Is Unpaved Road Dust Near Fairbanks, Alaska a Health Concern? Examination of the Total and Bioaccessible Metal(loid)s

Recent studies highlight the health risks associated with toxic metal(loid)s [e.g., arsenic (As), zinc (Zn), and lead (Pb)] in dust from mining operations, urban settings, and rural roads. To have a deleterious health effect, inhaled or ingested metal(loid)s must dissolve under conditions in the lung or gastrointestinal tract. In this study, we determined total and physiologically-soluble fractions of metal(loid)s in road dust from four sites in east-central interior Alaska.  Total As and antimony (Sb) were enriched up to 26.2 and 53.7, respectively, in dusts relative to average crustal abundance. Several elements such as nickel (Ni), As, and Sb were highly to moderately soluble in simulated lung fluids (7-80%, 15-51%, and 5-42%, respectively). Nickel and As exceeded the EPA inhalation risk unit, which is an exposure level of minimal risk. Despite several elements being highly soluble in simulated gastric fluids, including Ni, copper (Cu), As, and Pb, only As samples exceeded the oral reference dose for children (based on total elemental concentrations) in some samples. The highest exposure risks identified in this study are inhalation of As and Ni present in road dust and ingestion of As-containing dust, especially by children. Additional studies would be needed to further quantify the health risk posed by road dust in this region.

Comparison of Dark Matter Proportions Across Types of Spiral Galaxies

A large obstacle on the path to better understanding the evolution of the Universe is knowing the extent to which “nature” and “nurture” affect structures in our Universe. Recent studies have observed that many galactic properties such as luminosity and morphology are dependent on their environment and in particular, their halos, from the galactic cluster scale down to galaxy groups. In this study, we investigate the relationship between dark matter (as a fraction of the total mass of the galaxy) and morphology of individual galaxies to determine if a similar relationship between galaxies and their environment exists at this scale. Our approach differs in the sense that we look at the proportion rather than the actual value of the characteristic we are studying to control for the size of the galaxies.

Varying Sugars and Sugar Concentrations Influence In Vitro Pollen Germination and Pollen Tube Growth of Cassia alata L.

This study investigates the effects of varying sugars and sugar concentrations on the in vitro germination and tube growth of pollens of Cassia alata L., a known Philippine ornamental and medicinal plant. This aims to add information on the pollination fertilization mechanism of the plant for its possible extensive cultivation.

A Transcriptome Study of Borrelia burgdorferi Infection in Murine Heart and Brain Tissues

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States and is typically caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Although often curable, delayed diagnosis due to nonspecific symptoms risks systemic complications, and some patients experience symptoms despite bacterial clearance from the body. We hypothesized that B. burgdorferi infection induces a self-perpetuating cascade of immunological responses such that symptoms remain after infection or causes residual damage to patients’ immune system and tissues.

Development of a Methodology to Determine Antibiotic Concentrations in Water Samples Using High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) classifies antibiotics as a contaminant of emerging concern (CEC) because they are detected in the environment at higher than expected levels and may negatively impact human and aquatic ecosystems (USEPA, 2013). The risk these antibiotics pose to humans and aquatic life is not known; however, the primary concern is that the antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria will develop. Utilization in human healthcare and livestock care are the two main sources of antibiotics in the environment