Environmental Sciences Europe

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ISSN / EISSN : 2190-4715 / 2190-4715
Total articles ≅ 724
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Tahira Akther, S. Ranjani,
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-8; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00524-9

Background ESBLs hydrolyze the beta-lactam ring of antibiotics and are not affected by 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation antibiotics. There are over 400 ESBL enzymes that have already been investigated globally are present in Enterobacteriaceae species such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella oxytoca strains. Prevalence of ESBLs is slowly increased, from 10 to 40% in E. coli and K. pneumonia strains. Microorganisms producing ESBLs are challenging to physicians, clinical microbiologists, and antibiotic researchers. Results In this study, ESBL-producing strains of E. coli were subjected to antibiotic sensitivity screening. The efficacy of myco BR-AgNPs on growth in E. coli ATCC (25922) and clinical isolates of E. coli was determined by well diffusion method. Myco BR-AgNPs reduced the growth as well as inhibited the biofilm formation in ESBL-producing strains of E. coli. MIC and MBC were determined by using serial microdilution and surface drop method. The MICs were 0.078–0.625 µg/ml and MBCs were 0.312–1.25 µg/ml. The biofilm formation was effectively inhibited by myco BR-AgNPs when compared with control. The expression of CTX-M-15 gene was studied in clinical isolates of E. coli treated with antibiotic (positive control), mycosilver nanoparticles (test) and compared with the other positive control (untreated strains). Interestingly, the expression of CTX-M-15 was downregulated in the samples treated with myco BR-AgNPs. Conclusion The use of myco BR-AgNPs and their growth inhibitory effect on ESBL-positive strains were the main focus of this research. ATCC and ESBL strains used in this study were effectively inhibited by myco BR-AgNPs. The effect of myco BR-AgNPs on the expression of a gene encoding CTX-M-15 was tested on a molecular level, and the observed results showed that the gene expression was reduced when compared with control and antibiotic treatment. According to the current research, myco BR-AgNPs synthesized with the aid of endophytic fungal extract could be used to suppress the growth of ESBL-positive strains of E. coli. Myco BR-AgNPs may be an important alternative to various antibiotics in preventing bacterial resistance if optimized and tested for toxicity.
, Juris Aigars, Rita Poikāne, Juris Tunens
Published: 8 July 2021
by 10.1186
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00523-w

Background Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) is an ecologically significant fish species in the Baltic Sea and has been recognized as a suitable organism to measure concentrations of mercury (Hg) contamination. The adult species occupy a high trophic position; therefore, significant levels of the hazardous substances tend to bioaccumulate in their tissues. However, the ability of the species to inhabit a wide range of feeding ground raises concerns about the adequacy of monitoring data in relation to the representativeness of measured levels of Hg at specific locations. Accounting for the migratory characteristics of this species can shed light on the origin of the analyzed specimens and thus trace Hg uptake chain. Perch samples and potential perch prey were collected at three remote stations in a fully interlinked system river–lake–coastal/transitional waters of the Gulf of Riga. Total mercury (THg) concentration and stable isotope ratios were measured in each sampled item. The perch data were divided into three subgroups associated with specific feeding grounds and one mixed group. A Bayesian mixing model was implemented to quantify the feeding preferences of each group, and based on the results, influence of each food source on Hg uptake by perch was modeled by means of Gaussian GAM model. Results Calculated carbon and nitrogen stable isotope values demonstrated clear evidence of perch specimens migrating between the sampling stations. Substantial proportion of specimens sampled in river and lake stations had isotopic signals consistent with feeding in the gulf. The group of perch associated with feeding in the river grounds exhibited the highest THg concentrations with mean value of 209 µg kg−1 wet weight. The food items C. harengus membras and Crustacean showed significant mitigating effects on THg concentration. The rest of the food items showed a secondary influence on the variation of THg concentration. Conclusions The study clearly showed that the high mobility of perch along associated aquatic systems has a noticeable effect on Hg concentrations measured in the fish. Therefore, trophic position and isotopic signatures, along with identification of the food sources, can serve as important supplementary tools for more accurate data interpretation of Hg accumulation.
Sher Ahmad, Gabriela Vollet Marson, Waheed Ur Rehman, Mohammad Younas, Sarah Farrukh,
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-18; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00520-z

Background In this research work, a coupled heat and mass transfer model was developed for salt recovery from concentrated brine water through an osmotic membrane distillation (OMD) process in a hollow fiber membrane contactor (HFMC).The model was built based on the resistance-in-series concept for water transport across the hydrophobic membrane. The model was adopted to incorporate the effects of polarization layers such as temperature and concentration polarization, as well as viscosity changes during concentration. Results The modeling equations were numerically simulated in MATLAB® and were successfully validated with experimental data from literature with a deviation within the range of 1–5%. The model was then applied to study the effects of key process parameters like feed concentrations, osmotic solution concentration, feed, and osmotic solution flow rates and feed temperature on the overall heat and mass transfer coefficient as well as on water transport flux to improve the process efficiency. The mass balance modeling was applied to calculate the membrane area based on the simulated mass transfer coefficient. Finally, a scale-up for the MD process for salt recovery on an industrial scale was proposed. Conclusions This study highlights the effect of key parameters for salt recovery from wastewater using the membrane distillation process. Further, the applicability of the OMD process for salt recovery on large scale was investigated. Sensitivity analysis was performed to identify the key parameters. From the results of this study, it is concluded that the OMD process can be promising in salt recovery from wastewater.
, Hao Wang, Hongzhe Liu, Guihui Zhong, Larisa Dorzhievna Radnaeva, Elena Nikitina, Gangfeng Ma, Shuguang Liu
Published: 5 July 2021
by 10.1186
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-12; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00521-y

Background Flexible vegetation is an important part of the riverine ecosystem, which can reduce flow velocity, change turbulence structure, and affect the processes of solute transport. Compared with the flow with rigid vegetation, which has been reported in many previous studies, bending of flexible vegetation increases the complexity of the flow–vegetation–solute interactions. In this study, laboratory experiments are carried out to investigate the influence of flexible vegetation on solute transport, and methods for estimating the lateral and longitudinal diffusion coefficients in the rigid vegetated flow are examined for their applications to the flow with flexible vegetation. Results The experimental observations find that vegetation can significantly reduce flow velocity, and the Manning coefficient increases with increasing vegetation density and decreases with inflow discharge. Under all the cases, the vertical peak of the solute concentration moves towards the bottom bed along the flow, and the values of vertical peak concentration longitudinally decreases from the injection point. The lateral diffusion coefficients D y increase with vegetation density, while the longitudinal diffusion coefficients D L are opposite. Both D y and D L increase with the inflow discharge. To estimate the D y and D L in the flow with flexible vegetation, an effective submerged vegetation height considering vegetation bending is incorporated in the methods proposed for flow with rigid vegetation (Lou et al. Environ Sci Eur 32:15, 2020). The modified approach can well predict the diffusion coefficients in the experiments with the relative errors in the range of 5%–12%. Conclusions The methods proposed in this study can be used to estimate the lateral and longitudinal diffusion coefficients in flows through both rigid and flexible vegetations using the effective submerged vegetation height.
Keunoh Choi, Seunghye Sim, Junyeong Choi, Choa Park, Yoonhee Uhm, Eunkyung Lim, Augustine Yonghwi Kim, Seong Joon Yoo,
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00517-8

Background The World Health Organization declared COVID-19, the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, handwashing, using hand sanitizer, and wearing facial masks are recommended as the first line of protection against COVID-19. Encouraging hand hygiene may be one of the most cost-effective means of reducing the global burden of disease. Methods This study uses a web-based questionnaire to evaluate the usage patterns and consumer perceptions of the effectiveness and health safety of bar soap, liquid hand soap, and hand sanitizer products before and after the spread of COVID-19. Results The results show that since the outbreak of COVID-19, the number of consumers who primarily use bar soap has decreased from 71.8 to 51.4%, the number of those who primarily use liquid hand soap has increased from 23.5 to 41.3%, and the number of those who use and carry hand sanitizer has increased. The frequency of use, duration of use, and amount used of all three products have increased significantly since the COVID-19 outbreak. Finally, consumer perception of the products’ preventive effect against COVID-19 is higher for liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer than it is for bar soap. Conclusions Because use of hand sanitizers has increased, public health guidelines must address the potential risks associated them. Our data also show that the public is abiding by the recommendations of the regulatory authorities. As handwashing has become important in preventing COVID-19 infections, the results of our study will support the development of better handwashing guidelines and a public health campaign.
, Timm Zöltzer, , , Sara Jaddoudi, Yassine El Maataoui, Abdelmalek Dahchour,
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-15; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00513-y

Background Veterinary pharmaceuticals can enter the environment when excreted after application and burden terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. However, knowledge about the basic process of sorption in soils and sediments is limited, complicating regulatory decisions. Therefore, batch equilibrium studies were conducted for the widely used antiparasitics abamectin, doramectin, ivermectin, and moxidectin to add to the assessment of their environmental fate. Results We examined 20 soil samples and six sediments from Germany and Morocco. Analysis was based on HPLC-fluorescence detection after derivatization. For soils, this resulted in distribution coefficients K D of 38–642 mL/g for abamectin, doramectin, and ivermectin. Moxidectin displayed K D between 166 and 3123 mL/g. Normalized to soil organic carbon, log K OC coefficients were 3.63, 3.93, 4.12, and 4.74 mL/g, respectively, revealing high affinity to organic matter of soils and sediments. Within sediments, distribution resulted in higher log K OC of 4.03, 4.13, 4.61, and 4.97 mL/g for the four substances. This emphasizes the diverse nature of organic matter in both environmental media. The results also confirm a newly reported log KOW for ivermectin which is higher than longstanding assumptions. Linear sorption models facilitate comparison with other studies and help establish universal distribution coefficients for the environmental risk assessment of veterinary antiparasitics. Conclusions Since environmental exposure affects soils and sediments, future sorption studies should aim to include both matrices to review these essential pharmaceuticals and mitigate environmental risks from their use. The addition of soils and sediments from the African continent (Morocco) touches upon possible broader applications of ivermectin for human use. Especially for ivermectin and moxidectin, strong sorption further indicates high hydrophobicity and provides initial concern for potential aquatic or terrestrial ecotoxicological effects such as bioaccumulation. Our derived K OW estimates also urge to re-assess this important regulatory parameter with contemporary techniques for all four substances. Graphic abstract
Ying Shao, Yueting Fan, Yinjie Yang, Min Zhou, Tingting Li, Fang Fang, Chenchen Wang, Yanxue Jiang, Zhongli Chen,
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-11; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00518-7

Background In rural areas, the surface water quality is seriously threatened by pollution from agriculture, breeding, industrial and tourism activities. Even though many strategies and programs were launched for rural environment management, it is challenging to tackle the serious surface water pollution in villages. Since pollution status varies with the type of villages, there is no single parameter that defines environment quality completely. Until recently, most of rural surface water quality monitoring programs focus only on the conventional parameters, while can these conventional parameters reflect comprehensive status of water quality? To study how much the conventional parameters contribute to biological toxicity of surface water in villages, the in situ parameters of pH, DO, EC, ORP, laboratorial parameters of COD, TN, NO3 −-N, NO2 −-N, NH4 +-N, TP, and PO4 3−-P and acute toxicity were analyzed for the surface water samples those were collected from six types of villages, named breeding, agricultural, handicraft, industrial, agricultural and breeding, and tourism. The correlation analysis was applied to establish the linkages and contributions of each parameter. Results The results showed that all detected surface waters were alkaline, and the concentration of TN and most of COD concentrations in all six types of villages were higher than the Class V limits specified in environmental quality standards for surface water (GB3838-2002). Pearson’s correlation analysis showed that significantly positive correlations were found for the acute toxicity effects and laboratorial parameters of NO2 −-N, NH4 +-N and PO4 3−-P in agricultural villages, and negative correlations were found for the acute toxicity effects and laboratorial parameters of TN and NO3 −-N. No significant correlation was observed in breeding villages and industrial villages. Conclusion The problems of nitrogen pollution and aerobic pollution are still serious in villages, and more attention should be paid in further rural environment management. NH4 +-N could contribute to the acute toxicity of surface water in the most of investigated villages, while no significant correlation was observed between acute toxicity and conventional parameters in industrial villages and tourism villages. Environmental monitoring programs focusing just on the classical conventional parameters are far from sufficient, since the main toxic contributors are quite different in diverse villages. The outcomes of the present study contribute to demonstrate the performance and usefulness of bioanalytical techniques for water quality assessment.
Ines Heisterkamp, Monika Ratte, , Stefan Gartiser, Ute Kalbe, Outi Ilvonen
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-14; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00514-x

Background A European inter-laboratory test with 29 participating laboratories investigated whether a battery of four ecotoxicological tests is suitable for assessing the environmental compatibility of construction products. For this purpose, a construction product was investigated with the dynamic surface leaching test (DIN CEN/TS 16637-2) and the percolation test (DIN CEN/TS 16637-3). The eluates were produced centrally by one laboratory and were tested by the participants using the following biotests: algae test (ISO 8692), acute daphnia test (ISO 6341), luminescent bacteria test (DIN EN ISO 11348), and fish egg test (DIN EN ISO 15088). As toxicity measures, EC50 and LID values were calculated. Results Toxic effects of the eluates were detected by all four biotests. The bacteria test was by far the most sensitive, followed by the algae test and the daphnia test; the fish egg test was the least sensitive for eluates of both leaching tests. The toxicity level of the eluates was very high in the bacteria, daphnia, and algae test, with lowest ineffective dilution values of LID = 70 to LID = 13,000 and corresponding EC50 values around or even below 1 volume percent. The reproducibility (approximated by interlaboratory variability) of the biotests was good (< 53%) to very good (< 20%), regardless of the toxicity level of the eluates. The reproducibility of the algae test was up to 80%, and thus still acceptable. Conclusion It can be confirmed that the combination of leaching and ecotoxicity tests is suitable to characterize with sufficient reproducibility the environmental impact posed by the release of hazardous substances from construction products.
Ingo B. Miller, Sascha Pawlowski, Matthias Y. Kellermann, Mechtild Petersen-Thiery, Mareen Moeller, Samuel Nietzer, Peter J. Schupp
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-13; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00515-w

Background Tropical coral reefs have been recognized for their significant ecological and economical value. However, increasing anthropogenic disturbances have led to progressively declining coral reef ecosystems on a global scale. More recently, several studies implicated UV filters used in sunscreen products to negatively affect corals and possibly contribute to regional trends in coral decline. Following a public debate, bans were implemented on several organic UV filters and sunscreen products in different locations including Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Palau. This included banning the widely used oxybenzone and octinoxate, while promoting the use of inorganic filters such as zinc oxide even although their toxicity towards aquatic organisms had been documented previously. The bans of organic UV filters were based on preliminary scientific studies that showed several weaknesses as there is to this point no standardized testing scheme for scleractinian corals. Despite the lack of sound scientific proof, the latter controversial bans have already resulted in the emergence of a new sunscreen market for products claimed to be ‘reef safe’ (or similar). Thus, a market analysis of ‘reef safe’ sunscreen products was conducted to assess relevant environmental safety aspects of approved UV filters, especially for coral reefs. Further, a scientifically sound decision-making process in a regulatory context is proposed. Results Our market analysis revealed that about 80% of surveyed sunscreens contained inorganic UV filters and that there is a variety of unregulated claims being used in the marketing of ‘reef safe’ products with ‘reef friendly’ being the most frequently used term. Predominantly, four organic UV filters are used in ‘reef safe’ sunscreens in the absence of the banned filters oxybenzone and octinoxate. Analysis of safe threshold concentrations for marine water retrieved from existing REACH registration dossiers could currently also safeguard corals. Conclusion There is a substantial discrepancy of treatments of organic versus inorganic UV filters in politics as well as in the ‘reef safe’ sunscreen market, which to this point is not scientifically justified. Thus, a risk-based approach with equal consideration of organic and inorganic UV filters is recommended for future regulatory measures as well as a clear definition and regulation of the ‘reef safe’ terminology.
Dong Won Jeon, , Yoon-Hee Jang, , Taehun Ryu,
Environmental Sciences Europe, Volume 33, pp 1-12; doi:10.1186/s12302-021-00516-9

Background The drought environment occurs frequently due to the unpredictable future climate change, and drought has a direct negative impact on crops, such as yield reduction. Drought events are random, frequent, and persistent. Molecular breeding can be used to create drought-tolerant food crops, but the safety of genetically modified (GM) plants must be demonstrated before they can be adopted. In this research, the environmental risk of drought-tolerant GM rice was explored by assessing phenotype and gene flow. Drought resistance genes CaMsrB2 inserted HV8 and HV23 were used as GM rice to analyze the possibility of various agricultural traits and gene flow along with non-GM rice. Results When the traits 1000-grain weight, grain length/width, and yield, were compared with GM rice and non-GM rice, all agricultural traits of GM rice and non-GM rice were the same. In addition, when the germination rate, viviparous germination rate, pulling strength, and bending strength were compared to analyze the possibility of weediness, all characteristic values of GM rice and non-GM rice were the same. Protein, amylose, and moisture, the major nutritional elements of rice, were also the same. Conclusions The results of this research are that GM rice and non-GM rice were the same in all major agricultural traits except for the newly assigned characteristics, and no gene mobility occurred. Therefore, GM rice can be used as a means to solve the food problem in response to the unpredictable era of climate change in the future.
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