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An analysis of soil microhabitats in Revolutionary War, Civil War, and modern graveyards on Long Island, NY

Caputo et al. | May 05, 2019

An analysis of soil microhabitats in Revolutionary War, Civil War, and modern graveyards on Long Island, NY

Previously established data indicate that cemeteries have contributed to groundwater and soil pollution, as embalming fluids can impact the microbiomes that exist in decomposing remains. In this study, Caputo et al hypothesized that microbial variation would be high between cemeteries from different eras due to dissimilarities between embalming techniques employed, and furthermore, that specific microbes would act as an indication for certain contaminants. Overall, they found that there is a variation in the microbiomes of the different eras’ cemeteries according to the concentrations of the phyla and their more specific taxa.

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A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Schafer et al. | Feb 17, 2019

A Quantitative Analysis of the Proliferation of Microplastics in Williamston’s Waterways

Plastic debris can disrupt marine ecosystems, spread contaminants, and take years to naturally degrade. In this study, Wu et al aim to establish an understanding of the scope of Williamston, Michigan’s microplastics problem, as well as to attempt to find the source of these plastics. Initially, the authors hypothesize that the Williamston Wastewater Treatment Plant was the primary contributor to Williamston’s microplastics pollution. Although they find a general trend of increasing concentrations of microplastics from upstream to downstream, they do not pinpoint the source of Williamston’s microplastics pollution in the present research.

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A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Tsai et al. | Apr 05, 2019

A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Sweet potatoes are one of the most common starches in Taiwan, and sweet potato peels hold significant potential to make biodegradable plastics which can alleviate the environmental impact of conventional petroleum-based plastics. In this paper, Tsai et al created starch-based bioplastics derived from sweet potato peels and manipulated the amount of added glycerol to alter the plastic’s strength and flexibility properties. Their results indicated that higher concentrations of glycerol yield more malleable plastics, providing insights into how recycled agricultural waste material might be used to slow down the rate of pollution caused by widespread production of conventional plastics.

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