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As hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, expands across the United States understanding the potential impacts that it could have on the environment is an increasingly popular vein of scientific research. Surprisingly, little attention has been given to how different hydraulic fracturing chemicals could affect the microbial communities in streams located nearby fracking sites. To help examine whether bacteria that produce purple pigments, such as species of Janthinobacterium, can be used as indicators for the overall health of a stream, I am conducting an experiment using microbial isolates taken from an stream that has not had hydraulic fracturing activity yet but will in the near future. This water sample is being used as a representation of a healthy aquatic microbial community. Previous preliminary research has observed that streams that have hydraulic fracturing sites nearby appear to have fewer purple colonies than those that do not. I have added a commonly used hydraulic fracturing material called glutaraldehyde to a simulated microbial community and have quantified whether the addition of glutaraldehyde effects the number of purple colonies observed and the overall structure of the microbial community.
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Moccia, Katherine Mackenzie, "What makes a healthy aquatic environment? Investigating the Effects of Hydraulic Fracturing Material Glutaraldehyde on Bacterial Communities" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 7.