New ABSTRACT for Symposium Program

Author: Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Please post a new and/or old abstract that will be used for the program book of our March 1st Symposium. Start with a title for your presentation followed by the abstract. Post by FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2006.

14 Responses to “New ABSTRACT for Symposium Program”

  1. maricate Says:

    Chitin is a nitrogenous carbohydrate and the second most abundant organic compound on earth. One major use of chitin is bioremediation and purification on wastewater and contaminated soil. Japanese scientists have found that chitin is effective on the clean up of metals and other organic compounds within water and soil, such as PCBs. With its strong positive charge, chitin can bind to many negatively charged heavy metals and macromolecules. Also, as a polymer it can form long chains which act as natural hooks to catch and coagulate the metals, organic compounds and contaminants from wastewater. Chitin acts as a chelating agent, a polydentate ligand, capable of occupying two or more sites in the coordination sphere (consisting of chitin and a heavy metal, aluminum). Samples of water and soil were contaminated with aluminum chloride. Three trials were conducted, first testing for aluminum in the control samples, and then testing for aluminum after applying the chitin substance. The chitin substance used was in the original natural form of arthropod shells, mainly a crushed form of lobster shells. Water was remediated with chitin over a period of 10 minutes, resulting in a 35-40% reduction of aluminum chloride, and an overnight period, resulting in a 45-50% reduction in each of the three trials. Soil testing demonstrates less valuable, preliminary trials indicated only a 20-30% reduction of aluminum chloride. Improvements to soil protocol at an EPA Brownfield Batchelder Site, 44 Swamp Road, Newtown, Connecticut, will be tested to increase the efficiency of site cleanup.

  2. Sam Says:

    In the United States, labeling of genetic modification in food products is not required and the percent of Americans who consume genetically modified food on a daily basis can be high. The most common genetically modified food on the market is genetically modified soy. The objective of this experiment is to determine whether genetically modified products can be detected in supermarket soy-based foods. Using the PCR technique, DNA will be collected from common supermarket food products containing soy. After the DNA is extracted using a DNeasy Plant Mini Kit, the DNA strand will be tested with four different primers which are all present in genetically modified food. The occurrence and frequency of genetically modification in common soy-based food products sold in supermarket will be determined.

  3. Sarah Peck Says:

    In REM sleep, the brain is very close to its waking state in the amount of action, thought and cognition that occurs, but it has been studied that it is easier to wake a slow-wave sleeper than a REM sleeper. What has been left undiscovered is the reasoning behind why that occurs. No one is yet sure about the amounts that the brain responds to the environment while it is unconscious. It must be somewhat responsive, because people wake up to alarm clocks and other stimuli. This study aims to understand which environmental factors are most potent in activating sensory areas of the brain while unconscious and which stages of sleep are most responsive. Many people wake up to auditory stimuli, but are biologically programmed to awake with the sun and light to protect themselves. Odors can also be used to detect a harmful situation, so odors will be tested as well. Testing could be done by using a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and an electrocardiogram together and using an electroencephalogram to detect the changing of sleep stages. At each different sleep stage, reactions to the varied stimulus would show which stimulus was most effective and at which stage optimal environmental awareness happens.

  4. Luke Says:

    Cystic Fibrosis is a one of the most deadly diseases in the world. The research done by the researchers at Yale found out that Curcumin, a major constitute of Turmeric, treats Cystic Fibrosis. The process for extracting curcumin efficiently consists of suction-filtration, TLC, reflux for one hour, and the use of the chemicals dichloromethane and hexanes. 20g of Turmeric yielded approximately 5g of Curcumin. However, can curcumin be extracted efficiently in a microwave? A reflux apparatus with a two flasks, one which is opened one side and one which is open on two sides. A hole was made in a rubber stopper in which a test tube is inserted. Curcumin dissolved in Dichloromethane will be inserted into the bottom flask then put in the microwave. To set up a reflux the top flask will be filled with ice. The ice will surround the test tube and condense the vapors in it. Because there is an increase in pressure in the test tube, a small hole was made in the test tube. To avoid excessive heating of the rubber stopper and boiling of the dichloromethane, the reflux apparatus is only put in the microwave for about 15 seconds, then removed for 5 seconds.

  5. Ivan Says:

    This project is aimed at developing a device that, using plasma, consisting of hot ionized Argon atoms, will destroy bacterial cultures, one of the experiments involving Escheria Coli and the other involving Streptococcus Aureus. The device consists of an industrial plasma torch, a compressed Argon gas supply and a high voltage power supply. The power supply will establish an arc within the torch,
    which will be blown out of the nozzle with the argon, and at the disc containing the bacterial culture. The cultures will first be grown in a liquid nutrient broth medium overnight at 37 degrees Celcius, and then evenly smeared onto each glass disc. The discs will then be treated with the plasma at 1 cm away from the nozzle, first for 20 seconds, then 30, then 40, then 50, and then a minute. The discs will then be rolled on sterile broth petri dishes and grown overnight. The number of bacterial colonies which show up on the dish will be indicators of how effective the treatment was. The colonies will be counted and their numbers recorded, and the data analyzed for a trend as to the most effective parameters and whether the method works at all or if the bacteria totally survive it.

  6. Dan Nunger Says:

    Geobacter sulfurreducens is an anaerobic bacterium that has the unique ability to use ferric iron as an electron receptor. The G. sulfurreducens has the ability to reduce Fe(III) into Fe(II) and thereby has major implicit value to the environment. However, the practicality and effectiveness of applying Geobacter to environmental bioremediation and environmental characteristic adjustments relies on several variables. Some of these variables include temperature, the amount of acetate (a source of electrons), and Fe(III) present in the environment. By testing the effect of sodium acetate, ferric chloride, and temperature on geobacter, a greater understanding of the optimal conditions for Geobacter is gained. When the optimal conditions are know, Geobacter can be placed in soil under those optimal conditions to determine the percent of Fe(III) reduced and range of effectiveness. When this is known, the practicality and effectiveness of its application can also be determined. If it is shown that Geobacter reduces only a negligible amount of ferric iron in normal sediment conditions, then its real-world application in the future looks to be unlikely. However, if just the opposite is true, more research can be done to be able to utilize Geobacter in real-world environments.

  7. Laura Konkos Says:

    The effect of oil spills on a Class 1 trout stream’s ecosystem

    In December of 2003 a 4,550 gallon oil spill on the Fairfield Hills property contained the area and flowed into Deep Brook, a stream that is classified as a Class 1 Trout Fishing Area. A year later in December of 2004, 4,000 gallons of fuel leaked out of a mechanical failure in the Reed Intermediate School into the nearby Deep Brook stream. This stream feeds into the Pootatuck River, and the Housatonic, which is a tributary of the Long Island Sound. Although the area was quickly decontaminated, this project was designed in order to evaluate the long-term effects of the oil spill on the stream’s ecosystem. A total of 3 sites were selected for analysis, one upstream and two downstream. Benthic macroinvertebrates will be examined using DEP Bioassessment Protocol, as well as testing soil samples for residual hydrocarbons using single wavelength IR Spectrophotometer, and evaluations of the water chemistry through PH, watercolor, nitrates, and phosphates.

  8. Rebecca Reed Says:

    Neural Network Learning
    A neural network is a processing device which uses computer algorithms in order to simulate thought processes in the human brain. Neural networks are used to complete many tasks that are beyond the thinking capabilities of a computer but beyond the computational abilities of a human. In this experiment, a series of three neural networks will be trained to recognize characters. Components of these networks (neurons) will then be removed and the continuing functionality of each neural network tested. The first in this series of neural networks has been created. It has been trained to recognize combinations of three different orientations of a line (horizontal, vertical, and diagonal). The software, Easy Neural Network, was used to enter the data and training sets into a grid that could be recognized by the neural network. For this neural network, three inputs (one of each of the three lines) were entered as well as five training output sets, the desired results of combining the three input values. Four hidden units were also utilized by the neural network in order to process the input and calculate the output. After only 60 cycles (the periods during which the neural network compares its answer to the desired answer and modifies its output accordingly) the neural network was able to take any combination of the three lines and respond with the correct output. The second neural network in the series will be trained to recognize patterns of letters on a grid by determining if each pixel is active or not. And finally, the third neural network will be trained to recognize variations of one letter on a larger grid, again by determining whether each pixel is active (1) or inactive (0). Once these three neural networks have been trained, the last step in the experiment is to remove or deactivate a hidden neuron from each net. Each network will then be tested for functionality and the results compared to its functionality prior to the deactivation.

  9. Harriet Morgan Says:

    Regeneration is the ability to restore lost or damaged tissues, organs or limbs. Regeneration is common among invertebrates but far less common in vertebrates. The regeneration period is usually 1-2 months depending upon conditions and food availability. The brittle star, Dwarf Amphipholis squamata, is able to regenerate and it is bioluminescent. Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism due to a chemical reaction during which chemical energy is converted to light energy. For this experiment Dwarf A. squamata will be kept in a controlled environment. The brittle stars are kept in a refrigerator in a glass container. The container is filled with salt water at a temperature between 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Using image analyzing software, pictures will be taken and analyzed comparing the amount of bioluminescence as the limb begins to regenerate. Image analyzing software can measure the area of the limb which is bioluminescent. With the area of bioluminescence it is possible to compare one picture to another. Results will be compared back to the original picture and one will see if the brittle star has regenerated its ability to bioluminesce in the newly regenerated limb.

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  14. Helen Says:

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