One largely untapped source of clean energy is the use of osmotic gradients where freshwater and saltwater are mixed, for example at estuaries. To harness such energy, charge-selective membranes are needed to separate the anions and cations in saltwater, establishing an electric potential like a battery. The objective of this study was twofold: to investigate the creation of the polymer matrix and test the properties of boron nitride nanotubes, as both are essential in the creation of an ion-selective membrane. Out of three polymer samples tested in this study, the mixture known as Soltech 704 showed the best resistance to etching, as well as the highest UV cure rate.
For public health, drinking water should be free of bacterial contamination. The objective of this research is to identify the fate of bacteria if drinking water becomes contaminated and inform consumers on which water type enables the least bacteria to survive. We hypothesized that bottled mineral water would provide the most sufficient conditions for E. coli to survive. We found that if water becomes contaminated, the conditions offered by the three water types at room temperature allow E. coli to survive up to three days. At 72 hours, the bottled spring water had the highest average colony forming units (CFUs), with tap and mineral water CFU values statistically lower than spring water but not significantly different from each other. The findings of this research highlight the need of implementing accessible quality drinking water for the underserved population and for the regulation of water sources.
Here, seeking to develop more efficient solar cells, the authors investigated photo-electrochemical (PEC) solar cells, specifically molybdenum diselenide (MoSe2) based on its high resistance to corrosion. They found that the percentage efficiency of these PEC solar cells was proportional to light intensity–0.9 and that performance was positively influenced by increasing the electrolyte volume. They suggest that studies such as these can lead to new insight into reaction-based solar cells.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption in social interactions. In this study, the authors tested if walking a dog will change human interactions and found that walking with a dog increased social interaction.
Androgens are natural or synthetic steroid hormones that control secondary male sex characteristics. Androgens are excreted in cattle urine and feces, and can run off or seep into nearby waters, negatively impacting aquatic life and potentially polluting human water sources. Here, the authors investigated the effectiveness of soil as a natural barrier against androgen flow into vulnerable waterways. Their results, obtained by testing diffusion patterns of luminol, an androgen chemical analog, indicated that soil is a poor barrier to androgen diffusion.
This study explored the various effects of three different produce-based biofertilizers on pea plant growth, using red apple, pear, strawberry, and control treatments. It was hypothesized that the application of fruit biomatter would increase the growth of pea plants, with the application of strawberry biomatter having the most significant effect due to strawberries containing a higher nutrient content compared to pears and apples. Analysis confirmed the hypothesis. The application of strawberry biomatter could prove to be an effective way to increase plant growth in commercial agriculture.
In this study, the authors engineer a cost-effective and bio-friendly water purification system using limestone, denitrifying bacteria, and sulfate-reducing bacteria. They evaluated its efficacy with samples from Eastern PA industrial sites.
In the United States, there are currently 17.8 million affected by atopic dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema. It is characterized by itching and skin inflammation. AD patients are at higher risk for infections, depression, cancer, and suicide. Genetics, environment, and stress are some of the causes of the disease. With the rise of personalized medicine and the acceptance of gene-editing technologies, AD-related variations need to be identified for treatment. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have associated the Filaggrin (FLG) gene with AD but have not identified specific problematic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This research aimed to refine known SNPs of FLG for gene editing technologies to establish a causal link between specific SNPs and the diseases and to target the polymorphisms. The research utilized R and its Bioconductor packages to refine data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information's (NCBI's) Variation Viewer. The algorithm filtered the dataset by coding regions and conserved domains. The algorithm also removed synonymous variations and treated non-synonymous, frameshift, and nonsense separately. The non-synonymous variations were refined and ordered by the BLOSUM62 substitution matrix. Overall, the analysis removed 96.65% of data, which was redundant or not the focus of the research and ordered the remaining relevant data by impact. The code for the project can also be repurposed as a tool for other diseases. The research can help solve GWAS's imprecise identification challenge. This research is the first step in providing the refined databases required for gene-editing treatment.
Zebra mussels are an aquatic invasive species. They attach to essential industrial structures and harm the native ecosystem, costing millions of dollars each year to control. This study explored the effectiveness of two nontoxic materials (Sharklet & Netminder) in combating zebra mussel attachment.