Navigation Links
U of T technique put to use to test clean up of contaminated groundwater
Date:1/30/2009

Cleaning up the dangerous contaminants dry-cleaning fluids, solvents and petroleum hydrocarbons found in underground water presents one of the most urgent challenges facing environmental science. A report issued today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sheds light on a new way to monitor and improve the success of clean-up efforts using a technique developed at the University of Toronto.

"The most common method to clean-up groundwater is biodegradation using microbes to consume the contaminants and break them down into more benign end products that are not harmful to the environment," says U of T geochemist Barbara Sherwood Lollar, the scientist who initiated the concept and goals for the EPA report and is one of its five international authors.

The report outlines how this can be done using a novel technique called Compound Specific Isotope Analysis, developed in U of T's Stable Isotope Laboratory. The elements of carbon that form the basis for the hydrocarbon contaminants actually come in two types called isotopes, explains Sherwood Lollar. "When microbes degrade contaminants, they prefer the lighter isotope carbon 12 over the heavier isotope carbon 13. The resulting change in the ratio of these isotopes in the contaminant itself is a dramatic and definitive indicator that the biodegradation is successfully taking place."

Beginning in the 1990s, U of T's Stable Isotope Laboratory has been an international pioneer in discovering how different carbon isotopes can be used to identify whether or not biodegradation is taking place. "Today, dozens of students in Canada have been trained in this method, drawn in by the fascinating combination of fundamental research that has important applications such as the clean-up of drinking water," says Sherwood Lollar. Over the past decade, as the new technique has become more widespread, centres for research and education - and even private companies have blossomed worldwide.

"Much of the research on new methods of analyzing groundwater contamination has been published in scientific and professional journals but this report written specifically for the practitioners in accessible language with clear procedural information and decision-making strategies is a milestone," says Sherwood Lollar.

"It is particularly gratifying to be able to take a technique out of the lab and to put it into the hands of the people working on this issue every day around the world," she says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christine Elias
celias@artsci.utoronto.ca
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New satellite techniques for looking at climate change
2. New computational technique allows comparison of whole genomes as easily as whole books
3. Novel technique changes lymph node biopsy, reduces radiation exposure
4. Novel technique changes lymph node biopsy, reduces radiaiton exposure
5. New technique is quantum leap forward in understanding proteins
6. New edition of laboratory manual includes cutting-edge techniques to study gene regulation
7. Novel technique for fluorescence tomography of tumors in living animals
8. These shells dont clam up: Innovative technique to record human impact on coastal waters
9. Einstein researchers develop technique to count messages made by single genes
10. These shells dont clam up: Innovative technique to record human impact on coastal waters
11. New technique eliminates toxic drugs in islet transplant in diabetic mice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- PMD Healthcare announces the release of its new ... (WMS), a remote, real-time lung health monitoring and management ... a Medical Device, Digital Health, and Chronic Care Management ... solutions that empower people to improve their healthcare and ... the first ever personal spirometer, Spiro PD, which was ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... 13, 2017 Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each other ... identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... SAN FRANCISCO and MOUNTAIN VIEW, ... Zipongo , "Eating Well Made Simple," and 23andMe ... to help guide better food choices.  Zipongo can now ... only their food preferences, health goals and biometrics, but ... to certain food choices. Zipongo,s personalized food ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey conducted ... troublesome and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and ... weed scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Genedata, a leading provider of ... occasion with a strong presence at Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2017 in ... invitation to all attendees to view posters on the entire range of ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... A new ... San Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on quantum devices, graphene ... SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting in North America, ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Energetiq Technology, a world ... facility expansion to accommodate its rapid growth. , The renovations at the company’s ... of the existing areas. The expansion includes, a state-of-the-art engineering facility, and a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: