Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

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Review on research and application of mesoporous transitional metal oxides in water treatment
Minghao SUI, Lei SHE
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 795-802.

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This paper reviews the application of mesoporous transitional metal oxides in water treatment on basis of the catalysis and adsorption. Mesoporous transitional metal oxides are characterized by their intrinsic features, such as a high surface area, a highly ordered array of unidimensional pores with a very narrow pore size distribution, and highly dispersed active sites. Finally, the suggestions of further study on application are proposed.

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Predictive models on photolysis and photoinduced toxicity of persistent organic chemicals
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 803-814.

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Photodegradation is a major abiotic transformation pathway of toxic chemicals in the environment, which in some cases might lead to photoinduced toxicities. The data on photodegradation kinetics and photoinduced toxicities of organic chemicals are essential for their risk assessment. However, the relevant data are only available for a limited number of chemicals, due to the difficulty and high cost of experimental determination. Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models that relate photodegradation kinetics or photoinduced toxicity of organic chemicals with their physicochemical properties or molecular structural descriptors may enable simple and fast estimation of their photochemical behaviors. This paper reviews the QSAR models on photodegradation quantum yields and rate constants for toxic organic chemicals in different media including liquid phase, gaseous phase, surfaces of plant leaves, and QSAR models on photoinduced toxicity of organic chemicals to plants, bacteria, and aquatic invertebrates. Further prospects for QSAR model development on photodegradation kinetics and photoinduced toxicity of refractory organic chemicals are proposed.

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Size-resolved aerosol ionic composition and secondary formation at Mount Heng in South Central China
Xinfeng WANG, Wenxing WANG, Likun XUE, Xiaomei GAO, Wei NIE, Yangchun YU, Yang ZHOU, Lingxiao YANG, Qingzhu ZHANG, Tao WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 815-826.

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To understand the size-resolved aerosol ionic composition and the factors influencing secondary aerosol formation in the upper boundary layer in South Central China, size-segregated aerosol samples were collected using a micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI) in spring 2009 at the summit of Mount Heng (1269 m asl), followed by subsequent laboratory analyses of 13 inorganic and organic water-soluble ions. During non-dust-storm periods, the average PM1.8 concentration was 41.8 μg·m-3, contributing to 55% of the PM10. Sulfates, nitrates, and ammonium, the dominant ions in the fine particles, amounted to 46.8% of the PM1.8. Compared with Mount Tai in the North China Plain, the concentrations of both fine and coarse particles and the ions contained therein were substantially lower. When the air masses from Southeast Asia prevailed, intensive biomass burning there led to elevated concentrations of sulfates, nitrates, ammonium, potassium, and chloride in the fine particles at Mount Heng. The air masses originating from the north Gobi brought heavy dust storms that resulted in the remarkable production of sulfates, ammonium, methane sulfonic acid, and oxalates in the coarse particles. Generally, the sulfates were primarily produced in the form of (NH4)2SO4 in the droplet mode via heterogeneous aqueous reactions. Only approximately one-third of the nitrates were distributed in the fine mode, and high humidity facilitated the secondary formation of fine nitrates. The heterogeneous formation of coarse nitrates and ammonium on dry alkaline dust surfaces was found to be less efficient than that on the coarse particles during non-dust-storm periods.

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Dechlorination of 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl by thermal reaction with activated carbon-supported copper or zinc
Yifei SUN, Xin FU, Wei QIAO, Wei WANG, Tianle ZHU, Xinghua LI
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 827-832.

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Activated carbon (AC)-supported copper or zinc made from ion exchange resin (IRCu-C and IRZn-C) have an increased metal load of 557.3 mg?g-1 and 502.8 mg?g-1 compared to those prepared by the traditional method involving impregnation with AC and copper (II) citrate or zinc citrate solution (LaCu-C and LaZn-C) of 12.9 mg?g-1 and 46.0 mg?g-1 respectively. When applied to decompose 2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-hexachlorobiphenyl at 250 °C, IRCu-C achieved higher activity of 99.0% decomposition efficiency than LaCu-C of 84.7%, IRZn-C of 90.5% and LaZn-C of 62.7%. When the reaction temperature rose to 350 °C, all the four kinds of reactants can decompose PCB-153 with efficiency above 90%. Further, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy characterization of IRCu-C before and after the reaction indicated transformation of 19.1% of Cu atoms into Cu2+, illustrating that Cu is the active ingredient or electron donor promoting the decomposition of PCB-153. The mechanism underlying this process differs from a traditional H donor. However, there is no significant change on the surface of IRZn-C before and after the reaction, suggesting that Zn acts as catalyst during the process of PCB-153 decomposition.

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Ozone kinetics of dimethyl sulfide in the presence of water vapor
Haitao WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 833-835.

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The outdoor smog chamber was used to thorough investigate the rate constants of gas-phase reaction between dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and ozone (O3) under conditions of relative humidity 55.0%–67.8% at (296±2)K for the first time. The rate constants were measured, at a total pressure of 1 atm, to be (10.4±0.2) × 10-19 cm3·molecule-1·s-1 at relative humidity of 67.5%±0.3% at 298K, (10.1±0.1) × 10-19 cm3·molecule-1·s-1 at relative humidity of 66.5%±0.5% at 296K, (7.75±0.39) × 10-19 cm3·molecule-1·s-1at relative humidity of 64.8%±0.1% at 294K and (3.42±0.21) × 10-19 cm3·molecule-1·s-1at relative humidity of 55.8%±0.8% at 295K. Base on these results, it is possible to see the reaction of O3/DMS in the presence of water vapor as an important sink for DMS in the earth atmosphere.

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Removal of sulfadiazine from aqueous solution on kaolinite
Jian XU, Yan HE, Yuan ZHANG, Changsheng GUO, Lei LI, Yuqiu WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 836-843.

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The adsorption of sulfadiazine onto kaolinite clay as an alternative adsorbent was examined in aqueous solution. Impacts of the contact time, pH, temperature, ionic strength and coexistent surfactants on the adsorption process were evaluated. The pH significantly influenced the adsorption process, with adsorption being promoted at lower pH due to the cation exchange mechanism. Decreasing ionic strength in the solution was favorable for adsorption, and the addition of cationic and anionic surfactants had negative effects on the adsorption capacity of sulfadiazine on kaolinite. Kinetic experiments showed that the adsorption followed the pseudo-second-order model. The equilibrium adsorption was well described by both Freundlich and Dubinin-Radushkevich (DR) models. According to the DR model, the adsorption mechanism was determined by cationic exchange and weak physical forces. The thermodynamic study showed that sulfadiazine adsorption onto kaolinite was a spontaneous and endothermic reaction.

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Degradation of bisphenol A by microorganisms immobilized on polyvinyl alcohol microspheres
Xue BAI, Hanchang SHI, Zhengfang YE, Qiujin SUN, Qing WANG, Zhongyou WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 844-850.

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In this study, microorganisms (named B111) were immobilized on polyvinyl alcohol microspheres prepared by the inverse suspension crosslinked method. The biodegradation of bisphenol A (BPA) and 4-hydroxybenzaldehyde, a degradation product of BPA, by free and immobilized B111 was investigated. The BPA degradation studies were carried out at initial BPA concentrations ranging from 25 to 150 mg·L-1. The affinity constant Ks and maximum degradation rate Rmax were 98.3 mg·L-1 and 19.7 mg·mg-1VSS·d-1 for free B111, as well as 87.2 mg·L-1 and 21.1 mg·mg-1VSS·d-1 for immobilized B111, respectively. 16S rDNA gene sequence analyses confirmed that the dominant genera were Pseudomonas and Brevundimonas for BPA biodegradation in microorganisms B111.

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Diversity and vertical distributions of sediment bacteria in an urban river contaminated by nutrients and heavy metals
Xunan YANG, Shan HUANG, Qunhe WU, Renduo ZHANG, Guangli LIU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 851-859.

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The aim of this study was to investigate the benthic bacterial communities in different depths of an urban river sediment accumulated with high concentrations of nutrients and metals. Vertical distributions of bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and chemical parameters (nutrients: NH4+, NO3-, dissolved organic carbon, and acid volatile sulfur; metals: Fe, Zn, and Cu) were characterized in 30 cm sediment cores. The bacterial OTUs were measured using the terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Biodiversity indexes and multivariate statistical analyses were used to characterize the spatial distributions of microbial diversity in response to the environmental parameters. Results showed that concentrations of the nutrients and metals in this river sediment were higher than those in similar studies. Furthermore, high microbial richness and diversity appeared in the sediment. The diversity did not vary obviously in the whole sediment profile. The change of the diversity indexes and the affiliations of the OTUs showed that the top layer had different bacterial community structure from deeper layers due to the hydrological disturbance and redox change in the surface sediment. The dominant bacterial OTUs ubiquitously existed in the deeper sediment layers (5–27 cm) corresponding to the distributions of the nutrients and metals. With much higher diversity than the dominant OTUs, the minor bacterial assemblages varied with depths, which might be affected by the sedimentation process and the environmental competition pressure.

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Genotoxicity evaluation of surface waters located in urban area of Xi’an City using Vicia faba bioassays
Yongjun LIU, Aining ZHANG, Xiaoyan MA, Xiaochang WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 860-866.

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In this study, micronucleus (MCN) and chromosome aberration (CA) tests in Vicia faba root tip cells were carried out in order to assess the water quality and the comprehensive genotoxic potential of surface waters located in the urban area of Xi’an City, China. For these evaluations, water samples from different surface waters (four rivers, two lakes, two biological treatment plant effluents) were collected, the ultra-pure water and methyl methanesulfonate solution was used as the negative and positive control, respectively. In our results, highly significant differences in MCN permillage (average number of micronuclei per 1000 cells), CA frequencies and PI (pollution index) values were found among three rivers and two WWTP effluents, the tested samples from two rivers caused the decrease of mitotic index over 22% compared with the negative control. No significant changes were observed in micronuclei and chromosome aberrations frequencies at one river and two lakes during the period of test (wet season). These results point out a poor state of the water quality and genotoxic activity of the main surface waters in Xi’an City. It is recommended to establish a monitoring program for the presence of genotoxic agents in these surface waters.

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End-of-pipe or process-integrated: evidence from LMDI decomposition of China’s SO2 emission density reduction
Pingdan ZHANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 867-874.

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In this study, reduction in sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission is decomposed into three parts: source prevention, process control and end-of-pipe treatment, using the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index method (LMDI). Source prevention and process control are defined as process-integrated treatment. It is found that from 2001 to 2010 the reduction of SO2 emission density in China was mainly contributed by end-of-pipe treatment. From the 10th Five Year Plan (FYP) period (2001–2005) to the 11th FYP period (2006–2010), the Chinese government has attempted to enhance process-integrated treatment. However, given its initial effort, the effect is limited compared with that of the end-of-pipe treatment. The effectiveness of environmental regulation and technology in the reduction of SO2 density in 30 provinces (municipality/autonomous regions) from 2001 to 2010 is also investigated. This implies that environmental regulation and technology promote process control and end-of-pipe treatment significantly, but does not influence source prevention. Furthermore, environmental technology will only take effect under the circumstances of stringent environmental regulation. Therefore, to fulfill the whole process treatment, environmental regulation should be strengthened and environmental technology upgraded at the same time.

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Changes in major factors affecting the ecosystem health of the Weihe River in Shaanxi Province, China
Qi LI, Jinxi SONG, Anlei WEI, Bo ZHANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 875-885.

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Maintenance of the ecosystem health of a river is of great importance for local sustainable development. On the basis of both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the influence of natural variations and human activities on the ecosystem function of the Weihe River, the changes in major factors affecting its ecosystem health are determined, which include: 1) Deficiency of environment flow: since the 1960s, the incoming stream flow shows an obvious decreasing tendency. Even in the low flow period, 80% of the water in the stream is impounded by dams for agriculture irrigation in the Baoji district. As a result, the water flow maintained in the stream for environmental use is very limited. 2) Deterioration of water quality: the concentrations of typical pollutants like Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and NH3-N are higher than their maximum values of the Chinese environmental quality standard. Very few fish species can survive in the River. 3) Deformation of water channels: the continuous channel sedimentation has resulted in the decrease in stream gradient, shrinkage of riverbed and the decline in the capability for flood discharge. 4) Loss of riparian vegetation: most riparian land has been occupied by urban construction activities, which have caused the loss of riparian vegetation and biodiversity and further weakened flood control and water purification functions.

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Removal of non-point pollutants from bridge runoff by a hydrocyclone using natural water head
Jianghua YU, Yeonseok KIM, Youngchul KIM
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 886-895.

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A hydrocyclone using natural water head provided by bridge was operated for the treatment of stormwater runoff. The hydrocyclone was automatically controlled using electronic valve which is connected to a pressure meter. Normally the hydrocyclone was open during dry days, but it was closed after the capture of the first flush. The results indicated that the average pressure and the flow rate were directly affected by the rainfall intensity. The pressure head was more than 2 m when the rainfall intensity was above 5 mm·h-1. The percentage volume of underflow with high solids concentration decreased as the pressure and flow rate increased, but the percentage volume of overflow with almost no solids showed the opposite behavior. The total suspended solids (TSS) concentration ratio between the overflow and inflow (TSSover/TSSin) decreased as a function of the operational pressure, while the corresponding ratio of underflow to inflow (TSSunder/TSSin) increased. The TSS separation efficiency was evaluated based on a mass balance. It ranged from 25% to 99% with the pressure head ranging from 1.4 to 9.7 m, and it was proportional to pressure and flow rate. Normally, the efficiency was more than 50% when the pressure was higher than 2 m. The analysis of the water budget indicated that around 13% of the total runoff was captured by the hydrocyclone as a first flush, and this runoff was separated as underflow and overflow with the respective percentage volumes of 29% and 71%. The pollutants budget was also examined based on a mass balance. The results showed that the percentage of TSS, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP) in underflow were 73%, 59%, 7.6%, and 49%, respectively. Thus, it can be concluded that the hydrocyclone worked well. It separated the first flush as solids-concentrated underflow and solids-absent overflow, and effectively reduced the runoff volume needing further treatment. Finally, four types of optional post treatment design are presented and compared.

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Effects of shear force on formation and properties of anoxic granular sludge in SBR
Xinyan ZHANG, Binbin WANG, Qingqing HAN, Hongmei ZHAO, Dangcong PENG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 896-905.

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This paper reports the effects of shear force on anoxic granular sludge in sequencing batch reactors (SBR). The study was carried out in two SBRs (SBR1 and SBR2) in which sodium acetate (200 mg COD·L-1) was used as the sole substrate and sodium nitrate (40 mgNO3-N·L-1) was employed as the electron acceptor. The preliminary objective of this study was to cultivate anoxic granules in the SBR in order to investigate the effects of shear force on the formation of anoxic granular sludge and to compare the properties of anoxic sludge in the SBR. This study reports new results for the values of average velocity gradient, a measure of the applied shear force, which was varied in the two SBRs (3.79 s-1 and 9.76 s-1 for SBR1 and SBR2 respectively). The important findings of this research highlight the dual effects of shear force on anoxic granules. A low shear force can produce large anoxic granules with high activity and poor settling ability, whereas higher shear forces produce smaller granules with better settling ability and lower activity. The results of this study show that the anoxic granulation is closely related to the strength of the shear force. For high shear force, this research demonstrated that: 1) granules with smaller diameters, high density and good settling ability were formed in the reactor, and 2) granular sludge formed faster than it did in the low shear force reactor (41days versus 76 days). Once a steady-state has been achieved, the nitrate and COD removal rates were found to be 98% and 80%, respectively. For low shear force, such as was applied in SBR1, this research demonstrated that: 1) the activity of anoxic granular sludge in low shear force was higher than that in high shear force, 2) higher amount of soluble microbial products (SMPs) were produced, and 3) large pores were observed inside the larger granules, which are beneficial for nitrogen gas diffusion. Electron microscopic examination of the anoxic granules in both reactors showed that the morphology of the granules was ellipsoidal with a clear outline. Coccus and rod-shaped bacteria were wrapped by filamentous bacteria on the surface of granule.

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Decontamination efficiency and root structure change in the plant-intercropping model in vertical-flow constructed wetlands
Yonghua CHEN, Xiaofu WU, Mingli CHEN, Kelin LI, Jing PENG, Peng ZHAN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 906-912.

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Subtropical climatic conditions can contribute to the death of the aerial parts of constructed wetland plants in winter. This presents a barrier to the widespread application of constructed wetland and is an issue that urgently needs to be solved. Three contrasting experiments, the plant-intercropping model (A), the warm-seasonal plant model (B), and the non-plant model (C), were studied in terms of their efficiency in removing pollutants, and the change in root structure of plants in the plant-intercropping model within the vertical-flow constructed wetlands. The results indicate that model A was able to solve the aforementioned problem. Overall, average removal rates of three pollutants (CODCr, total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorous (TP)) using model A were significantly higher than those obtained using models B and C (P<0.01). Moreover, no significant differences in removal rates of the three pollutants were detected between A and B during the higher temperature part of the year (P>0.05). Conversely, removal rates of the three pollutants were found to be significantly higher using model A than those observed using model B during the lower temperature part of the year (P<0.01). Furthermore, the morphologies and internal structures of plant roots further demonstrate that numerous white roots, whose distribution in soil was generally shallow, extend further under model A. The roots of these aquatic plants have an aerenchyma structure composed of parenchyma cells, therefore, roots of the cold-seasonal plants with major growth advantages used in A were capable of creating a more favorable vertical-flow constructed wetlands media-microenvironment. In conclusion, the plant-intercropping model (A) is more suitable for use in the cold environment experienced by constructed wetland during winter.

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Scaling up a novel denitrifying microbial fuel cell with an oxic-anoxic two stage biocathode
Peng LIANG, Jincheng WEI, Ming LI, Xia HUANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2013, 7 (6): 913-919.

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A scaled up microbial fuel cell (MFC) of a 50 L volume was set up with an oxic-anoxic two-stage biocathode and activated semicoke packed electrodes to achieve simultaneous power generation and nitrogen and organic matter removals. An average maximum power density of 43.1 W·m-3 was obtained in batch operating mode. By adjusting the two external resistances, the denitrification in the A-MFC and power production in the O-MFC could be enhanced. In continuous mode, when the hydraulic retention times were set at 6 h, 8 h and 12 h, the removal efficiencies of COD, NH4+-N and total nitrogen (TN) were higher than 95%, 97%, and 84%, respectively. Meanwhile the removal loads for COD, NH4+-N and TN were10, 0.37 and 0.4 kg·(m3·d)-1, respectively.

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15 articles