Microbial processes ultimately determine whether arsenic builds to dangerous levels in groundwater, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Remediation may be as simple as stimulating certain microbes to grow.
Arsenic contamination is a serious threat to human health. In the Ganges Delta of Bangladesh, for example, chronic exposure to arsenic has been linked to serious medical conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and a variety of cancers. "The threat extends to Central Illinois, where there are very high levels of arsenic contamination in a number of wells," said Craig Bethke, a professor of geology at Illinois and corresponding author of a paper to appear in the November issue of the journal Geology. "We also discovered important links between the amount of organic material dissolved in the groundwater and the concentrations of sulfate and arsenic."
The researchers analyzed water from 21 wells at various depths in the Mahomet aquifer, a regional water supply for Central Illinois. "The Mahomet aquifer was produced by a glacier, which pulverized and homogenized the sediments," Bethke said. "As a result, arsenic sources that leach into the groundwater are pretty uniformly distributed." Surprisingly, however, arsenic concentration varied strongly from well to well, Bethke said. "Concentrations may reach hundreds of micrograms per liter in one well – which is enough to make people very sick – but fall below detection limits in a nearby well."
James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
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For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
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Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
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Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
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