Earth Science News  





. Ultrasound And Algae Team Up To Clean Mercury From Sediments

Would you like fries with that mercury: the new 'food' for alage.
by Staff Writers
Atlanta GA (SPX) Mar 28, 2006
Ultrasound and algae can be used together as tools to clean mercury from contaminated sediment, according to an Ohio State University study. This research could one day lead to a ship-borne device that cleans toxic metals from waterways without harming fish or other wildlife, said Linda K. Weavers, the John C. Geupel Chair in Civil Engineering at Ohio State.

Doctoral student Ziqi He described the group's latest results in a poster session March 27 at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta.

Weavers' research group previously determined that ultrasonic vibrations can shake mercury loose from sediment.

"We found ultrasound to be very effective at getting mercury out of sediment and into water," He explained. "But then we needed a third party to get the mercury out of the water. That's how we got the idea to add a biological element to the treatment."

Weavers and He joined with Richard Sayre, professor of plant, cellular and molecular biology at Ohio State, and Surasak Siripornadulsil, a former graduate student in the university's biophysics program. Sayre's team has genetically modified a species of algae to boost its natural ability to absorb heavy metals.

In laboratory tests, student He vibrated an ultrasonic probe inside beakers containing water, sediment, and algae. The vibrations freed mercury from the sediment, and within seconds, the algae adsorbed up to 60 percent of the mercury from the water. The combined system of ultrasound and algae removed 30 percent of the mercury from sediment within the first few minutes.

There are alternative cleanup methods that also absorb a high percentage of metals, Sayre admitted, but they are less selective -- they absorb all metals. His modified algae species absorbs five times the normal amount of a select group of toxic metals, including mercury, cadmium, copper, and zinc.

"Say you were trying to clean water that contained effluent with a lot of calcium or iron in it -- or seawater, which contains sodium," Sayre said. "If your algae aren't selective, they'll absorb those other metals and you'll recover less mercury. So the advantage of these modified algae is that other metals don't interfere with the cleanup."

Weavers envisions that boats could dredge sediments from contaminated waterways and clean them on board using ultrasonic equipment and algae-based filters. Then the clean sediment could be returned to its original location. Or, the equipment could be placed directly on sediment to treat it in place. Either procedure would leave wildlife unharmed, she said.

Related Links
Ohio State University

Russian Nuclear Plant Chief Prosecuted For Waste Dumping In River
Moscow (AFP) Mar 28, 2006
The head of Russia's main nuclear fuel processing centre is being prosecuted for allegedly dumping atomic waste in a local river, the daily Gazeta reported Monday.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • UN Promises Asia Tsunami Warning System By July
  • Fake Quake Tests US Readiness
  • Large Centrifuge Helps Researchers Mimic Effects Of Katrina On Levees
  • Louisiana Selects SGI For Storm Modeling And Visualization

  • UNH Scientist Announce New Beginning of "Natural Spring"
  • Climate Change: Rice Genome To The Rescue
  • Glimpse To Past Adds Weight To Global Warming Forecasts
  • Governments Must Heed Warnings On Climate Change Now: UK Chief Scientist

  • Envisat Makes Direct Measurements Of Ocean Surface Velocities
  • NASA Scientist Claims Warmer Ocean Waters Reducing Ice Worldwide
  • Space Tool Aids Fight For Clean Drinking Water
  • FluWrap: Deadly Strain Divides

  • Coal-Based Jet Fuel Poised For Next Step
  • 3-D Imaging To Enable Clean Energy Technologies
  • Purdue Energy Center Symposium Touts Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel
  • Russian Oil Pipeline To Avoid Pacific Wildlife Bay

  • Researchers Seek Answers To Combat TB Epidemic
  • Warming Trend May Contribute To Malaria's Rise
  • Ebola Test Urgent Amid Globalism
  • Minor Mutations In Avian Flu Virus Increase Chances Of Human Infection

  • Protecting Endangered Species Helps Reduce Poverty
  • Life In Tiny Tunnels
  • Canada Starts Controversial Seal Hunt
  • Junk DNA May Not Be So Junky After All

  • Ultrasound And Algae Team Up To Clean Mercury From Sediments
  • Russian Nuclear Plant Chief Prosecuted For Waste-Dumping In River
  • Moscow Targets Funds To Repair Nuclear Waste Plant
  • Hong Kong Pollution Leaves Tourists Choking

  • New Light On Muscle Efficiency
  • Chimps, Like Us, Utilise Referential Gesturing
  • How Does The Brain Know What The Right Hand Is Doing
  • Pitt Researchers Find 'Switch' For Brain's Pleasure Pathway

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement