Biology Questions

Question 1

Remediation is the process of reducing or eradicating environmental contaminations through the involvement of microorganisms. Microorganisms are used to degrade environmental pollutants. In this case, different organisms can be utilized for bio-eradication, but microorganisms have the greatest impact. To degrade these compounds, genetically altered microbes are introduced. The development of novel strains to attain desirable properties across pathway construction and the modification of the specificity of enzymes and their affinity are some aspects of genetic engineering. For instance, to advance the treatment of the contaminated sites where the availability of oxygen limits the growth of the aerobic bio-remediating bacteria alongside the functioning of oxygenase required for mineralization of most organic pollutants, bacteria haemoglobin (VHb) is applied (Benjamin, Fabio, & Ashok 113). With the use of this substance, their treatment is advanced, and they can quickly treat aromatic organic compounds under hypoxic conditions without any limitations. Additionally, the chemotactic abilities of cells are enhanced under the In situ bioremediation, which enables them to be used in areas containing the contaminants. In situ bioremediation is a remediation where contamination is eradicated without having to excavate and remove soil or water. To enhance their chemical abilities, the organisms are fed with nutrients and oxygen, which stimulates their metabolic activity. Nevertheless, to encourage the growth of microorganisms through the promotion of microbial growth, physicochemical conditions are introduced. In this case, electron acceptors and nutrients, such as phosphor, are utilized, which provides sufficient time and environment for microorganisms to degrade the contamination (Benjamin et al. 113).

Question 3

The practice of amputation has been utilized for many years as the solution to injuries and infections that leave patients permanently physically challenged. Though doctors and engineers have made advancements in prosthetics, the continued use of such devices has had many serious health issues among patients. The use of bionic artificial limbs has been the recent advancement in prosthetics. Peripheral nerve endings link the artificial limb to the brain. They are a better alternative because they minimize the side effects prosthetic users go through, hence improving the quality of life for the amputees (He 585). Scientists and engineers have been conducting research on the bionic parts to be utilized as a more functional prosthetic limb for lower and upper limb amputee patients. For the device to work, a specific amount of electrodes must be fitted with the amputee’s residual limb. The electrodes are then connected to the bionic limb for it to be in a position to receive signals from the brain at peripheral nerve endings. The artificial limb then responds to the environment, hence performing realistic movements. The bionic limb utilizes the electrodes to communicate to the brain, which enables the user to regain a sense of touch. Hugh Herr and a group of scientists have made a discovery that, if a cut nerve is placed near a muscle lacking a nerve, the nerve grows and enables the muscle to have nerves. They are using the discovery to enhance the creation of an interface that can support the growth of the synthetic materials. It is the connection established that enables the bionic limb to be in a position to pick up nerve signals from the brain, which later triggers the user to make a movement. Bionic limbs do not resemble actual human parts as they can sense the environment and be in a position to predict the intentions of a user (He 585). The artificial limb is in a position to send sensory information from the nerve to the brain.

Question 4

Grasscrete is a green system for driveways, walks, and parking lots. To form the system, the concrete is vital, since it creates a pattern of open spaces. To create the concrete, unique 24-by-48-inch molds that are made of biodegradable paper pulp are used. Later, sand or gravel and grass and ground covers are inserted into the voids that allow water to enter into the soil beneath the paved area (Newell 150). To install Grasscrete, topsoil in the area Grasscrete is to be installed in is removed to the depth of 12 inches, and a 6-inch layer of crushed gravel is poured into the excavated area. Further, a ½-inch layer of sand is added and sprinkled, which is followed by the installation of edge frameworks. Grasscrete forms are inserted into the gravel base, leaving a 4-inch space between the frames. Concrete mix is poured on Grasscrete to form a five and a half-inch structure. After that, gravel is swept into the voids, grass seeds are scattered over, and water is sprinkled to enhance growth. On the other hand, a vegetated swale is a shallow channel consisting of dense vegetation that covers the bottom and side slopes. Swales are designed with highly permeable soils, with an underdrain that is used to enable stormwater to infiltrate from the surface of a swale. Check dams acting as flow spreaders are also fixed for dry swales. On the contrary, wet swales are designed to retain water by the installation of impermeable soil (Newell 153).

In the ecosystem services provided by the two systems, vegetated swales improve the water quality when the vegetation in the channel removes large particulate matter from stormwater. In addition, pollutant removal is enhanced by the infiltration process supported by swales. On the other hand, Grasscrete is used to improve the retention of water in the areas experiencing seasonal water drainages. Similar to vegetated swale, Grasscrete reduces the number of contaminations in the runoffs.

Question 5

Wetlands can be used as a part of wastewater treatment systems. In the spectrum of decentralized wastewater treatments systems, wetlands can either be natural wetlands, constructed wetlands, or membrane biological reactors. Natural wetlands are mostly utilized in rural areas where there is adequate land. According to Paul Knowles of Natural System Utilities, natural wetlands resemble constructed wetlands, which are mechanically simple but biologically sophisticated. The system comprises of a basin of gravel through which sewage water flows, encountering a natural system of chemical, physical, and biological conditions for purification. The system consists of indigenous plant species that are planted to enhance biodiversity. Powered by the sun, plants and bacteria break down pollutants, which helps to clean water (Chen & Mingmei 10). On the other hand, constructed wetlands are mostly used in denser suburban areas to help treat anthropogenic wastes, such as industrial wastewaters. Wetlands are characterized by mechanical aeration, which enhances their performance as they utilize the natural function of soil, microorganisms, and vegetation to treat different water systems. Systems are adjusted depending on the type of wastewater to be treated. A system can resemble natural wetlands when used as bio-filters to remove sediments. Constructed wetlands are placed in a basin containing substrate, such as gravel or sand, with the bottom lined with concrete and polymer geomembranes to protect the water table. Lastly, there are biological wetland reactors, which are utilized in high-density urban areas and are characterized by high costs of implementation. These are mostly located in the basements of buildings, comprising of series of tanks used to filter certain pollutants and later push water into a membrane filter. Tanks are filled with bioreactors that purify wastewaters from buildings (Chen & Mingmei 12). For instance, the Solaire building in Manhattan utilizes bioreactors to recycle 25,000 gallons of sewage water, which is later used to water the gardens, cool HVAC systems, and flush toilets.