This MRI (Major Research Instrumentation) project involves the acquisition of for an Agilent 5975C inert MSD/DS Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS). The major components of the instrument are a mass selective detector (Agilent 5975C MSD/DS Standard Turbo EI Bundle), Agilent 7890A Gas Chromatography, 7683 Autosampler tray and 7683B Autoinjector.

Scientific Merit: The equipment would provide the PI the opportunity for conducting three research projects described in this proposal. The GC/MS will enable the PI to study:

1) Atmospheric concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCP) with passive samplers spatially distributed throughout Puerto Rico. Samples will be taken both indoors and outdoors at selected locations (primarily high schools) in nine municipalities. The expected benefits of the proposed research will be the development of new scientific information related to PCBs and pesticide concentrations in the ambient air of Puerto Rico. This project will improve our understanding of the relationship between indoor and outdoor concentrations of PCBs and pesticides.

2) Effect of atmospheric deposition (dry and wet) of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and chlorinated pesticides on Jobos Bay. Such research is significant since no detailed deposition studies have been published on toxic organics in Puerto Rico.

3) Influence of port-related emissions on atmospheric PAH concentrations and deposition in the San Juan Bay area. A total of six sampling sites at upwind and downwind of the port area will be operated in order collect PAH samples and measure air quality. The study results will be a source of valuable information that can be used to create proper air quality control measures and policies for the control of air pollution in busy harbors such as the Port of San Juan.

Broader Impacts: Acquisition of this instrument will aid Inter American University of Puerto Rico (IAUPR), the largest private university in Puerto Rico and a minority serving institution, and specifically the Bayamon Campus, in its mission to increase minority participation in science and engineering by providing students with research and training opportunities. The instruments will benefit a cross-disciplinary community of faculty and students at IAUPR and other Puerto Rican institutions, including the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and the Metropolitan University. With the availability of the instrument, the PI will be able to initiate and conduct environmental research on semi-volatile organic compounds (SOCs) with the participation of undergraduate students. In addition it is anticipated that new research collaborations will be develop making use of the new instrument. It is anticipated that the three projects described in this proposal will involve the research efforts of at least thirteen to fifteen undergraduate students over the course of an expected three-year study. Research and teaching activities employing the instruments will also include high school students from locations throughout the island. Special attention will be paid to diversity, and at least one-third of the site operators will be chosen from female students. The students will also be presenting results at on-campus journal and at relevant regional and national meetings, and we expect to obtain several peer-reviewed publications from the results of these studies. The instrument will also be integrated into the curricula of industrial chemistry and forensic science programs, specifically in the courses of forensic investigation II, industrial chemical analysis and analytical separations.

Project Report

. Following items purchased with the fund: A 450 Varian Gas Chromatograph, 240-MS Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer, a desktop computer, CP-8400 Autosampler, External Performance Package which includes MS/MS, External positive/negative/hybrid chemical ionization, internal EI, and internal positive chemical ionization. The acquisition of the GC/MS provided the basis in the creation of knowledge, research expertise and infrastructure development at the Bayamon Campus of Inter American University of Puerto Rico (IAUPRBC) which is transitioning from a primarily teaching institution to a research-supported teaching institution. The instrument helps the university in its mission to increase minority participation in science and engineering by providing students with research and training opportunities. It also helps the PI to conduct environmental research on semi-volatile organic compounds (SOCs) with the participation of undergraduate students. Throughout this project, the PI has been able to involve thirteen undergraduate students in his research efforts. Based on these research achieved with the use of the GC/MS, new scientific data related to the SOC concentrations in the ambient air of Puerto Rico was developed and has been presented in scientific journal and conferences. The availability of this instrument has also provided the PI the opportunity to collaborate not only with IAUPRBC professors but also with scientist from other institutions. These collaborations have had a positive impact on developing other grant proposals and two of them were funded. Furthermore, activities using the instrument were incorporated into five science and engineering courses. The acquired GC/MS has been proven to be a powerful tool in our educational outreach activities. Passive samplers containing polyurethane foam (PUF) disks have been deployed throughout Puerto Rico for three year in order to determine indoor and outdoor SOC concentrations. People who were directly involved in the indoor and outdoor air sample collection have been informed about the health risks associated to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and steps can be taken to reduce POPs exposures. It also strengthened our partnership with local high school students and teachers. This project provided hands-on experience for Baldwin high school students on air quality issues by conducting sampling on POPs.

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Inter American University of Puerto Rico San Juan
San Juan
United States
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