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Pharmaceutical-Nanoparticle Interactions in Soil and Water

Project Full Title:

Fate and Transport of Pharmaceutical Contaminants when attached to Oxide and Clay Nanoparticles

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Project Description:

Pharmaceutical and personal care product (PPCP) contamination of the environment is becoming a real concern because of the potential adverse effects of low concentration and pervasive occurrence of drugs in soil and water matrices. A particular concern is antibiotic contamination because of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Soil nanoparticles (10-9 meter) are likely to facilitate drug transport because nanoparticles will stay suspended in groundwater and surface water, and because antibiotic drugs are readily adsorbed to particle surfaces. The actual fate and transport of attached antibiotic compounds is an area of active research. One initiative of Dr. Petersonís research is to investigate the stability and breakdown of antibiotics when adsorbed to nanometer-size soil particles in aqueous solutions. Lab experiments are performed to determine the type and amount of breakdown products, which are identified and quantified by various analytical techniques, including liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy (LC/MS), powder X-ray diffraction, and Raman spectroscopy. Research activities are approximately 90% laboratory-based and 10% field-based. Interested students are encouraged to apply. Applicants with chemistry laboratory and/or analytical experience will be given some preference, though selections will be based on the overall preparedness, interest, availability and background of the students. This project is housed in the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department. It is only open to Hope College students and is dependent on funding. Actual research dates are yet to be determined.

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