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Contamination with Components of Rocket Fuel


Development of Effective Methods of Analysis of Environmental Objects Contaminated with Rocket Fuel Components and Creation of a Scheme of High-Sensitive Biosensor Module for the Presence of Mutagens

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Ryzhova T B

Leading Institute
Kazakh National University / Center of Physical and Chemical Methods of Analysis, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • National Biotechnology Center of Kazakstan / Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems, Kazakstan, Gvardeiski


  • Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal, Lisbon\nAwareness Center, Denmark, Roskilde\nRiso National Laboratory / Biosystems Department, Denmark, Roskilde

Project summary

A range of problems emerging in relation to the rocket space activity on the territory of cosmodrome “Baikonur” is caused by both the frequency of space vehicles launches and the type of spacecrafts being launched. At present, Russia, the USA, China, France and other countries realize launching of rockets with liquid- and solid- propellant engines. Rocket-carriers separating stages contain toxic rocket fuel components (RFC). Of the greatest danger for animal world and vegetable kingdom is the fall of the first stages, in the fuel lines of which there is a great amount of fuel and oxidant. The main substances which is used as fuel in liquid-propellant engines of rocket-carriers of the type “Proton”, “Cyclone”, “Cyclone-M”, “Kosmos”, “Ariane”, “Titan”, “Changen” is unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (1,1-DMH) which refers to the first class of toxicity and possesses general toxic and local irritating activity as well as carcinogenic properties. However, comparatively little is known about the mutagenic and genotoxic effect of 1,1–DMH that may be one of the main elements of RFC action on DNA of man and animal. It should be noted that the existing methods of determination of the level of 1,1-DMH in the organism of man and environmental objects (spectrophotometry, GC, HPLC, NMR) as well as those which allow to evaluate the mutagenic effect of this compound (Ames test, Mutatox analysis, umu- test, reclac- test, SOS- chromotest, Pro-tox analysis) require expensive equipment, qualified personnel and are not suitable for routine analysis under field conditions, when carrying out ecological-geochemical investigations in the places of rocket-carriers fall, when examining take-off complexes, transportation and preparation for rocket launchings.

Of special danger is accumulation of 1,1–DMH transformation products such as nitrosodimethylamine(NDMA), tetramethyltetrazene(TMT), 1–methyl–1H–1,2,4–triazole, 1,2,4,5–tetrazine, 2,3,5,6–tetrahydro–1,4 dimethyl and others.

Intensive exploitation of cosmodrome “Baikonur” makes the necessity of developing effective methods of determination of 1,1-DMH and its transformation products in environmental objects to be a task of top priority. Actuality of this problem is conditioned by the fact that rockets, in which toxic fuel components are used, account for 50% of the total number of RC launching as well as by complexity of the ecological situation in many regions of Kazakhstan. When launching rockets regularly, on the earth’s surface, pollution zones are formed, which do not coincide with zones of fragments fall and which are considerably greater by the area.

The present work sets the tasks on development of the methods of chromatographic determination with mass-selective detection of 1-methyl-1H-1,2,4-triazole, 1,2,4,5-tetrazene, 2,3,5,6-tetrahydro-1,4-dimethyl in soil and creation of a scheme of automated module on the basis of highly sensitive biosensor test-systems which allow to evaluate the character of distribution of toxic compounds in field and laboratory conditions.

When realizing this project it is planned to study the effect of rocket fuel components and its transformation products on soil microflora, reproductive ability of vegetation as well as the immunity of cultivated and pasturable plants in the laboratories of Zhambyl branch of RSE “National centre of biotechnology of the Republic of Kazakhstan” as well as in field conditions on the territories of “Proton” rocket-carriers fall places. These tasks are quite actual for the territories of Kazakhstan in connection with the passage of “Proton” rocket-carriers flight routes over agricultural territories.

Specialists in the field of ecology and physico-chemical methods of analysis of al–Farabi Kazakh National university [Nauryzbaev M.K., Batyrbekova S.E., Aidossova S.S.], molecular biology, gene engineering and biotechnology [Beklemishev A.B., Lavrinenko I.A. ], engineering of apparatus and equipment of special purpose [Tchaldin B.M., Seregin Yu.P.], phytopathology and immunity of plants [Rsaliev Sh.S., Mamadaliev S.M. and others ] will take part in realization of the project.


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