Sierran Masthead

Michiana Group Sponsors Awards

By Gesa Csapo, Michiana Group

"A Concentrated Study of Congo Red (Dye) Toxicity Levels in Daphnia magma, PHASE IV" - Jennifer Tricker.

That was the title of an ongoing study of azo dyes, which are known to be toxic and/or carcinogenic and are the most widely used commercial colorant in the world. This time, Jennifer remediated these dyes safely and in a practical manner through "Titanium dioxide-mediated photocatalysis." The results showed that Daphnia magma was destroyed in high concentrations of Congo Red, but survived sufficiently in treated forms of the dye.

Her conclusions are worth quoting: "The use of titanium dioxide in remediating of azo dyes is an environmentally safe procedure as evidenced by Daphnia magma acute toxicity assay. Substantial levels of Congo Red are, indeed, lethal to aquatic life." (Daphnia magma is a crustacean, commonly known as a water flea.)

In previous science fair projects, Jennifer was able to show that AZO dye-polluted water could be remediated with ozone. She has been the recipient of two previous Sierra Club awards.

It is interesting to see the evolving sophistication of Jennifer's experiments through the past four years, her more lucid presentations, and her continued enthusiasm in environmental research. Jennifer also credits our encouragement for her continued interest and effort, according to her mother.

Besides winning the Michiana Group's Sierra Club award, Jennifer has won numerous other awards including all-expense paid trips to participate in the International Science Fair sponsored by Allied-Signal. This year she will be heading to Tucson, Arizona for that Fair.

Michiana Group's choice in the "Intermediate" category was Sarah Cunningham. Her project, "Effects of Soil pH on Plant Growth," very convincingly showed how acid levels affected plants like beans.

Excessive acid levels stunted growth and the effects were noticeable in the root system. Highly acid soils are detrimental to growth and deposition of acid in rain or fog is implicated, according to our discussion.

Sarah received the Michiana Group's award along with that of the Environmental Management Association.

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[6/28/02]efp

Summer 1996