over the course of 2020, a trend which started to reverse after shutdowns ended.

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Genomic Signature Analysis for the Strategic Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems in the Gulf of Tonkin

Dao et al. | Jun 27, 2021

Genomic Signature Analysis for the Strategic Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Mangrove Ecosystems in the Gulf of Tonkin

Engineered bacteria that degrade oil are currently being considered as a safe option for the treatment of oil spills. For this approach to be successful, the bacteria must effectively express oil-degrading genes they uptake as part of an external genoming vehicle called a "plasmid". Using a computational approach, the authors investigate plasmid-bacterium compatibility to find pairs that ensure high levels of gene expression.

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Purification of Water by Aloe

Sharma et al. | Aug 19, 2016

Purification of Water by Aloe

The authors test the ability of aloe vera gel to purify water of four separate contaminants. Aloe reduced the levels of copper, iron, and phosphate, but not nitrate. Potential applications of this purification system are discussed.

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A potentially underestimated source of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in agriculture

Corcimaru et al. | May 18, 2022

A potentially underestimated source of CO<sub>2</sub> and other greenhouse gases in agriculture

Here the authors investigated the role of agricultural fertilizers as potential contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast to the typical investigations that consider microbiological processes, the authors considered purely chemical processes. Based on their results they found that as much as 20.41% of all CO2 emission from land-based activities could be a result of mineral nitrogen fertilizers.

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Methanotrophic bioremediation for the degradation of oceanic methane and chlorinated hydrocarbons

Lee et al. | Oct 08, 2021

Methanotrophic bioremediation for the degradation of oceanic methane and chlorinated hydrocarbons

Seeking an approach to address the increasing levels of methane and chlorinated hydrocarbons that threaten the environment, the authors worked to develop a novel, low-cost biotrickling filter for use as an ex situ method tailored to marine environments. By using methanotrophic bacteria in the filter, they observed methane degradation, suggesting the feasibility of chlorinated hydrocarbon degradation.

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Beeing sustainable: Honey as a bioindicator for pollution

Donnellan et al. | Oct 06, 2021

Beeing sustainable: Honey as a bioindicator for pollution

In this study, Donnellan and colleagues investigated how environmental pollution may be affecting honey samples from Chicago apiaries. They found no significant correlation between heavy metal concentration in honey to distance from local industries, suggesting a minimal effect of proximity to industrial pollution on honey contamination.

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