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Education and Outreach Programs

Lemont High School ESRP 2019

Root Uptake of Chromium and Nickel in Common Plants and Vegetables


  • Students:
    • Benjamin Clarage
    • Victoria Garcia
    • Klaudia Goryl
    • Kristen Hackiewicz
    • Neha Kapur
    • Kirsten Kash
    • Andrew Leja
    • Emma Lynch
    • Thomas Maka
    • Vir Patel
    • Janet Quiroz
    • Joseph Spinelli
  • Teachers:
    • Erin Horan
  • Mentors:
    • Olga Antipova (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source)
    • Olena Ponomarenko (University of Saskatchewan)
    • Shengke Tian (Zhejiang University)

Advanced Photon Source Sector 2: Microscopy

The presence of cadium, selenium, nickel, chromium, and arsenic in Asian and Canadian soil samples recently drew the attention of federal food and drug administration agencies as well as the World Health Organization due to the toxicity these elements produce. Excessive exposure to nickel is associated with severe stomach aches, increased red blood cells, and increased proteins present in urine. Exposure to chromium is linked to decreased hemoglobin content, decreased hematocrit content, and increased total white blood cell counts reticulocyte counts, and plasma hemoglobin in humans. These elements contaminate and harm plant life--therefore increasing unsustainability in local ecosystems. Through Lemont High School’s Exemplary Student Research Program (2018-2019), students will work closely with Dr. Olga Antipova (Argonne National Laboratory), Olena Ponomarenko (University of Saskatoon), and Shengke Tian (Zhejiang University, China) to examine the relationship between the contamination of these plants and their root uptake with a focus on nickel and chromium. Our student group will participate in testing, observation, and analysis of plant uptake of chromium and nickel to determine the long-term impacts of element toxicity and its relation to plant vitality. It’s essential to understand the allowance of these elements in ground-rooted plants to produce a high confidence level to regulate these elements in consumer products.

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