Plants as water monitors

By designing a new protein for a common plant, Missouri S&T students can identify contaminated groundwater in the environment and assure homeowners that their drinking water is clean from pollutants.

Missouri S&T’s chapter of iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation, presented its research findings during the iGEM 2017 Giant Jamboree Nov. 9–13 in Boston.

The project, titled “Detectable Bio-Sensing Processes in Arabidopsis,” uses thale cress, a common weed in Europe and Asia, as a model plant to biologically sense groundwater contaminated by the chemical trichloroethylene, which is commonly used in industrial solvents.

The Missouri S&T iGEM team has designed a protein that binds across a plasma membrane in the plant’s cells to trap trichloroethylene. The plant detects the chemical contaminant and then turns “clearer” to indicate exposure. Thale cress could be planted around factories to verify that proper decontamination standards are being met or even could be used as house plants to ensure the cleanliness of drinking water.

Around the Puck

“Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years”

In the 1870s, Rolla seemed an unlikely location for a new college. There were only about 1,400 residents in a community with more saloons than houses of worship. There were no paved streets, sewers or water mains. To visitors, there seemed to be as many dogs, hogs, horses, ducks and geese as humans walking the dusty streets.

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By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2019

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Bringing clean water to South America

Assessing water quality, surveying mountaintop locations and building systems to catch rainwater — that’s how members of S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders spent their summer break.

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Geothermal goals exceeded

After five years of operation, Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system continues to outperform expectations. S&T facilities operations staff originally predicted the geothermal system would reduce campus water usage by over 10% — roughly 10 million gallons per year. The system, which went online in May 2014, cut actual water usage by 18 million to 20 […]

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What happens in Vegas…may appear in print

In his latest volume of Las Vegas lore, historian Larry Gragg says it was deliberate publicity strategies that changed the perception of Sin City from a regional tourist destination where one could legally gamble and access legalized prostitution just outside the city limits, to a family vacation spot filled with entertainment options and surrounded by […]

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