Archer’s annual STEM Symposium is an opportunity for Los Angeles high school students who have completed independent or small group projects in STEM to present their findings. Students are invited to present their research in the fields of molecular biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

The Archer RISE Award honors exceptional young women for their innovative scientific research or engineering design projects that further existing knowledge or develop solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Finalists for the RISE Award are noted in throughout the online program and will be awarded at lunch on May 21.

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Saturday, May 21 • 11:55am - 12:10pm
Is Phosphorus the Missing Ingredient for Bioremediation Success?

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Oil spills have proven to be catastrophic messes that are difficult to clean up. Skims, booms, in situ burning, and chemical dispersants are a few of the many methods to remove the pollution; yet they are not the safest or most effective. Bioremediation–a naturally occurring process that breaks down the oil– can clear nearly 100% of the spill and does not harm the spill site[?]s native organisms, but the bioremediators, such as the bacteria–Alcanivorax borkumensis –are too slow to show immediate success. With the presence of specific nutrients, bioremediation has the potential to become the leading cleanup method. The effect of nutrients available to Alcanivorax borkumensis in its growth media was tested. Previous work has shown the importance of nitrogen supplied to the bacteria in different forms, whether it is provided as a nitrate (KNO3) or the organic nitrogen present in the peptone ingredient of the standard growth media. It has also been shown that phosphorus is an important supplement for bacterial bioremediation. Moreover, fertilizers that provide nitrogen and phosphorus have improved the bioremediation effect of Alcanivorax. However, studies looking at changes in solely the phosphorus concentration available to the bacteria are limited. Using a broth to recreate oceanic conditions, my work explores how varying the phosphorus ingredient can influence overall bacterial growth of the responsible bioremediator– Alcanivorax borkumensis.


Kristina Mercolino

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Grade 12

Saturday May 21, 2016 11:55am - 12:10pm
Room 217