Project summaries - 2007 Environmental Research - seeding grants
The presence of dioxin and dioxin like compounds in our aquatic systems is a significant problem particularly in Sydney Harbour. One of the major impediments to studying this problem is cost. Analytical cost of a single dioxin sample can be up to $3000. NSW DPI via their Wollongbar Labs have established DR-CALUX an immunoassay test for screen for the presence of dioxin like compounds in tissues however this requires expensive annual licensing and their unit cost is approximately $850 per sample which means that setup costs or analysis via an external laboratory remains prohibitively expensive. There are, however, other immunoassay kits which can be used for analysis of dioxins which have the potential to reduce the cost of analysis for the purpose of screening for dioxins to less than $100 per sample if done in-house. The Ah-Immunoassay® (kit from Biosense is the one we propose to examine as the preliminary data looks promising but it has not been used for a wide range of tissues. If accurate, then it will allow its widespread use for screening for dioxin compounds at a vastly lower cost and greater speed. This will provide a cost-effective surrogate measure for dioxin concentrations for studies which need a general measure of dioxin exposure or need to measure broadscale patterns of dioxin contamination.
This project will test the feasibility of developing a low greenhouse emission and/or energy efficiency industry innovation cluster in NSW. If feasible, such a cluster will help reduce the cost of emission reduction, by accelerating innovation, development and diffusion of effective technologies and practices. Importantly it will also help position NSW to seize some of the benefits from rapidly growing global markets for these technologies and practices. Innovation clusters have been successfully employed in similar jurisdictions to great effectiveness, for example the Biotechnology Cluster in Victoria, Australia, and the Irish Information and Communication Technology Cluster.
University of Western Sydney
Ameliorating soil sodicity using calcium salt incorporated hydrogels
Recycled waters are known to contain high sodium ion concentrations and when used for irrigation contribute to soil salinity which can deleteriously affect crop yields. Gypsum, a poorly soluble calcium salt, is currently used for short-term amelioration of soil salinity. This project investigates the use of hydrogels impregnated with water-soluble calcium salts as a longer-term approach to improve soil salinity. The findings of this project will be invaluable in confirming the applicability of hydrogels in the sodic soil environment, proving them to be of significant value to Australian suburban gardeners and agriculturalists who used recycled water and other affiliated industries.
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University of Western Sydney
Remediation of dioxin-contaminated soils by high power ultrasound
This is a proof of concept project to demonstrate the potential use of high power ultrasound (HPU) to clean dioxin- contaminated soils and sediments which have been found in, for instance, Parramatta River subcatchment. High power ultrasound is a green, energy efficient technology which normally does not rely on or minimises the use of chemicals during treatment. It requires no external heat and does not generate dangerous by-products or uncontrolled emission of pollutants into the environment. A successful demonstration will lead to a long term solution for dioxin removal in soils which is superior to short-term solutions such as by excavation and land filling or incineration technologies which can result in further formation of dioxin from recombination products.
University of Wollongong
How can restored plant communities resist future invaders?
The proposed project will construct a hierarchy to determine the most competitive native dune species when compared against the coastal invader bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monififera ssp. Rotundata). The project will also determine the optimal order that plant species should be established over time if the resultant community is to resist further bitou bush invasion. The project will aid development and interpretation of a larger research protect which addresses the importance of community assembly, species and functional diversity and arrival orders in improving community resistance to invisibility in restored coastal communities. As an outcome, this seeding research will conduct scientific assessment of the most competitive native species and appropriate arrival orders for practical dune restoration.
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011