Matching Items (15)

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Assessment of the Vertical Stratification of Microbial Community Structure in Permafrost Peatlands

Description

Peatlands are a type of wetlands where the rate of accumulation of organic matter exceed the rate of decomposition and have accumulated more than 30 cm of peat (Joosten and

Peatlands are a type of wetlands where the rate of accumulation of organic matter exceed the rate of decomposition and have accumulated more than 30 cm of peat (Joosten and Clark, 2002). Peatlands store approximately 30% of all terrestrial carbon as recalcitrant peat, partially decomposed plant and microbial biomass, while simultaneously producing almost 40% of the globally emitted methane (Schmidt et al., 2016), making peatlands an important component of the carbon budgets. Published research indicates that the efficiency of carbon usage among microbial communities can determine the soil-carbon response to rising temperatures (Allison et al. 2010). By determining carbon consumption in peatland soils, total community respiration response, and community structure change with additions, models of carbon use efficiency in permafrost peatlands will be well-informed and have a better understanding of how the peatlands will respond to, and utilize, increased availability of carbon compounds due to the melting permafrost. To do this, we will sequence Lutose deep core samples to observe baseline microbial community structure at different depths and different age-gradients, construct substrate incubations of glucose and propionate and observe community respiration response via a gas chromatography flame ionization detector, track the glucose and propionate additions with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and sequence the samples once more to determine if there was a deviation from the initial community structure obtained prior to the incubations. We found that our initial sequencing data was supported by previous work (Lin et al., 2014), however we were unable to sequence samples post-incubation due to time constraints. In this sequencing analysis we found that the strongest variable that made samples biologically similar was the age-gradient site in which they were extracted. We found that the group with glucose additions produced the most carbon dioxide compared with the other treatments, but was not the treatment that dominated the production of methane. Finally, in the HPLC samples that were analyzed, we found that glucose is likely forming the most by-product accumulation from mass balance calculations, while propionate is likely forming the least. Future experimentation should focus on the shortcomings of this experiment. Further analysis of 16S rRNA sequencing data from after the incubations should be analyzed to determine the change in microbial community structure throughout the experiment. Furthermore, HPLC analysis for the several samples need to be done and followed up with mass balance to determine where the added glucose and propionate are being allocated within the soil. Once these pieces of the puzzle are put into place, our original question of how the microbial community structure changes at different depths and age-gradients within permafrost peatlands will be conclusively answered.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Microbially Induced Desaturation and Precipitation (MIDP) Pressure Contours

Description

This thesis is part of a larger research project, conducted by Elizabeth Stallings Young, which aims to improve understanding about the factors controlling the process of MIDP and the interaction

This thesis is part of a larger research project, conducted by Elizabeth Stallings Young, which aims to improve understanding about the factors controlling the process of MIDP and the interaction between the biochemical reactions and the hydrological properties of soils treated with MIDP. Microbially Induced Desaturation and Precipitation (MIDP) is a bio-geotechnical process by which biogenic gas production and calcite mineral bio-cementation are induced in the pore space between the soil particles, which can mitigate earthquake induced liquefaction (Kavazanjian et al. 2015). In this process substrates are injected which stimulate indigenous nitrate reducing bacteria to produce nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas, while precipitating calcium carbonate minerals. The biogenic gas production has been shown to dampen pore pressure build up under dynamic loading conditions and significantly increase liquefaction resistance (Okamura and Soga 2006), while the precipitation of calcium carbonate minerals cements adjacent granular particles together. The objective of this thesis was to analyze the recorded pore pressure development as a result of biogenic gas formation and migration, over the entire two-dimensional flow field, by generating dynamic pressure contour plots, using MATLAB and ImageJ software. The experiment was run in a mesoscale tank that was approximately 114 cm tall, 114 cm wide and 5.25 cm thick. Substrate was flushed through the soil body and the denitrifying reaction occurred, producing gas and correspondingly, pressure. The pressure across the tank was recorded with pore pressure sensors and was loaded into a datalogger. This time sensitive data file was loaded into a MATLAB script, MIDPCountourGen.m, to create pressure contours for the tank. The results from this thesis include the creation of MIDPContourGen.m and a corresponding How-To Guide and pore pressure contours for the F60 tank. This thesis concluded that the MIDP reaction takes a relatively short amount of time and that the residual pressure in the tank after the water flush on day 17 offers a proof of effect of the MIDP reaction.

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Date Created
  • 2020-05

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Trade-offs in utilizing of zero-valent iron for synergistic biotic and abiotic reduction of trichloroethene and perchlorate in soil and groundwater

Description

The advantages and challenges of combining zero-valent iron (ZVI) and microbial reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in contaminated soil and groundwater are not well understood. The objective of

The advantages and challenges of combining zero-valent iron (ZVI) and microbial reduction of trichloroethene (TCE) and perchlorate (ClO4-) in contaminated soil and groundwater are not well understood. The objective of this work was to identify the benefits and limitations of simultaneous application of ZVI and bioaugmentation for detoxification of TCE and ClO4- using conditions relevant to a specific contaminated site. We studied conditions representing a ZVI-injection zone and a downstream zone influenced Fe (II) produced, for simultaneous ZVI and microbial reductive dechlorination applications using bench scale semi-batch microcosm experiments. 16.5 g L-1 ZVI effectively reduced TCE to ethene and ethane but ClO4- was barely reduced. Microbial reductive dechlorination was limited by both ZVI as well as Fe (II) derived from oxidation of ZVI. In the case of TCE, rapid abiotic TCE reduction made the TCE unavailable for the dechlorinating bacteria. In the case of perchlorate, ZVI inhibited the indigenous perchlorate-reducing bacteria present in the soil and groundwater. Further, H2 generated by ZVI reactions stimulated competing microbial processes like sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. In the microcosms representing the ZVI downstream zone (Fe (II) only), we detected accumulation of cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) after 56 days. Some ethene also formed under these conditions. In the absence of ZVI or Fe (II), we detected complete TCE dechlorination to ethene and faster rates of ClO4- reduction. The results illustrate potential limitations of combining ZVI with microbial reduction of chlorinated compounds and show the potential that each technology has when applied separately.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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Exploring microbial chain elongation for production of organics and hydrogen in soils

Description

This research explores microbial chain elongation as a pathway for production of complex organic compounds in soils with implication for the carbon cycle. In chain elongation, simple substrates such as

This research explores microbial chain elongation as a pathway for production of complex organic compounds in soils with implication for the carbon cycle. In chain elongation, simple substrates such as ethanol and short chain carboxylates such as acetate can be converted to longer carbon chain carboxylates under anaerobic conditions through cyclic, reverse β oxidation. This pathway elongates the carboxylate by two carbons. The chain elongation process is overall thermodynamically feasible, and microorganisms gain energy through this process. There have been limited insights into the versatility of chain elongating substrates, understanding the chain elongating microbial community, and its importance in sequestering carbon in the soils.

We used ethanol, methanol, butanol, and hydrogen as electron donors and acetate and propionate as electron acceptors to test the occurrence of microbial chain elongation in four soils with different physicochemical properties and microbial communities. Common chain elongation products were the even numbered chains butyrate, caproate, and butanol, the odd numbered carboxylates valerate and heptanoate, along with molecular hydrogen. At a near neutral pH and mesophilic temperature, we observed a stable and sustained production of longer fatty acids along with hydrogen. Microbial community analysis show phylotypes from families such as Clostridiaceae, Bacillaceae, and Ruminococcaceae in all tested conditions. Through chain elongation, the products formed are less biodegradable. They may undergo transformations and end up as organic carbon, decreasing the greenhouse gas emissions, thus, making this process important to study.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Applying ozone to accelerate remediation of petroleum-contaminated soils

Description

Petroleum contamination is ubiquitous during extraction, transportation, refining, and storage. Contamination damages the soil’s ecosystem function, reduces its aesthetics, and poses a potential threat to human beings. The

Petroleum contamination is ubiquitous during extraction, transportation, refining, and storage. Contamination damages the soil’s ecosystem function, reduces its aesthetics, and poses a potential threat to human beings. The overall goals of this dissertation are to advance understanding of the mechanisms behind ozonation of petroleum-contaminated soil and to configure an effective integrated bioremediation + ozonation remedial strategy to remove the overall organic carbon. Using a soil column, I conducted batch ozonation experiments for different soils and at different moisture levels. I measured multiple parameters: e.g., total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC), to build a full understanding of the data that led to the solid conclusions. I first demonstrated the feasibility of using ozone to attack heavy petroleum hydrocarbons in soil settings. I identified the physical and chemical hurdles (e.g., moisture, mass transfer, pH) needed to be overcome to make the integration of chemical oxidation and biodegradation more efficient and defines the mechanisms behind the experimental observations. Next, I completed a total carbon balance, which revealed that multiple components, including soil organic matter (SOM) and non-TPH petroleum, competed for ozone, although TPH was relatively more reactive. Further experiments showed that poor soil mixing and high soil-moisture content hindered mass transfer of ozone to react with the TPH. Finally, I pursued the theme of optimizing the integration of ozonation and biodegradation through a multi-stage strategy. I conducted multi-stages of ozonation and bioremediation for two benchmark soils with distinctly different oils to test if and how much ozonation enhanced biodegradation and vice versa. With pH and moisture optimized for each step, pre-ozonation versus post-ozonation was assessed for TPH removal and mineralization. Multi-cycle treatment was able to achieve the TPH regulatory standard when biodegradation alone could not. Ozonation did not directly enhance the biodegradation rate of TPH; instead, ozone converted TPH into DOC that was biodegraded and mineralized. The major take-home lesson from my studies is that multi-stage ozonation + biodegradation is a useful remediation tool for petroleum contamination in soil.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Stabilization of Expansive Soils Using Plant-Extracted Silicate Solution

Description

Expansive soils pose considerable geotechnical and structural challenges all over the world. Many cities, towns, transport systems, and structures are built on expansive soils. This study evaluates stabilization of expansive

Expansive soils pose considerable geotechnical and structural challenges all over the world. Many cities, towns, transport systems, and structures are built on expansive soils. This study evaluates stabilization of expansive soils using silicate solution extracted from rice husk taking advantage of an agricultural material waste. Rice husk ash production was optimized considering several factors including rinsing solution, rinsing temperature, burning time, and burning temperature. Results indicated that washing the rice husk with HCl (1M) produced an ash with surface area of 320 m2/g and 97% of silicon oxide. Two local soils were treated with sodium silicate solution, silica gel at pH 1.5, and silica gel at pH 4 to evaluate its mechanical properties at curing times of 1 day, 7 days, and 14 days. Results indicated that sodium silicate solution reduced the one-dimensional swell by 48% for Soil A, however, swell for soil B remained about the same. Silica gel at pH 1.5 reduced the one-dimensional swell by 67% for soil A and by 35% for soil B. Silica gel at pH 4 did also reduce the free swell by 40% for soil A and by 35% for soil B. Results also indicated that the swell pressures for all treated soils increased significantly compared to untreated soils. Soils treated with sodium silicate solution showed irregular compaction curves. Silica gel-treated soils showed a reduction in the maximum dry unit weight for both soils but optimum water content decreased for soil A and increased for soil B. Atterberg limits were also reduced for sodium silicate and silica gels-treated soils. Swelling index for bentonite showed a reduction by 53% for all treated bentonites. Soil-water characteristics curves (SWCC) for sodium silicate-treated soils remined almost the same as untreated soils. However, silica gels-treated soils retain more water. Surface area (SSA) decreased for sodium silicate-treated soil but increased for all silica gels-treated soils. It was concluded that curing times did not show additional improvement in most of the experiments, but the results remained about the same as 1-day treatment. The study demonstrated that silicate solution is promising and sustainable technique for stabilization of expansive soils.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Field-Scale Implementation of Enzyme-Induced Carbonate Precipitation (EICP) as a Ground Improvement Technology

Description

Enzyme-induced carbonate precipitation (EICP) is an emerging technology for ground improvement that cements soil with calcium carbonate to increase strength and stiffness. EICP-improved soil can be used to support new

Enzyme-induced carbonate precipitation (EICP) is an emerging technology for ground improvement that cements soil with calcium carbonate to increase strength and stiffness. EICP-improved soil can be used to support new facilities or it can be injected under existing facilities to prevent excessive deformation. The limitations for commercial adoption of EICP are the cost and the lack of implementation at field-scale. This research demonstrated two ways to reduce the cost of EICP treatment at field-scale. The first was a modification to the EICP solution such that lower amounts of chemicals are needed to achieve target strengths. The second was to use a simple and inexpensive enzyme extraction method to produce the enzyme at a large-scale. This research also involved a two-stage scale-up process to create EICP biocemented soil columns using a permeation grouting technique. The first stage was at mid-scale where 0.6 m x 0.3 m-diameter EICP biocemented soil columns were created in boxes. This work confirmed that conventional permeation grouting equipment and methods are feasible for EICP soil treatment because the columns were found to have a uniform shape, the injection method was able to deliver the EICP solution to the edges of the treatment zone, and downhole geophysics was effectively used to measure the shear wave velocity of the biocemented soil mass. The field-scale stage was performed in the Test Pit facility at the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics' Soils Field Laboratory. Seven biocemented soil columns were created with diameters ranging from 0.3-1 m and heights ranging from 1-2.4 m. Effective implementation at this scale was confirmed through monitoring the injection process with embedded moisture sensors, evaluating the in situ strength improvement with downhole geophysics and load testing, and testing of the excavated columns to measure shear wave velocity, dimensions, carbonate content, and strength. Lastly, a hotspot life cycle assessment was performed which identified ways to reduce the environmental impacts of EICP by using alternative sourcing of inputs and extraction of byproducts. Overall, this research project demonstrates that EICP is a viable ground improvement technique by way of successfully producing field-scale biocemented soil columns.

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Date Created
  • 2021

Self-Burrowing Mechanism and Robot Inspired by Razor Clams

Description

The Atlantic razor clam burrows underground with effectiveness and efficiency by coordinating shape changings of its shell and foot. Inspired by the burrowing strategy of razor clams, this research is

The Atlantic razor clam burrows underground with effectiveness and efficiency by coordinating shape changings of its shell and foot. Inspired by the burrowing strategy of razor clams, this research is dedicated to developing a self-burrowing technology for active underground explorations by investigating the burrowing mechanism of razor clams from the perspective of soil mechanics. In this study, the razor clam was observed to burrow out of sands simply by extending and contracting its foot periodically. This upward burrowing gait is much simpler than its downward burrowing gait, which also involves opening/closing of the shell and dilation of the foot. The upward burrowing gait inspired the design of a self-burrowing-out soft robot, which drives itself out of sands naturally by extension and contraction through pneumatic inflation and deflation. A simplified analytical model was then proposed and explained the upward burrowing behavior of the robot and razor clams as the asymmetric nature of soil resistances applied on both ends due to the intrinsic stress gradient of sand deposits. To burrow downward, additional symmetry-breaking features are needed for the robot to increase the resistance in the upward burrowing direction and to decrease the resistance in the downward burrowing direction. A potential approach is by incorporating friction anisotropy, which was then experimentally demonstrated to affect the upward burrowing of the soft robot. The downward burrowing gait of razor clams provides another inspiration. By exploring the analogies between the downward burrowing gait and in-situ soil characterization methods, a clam-inspired shape-changing penetrator was designed and penetrated dry granular materials both numerically and experimentally. Results demonstrated that the shell opening not only contributes to forming a penetration anchor by compressing the surrounding particles, but also reduces the foot penetration resistance temporally by creating a stress arch above the foot; the shell closing facilitates the downward burrowing by reducing the friction resistance to the subsequent shell retraction. Findings from this research shed lights on the future design of a clam-inspired self-burrowing robot.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Enhancing Reductive Dechlorination through Electrokinetic Transport and Microbially Driven H2 Cycling in the Subsurface

Description

Water is a vital resource, and its protection is a priority world-wide. One widespread threat to water quality is contamination by chlorinated solvents. These dry-cleaning and degreasing agents entered

Water is a vital resource, and its protection is a priority world-wide. One widespread threat to water quality is contamination by chlorinated solvents. These dry-cleaning and degreasing agents entered the watershed through spills and improper disposal and now are detected in 4% of U.S. aquifers and 4.5-18% of U.S. drinking water sources. The health effects of these contaminants can be severe, as they are associated with damage to the nervous, liver, kidney, and reproductive systems, developmental issues, and possibly cancer. Chlorinated solvents must be removed or transformed to improve water quality and protect human and environmental health. One remedy, bioaugmentation, the subsurface addition of microbial cultures able to transform contaminants, has been implemented successfully at hundreds of sites since the 1990s. Bioaugmentation uses the bacteria Dehalococcoides to transform chlorinated solvents with hydrogen, H2, as the electron donor. At advection limited sites, bioaugmentation can be combined with electrokinetics (EK-Bio) to enhance transport. However, challenges for successful bioremediation remain. In this work I addressed several knowledge gaps surrounding bioaugmentation and EK-Bio. I measured the H2 consuming capacity of soils, detailed the microbial metabolisms driving this demand, and evaluated how these finding relate to reductive dechlorination. I determined which reactions dominated at a contaminated site with mixed geochemistry treated with EK-Bio and compared it to traditional bioaugmentation. Lastly, I assessed the effect of EK-Bio on the microbial community at a field-scale site. Results showed the H2 consuming capacity of soils was greater than that predicted by initial measurements of inorganic electron acceptors and primarily driven by carbon-based microbial metabolisms. Other work demonstrated that, given the benefits of some carbon-based metabolisms to microbial reductive dechlorination, high levels of H2 consumption in soils are not necessarily indicative of hostile conditions for Dehalococcoides. Bench-scale experiments of EK-Bio under mixed geochemical conditions showed EK-Bio out-performed traditional bioaugmentation by facilitating biotic and abiotic transformations. Finally, results of microbial community analysis at a field-scale implementation of EK-Bio showed that while there were significant changes in alpha and beta diversity, the impact of EK-Bio on native microbial communities was minimal.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Removal of hexavalent chromium from groundwater using stannous chloride reductive treatment

Description

Mineral weathering and industrial activities cause elevated concentration of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in groundwater, and this poses potential health concern (>10 ppb) to southwestern USA. The conversion of Cr(VI) to

Mineral weathering and industrial activities cause elevated concentration of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in groundwater, and this poses potential health concern (>10 ppb) to southwestern USA. The conversion of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) – a fairly soluble and non-toxic form at typical pH of groundwater is an effective method to control the mobility and carcinogenic effects of Cr(VI). In-situ chemical reduction using SnCl2 was investigated to initiate this redox process using jar testing with buffered ultrapure water and native Arizona groundwater spiked with varying Cr(VI) concentrations. Cr(VI) transformation by SnCl2 is super rapid (<60 seconds) and depends upon the molar dosage of Sn(II) to Cr(VI). Cr(VI) removal improved significantly at higher pH while was independent on Cr(VI) initial concentration and dissolved oxygen (DO) level. Co-existing oxyanions (As and W) competed with Cr(VI) for SnCl2 oxidation and adsorption sites of formed precipitates, thus resulted in lower Cr(VI) removal in the challenge water. SnCl2 reagent grade and commercial grade behaved similarly when freshly prepared, but the reducing strength of the commercial product decreased by 50% over a week after exposing to atmosphere. Equilibrium modeling with Visual MINTEQ suggested redox potential < 400 mV to reach Cr(VI) treatment goal of 10 ppb. Kinetics of Cr(VI) reduction was simulated via the rate expression: r=-k[H+]-0.25[Sn2+]0.5[Cr2O72-]3 with k = 0.146 uM-2.25s-1, which correlated consistently with experimental data under different pH and SnCl2 doses. These results proved SnCl2 reductive treatment is a simple and highly effective method to treat Cr(VI) in groundwater.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019