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PSU student awarded the U.S. Stockhold Junior Water Prize
Author: Lisa Sablan, Dept. of Chemistry
Posted: September 18, 2013
U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize winner identifies sulfidation as way to clean nanoparticles from wastewater
 Anirudh Jain won the 2013 U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) by identifying sulfidation as a means to reduce silver nanoparticle pollution in wastewater. The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) announced Jain as winner for his project, titled “Sulfidation as a Novel Method To Reduce Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticle Pollution.”
Jain, who is from Portland, Ore., was chosen from among 47 other state winners at the national competition, which was heldJune 14-16. His research tested the effect of increasing concentrations of a sulfidation agent on silver nanoparticles. Using five sets of silver nanoparticle samples, Jain measured nanoparticle size, surface charge, and release of silver ions. Because silver nanoparticles kill both beneficial and harmful bacteria in wastewater treatment, he exposed the five samples to Escherichia coli cultures and measured culture changes to determine overall toxicity to bacteria, according to the project report.
Jain found that the release of silver ions and surface charge decreased and nanoparticle size increased as sulfide concentration increased, “indicating reduction in toxicity,” his research report says. Increased sulfide concentration also resulted in a decreased number of E. coli cells killed, further supporting the conclusion that exposure to sulfide reduced toxicity. These results establish that sulfidation is a “potential solution for reducing the harmful effects of nanoparticle pollution,” the report says.
For winning, Jain receives $10,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Stockholm, where he will compete against national winners from more than 30 countries for the international SJWP prize in September. He also will have the opportunity to present his research at WEFTEC® 2013, which will be held Oct. 5-9 in Chicago.