Navigation Links
e-Science points to pollution solutions

Results from a UK e-Science project are helping to solve two pressing environmental problems. One finding could help to avoid arsenic contamination of drinking water extracted from man-made wells. Another could lead to improved methods of removing the now-banned industrial chemical, dioxin, from soil. The results were obtained using e-Science techniques and grid computing to simulate all the possible interactions between these contaminants and rock or soil.

Arsenic often appears in minerals rich in iron and sulphur, such as pyrite (fools gold). Scientists working as part of eMinerals, a major project funded under the Natural Environment Research Councils e-Science programme, have found out precisely how arsenic is taken up and held in the pyrite structure and the factors likely to lead to its release. We now know that arsenic replaces the sulphur in pyrite rather than the iron, and that pyrite is likely to dissolve more easily when arsenic is present, says Dr Kate Wright, who worked on the project. Further work could identify ways of stabilising arsenic-containing iron sulphide rock by introducing additives that slow the rate at which it dissolves.

The eMinerals project found that a dioxin molecule will bind more strongly to clay surfaces the more chlorine atoms it contains, irrespective of the position of the chlorine atoms in the dioxin molecule. It also found that binding is stronger the greater the electrical charge on the surface. However, water competes with dioxin to bind to surfaces and, in practice, a dioxin molecules ability to bind to a surface is a balance between the binding strength of the dioxin to the surface, the water to the surface, and the dioxin to the water.

Both examples involved performing numerous simulations of the interactions between the different minerals in soil and rock with all the known variants of the contaminants. For example, there are 76 different variants of the dioxin molecule and numerous mineral surfaces in the environment to which they can attach, so hundreds of serious calculations are necessary.

The project has developed a grid infrastructure consisting of clusters and condor pools (including campus grids) at the collaborating institutions and resources held on the National Grid Service and the North West Grid. High performance computing resources can also be accessed for particularly large simulations if necessary.

Without access to such grid resources, researchers would have to perform all of the simulations sequentially, taking too much time to be practicable. Using the eMinerals infrastructure, they can submit all these jobs at once and see the results within a few hours. Results are automatically returned to a distributed data store with an interface that shows the files as if they are part of a single system. The data can be accessed remotely by collaborating scientists, as well as by those who originally submitted the job.

Were doing grid properly. We can submit hundreds of jobs from the users desktop to a number of different compute grids, and get the data back with metadata attached and with the analysis done - and in a state that enables collaborators to understand what the simulations are saying. Were giving control back to the user, says Professor Martin Dove, eMinerals principal investigator.

Contact: Judy Redfearn
Research Councils UK

Related biology news :

1. The brain, traffic and nano-circuits -- e-Science takes on major challenges
2. New Study from Affymetrix Laboratories Points to Changing View of How Genome Works
3. New study pinpoints epicenters of Earths imminent extinctions
4. Radiotherapy advance points way to noninvasive brain cancer treatment
5. Study pinpoints proteins role in cancer spread
6. Prion find points way to test for human mad cow disease
7. New finding points way to foiling anthraxs tricks
8. Discovery of an HIV inhibitor in human blood points to new drug class
9. Imaging pinpoints brain regions that see the future
10. Newly identified mechanism for silencing genes points to possible anti-cancer strategies
11. Solution to Pollution: New Bacteria Eats Toxic Waste
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... York , November 18, 2015 ... Research has published a new market report titled  Gesture ... Trends, and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the report, ... 2014 and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by ... 2021. North America dominated ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 2015 Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) ("PBI" ... sale of broadly enabling, pressure cycling technology ("PCT")-based sample ... announced it has received gross proceeds of $745,000 from ... (the "Offering"), increasing the total amount raised to date ... closings are expected in the near future. ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Studies reveal the differences ... and pave the way for more effective treatment for one ...   --> --> ... problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the ... have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... IN (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... (AMA) and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with ... and other AMA team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) ... research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing ... lower margins but higher volume share for the ... and scale, however, margins in the CRO industry ... (CRO) Market ( ), finds that ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" ... reported financial results for the quarter ended September ... in Canadian dollars and presented under International Financial ... States ," said Andrew Rae , ... regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: