State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009MA186B
Title: Assessing the Transport and Fate of Effluent Organic Nitrogen Using Mass-Mapping Proteomics Technology
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 4/01/2009
End Date: 3/31/2010
Congressional District: MA-001
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Wastewater, Nutrients
Keywords: Bioavailability, Connecticut River, effluent organic nitrogen, Long Island Sound, monitoring, protein, proteomics, transport
Principal Investigator: Park, Chul
Federal Funds: $ 29,998
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 63,324
Abstract: Our recent research has revealed that final effluents from wastewater treatment plants contain numerous proteins, of both sewage and treatment process origins, and they can be analyzed by proteomics technology. Using zymogramic electrophoresis, we have also observed that treated effluents contain active proteolytic enzymes that can hydrolyze other proteinaceous compounds. These are important findings in gaining better insight of the ecological impact of sewage works effluents because proteins are the most common and abundant class of organic nitrogen that can potentially lead to eutrophication in receiving waters, especially in N-limited water environments. In addition, the release of various effluent enzymes can enhance degradation of aquatic organic matter and, therefore, modulate nutrient cycling in receiving waters. The questions that need to be answered are: "What are the actual fate and roles of effluent-proteins in the receiving water ecosystem?" and "How can these be determined?" Success in our prior research has led us to develop a new research hypothesis that proteomics technology can be used for in situ monitoring of effluent proteins in receiving waters. In this research plan, we propose to conduct mass-mapping proteomics to characterize effluent proteins from the major effluent dischargers to the Connecticut (CT) River and to assess their transport and bioavailability in the CT River and Long Island Sound. Mass-mapping proteomics is a protocol that generates a mass map of peptides (smaller fraction of proteins) with their fragmentation features. As a consequence, generated spectral libraries (i.e., mass map of effluent proteins) will permit tracking of the effluent proteins through the identification of specific peptides in these receiving water samples, thus enabling us to monitor the fate and transport of effluent proteins.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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