September 2000, Amsterdam - Projects - Italy

Alberto Calatroni (18)
School: Politecnico di Milano
Hobbies: playing saxophone, trekking, listening to music
Career intention: electronic engineer

"EUROTITRATIONS": A software simulating acid-base titration
"Eurotitrations" is software that simulates a common chemical technique, the titration of acids and bases, salts and amino-acids. It has scientific and basically didactical purposes, because it offers students a valid introduction to Brensted's acid-base theory. This subject is part of the curriculum of many high schools, including European schools, and some universities. The software produces various graphs and tables that can be exported and used, and offers the opportunity to simulate a great variety of different titrations. The conclusion is that it could be quite interesting for many schools as it is original interesting to work with. Anyhow, the new programming techniques I had to learn for it, where very interesting and will probably be useful in the future, so I certainly enjoyed this part of analytical chemistry.

Angela Colaianni (18)
School: Socrate
Hobbies: going to the theatre, listening to music
Career intention: biologist

Maricla Marrone (16)
School: Socrate
Hobbies: going to the theatre
Career intention: genetic engineer

Silvia Paccapelo (17)
School: Socrate
Hobbies: playing the piano, dancing
Career intention: civil engineer

Production of transgenic plants resistant to phytophagous insects
Our project describes a method for increasing plant defences against phytophagous insects that allows for faster results whilst respecting nature. The principle is the transfer, in the recipient plant (Nicotina tabacum), of a gene coding for a protease inhibition by means of a bacterium, Agrobacterium Tumefaciens. When insects feed on transgenic plants, their digestion is blocked and consequently their growth is inhibited. The destruction of the leaves of the tobacco plants is substantially reduced. This experiment conducted on tobacco plants represents an important test demonstrating that appropriately designed gene transfer methods among foodstuff plants of related species can be employed without the risk of toxicity to humans. Indeed, the outcome of this experiment further showed that there is minimal disruption to the insects involved as they are directed toward plants of less economic value.

Fabio Pavia (19)
School: liceo scientifico Amedeo Avogadro di Vercelli
Hobbies: cycling, reading
Career intention: mechanical engineer

Gambusia, a fish to control mosquitoes and malaria
Of course malaria is a dangerous problem. The first part of preventing this desease is controlling the mosquitoes, so we put up a biological fight against them by using Gambusia, a fish that eats grub. In the Vercelli zone, were the experiment was carried out, we noticed the adaptability of Gambusia to the various ambient conditions, the fish eats grubs and crustaceans, without preference. Its predatory activity caused a development of Rotifers and unicellular algae. The use of Gambusia is efficacious in underground drains and fields, especially when a combination of lambda-cyhalothrin and the fish is used, the grubs were completely absent after a day. After conducting several samples, we would conclude that the larval density of the mosquitoes decreased by 95.3% during the season. This means a mayor contribution to solving an urgent medical problem.