Tag Archives: Physical Sciences

High-Sensitivity Spot Tests Used for the Detection of Diphenhydramine

Melissa Warren, Weber State University

Physical Sciences

Spot tests are commonly utilized as presumptive qualitative tests for detecting chemical substances. Such tests are the basis for detection of illegal drugs or for cleaning validations in manufacturing systems. In this study we evaluate the use of Scott’s reagent and Mandelin reagent for the detection of trace quantities of diphenhydramine (Benadryl). These reagents have been reported to give false positive tests for illegal drugs such as ketamine (cocaine) when diphenhydramine is present. Our studies were focused on enhancing the detection limits of these reagents and their application of swab tests for diphenhydramine. We report the limits of detection and swab techniques that enhance selectivity and sensitivity for this analyte.

Validation of Metal Chelation by FTIR Spectroscopy

Monika Miller, Weber State University

Physical Sciences

Nutritionally important minerals are more readily absorbed by living systems when they are combined with organic acids. These combined metal-organic acid complexes are called chelate metals or chelates. The synthetic processes utilized to prepare these mineral chelates adds significant cost to the final product. Occasionally, manufactures sell cheaper dry blends of unreacted minerals and organic acids to gain an unfair competitive advantage in the market place. There are few if any reliable methods for reliable measurement of the extent of chelation between metals and organic acids. We report our successful application of Fourier-transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) for the quantitative determination of chelation in solid samples of mineral chelates.

Chernobyl and Fukushima

Valerie Jacobson, Weber State University

Physical Sciences

This study will compare and contrast the differences between nuclear accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima. The environmental impacts of the “fall-out” across the two differing landscapes and the displacement of the populations due to radiation contamination, e.g., soil contamination, will be analyzed. Research on health issues, such as the increased numbers of thyroid cancer cases in Ukraine and Belarus in those who were children at the time of the disaster in 1986, will also be reviewed and compared to current health issues in Fukushima. Certain weather patterns distributed the radioactive materials over specific geographic areas that later came to be known as “hot-spots.” The study will evaluate the evacuations handled by the respective governments and the “exclusion zone” measures put in place by each. While the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima have been compared as similar in disaster level, research and data collection of the fallout zones, or hot spots, reveal that the two disasters are not of an equal level. Factors such as air temperature, political and social responses all contributed to the disparity in levels of the two disasters.

Analysis of Flavonoids, Catechins, and Proanthocy anidins in Cacao Chocolate

Brad Draper, Hannah Firth, and Patricia Stauffer, Weber State University

Physical Sciences

It is widely known that cacao beans are one of the most abundant sources of naturally-occurring flavonoids on earth. However, chocolate products contain only a small percentage of the original flavonoids present in cacao beans, indicating that up to 95% of these flavonoids are lost during the manufacturing of chocolate. However, no one has identified the specific events or steps in chocolate preparation that destroys these flavonoids. We have measured the concentrations of a variety of nutritionally beneficial flavonoids at each step of the chocolate manufacturing process to identify the related extent of flavonoid losses. Following multiple-step extractions and sample preparations, we utilized chemical techniques of TLC, UV/VIS Spectroscopy, HPLC, and organoleptic testing to measure the levels of catechins and proanthocyanidins at each step of the chocolate making process.

Spanish Advertising Use Relative to Median Household Income

According to the 2010 US Census, the Hispanic population in Ogden City, Utah has grown by over 36%. This influx of population of Hispanic descent has influenced local businesses to begin advertising in Spanish through multiple mediums. To determine what factors influence a business’s decision to advertise in Spanish, locations of all print advertising in Ogden were determined through personal investigation. Second, neighborhoods and areas were divided according to census divisions that appear on the official website and median household income as well as the population of Hispanic people was recorded to determine if socioeconomic bias was present in the selection of where to advertise in Spanish. A linear regression comparing the total number of Spanish advertisements found in each geographical area was compared first to income, and then to total Hispanic population. The results of the regression illustrate a potential bias based on financial circumstances rather than ethnicity. Further study is needed to determine if this use of Spanish-advertising in the low-income areas affects Spanish-speakers’ access to healthy foods, housing, or other critical aspects of quotidian life.

Effect of Roundup on Brine Shrimp (Artemia) Development

Kimberly Lowder, Weber State University

Physical Sciences

The herbicide Roundup and its active ingredient, Glyphosate, are widely used for weed control. These chemicals end up into streams and lakes, including the Great Salt Lake where it adversely affects wildlife. The goals of this project are a) to assess the mortality rate of Artemia larvae exposed to various concentrations of Roundup concentrate after a short exposure (48h) or a long-chronic exposure (7 days), b) to assess the effect of chronic on survival, maturation and fertility and c) to quantify the stress response of the shrimp on the heat-shock proteins 90 and 70. Materials and Methods: For the acute exposure, Artemia larval mortality was calculated in larvae exposed to Roundup concentrations ranging from 10-3 to 10-10 ml/l of Roundup concentrate for 48 h. For the chronic exposure, larvae were raised in the above Roundup concentrations. Mortality, maturation and fertility rates were calculated. The response to stress was assessed by quantifying the up-regulation of stress proteins hsp90 and 70 using western blots. Results: All larvae were killed after exposure at 10-4 g/l or greater of Roundup concentrate. Most larvae survived at Roundup concentrations of 10-6 ml/l or less. While chronic exposure to lower Roundup concentrations did not seem to affect survival or maturation rate, it did affect larval development. Larvae developing in 10-7 ml/l or more Roundup had about a 20% risk of not hatching or dying shortly after hatching. Hsp70 western blots showed an upregulation of this heat-shock protein at 10-5 ml/l or higher Roundup concentrations.

Developing a Low-cost NIR Imaging System to Introduce Students to Medical Imaging Techniques

Ashleigh Wilson, Utah Valley University

Physical Sciences

At many institutions, the algebra-based introductory physics courses are populated with students specializing in biological fields such as preparation for medical or dental schools. While the main focus on the course is to provide the students with a solid conceptual understanding and solving problem skills in physics, the students often see little application towards their fields. This is particularly true in the traditional introductory physics laboratory experiments and demonstrations, which often focus on basic applications and offer no direct relation towards the medical fields. As part of a summer research project, we explored the possibility of developing a low-cost NIR imaging system, which could be used in demonstrations, laboratory exercises, as well as student research projects. The use of infrared imaging in medical physics is an emerging technology with promising prospects, including thermography, biometry, and phlebotomy. For example, when using near infrared (NIR) light (700-1100 nm), vein imaging and mapping is possible. Due to the deoxidized nature of hemoglobin in veins, it exhibits strong absorption at a certain wavelength (~730 nm). The surrounding tissue and arteries, however, allow the radiation to pass through. Utilizing an array of different NIR wavelengths and a modified web camera with a combined cost of $150, we successfully created a low-cost NIR imaging system capable of mapping out veins. This poster will present the instrument setup as well as show the preliminary results. Further potential use of this system will also be presented.

Geophysical Survey of Gossans in the Eastern Uinta Mountains, Utah

David Sutterfield, Utah Valley University

Physical Sciences

When sulfide-bearing rocks are exposed to oxidizing conditions, they become destabilized, leaving behind a framework of leached, altered, and replaced host rock called a gossan. Many of these gossans form by the oxidation of ore minerals and have been known since antiquity to be associated with ore deposits. However, the extent and quality of ore mineralization beneath a given gossan cannot readily be determined through surface sampling of minerals. Work conducted by mineral exploration professionals (in Africa, Australia, India, and the Middle East) has indicated that geomagnetic and geoelectric surveys of a gossan can be useful for constraining the shape, size, and economic potential of an associated ore deposit. Although gossans are found in Utah, there have been no published studies of these rock units either in terms of their economic potential or geophysical signature. The objective of this study was to carry out geomagnetic and geoelectric surveys to determine the geophysical signature of gossans exposed about 10 miles northwest of Vernal, Utah, on the southeastern margin of the Uinta Mountains, for the purpose of estimating the grade and depth of possible sulfide mineralization. The gossans overlie a heavily brecciated wedge of Mississippian Madison Limestone and are structurally bounded by the South Flank Fault, which forms the boundary between the Permian Weber Sandstone to the south and the Neoproterozoic Uinta Mountain Group metaquartzites to the north. Geoelectric measurements with an Iris Instruments Syscal Junior Resistivity System and inversion of a portion of the resistivity and chargeability data with the Interpex IX1D Sounding Inversion software shows a resistivity low (~200 Ω·m) and a chargeability high (~7 ms) below 23 m depth. Measurements of total magnetic field using a Geometrics G-856 Proton Precession Magnetometer were modeled with Interpex IX2D-GM Magnetic Interpretation Software and constrained with magnetic susceptibilities of exposed rocks measured in the field using a SM-20 Magnetic Susceptibility Meter. Models based upon a portion of the data show anomalies of amplitude about 100 nT and wavelength about 50 m, suggesting isolated bodies of elevated magnetic susceptibility (~0.08 SI units) with upper surfaces 20-30 m below the surface. Since, based upon the topography, the depth to the water table is also 20-30 m, the geophysical measurements are consistent with the presence of reduced sulfide bodies below this depth. Further work will include interpretation of remaining data and possible drilling for improved calibration of geophysical models.

Towards a New Classification of Rivers Based upon Generic Stage-Discharge Rating Curves

Jeremiah Rundall, Utah Valley University

Physical Sciences

The practice in hydrology is to deduce stream discharge from stream stage by creating a rating curve for each stream site from simultaneous measurements of stage and discharge. If a river could be assigned a generic rating curve with a small number of parameters, the cost of developing rating curves could be reduced. The first step has been to classify rivers according to whether there is a unique relationship between stage and discharge. The USGS National Water Information System database of about 3.8 million simultaneous measurements of stage and discharge at15,345 active and historic stream gaging sites was imported into a Python-driven data manipulation script. Linear relationships between z-scores of the logarithms of stage and discharge were developed for each site. A frequency spectrum of the slopes of the linear relationships was created by summing the normal distributions for each site with mean equal to slope and standard deviation equal to uncertainty in slope. There were no stream gaging sites at which discharge changed without a change in stage. At about 70% of stream gaging sites, over 90% of the variation in stage corresponded to a variation in discharge. At the remaining sites, significant variation in stage occurred without a variation in discharge. Current research involves identifying the characteristics of stream sites that lack a unique stage-discharge relationship and creating classes of generic rating curves by considering more complex functional fits.

A Plan for Complete Recycling of Stormwater on the Utah Valley University Main Campus, Orem, Utah

Paul Robertson, Utah Valley University

Physical Sciences

Evaluation of Utah Valley University’s stormwater plan reveals a simple system meant to collect stormwater into the city storm drains as quickly as possible. It is, however, vastly underdeveloped and many unspectacular summer and springtime storms have resulted in property damage, including those of nearby residents. The stormwater runoff has also collected concentrated amounts of hydrocarbons, nitrogen and heavy metals which are being fed directly into Utah Lake, acting as a significant source of pollution for the lake environment. The intentions of this project are to design a stormwater management plan that can withstand a 100 year, 24 hour event and prevent pollutants from entering the Utah Lake system. Mapping and modeling of the University’s storm drains will be accomplished using GIS as well as modeling for efficient retention sites on campus. Captured stormwater will then be used for a variety of functions here on campus and runoff into the adjacent lake will be reduced to insignificant values. Decisions regarding the ultimate implementation of this project will work in concordance with the University’s master plan of future development in order to realistically secure a reliable, low-maintenance system.