Title

Comparing Field Sampling Methods in Phytoforensics

Presenter Information

Samantha Markus

Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Major

Environmental Engineering

Research Advisor

Burken, Joel G. (Joel Gerard)
Westenberg, David J.

Advisor's Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Funding Source

Missouri S&T Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) Program; Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that come from a variety of products including paints, solvents, wood preservatives, air fresheners, automotive products and dry cleaned clothing1. These compounds may cause a variety of health effects ranging from eye irritation and headaches, to cancer. As with all compounds it depends on the specific chemical, the duration of exposure, and the concentration experienced by the person. Finding groundwater contamination is not as easy as it would first seem. The ground does not change colors and put up a sign that says, “Help, I’m contaminated!” So how do we find it? The current methodology is to take a sample of the groundwater and send it to a laboratory for tests. This can be costly and invasive. A new process using trees has been created. Trees soak up groundwater in order to live. If the groundwater contains VOC contamination, then the tress will take up that as well. These new methods capitalize on the contamination present in the trees. They all begin by taking a core sample of the tree. Then, the air around the core or the air in the void left in the tree are sampled with various instruments. The purpose of this research was to compare these methods. These four methods are generally referred to as tree cores, SPSs, SPME-PDMS fibers, and SPME-carboxene fibers. They were compared for the time to use, knowledge required to measure, and the cost to operate. It was expected that the SPS would be the best choice overall. 1http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html

Biography

Samantha Markus is a senior in Environmental Engineering. She has been involved in many organizations and activities throughout her college career including: the Newman Campus Ministry Center, Water Environment Federation (WEF), Solar House Team Safety Officer, World Youn Wha Ryu Association (Martial Arts Organization), and the theatrical production of Beauty and the Beast. She is excited to have participated in this research project and to share it with the Missouri S&T campus.

Research Category

Engineering

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

07 Apr 2010, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Apr 7th, 1:00 PM Apr 7th, 3:00 PM

Comparing Field Sampling Methods in Phytoforensics

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that come from a variety of products including paints, solvents, wood preservatives, air fresheners, automotive products and dry cleaned clothing1. These compounds may cause a variety of health effects ranging from eye irritation and headaches, to cancer. As with all compounds it depends on the specific chemical, the duration of exposure, and the concentration experienced by the person. Finding groundwater contamination is not as easy as it would first seem. The ground does not change colors and put up a sign that says, “Help, I’m contaminated!” So how do we find it? The current methodology is to take a sample of the groundwater and send it to a laboratory for tests. This can be costly and invasive. A new process using trees has been created. Trees soak up groundwater in order to live. If the groundwater contains VOC contamination, then the tress will take up that as well. These new methods capitalize on the contamination present in the trees. They all begin by taking a core sample of the tree. Then, the air around the core or the air in the void left in the tree are sampled with various instruments. The purpose of this research was to compare these methods. These four methods are generally referred to as tree cores, SPSs, SPME-PDMS fibers, and SPME-carboxene fibers. They were compared for the time to use, knowledge required to measure, and the cost to operate. It was expected that the SPS would be the best choice overall. 1http://www.epa.gov/iaq/voc.html