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Identification and Remediation of Hazardous Substances to Safeguard Human and Environmental Health

Investigators
Li, Qingxiao
Institutions
University of Hawaii
Start date
2002
End date
2006
Objective
  1. Develop new methods for analysis of explosives.
  2. Elucidate bioremediation mechanism at a molecular level.
  3. Conduct bioremediation technology demonstration and biotechnology workshops.
More information
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Security of people's safety and health and rapid responses to terroristic threatening are very important. The purpose of this integrated project is to develop new analytical methods for emergency responses, understand biodegradation mechanisms to advance bioremediation technology for cleanup of chemically contaminated sites, and to offer a bioremediation demonstration and biotechnology workshop to build community support.

APPROACH: In objective-1, we will primarily use analytical instruments to develop new methods for the analysis of explosives. The instruments include gas chromatographs, mass spectrometers, high performance liquid chromatographs and accelerated solvent extractors. We will also adapt the procedures for emergency responses for the State of Hawaii. Objective-2 involves basic research in bioremediation mechanisms at a molecular level. We will conduct chemical, biochemical and biological experiments to understand molecular degradation of pollutants by microorganisms and identify genes and enzymes responsible for the biodegradation. Objective-3 will eventually be an outcome of Objectives 1 and 2. Techniques obtained from Objective-1 study and knowledge and biotechnology obtained from Objective-2 will be demonstrated at the workshops. Survey will be conducted after the workshop for a set of questions to learn the outcomes of the workshop from workshop attendees.

PROGRESS: 2002/10 TO 2006/09
Novel analytical methods and remediation technologies are two important tools for effective responses to emergency involving hazardous substances. A suite of extraction, separation and detection methods have been developed for explosives, pesticides, flame retardants, common pollutants, animal growth regulators, antibiotics, biotoxins and proteins. Those analytical methods include supercritical fluid extraction, pressurized fluid extraction, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-MS (GC-MS), and DNA probes. We have studied phytoremediation, microbial degradation, zero-valent iron reduction and photolysis for pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and polychlorinated biphenyls. Organophosphate insecticides are used as model chemicals for nerve agents. The zero-valent iron destruction technology has shown high commercialization potential for water treatment. We have built more 17 detailed catabolism maps of those chemicals in bacteria isolated from contaminated sites. Differential protein profiling has shown transporter proteins, oxidative enzymes, DNA and RNA repair enzymes and molecular mechanisms to protect the bacterial cells from damages by the toxic chemicals. More than 70 plant species have been studied for their potential of environmental cleanup. The general trend leads one to consider that salt and/or drought tolerant plants can bear other potential stress-inducing conditions. On average, we analyze 150-200 unknown samples per year to aid the State of Hawaii on emergency responses. After the events of September 11, 2001, the State of Hawaii was inundated with alleged biological threat response calls to the local fire hazardous materials teams. During that time, a need arose for fast field testing and triage of the samples as either potential biological or chemical agents. To meet the needs, we have worked the Department of Health (DOH) and have had an "All Hazards Field Sampling and Categorization" training program. A manual and a set of DVD videos are designed and produced for live training of the Hawaii Hazmat teams and evolved to include tools, supplies, testing demonstrations, chain of custody and transportation guidelines for either chemical substances or biological organisms. It is also designed for refresher training sessions. This training manual and DVDs will be available for distribution early next year. In collaboration with DOH, we have had the live training to more than 135 Hazmat members from the City and County of Honolulu on Oahu, and the Kauai and Hawaii Counties from 2002 to 2005.

IMPACT: 2002/10 TO 2006/09
A suite of new methods have been developed for rapid extraction and analysis of toxic chemicals in various matrices, and are used in emergency responses, hazard evaluation and mitigation, and risk assessment. In addition to further understanding of mechanisms of microbial catabolism, new abiotic and biotic mitigation technologies have been developed for cleanup of contaminated sites. A series of workshop has been conducted to train more than 135 Fire Hazardous Materials Team members in response to chemical and biological threats in Hawaii. A manual and DVDs of this program are in production for future refresher training sessions for experienced teams.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
HAW00522-H
Accession number
194236
Categories
Natural Toxins
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Preventive Food Safety Systems