Contaminants in the Hudson

I am working on a research project with help from the Undergraduate Research Program at Pace. The title of my project is “Evaluation of bacterial redox stress as a marker for the cellular consequences of PCB contamination in the Hudson River in New York to determine the success of the EPA dredging program”. The goal of my experiment is to evaluate the effectiveness of the dredging of the Hudson River after 30 years of GE dumping the contaminant PCBs into the river using bacteria. Many studies have been conducted on the soil and animals in the river since the contamination and many have found discrepancies. First, the tomcod in the Hudson have the highest PCB levels found in nature. They have shown allele changes that prevent the fish from being able to metabolize the PCBs for their own protection. This is an evolved evolutionary trait. It has also been found that the cytoplasm of the fish tends to lean towards oxidization. This has many negative effects on the microscopic level, including protein and DNA damage. My project is to evaluate redox stress in bacteria from various dredging sites of the Hudson. I chose places from each time period of Hudson dredging to determine if there were any changes because of the time of dredging. I will take two samples of bacteria from each sample, identify each, and then determine their redox state. ​Three samples were taken from each site, meaning that there will be up to six types of bacteria tested for every site. The locations we have taken samples from are: Hudson Falls, Fort Edward, Snook Kill, Thomson, Schylersville Island, Thompson Island Dam, Saratoga National Park, Lock 3, Troy, Beacon, and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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