Waste phosphorus and aluminum from research laboratories
Sin, Xin Zhi
Date of Issue2017-05-11
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Singapore Center on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering
The usage of aluminum foil and phosphate buffered saline (PBS) in research labs are a cause for concern in today’s context. Aluminum foil is mainly used to provide a physical barrier from contaminants for a brief period of time, and disposed as biohazardous waste. This research aims to estimate the amount of aluminum foil which is used by research laboratories in NTU, and estimate the associated environmental impacts with the production, the associated costs, and offer suggestions to recover the aluminum foil which has not been contaminated by chemical or biohazardous waste. For PBS, it lacks an on-site recovery option which is able to uptake phosphorus at a concentration 226 times higher than the usual 5mg/L for water reclamation plants. As such, gene modification was carried out to suggest alternative bioremediation options which could be used to recover phosphorus at such a high concentration. This study has estimated that NTU biological research labs uses 9.68kg of aluminum foil every month, and 7.12kg of phosphate is discharged as PBS on a monthly basis. The associated environmental cost of aluminum foil usage was discussed in this study, and ongoing research is in progress to perform gene modification to the various targeted bacteria in order to recover phosphorus.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University