Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

2015 Impact Factor: 1.799

Cover Story   2014, Volume 8 Issue 2
   Online First

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Research progress on hydrothermal dissolution and hydrolysis of lignocellulose and lignocellulosic waste
Yan ZHAO, Wenjing LU, Jiajun CHEN, Xiangfeng ZHANG, Hongtao WANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 151-161.

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Ethanol production from lignocellulosic waste has attracted considerable attention because of its feasibility and the generation of valuable products. Previous studies have shown that pretreatment and hydrolysis are key processes for lignocellulose conversion. Hydrothermal process is a promising technique because of its efficiency to break down the lignocellulosic structures and produce fermentable hexoses. Most studies in this field have therefore focused on understanding these processes or optimizing the parameters, but commonly reported low yields of fermentable hexoses. The inability to produce high yields of fermentable hexoses is mainly attributed to inadequate information on the conversion mechanisms of lignocellulose, particularly the reaction rules of dissolution, which is a limiting step in the entire conversion process. This paper critically reviewed the progress done in the research and development of the hydrothermal dissolution and hydrolysis of lignocellulose. Principles, processes, and related studies on separate dissolution and asynchronous hydrolysis of lignin, hemicellulose, and cellulose are presented. Potential research prospects are also suggested.

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CO2 adsorption performance of ZIF-7 and its endurance in flue gas components
Jiangkun XIE, Naiqiang YAN, Fei LIU, Zan QU, Shijian YANG, Ping LIU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 162-168.

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Porous ZIF-7 with the sodalite (SOD) cage structure (ZIF, Zeolitic imidazolate framework) were synthesized by the solvothermal method. Synthesized material was characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), thermal gravity (TG), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and N2 adsorption analysis. ZIF-8 with the SOD structure and a little larger pore window was synthesized in a similar way and was characterized for comparisons. Thermal stability and structural stability of ZIF-7 were tested through PXRD analysis, and the capability of the material for CO2 capture from simulated flue gas was investigated through physical adsorption method. The results showed that CO2 adsorption capacity on ZIF-7 was about 48 mL·g-1 while the capacity on ZIF-8 was about 18 mg·g-1 (at 12°C and 0.98 P/P0 relative pressure). Furthermore, the impact of flue gas components on adsorption capacity of ZIF-7 and the selectivity of CO2 against N2 on ZIF-7 was also investigated in this work.

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Simultaneous removal of arsenate and fluoride from water by Al-Fe (hydr)oxides
Junlian QIAO, Zimin CUI, Yuankui SUN, Qinghai HU, Xiaohong GUAN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 169-179.

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Al-Fe (hydr)oxides with different Al/Fe molar ratios (4∶1, 1∶1, 1∶4, 0∶1) were prepared using a co-precipitation method and were then employed for simultaneous removal of arsenate and fluoride. The 4Al:Fe was superior to other adsorbents for removal of arsenate and fluoride in the pH range of 5.0–9.0. The adsorption capacity of the Al-Fe (hydr)oxides for arsenate and fluoride at pH 6.5±0.3 increased with increasing Al content in the adsorbents. The linear relationship between the amount of OH- released from the adsorbent and the amount of arsenate or fluoride adsorbent by 4Al:Fe indicated that the adsorption of arsenate and fluoride by Al-Fe (hydr)oxides was realized primarily through quantitative ligand exchange. Moreover, there was a very good correlation between the surface hydroxyl group densities of Al-Fe (hydr)oxides and their adsorption capacities for arsenate or fluoride. The highest adsorption capacity for arsenate and fluoride by 4Al:Fe is mainly ascribed to its highest surface hydroxyl group density besides its largest pHpzc. The dosage of adsorbent necessary to remove arsenate and fluoride to meet the drinking water standard was mainly determined by the presence of fluoride since fluoride was generally present in groundwater at much higher concentration than arsenate.

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Electrocatalytic debromination of BDE-47 at palladized graphene electrode
Hongtao YU, Bin MA, Shuo CHEN, Qian ZHAO, Xie QUAN, Shahzad AFZAL
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 180-187.

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Graphene electrodes (Ti/Gr) were prepared by depositing Gr sheets on Ti substrate, followed by an annealing process for enhancing the adhesion strength. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopies and X-ray diffraction patterns displayed that the electrochemical behavior of Ti/Gr electrodes can be improved due to the generation of TiO2 layer at Ti-Gr interface during the annealing process. The palladized Gr electrodes (Ti/Gr/Pd) were prepared by electrochemical depositing Pd nanoparticles on Gr sheets. The debromination ability of Ti/Gr/Pd electrodes was investigated using BDE-47 as a target pollutant with various bias potentials. The results indicated that the BDE-47 degradation rates on Ti/Gr/Pd electrodes increased with the negative bias potentials from 0 V to -0.5 V (vs. SCE). Almost all of the BDE-47 was removed in the debromination reaction on the Ti/Gr/Pd electrode at -0.5 V for 3 h, and the main product was diphenyl ethers, meaning it is promising to debrominate completely using the Ti/Gr/Pd electrode. Although the debromination rate was slightly slower at -0.3 V than that under -0.5 V, the current efficiency at -0.3 V was higher, because the electrical current acted mostly on BDE-47 rather than on water.

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Oxidative treatment of aqueous monochlorobenzene with thermally-activated persulfate
Qishi LUO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 188-194.

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The oxidation of aqueous monochlorobenzene (MCB) solutions using thermally- activated persulfate has been investigated. The influence of reaction temperature on the kinetics of MCB oxidation was examined, and the Arrenhius Equation rate constants at 20°C, 30°C, 40°C, 50°C, and 60°C for MCB oxidation performance were calculated as 0, 0.001, 0.002, 0.015, 0.057 min-1, which indicates that elevated temperature accelerated the rate. The most efficient molar ratio of persulfate/MCB for MCB oxidation was determined to be 200 to 1 and an increase in the rate constants suggests that the oxidation process proceeded more rapidly with increasing persulfate/MCB molar ratios. In addition, the reactivity of persulfate in contaminated water is partly influenced by the presence of background ions such as Cl-, HCO3-, SO42-, and NO3-. Importantly, a scavenging effect in rate constant was observed for both Cl- and CO32- but not for other ions. The effective thermally activated persulfate oxidation of MCB in groundwater from a real contaminated site was achieved using both elevated reaction temperature and increased persulfate/MCB molar ratio.

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Detailed analysis of PCBs and PCDD/Fs impurities in a dielectric oil sample (ASKAREL Nr 1740) from an imported transformer in China
Jun HUANG, Yamei HUI, Toru MATSUMURA, Gang YU, Shubo DENG, Makoto YAMAUCHI, Changmin WU, Norimasa YAMAZAKI
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 195-204.

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Homolog and congener profiles of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p- dioxins (PCDDs) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) in commercial PCBs formulations are useful information for the source appointment of PCBs contamination as well as the risk assessment caused by potential exposure. Dielectric oil (ASKAREL Nr 1740) in an imported transformer found in China was sampled and analyzed by isotope dilution technology using high resolution gas chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS). The detailed homolog and congener profiles of PCBs obtained were compared with those of known Aroclor formulations. High similarity in the homolog profile between the oil sample and Aroclor 1260 was found, with the hexachlorinated and heptachlorinated biphenyls accounting for more than 80.2% of the total PCBs concentration. Severn indicator PCBs contribute about 30%, while 12 PCB congeners (i.e., #153, #143, #168, #180, #149, #165, #138, #170, #190, #187, #174, #181) account for more than 50% of the total PCB concentrations. Total concentration of PCDDs, PCDFs and dioxin-like PCBs (DL-PCBs) was found to be 740 ng TEQ/g, of which 620 ng TEQ/g came from DL-PCBs. The contribution of PCDDs to the total TEQ was neglectable. The concentration of PCDFs homologs follows the order of OCDF>HxCDFs>HpCDFs>PeCDFs>TeCDFs, which is in consistence with the previous study on Aroclor 1260. Three DL-PCBs congeners (i.e., #118, #156, #157) accounted for 77% of the total concentration of DL-PCBs, also they contribute 72% in the TEQ caused by DL-PCBs.

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Responses of bacterial strains isolated from drinking water environments to N-acyl-L-homoserine lactones and their analogs during biofilm formation
Zhuoying WU, Qing WANG, Feng GUO, Shenghua ZHANG, Qipei JIANG, Xin YU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 205-214.

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Often as a result of biofilm formation, drinking water distribution systems (DWDS) are regularly faced with the problem of microbial contamination. Quorum sensing (QS) systems play a marked role in the regulation of microbial biofilm formation; thus, inhibition of QS systems may provide a promising approach to biofilm formation control in DWDS. In the present study, 22 bacterial strains were isolated from drinking water-related environments. The following properties of the strains were investigated: bacterial biofilm formation capacity, QS signal molecule N-acyl-L-homoserine lactones (AHLs) production ability, and responses to AHLs and AHL analogs, 3-chloro-4-(dichloromethyl)-5-hydroxy-2(5H)-furanone (MX) and 2(5H)-furanone. Four AHLs were added to developed biofilms at dosages ranging from 0.1?nmol·L-1 to 100 nmol·L-1. As a result, the biofilm growth of more than 1/4 of the isolates, which included AHL producers and non-producers, were significantly promoted. Further, the biofilm biomasses were closely associated with respective AHLs concentrations. These results provided evidence to support the idea that AHLs play a definitive role in biofilm formation in many of the studied bacteria. Meanwhile, two AHLs analogs demonstrated unexpectedly minimal negative effects on biofilm formation. This suggested that, in order to find an applicable QS inhibition approach for biofilm control in DWDS, the testing and analysis of more analogs is needed.

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Role of biologic components in a novel floating-bed combining Ipomoea aquatic, Corbicula fluminea and biofilm carrier media
Hailiang SONG, Xianning LI, Wei LI, Xiwu LU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 215-225.

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A novel floating-bed incorporated with water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), Asiatic clam (Corbicula fluminea), and carrier media supported biofilm was developed for eutrophic water purification. The contributions of each biologic component to the removals of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and Chl.a were examined. The nutrient removals due to the direct uptake by either water spinach or Asiatic clam were less than 10%, suggesting a negligible role of biologic assimilation and leaving the biofilm as the indispensable biologic component in the floating-bed. Chl.a was reduced mainly by Asiatic clams via filter-feeding. Meanwhile, the digestion and excretion of Asiatic clams benefited the proliferation of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria, resulting in the improvement of TN removal. In summary, the synergetic effects of water spinach, Asiatic clams and biofilms would promote the eutrophic water treatment performance of floating-bed in comparison with the conventional floating-bed with vegetation as the single biologic component.

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Comparisons in subcellular and biochemical behaviors of cadmium between low-Cd and high-Cd accumulation cultivars of pakchoi (Brassica chinensis L.)
Meng XUE, Yihui ZHOU, Zhongyi YANG, Biyun LIN, Jiangang YUAN, Shanshan WU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 226-238.

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Subcellular distributions and chemical forms of cadmium (Cd) in the leaves, stems and roots were investigated in low-Cd accumulation cultivars and high-Cd accumulation cultivars of pakchoi (Brassica chinensis L.). Root cell wall played a key role in limiting soil Cd from entering the protoplast, especially in the low-Cd cultivars. The high-Cd cultivars had significantly higher leaf and stem Cd concentrations than the low-Cd cultivars in cell wall fraction, chloroplast/trophoplast fraction, organelle fraction and soluble fraction. In low-Cd cultivars, which were more sensitive and thus had greater physiological needs of Cd detoxification than high-Cd cultivars, leaf vacuole sequestrated higher proportions of Cd. Cd in the form of pectate/protein complexes (extracted by 1 mol·L-1 NaCl) played a decisive role in Cd translocation from root to shoot, which might be one of the mechanisms that led to the differences in shoot Cd accumulation between the two types of cultivars. Furthermore, the formation of Cd-phosphate complexes (extracted by 2% HAc) was also involved in Cd detoxification within the roots of pakchoi under high Cd stress, suggesting that the mechanisms of Cd detoxification might be different between low- and high-Cd cultivars.

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An interval joint-probabilistic programming method for solid waste management: a case study for the city of Tianjin, China
Yi XU, Shunze WU, Hongkuan ZANG, Guiguang HOU
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 239-255.

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Currently, environmental protection and resources conservation continue to be challenges faced by solid-waste managers in China. These challenges are being further compounded by rapid socioeconomic development and population growth associated with increased waste generation rates and decreased waste disposal capacities. In response to these challenges, an interval joint-probabilistic mixed-integer programming (IJMP) method is developed for supporting long-term planning of waste management activities in the city of Tianjin, which is one of the largest municipalities in the northern part of China. In the IJMP, joint probabilistic constraints are introduced into an interval-parameter mixed-integer programming framework, such that uncertainties presented in terms of interval values and random variables can be reflected. Moreover, a number of violation levels for the waste-management-capacity constraints are examined, which can facilitate in-depth analyses of tradeoffs among economic objective and system-failure risk. The results indicate that reasonable solutions have been generated. They are valuable for supporting the adjustment of the city’s existing waste-management practices and the long-term planning of the city’s waste-management facilities.

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Vanadium metabolism investigation using substance flow and scenario analysis
Fangfang ZHANG, Huiquan LI, Bo CHEN, Xue GUAN, Yi ZHANG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 256-266.

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Vanadium is a vital strategic resource, and vanadium metabolism is an important part of the national socio-economic system of China. This study conducts accounting and scenario analysis on the life cycle of vanadium metabolism in China. Based on the characteristics of vanadium life cycle and substance flow analysis (SFA) framework, we present a quantitative evaluation of a static anthropogenic vanadium life cycle for the year 2010. Results show that anthropogenic vanadium consumption, stocks, and new domestic scrap are at 98.2, 21.2, and 4.1 kt, respectively; new scrap is usually discarded. The overall utilization ratio of vanadium is 32.2%. A large amount of vanadium is stockpiled into tailings, debris, slags, and other spent solids. A scenario analysis was conducted to analyze the future developmental trend of vanadium metabolism in China based on the SFA framework and the qualitative analysis of technology advancement and socio-economic development. The baseline year was set as 2010. Several indicators were proposed to simulate different scenarios from 2010 to 2030. The scenario analysis indicates that the next 20 years is a critical period for the vanadium industry in China. This paper discusses relevant policies that contribute to the improvement of sustainable vanadium utilization in China.

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Enhanced dewatering characteristics of waste activated sludge with Fenton pretreatment: effectiveness and statistical optimization
Guangyin ZHEN, Xueqin LU, Baoying WANG, Youcai ZHAO, Xiaoli CHAI, Dongjie NIU, Tiantao ZHAO
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 267-276.

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In this work, the enhanced dewaterabing characteristics of waste activated sludge using Fenton pretreatment was investigated in terms of effectiveness and statistical optimization. Response surface method (RSM) and central composite design (CCD) were applied to evaluate and optimize the effectiveness of important operational parameters, i.e., H2O2 concentrations, Fe2+ concentrations and initial pH values. A significant quadratic polynomial model was obtained (R2= 0.9189) with capillary suction time (CST) reduction efficiency as the response. Numerical optimization based on desirability function was carried out. The optimum values for H2O2, Fe2+, and initial pH were found to be 178 mg·g-1 VSS (volatile suspended solids), 211 mg·g-1 VSS and 3.8, respectively, at which CST reduction efficiency of 98.25% could be achieved. This complied well with those predicted by the established polynomial model. The results indicate that Fenton pretreatment is an effective technique for advanced waste activated sludge dewatering. The enhancement of sludge dewaterability by Fenton’s reagent lies in the migration of sludge bound water due to the disintegration of sludge flocs and microbial cells lysis.

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Remediation of soil heavily polluted with polychlorinated biphenyls using a low-temperature plasma technique
Xiuhua LI, Haibo ZHANG, Yongming LUO, Ying TENG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 277-283.

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Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were removed by low-temperature plasma technique (dielectric barrier discharge) from heavily polluted soil and their intermediate products were analyzed. The removal rate ranged from 40.1 to 84.6% by different treatments, and they were also influenced significantly (P<0.01) by soil particle-size, electric power, gas flow rate and reaction time. The optimal reaction conditions of PCB removal from the soil were obtained experimentally when soil particle-size, electrical power, flow rate and reaction time were 5–10 mm, 21 w, 120 mL· min-1 and 90 min, respectively. However, decreasing electrical power, flow rate and reaction time to 18 w, 60 mL· min-1 and 60 min respectively were also acceptable in view of the cost of remediation. This technique was characterized by the additional advantage of thorough oxidation of PCBs in the soil, with no formation of intermediate products after reaction. The technique therefore shows some promise for application in the remediation of soils contaminated with persistent organic pollutants in brown field sites in urban areas.

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Investigation on sampling artifacts of particle associated PAHs using ozone denuder systems
Kai LIU, Fengkui DUAN, Kebin HE, Yongliang MA, Yuan CHENG
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 284-292.

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are complex organic compounds which are identified as significant carcinogenic to human health. PAHs (mainly in particle phase) are susceptible to atmospheric oxidant gases, especially ozone, nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydroxyl radical (OH), and could be degraded on filters during sampling process, leading to an underestimation of ambient PAH concentrations. The goal of this work was to investigate particle associated PAHs sampling artifacts caused by ozone in summer of Beijing. Comparative sampling systems were operated simultaneously during the whole campaign, one with activated carbon ozone denuder, the other being set as conventional sampling system. Activated carbon denuder was testified to be highly efficient to eliminate ozone from air stream. In general, nine particle-bound PAHs observed from conventional sampler were all lower than those from ozone denuder system. The total PAHs (particle phase) concentration was averagely underestimated by 35.9% in conventional sampling procedure. Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) had the highest percentage of mass loss. Ambient temperature was founded to have influences on PAHs sampling artifacts. High temperature can increase loss of particle associated PAHs during sampling.

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Bioremediation of highly contaminated oilfield soil: Bioaugmentation for enhancing aromatic compounds removal
Jun QIAO, Chengdong ZHANG, Shuiming LUO, Wei CHEN
Front Envir Sci Eng. 2014, 8 (2): 293-304.

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This study evaluated the effectiveness of different amendments—including a commercial NPK fertilizer, a humic substance (HS), an organic industrial waste (NovoGro), and a yeast-bacteria consortium—in the remediation of highly contaminated (up to 6% of total petroleum hydrocarbons) oilfield soils. The concentrations of hydrocarbon, soil toxicity, physicochemical properties of the soil, microbial population numbers, enzyme activities and microbial community structures were examined during the 90-d incubation. The results showed that the greatest degradation of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) was observed with the biostimulation using mixture of NPK, HS and NovoGro, a treatment scheme that enhanced both dehydrogenase and lipase activities in soil. Introduction of exogenous hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria (in addition to biostimulation with NPK, HS and NovoGro) had negligible effect on the removal of TPH, which was likely due to the competition between exogenous and autochthonous microorganisms. Nonetheless, the addition of exogenous yeast-bacteria consortium significantly enhanced the removal of the aromatic fraction of the petroleum hydrocarbons, thus detoxifying the soil. The effect of bioaugmentation on the removal of more recalcitrant petroleum hydrocarbon fraction was likely due to the synergistic effect of bacteria and fungi.

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15 articles