Tucker Rizzi Earns Science Fair Prize

Tucker Rizzi’s Authentic Science Research project — “Finding Efficient Water Purification With the Use of the Moringa Oleifera Seed as a Coagulant” — earned a 2nd place medal at last weekend’s fair at Amity Regional High School. His category was Environmental Science.

Tucker Rizzi

The junior goalkeeper is in the 2nd year of an intense 3-year course at Staples. In the 1st year, students learn how to develop a sophisticated research problem, and find a mentor. They spend the next 2 years testing, refining and analyzing that problem.

Tuck explains: “My project is focused on finding efficient methods of water purification. More specifically I found what could potentially be a very cost- effective water purifier in the seeds of the Moringa Oleifera tree. The seeds themselves have previously been proven to clean water, but not at the optimal healthy level required of them.”

He is testing how to process the seed so that it fulfills World Health Organization standards for clean drinking water, enabling people in rural parts of the world to live safer and healthier lives.

Tuck says: “The way the seeds clean the water is with an abundance of very positively charge proteins that attract to sediment and bacteria in the water, which form a cluster of the protein. The particles then basically sink to the bottom of the water, leaving clean water on top.”

His hypothesis: “It is predicted that the seeds will do well against the chemical coagulant but may not be as efficient in removal of bacteria in the water. The polymer that is used will most likely remove more bacteria once the process in which the water removes bacteria becomes more advanced. But early on, when these tests are crude, the Moringa seed will flocculate more bacteria. Initially none of the coagulants will operate up to the WHO standards of clean water, and will require more processing to reach their full potential.”

Congratulations, Tuck. We look forward to reporting on your upcoming Nobel Prize in Medicine.

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