Control of Varroa destructor Infestation with a Dual-Function, Thymol Emitting Honey Bee Hive Entranceway
In the last decade, one-third of all honey-bee colonies have vanished, in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Recent literature provides that varroa mites are the single greatest threat to the honey bee population worldwide. In Raina’s research, she created an entranceway with holes, that is coated with a chemical called thymol, which is repellent towards varroa mites. As bees pass through the entranceway, the thymol is deposited, by contact, onto the body of the bee where ultimately the LC50 (or lethal concentration which will kill the varroa mite) is reached, causing the varroa mite to disengage and die, guaranteeing the death of the varroa mite. This device is also dual function, continuously releasing gaseous thymol within the hive automatically controlling the parasite population specifically on the eggs (or larvae), as they do not exhibit the contact release as foraging bees would. The device is temperature independent, does not contaminate the eggs or honey, and also does not disrupt the natural bee behavior, unlike all other commonly used varroacides. Raina is currently working with her mentor, Andy Bramante, to distribute this product for commercial use on a larger scale.
Magnetically Induced, Visual Detection for Trace Arsenic Contaminants in Water Using Fe3O4 Photonic Crystal Structures
Arsenic, a highly toxic metal contaminant commonly found in our drinking water, is responsible for the 6th non-accidental leading cause of death in the world. Currently, the only visual arsenic detection system is tedious, and can only detect arsenic concentrations of 250ppb or more, well above the EPA 10ppb water-action-level. To combat arsenic drinking water contamination, a sensitive, inexpensive, portable, and easily-visualized detection system is needed, and was developed in Raina’s research. Photonic crystal structures are Fe3O4 nanoparticles that are coated in poly acrylic acid that is negatively charged. In the presence of a magnetic field, these nanoparticles undergo simultaneous magnetic attraction (due to the iron oxide), and repulsion (due to the negatively charged acid). This competition of electrostatic attraction and repulsion creates a photonic band gap that allows only a certain wavelength of light to pass through. By changing the strength of the magnetic field, the photonic band gap changes as well, there for emitting a different color of light which is visible with eyes. Raina discovered that arsenic forms a arsenic-oxygen bond with these nanoparticles, completely reversing the color response. She also discovered that the color changes with increasing concentrations of arsenic. Raina then created a color using this response that correlates a certain concentration of arsenic in the water, to a color. Using this device, all the user needs to do is take 10mL of their suspect water, 2mL of the photonic nanoparticles, mix it up, place an 80 Gauss magnetic next to the solution, and match the color to the color code which will instantly reveal the concentration of arsenic in the water, in a matter of seconds, for just $2.