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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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Decolorization of textile dyes by edible white rot fungi

Lin et al. | Apr 29, 2022

Decolorization of textile dyes by edible white rot fungi

As fast fashion explodes in popularity, the fashion industry remains one of the most prominent industries responsible for pollution. This pollution includes a lack of treatment for textile dyes that remain toxic or carcinogenic as they persist in wastewater. To resolve this, the authors of this study set out to determine the efficacy of using edible white rot fungi for cell-based biodegradation of textile dyes into harmless chemicals. This method takes advantage of fungi found in excess from the fungi industry, decreasing food waste while addressing textile waste in tandem.

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Characterization of Drought Tolerance in Arabidopsis Mutant fry1-6

Kim et al. | Jan 07, 2019

Characterization of Drought Tolerance in Arabidopsis Mutant  fry1-6

In a world where water shortage is becoming an increasing concern, and where population increase seems inevitable, food shortage is an overwhelming concern for many. In this paper, the authors aim to characterize a drought-resistant strain of A. thaliana, investigating the cause for its water resistance. These and similar studies help us learn how plants could be engineered to improve their ability to flourish in a changing climate.

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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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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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Kinetic Monitoring and Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy of the Green Oxidation of (-)-Menthol to (-)-Menthone

Surapaneni et al. | Aug 06, 2020

Kinetic Monitoring and Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy of the Green Oxidation of (-)-Menthol to (-)-Menthone

In an effort to reduce the production of hazardous substances, green chemistry aims to make chemical processes more sustainable. One way to do so is changing solvents in chemical reactions. Here, authors assessed different “green” solvents on the oxidation of (-)-menthol to (-)-menthone using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, optimizing the solvent system for this reaction.

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The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

McHargue et al. | Oct 06, 2020

The Effects of Barley Straw (Hordeum vulgare) Extract and Barley Straw Pellets on Algal Growth and Water Quality

Algal overgrowth often threatens to clog irrigation pipes and drinking water lines when left unchecked, as well as releasing possible toxins that threaten plant and human health. It is thus important to find natural, non-harmful agents that can decrease algal growth without threatening the health of plants and humans. In this paper, the authors test the efficacy of barely extract in either liquid or pellet form in decreasing algal growth. While their results were inconclusive, the experimental set-up allows them to investigate a wider range of agents as anti-algal treatments that could potentially be adopted on a wider scale.

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The effects of stress on the bacterial community associated with the sea anemone Diadumene lineata

Cahill et al. | Feb 15, 2021

The effects of stress on the bacterial community associated with the sea anemone Diadumene lineata

In healthy ecosystems, organisms interact in a relationship that helps maintain one another's existence. Stress can disrupt this interaction, compromising the survival of some of the members of such relationships. Here, the authors investigate the effect of stress on the interaction between anemones and their microbiome. Their study suggests that stress changes the composition of the surface microbiome of the anemone D. lineata, which is accompanied by an increase in mucus secretion. Future research into the composition of this stress-induced mucus might reveal useful antimicrobial properties.

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