Discipline: Chemistry and Chemical Sciences
Room: Exhibit Hall A
Agnes M. Ríos Delgado - University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus
Co-Author(s): Xaimara Santiago-Maldonado, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, PR; Eduardo Nicolau-Lopez, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, PR.
The Natural Reserve Ciénaga Las Cucharillas is an important protected space in the metropolitan area in Puerto Rico. It is one of the largest spaces filled with biodiversity amidst all the industrialized city and is a home to some of our endangered and endemic species. Having the characteristics of all wetlands, this protected area also serves as a barrier for contaminants. A characterization of the wetland water was performed to obtain a profile of the contaminants present on the reserve. Having an in-depth profile about the range of contaminants present in Ciénaga Las Cucharillas could be the first step towards the development of analytical techniques and tools, not only to remove contaminants from the source but also to reuse some of these compounds for other applications. For example, the presence of polyphenolic compounds is common in the wetlands, mainly due to the microbial degradation of organic matter. These types of compounds can be used for the preparation of resins, adhesives and plastics, which make possible the recovery of these compounds to develop analytical tools, such as membranes, for water remediation. A first approach was focused on the volatile organic compounds present in the wetland waters through Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). Within the wetland terrain, 9 water wells are located in different strategic areas. Two samples were obtained per water well, one from superficial water and the other from deep water, in order to compare how the contaminant composition varied not only between water wells but also with depth. The separation process for these compounds was achieved by Solid Phase Extraction (SPE). The most common compounds among the samples were: tetradecane, octadecane, cyclodecane, octatriacontylpentafluoropropionate, 1-hexacosene, octadecane, 1-iodo-, caprolactam, dodecane, 1-eicosane, benzaldehyde, 3,4-dimethyl and R-phatale. The only polyphenol found was Phenol,2,4-bis(1,1-dimethyethyl)-. Most of these compounds are mainly found in toys, personal hygiene products, food additives, textiles, manufacturing oils, lubricants, among others. Other compounds found, like tetradecane, are related to the presence of pesticides. Further characterization analysis of the samples will include high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and inductively coupled plasma (ICP). A complete profile of these contaminants could allow for the development of the new techniques for the remediation of this essential resource.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Funded by National Science Foundation, HRD #1736093 and University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.
Faculty Advisor: Faculty advisor: Dr. Eduardo Nicolau, Mentor: Xaimara Santiago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I recollected the wetland water samples, carried out the extraction process for each one of these, and prepared them for characterizing at the Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS).