The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Desarrollo Integral del Sur, Inc (DISUR), a Puerto Rico-based community action group, collaborated to determine the efficacy of citizen science involving the use of low cost air quality sensors. The EPA developed a unique low cost AC powered multi-pollutant Citizen Science Air Monitor (CSAM) that was provided to the community group along with the training/tools needed for its operation. The citizens self-organized a community effort to conduct approximately five months of intensive air quality monitoring in an area of Puerto Rico (Tallaboa-Encarnación, Peñuelas) having little historical data on spatial variability (Ponce). Real-time measurements of the particulate matter size fraction 2.5 micron (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), total volatile organic compounds (tVOCs), and meteorological parameters (wind speed, wind directions, temperature, relative humidity) were obtained. The study provided the Peñuelas and surrounding communities an in-depth investigation of local air quality and opportunities for citizen scientists to gain extensive experience in the use of emerging sensor technologies. The collaboration also provided the EPA an opportunity to evaluate low cost sensor performance under harsh environmental conditions (high relative humidity in a coastal environment). We present the approach and preliminary environmental findings of the EPA’s efforts the deploy a low cost multi-pollutant sensor pod associated with a citizen science research study.
Amazonian fungal identification is crucial to unravel their biodiversity and to elucidate their potential use in several industrial and biotechnological processes. This research aims to isolate and identify Aspergillus niger from Ecuadorian Amazon region in order to assess their capability to produce citric acid from sugar cane bagasse fermentation. Sampling point were settled to perform the distribution pattern of the fungi in the main areas of sugar cane production in Puyo municipality. For isolation, raw material was placed under humid chambers to produce sporulation. After growth, isolates were plated in Potato Dextrose Agar media for purification. Morpho-cultural characterization were assessed for isolates identification . A complete randomized experimental design was conducted under controlled conditions to search out the capability of isolates to produce citric acid. Six days fermentation at pH 2 and three levels of substrates loading (20, 30 and 40 mg bagasse L-1) were the experimental variables. Bagasse was cut into small pieces to homogenization and a concentration of 1x107 spores ml-1 was inoculated. Morpho-cultural analysis threw four isolates with features related to A. niger. Black aerial mycelia, fast growth and copious sporulation matched with the main characteristics of thefungus. The citric acid assay showed the most favourable conditions were provided by the substrate loaded with 30 mg L-1 of bagasse, which yielded 9.9 g of citric acid per kilogram of bagasse. These results show the potential of native Amazonian A. niger to produce citric acid and to perform another trials with other raw material under different conditions.