There is something happening at Dr. Elvira Cueva’s laboratory, called the Ecolab.
One of the primary stages to the analysis of the elements in plants from Las Cucharillas Marsh at Cataño, Puerto Rico is done by CIRE2N undergraduate and graduate students, this process is called grinding.
The interdisciplinary research group 1 (IRG 1), called Nanomaterials for Water and Soil Remediation, works in the development of nanomaterials for water purification, soil remediation, and resource recovery.
Élix Hernández, graduate student, explained that the first thing they do after collecting the samples at the marsh is to place them in an oven at 60 degrees for aproximately 24 hours to dry.
The next phase is to place the leaves in a shredder that shreds them to o.5ml so they can be processed by the grinder.
Lastly, the leaves go to the grinding machine and then the leaf powder is ready to be analyzed for the elements it adquired from the water and the soil.
They measure what the plant consumed; elements like nitrogen, sulfur or carbon can be found in them.
“Here, we make the fundamental product for the analysis of nutrients”, said Hernández.
The analysis of the leaf powder is combined with the analysis of the water and the soil of the marsh to get an overall picture of what’s happening in the ecosystem.