Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Effective degradation of tetracycline by mesoporous Bi2WO6 under visible light irradiation
Xiaolong CHU,Guoqiang SHAN,Chun CHANG,Yu FU,Longfei YUE,Lingyan ZHU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 211-218.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0753-y

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Bi2WO6 was synthesized with a hydrothermal method at different pHs and used for the degradation of tetracycline (TC) in water. The mesoporous Bi2WO6 prepared at pH 1 (BWO-1) displayed the highest adsorption and degradation capacity to TC due to its large surface area and more efficient capacity to separate photogenerated electrons and holes. 97% of TC at 20 mg·L−1 was removed by BWO-1 at 0.5 g·L−1 after 120 min irradiation under simulated solar light. Only 31% of the total organic carbon (TOC) was removed after 360 min irradiation although the TC removal reached 100%, suggesting that TC was mainly transformed to intermediate products rather than completely mineralized. The intermediates were identified by high-performance liquid chromatography-time of flight-mass spectrometry (HPLC-TOF-MS) and possible photodegradation pathways were proposed.

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Optimized porous clay heterostructure for removal of acetaldehyde and toluene from indoor air
Pu ZHAO,Lizhong ZHU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 219-228.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0760-z

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Adsorption is the most widely used technology for the removal of indoor volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, existing adsorbent-based technologies are inadequate to meet the regulatory requirement, due to their limited adsorption capacity and efficiency, especially under high relative humidity (RH) conditions. In this study, a series of new porous clay heterostructure (PCH) adsorbents with various ratios of micropores to mesopores were synthesized, characterized and tested for the adsorption of acetaldehyde and toluene. Two of them, PCH25 and PCH50, exhibited markedly improved adsorption capability, especially for hydrophilic acetaldehyde. The improved adsorption was attributed to their large micropore areas and high micropore-to-mesopore volume ratios. The amount of acetaldehyde adsorbed onto PCH25 at equilibrium reached 62.7 mg·g−1, eight times as much as the amount adsorbed onto conventional activated carbon (AC). Even at a high RH of 80%, PCH25 removed seven and four times more of the acetaldehyde than AC and the unmodified raw PCHs did, respectively. This new PCH optimized for their high adsorption and resistance to humidity has promising applications as a cost-effective adsorbent for indoor air purification.

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Photocatalytic degradation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in pure water system
Min ZHANG,Jian LU,Yiliang HE,P Chris WILSON
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 229-235.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0762-x

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Due to the low water solubility of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, organic solvent is usually added into the oxidation system to enhance the removal efficiency. In this study the photocatalytic degradation of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209), a type of polybrominated diphenyl ether used throughout the world, in pure water without the addition of organic solvent was investigated. In the pure water system, BDE209 was not dissolved but dispersed as nano-scale particles with a mean diameter of 166 nm. Most of BDE209 (>98%) were removed within 4 h and the final debromination ratio was greater than 80%. Although the addition of organic solvent (tetrahydrofuran, THF) could lead to a relatively high BDE209 degradation rate, the final debromination ratio (<50%) was much lower than that in pure water system. Major oxidation intermediates of tetrahydrofuran, including tetrahydro-2-furanol and γ-butyrolactone, were detected indicating the engagement of THF in the BDE209 degradation process. The photocatalytic degradation of BDE209 in the pure water system followed first-order kinetics. The BDE209 degradation rate constant increased from 0.0011 to 0.0023 min−1 as the pH increased from 3 to 9.

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Removal of elemental mercury by KI-impregnated clay
Boxiong SHEN,Jianhong CHEN,Ji CAI
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 236-243.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0765-7

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This study described the use of clay impregnated by KI in gas phase elemental mercury (Hgo) removal in flue gas. The effects of KI loading, temperature, O2, SO2 and H2O on Hgo removal were investigated using a fixed bed reactor. The Hgo removal efficiency of KI-clay with 3% KI loading could maintain at a high level (approximately 80 %) after 3 h. The KI-clay demonstrated to be a potential adsorbent for Hgo removal when compared with activated carbon based adsorbent. O2 was found to be an important factor in improving the Hgo removal. O2 was demonstrated to assist the transfer of KI to I2 on the surface of KI-clay, which could react with Hgo directly. NO and SO2 could slightly improve Hgo removal, while H2O inhibited it greatly. The results indicated that after adsorption, most of the mercury escaped from the surface again. Some of the mercury may have been oxidized as it left the surface. The results demonstrated that the chemical reaction primarily occurred between KI and mercury on the surface of the KI-clay.

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Online single particle analysis of chemical composition and mixing state of crop straw burning particles: from laboratory study to field measurement
Juntao HUO,Xiaohui LU,Xinning WANG,Hong CHEN,Xingnan YE,Song Gao,Deborah S. Gross,Jianmin CHEN,Xin YANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 244-252.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0768-z

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Fresh straw burning (SB) particles were generated in the laboratory by the combustion of rice straw and corn straw. The chemical composition and mixing state of the fresh SB particles were investigated by an Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS). Based on the mass spectral patterns, the SB particles were clustered into four major types: Salt, Organic Carbon (OC), Elemental Carbon (EC), and internally mixed particles of EC and OC (EC-OC). In addition, particles containing ash, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals or nicotine were also observed. Physical and chemical changes of the SB particles immediately after the emission were analyzed with highly time-resolved data. During the aging processes, the average particle size increased steadily. Freshly emitted organic compounds were gradually oxidized to more oxygenated compounds in the OC-containing particles. Meanwhile, an important displacement reaction (2KCl+ SO42→ K2SO4 + 2Cl) was observed. The marker ions for SB particles were optimized and applied to identify the SB particles in the ambient atmosphere. The fluctuation of the number fraction of ambient SB particles sorted by ATOFMS agrees well with that of water soluble K+ measured by an online ion chromatography, demonstrating that the optimized marker ions could be good tracers for SB particles in field measurements.

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Effects of reducing agent and approaching anodes on chromium removal in electrokinetic soil remediation
Xiaona WEI,Shuhai GUO,Bo WU,Fengmei LI,Gang LI
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 253-261.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0791-0

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A soil remediation method combining in situ reduction of Cr(VI) with approaching anodes electrokinetic (AAs-EK) remediation is proposed. EK experiments were conducted to compare the effect of approaching anodes (AAs) and fixed electrodes (FEs) with and without sodium bisulfite (NaHSO3) as a reducing agent. When NaHSO3 was added to the soil before EK treatment, 90.3% of the Cr(VI) was reduced to Cr(III). EK experiments showed that the adverse effect of contrasting migration of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) species, which limits the practical application of this technique, was eliminated in the presence of the reducing agent. Furthermore, Tessier fractionation analysis indicated that the reducing agent changed the distribution of the chemical forms of Cr. The AAs-EK method was shown to acidize the soil as the anode moved toward the cathode and this acid front pushed the “focusing” region toward the cathode. After remediation, the pH of the soil was between 1.8 and 5.0 in AAs-EK experiments. The total Cr removal efficiency was 64.4% (except in the “focusing” region) when the reduction reaction was combined with AAs-EK method. We conclude that AAs-EK remediation in the presence of NaHSO3 is an appropriate method for Cr-contaminated soil.

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Cadmium tolerance and accumulation in fifteen wetland plant species from cadmium-polluted water in constructed wetlands
Jianguo LIU,Wen ZHANG,Peng QU,Mingxin WANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 262-269.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0746-x

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Variations in cadmium (Cd) tolerances and accumulations among fifteen wetland plant species in moderately (0.5 mg·L−1) and heavily (1.0 mg·L−1) Cd-polluted wastewaters were investigated in constructed wetlands. Cd removal efficiencies from the wastewaters were more than 90%, and 23.5% and 16.8% of the Cd in the water accumulated in wetland plants for 0.5 and 1.0 mg·L−1 Cd treatments, respectively. The variations among the plant species were 29.4-fold to 48.7-fold in plant biomasses, 5.4-fold to 21.9-fold in Cd concentrations, and 13.8-fold to 29.6-fold in Cd accumulations. The plant species were also largely diversified in terms of Cd tolerance. Some species were tolerant of heavy Cd stress, and some others were sensitive to moderate Cd level. Four wetland plant species were selected for the treatment of Cd-polluted wastewater for their high Cd accumulating abilities and relative Cd tolerances. Plant Cd quantity accumulations are correlated positively and significantly (P <0.05) with plant biomasses and correlated positively but insignificantly (P >0.05) with plant Cd concentrations. The results indicate that the Cd accumulation abilities of wetland plant species are determined mainly by their biomasses and Cd tolerances in growth, which should be the first criteria in selecting wetland plant species for the treating Cd-polluted wastewaters. Cd concentration in the plants may be the second consideration.

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Cytochrome P450 monooxygenase specific activity reduction in wheat Triticum aestivum induced by soil roxithromycin stress
Kangxin HE,Qixing ZHOU
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 270-275.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0813-y

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Roxithromycin, as widely used medicine and livestock growth promoter, arouses concern because its occurrence and persistence in soil environments. However, effects of roxithromycin in higher plants are still vague. Accordingly, we hypothesized that roxithromycin-contaminated soil may exhibits ecotoxicological effects in wheat (Triticum aestivum). In this study, effects induced by a gradient concentration of roxithromycin stress (0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 mg·kg−1) was investigated in a 7-d soil test in T. aestivum. Results indicated that the specific activity of cytochrome P450 (CYP450) monooxygenase was decreased dramatically with the concentration of roxithromycin in soil. The IC50 value was 8.78 mg·kg−1 of roxithromycin. On the contrary, the growth related endpoints (i.e., the germination percentage, the biomass and the height), the content related endpoints (i.e., soluble protein content and CYP450 content), and the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity failed to reveal the roxithromycin-induced effects. Further analysis revealed that the CYP450 monooxygenase specific activity reduction was enzymatic mechanism mediated, other than oxidative stress induced. We conclude that the soil roxithromycin declined the CYP450 monooxygenase activity in T. aestivum by the inhibition of the enzymatic mechanism. Further efforts can include, but are not limited to, investigation of joint effects induced by combined exposure of roxithromycin and the pesticides and evaluation of the similar effects in other higher plants.

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Is there an inverted U-shaped curve? Empirical analysis of the Environmental Kuznets Curve in agrochemicals
Fei LI,Suocheng DONG,Fujia LI,Libiao YANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 276-287.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0700-y

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As the largest contributor to water impairment, agriculture-related pollution has attracted the attention of scientists as well as policy makers, and quantitative information is being sought to focus and advance the policy debate. This study applies the panel unit root, heterogeneous panel cointegration, and panel-based dynamic ordinary least squares to investigate the Environmental Kuznets Curve on environmental issues resulting from use of agricultural synthetic fertilizer, pesticide, and film for 31 provincial economies in mainland China from 1989 to 2009. The empirical results indicate a positive long-run co-integrated relationship between the environmental index and real GDP per capita. This relationship takes on the inverted U-shaped Environmental Kuznets Curve, and the value of the turning point is approximately 10,000–13,000, 85,000–89,000 and over 160,000 CNY, for synthetic fertilizer nitrogen indicator, fertilizer phosphorus indicator and pesticide indicator, respectively. At present, China is subject to tremendous environmental pressure and should assign more importance to special agriculture-related environmental issues.

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An assessment of the potential health benefits of realizing the goals for PM10 in the updated Chinese Ambient Air Quality Standard
Guoxia MA,Jinnan WANG,Fang YU,Yanshen ZHANG,Dong CAO
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 288-298.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0738-x

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As a response to the severe air quality problems in China, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection in 2012 issued an updated Ambient Air Quality Standard (GB3095-2012), which set a stricter grade II PM10 standard. A successful implementation of this standard will have an impact on human health through reduction of exposure to air pollution in the population. Using the methods of adjusted human capital and value of statistical life, the authors in this article estimate the economic impact of a successful implementation of the updated Ambient Air Quality Standard on human health in China. The key results are: 1) The human health benefits from reaching the updated standard for PM10 would equal CNY 51.1 billion using adjusted human capital, accounting for 18.5% of total human health costs in China, and CNY 83.5 billion using the value of a statistical life; 2) the benefit of reaching the updated standard for PM10 is highest in the east coastal areas and gradually declines for more Western provinces; and 3) the marginal benefit of public health increases as the environmental quality standard PM10 improves. If the annual concentration of PM10 were to be reduced from the target number in the original grade II standard to that in the updated standard, the mortality rate of long-term exposure would be reduced by 6.5% due to reduced chronic exposure. In addition, if the annual concentration were to be reduced further from updated grade II to grade I standard, the mortality rate for long-term exposure would be lowered by 32.8%.

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Evaluation of the k-nearest neighbor method for forecasting the influent characteristics of wastewater treatment plant
Minsoo KIM,Yejin KIM,Hyosoo KIM,Wenhua PIAO,Changwon KIM
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 299-310.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0825-7

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The k-nearest neighbor (k-NN) method was evaluated to predict the influent flow rate and four water qualities, namely chemical oxygen demand (COD), suspended solid (SS), total nitrogen (T-N) and total phosphorus (T-P) at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The search range and approach for determining the number of nearest neighbors (NNs) under dry and wet weather conditions were initially optimized based on the root mean square error (RMSE). The optimum search range for considering data size was one year. The square root-based (SR) approach was superior to the distance factor-based (DF) approach in determining the appropriate number of NNs. However, the results for both approaches varied slightly depending on the water quality and the weather conditions. The influent flow rate was accurately predicted within one standard deviation of measured values. Influent water qualities were well predicted with the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) under both wet and dry weather conditions. For the seven-day prediction, the difference in predictive accuracy was less than 5% in dry weather conditions and slightly worse in wet weather conditions. Overall, the k-NN method was verified to be useful for predicting WWTP influent characteristics.

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Structure and formation of anoxic granular sludge —A string-bag hypothesis
Binbin WANG,Dangcong PENG,Xinyan ZHANG,Xiaochang WANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 311-318.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0748-8

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Anoxic granular sludge was developed in a laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor which was fed with sodium acetate and sodium nitrate as electron donor and accepter. The sludge in the reactor was almost granulated after approximately 90 days of cultivation. In the present study, a detailed examination of surface morphology and internal structure of anoxic granular sludge was conducted using scanning electron microscope. It showed that the bacteria inside the granules had a uniform, coccus-like shape. By contrast, filamentous bacteria were predominant outside the granules. These bacteria were woven and had wrapped the coccus bacteria together to form granules. The small amounts of DO in the liquid bulk promoted the growth of filamentous bacteria on the surface of the granules. A string-bag hypothesis was proposed to elucidate the structure and formation of the anoxic granular sludge. It suggested that micro-aeration could be a method to promote granulation in practical anoxic treatment systems.

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Simple model of sludge thickening process in secondary settlers
Yuankai ZHANG,Hongchen WANG,Lu QI,Guohua LIU,Zhijiang HE,Songzhu JIANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 319-326.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0758-6

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In wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), a secondary settler acts as a clarifier, sludge thickener, and sludge storage tank during peak flows and therefore plays an important role in the performance of the activated sludge process. Sludge thickening occurs in the lower portions of secondary clarifiers during their operation. In this study, by detecting the hindered zone from the complete thickening process of activated sludge, a simple model for the sludge thickening velocity, us=aXb(a=0.9925SSVI3.5,b=3.541 ln(SSVI3.5)+12.973), describing the potential and performance of activated sludge thickening in the hindered zone was developed. However, sludge thickening in the compression zone was not studied because sludge in the compression zone showed limited thickening. This empirical model was developed using batch settling data obtained from four WWTPs and validated using measured data from a fifth WWTP to better study sludge thickening. To explore different sludge settling and thickening mechanisms, the curves of sludge thickening and sludge settling were compared. Finally, it was found that several factors including temperature, stirring, initial depth, and polymer conditioning can lead to highly concentrated return sludge and biomass in a biologic reactor.

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Application of ultra-sonication, acid precipitation and membrane filtration for co-recovery of protein and humic acid from sewage sludge
Liangliang WEI,Kun WANG,Xiangjuan KONG,Guangyi LIU,Shuang CUI,Qingliang ZHAO,Fuyi CUI
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 327-335.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0763-9

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A novel method was applied to co-recover proteins and humic acid from the dewatered sewage sludge for liquid fertilizer and animal feed. The proteins in sewage sludge were first extracted using the processes of ultra-sonication and acid precipitation, and then the humic acid was recovered via membrane filtration. The extraction efficiency was 125.9 mg humic acid?g−1VSS volatile suspended solids (VSS) and 123.9 mg proteins?g−1 VSS at the optimal ultrasonic density of 1.5 W?mL−1. FT-IR spectrum results indicated that the recovered proteins and humic acid showed similar chemical characteristic to the natural proteins and humic acid. The acidic solution (pH 2) could be recycled and used more than 10 times during the co-recovery processes. In addition, the dewatered sludge could be easily biodegraded when the humic acid and proteins are extracted, which was essential for further utilization. These findings are of great significance for recovering valuable nutrient from sewage sludge.

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The transformation of PAHs in the sewage sludge incineration treatment
Hui ZHANG,Le XU,Yifei ZHANG,Mengchan JIANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 336-340.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0766-6

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The release of pollutants from sewage sludge in the treatment process is a worldwide tricky problem in the field of sludge treatment. In this paper, the release and reaction between monomers of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the sewage sludge incineration treatment were studied based on simulated experiments. The result indicates that the transformation may occurre between monomers of PAHs during their release in the treatment. Over 90% of total PAHs in sewage sludge are released at the the temperature of 300°C–750°C. The possible transformation of Naphthalene to indeno(1, 2, 3-cd)pyrene was related to the temperature of the treatment system. Here, we showed that the output rate of transformation reactions for indeno(1, 2, 3-cd)pyrene is 94% at 300°C. These findings, by identifying corresponding treatment conditions as well as techniques, can help to understand the reactions and control real outputs of PAHs in the treatment process.

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Estimation of distribution algorithm enhanced particle swarm optimization for water distribution network optimization
Xuewei QI,Ke LI,Walter D. POTTER
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 341-351.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0776-z

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The optimization of a water distribution network (WDN) is a highly nonlinear, multi-modal, and constrained combinatorial problem. Particle swarm optimization (PSO) has been shown to be a fast converging algorithm for WDN optimization. An improved estimation of distribution algorithm (EDA) using historic best positions to construct a sample space is hybridized with PSO both in sequential and in parallel to improve population diversity control and avoid premature convergence. Two water distribution network benchmark examples from the literature are adopted to evaluate the performance of the proposed hybrid algorithms. The experimental results indicate that the proposed algorithms achieved the literature record minimum (6.081 M$) for the small size Hanoi network. For the large size Balerma network, the parallel hybrid achieved a slightly lower minimum (1.921M?) than the current literature reported best minimum (1.923M?). The average number of evaluations needed to achieve the minimum is one order smaller than most existing algorithms. With a fixed, small number of evaluations, the sequential hybrid outperforms the parallel hybrid showing its capability for fast convergence. The fitness and diversity of the populations were tracked for the proposed algorithms. The track record suggests that constructing an EDA sample space with historic best positions can improve diversity control significantly. Parallel hybridization also helps to improve diversity control yet its effect is relatively less significant.

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Efficient removal of heavy metals from electroplating wastewater using polymer ligands
Md. Lutfor RAHMAN,Shaheen M. SARKAR,Mashitah Mohd YUSOFF
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 352-361.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0783-0

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Poly(hydroxamic acid)-poly(amidoxime) chelating ligands were synthesized from poly(methyl acrylate-co-acrylonitrile) grafted acacia cellulose for removing toxic metal ions from industrial wastewaters. These ligands showed higher adsorption capacity to copper (2.80 mmol?g−1) at pH 6. In addition, sorption capacities to other metal ions such as iron, zinc, chromium, and nickel were also found high at pH 6. The metal ions sorption rate (t1/2) was very fast. The rate of adsorption of copper, iron, zinc, chromium, nickel, cobalt, cadmium and lead were 4, 5, 7, 5, 5, 8, 9 and 11 min, respectively. Therefore, these ligands have an advantage to the metal ions removal using the column technique. We have successfully investigated the known concentration of metal ions using various parameters, which is essential for designing a fixed bed column with ligands. The wastewater from electroplating plants used in this study, having chromium, zinc, nickel, copper and iron, etc. For chromium wastewater, ICP analysis showed that the Cr removal was 99.8% and other metal ions such as Cu, Ni, Fe, Zn, Cd, Pb, Co and Mn removal were 94.7%, 99.2%, 99.9%, 99.9%, 99.5%, 99.9%, 95.6% and 97.6%, respectively. In case of cyanide wastewater, the metal removal, especially Ni and Zn removal were 96.5 and 95.2% at higher initial concentration. For acid/alkali wastewater, metal ions removing for Cd, Cr and Fe were 99.2%, 99.5% and 99.9%, respectively. Overall, these ligands are useful for metal removal by column method from industrial wastewater especially plating wastewater.

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Approaching the binding between Cu(II) and aerobic granules by a modified titration and µ-XRF
Hongwei LUO,Longfei WANG,Zhonghua TONG,Hanqing YU,Guoping SHENG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 362-367.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0803-0

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Interactions between metals and activated sludge can substantially affect the fate and transport of heavy metals in wastewater treatment plants. Therefore, it is important to develop a simple, fast and efficient method to elucidate the interaction. In this study, a modified titration method with a dynamic mode was developed to investigate the binding of Cu(II), a typical heavy metal, onto aerobic granules. The titration results indicated that pH and ionic strength both had a positive effect on the biosorption capacity of the granular sludge. The µ-XRF results demonstrated that the distribution of metals on the granular surface was heterogeneous, and Cu showed strong correlations and had the same “hot spots” positions with other metal ions (e.g., Ca, Mg, Fe etc.). Ion exchange and complexing were the main mechanisms for the biosorption of Cu(II) by aerobic granules. These results would be beneficial for better understanding of Cu(II) migration and its fate in wastewater treatment plants.

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Microbial community structure and dynamics of starch-fed and glucose-fed chemostats during two years of continuous operation
Min GOU,Jing ZENG,Huizhong WANG,Yueqin TANG,Toru SHIGEMATSU,Shigeru MORIMURA,Kenji KIDA
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 368-380.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0815-9

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The microbial community structures of two mesophilic anaerobic chemostats, one fed with glucose, the other with starch as sole carbon sources, were studied at various dilution rates (0.05–0.25 d−1 for glucose and 0.025–0.1 d−1 for starch) during two years continuous operation. In the glucose-fed chemostat, the aceticlastic methanogen Methanosaeta spp. and hydrogenotrophic methanogen Methanoculleus spp. predominated at low dilution rates, whereas Methanosaeta spp. and the hydrogenotrophic Methanobacterium spp. predominated together when dilution rates were greater than 0.1 d−1. Bacteria affiliated with the phyla Bacteroidetes, Spirochaetes, and Actinobacteria predominated at dilution rates of 0.05, 0.1, and 0.15 d−1, respectively, while Firmicutes predominated at higher dilution rates (0.2 and 0.25 d−1). In the starch-fed chemostat, the aceticlastic and hydrogenotrophic methanogens coexisted at all dilution rates. Although bacteria belonging to only two phyla were mainly responsible for starch degradation (Spirochaetes at the dilution rate of 0.08 d−1 and Firmicutes at other dilution rates), different bacterial genera were identified at different dilution rates. With the exception of Archaea in the glucose-fed chemostat, the band patterns revealed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the microbial communities in the two chemostats displayed marked changes during long-term operation at a constant dilution rate. The bacterial community changed with changes in the dilution rate, and was erratic during long-term operation in both glucose-fed and starch-fed chemostats.

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Multiphase redistribution differences of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) between two successive sediment suspensions
Rufeng LI,Chenghong FENG,Dongxin WANG,Baohua LI,Zhenyao SHEN
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 381-389.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0817-7

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Successive sediment suspensions often happen in estuary, yet little research has probed into the difference in the release behaviors of organic compounds among different suspensions. This study took polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as typical organic contaminants and investigated the release behaviors between two successive suspensions with a particle entrainment simulator (PES). Results showed that successive sediment suspensions lowered the concentration of dissolved PAHs in the overlying water via facilitating the re-adsorption of dissolved PAHs onto the suspended particles. Fast-release and slow-release periods of PAHs were successively observed in the both suspensions. The concentration changes of dissolved PAHs in the second suspension were generally similar with but hysteretic to those in the first suspension. More vigorous desorption and re-absorption of PAHs were induced in the second suspension. Successive sediment suspensions obviously decreased the concentrations of mineral composition and organic matters in the overlying water, which significantly affects multiphase distribution of PAHs.

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Microprofiles of activated sludge aggregates using microelectrodes in completely autotrophic nitrogen removal over nitrite (CANON) reactor
Yongtao LV,Xuan CHEN,Lei WANG,Kai JU,Xiaoqiang CHEN,Rui MIAO,Xudong WANG
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 390-398.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0818-6

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Microsensor measurements and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis were combined to investigate the microbial populations and activities in a laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) for completely autotrophic nitrogen removal over nitrite (CANON). Fed with synthetic wastewater rich in ammonia, the SBR removed 82.5±5.4% of influent nitrogen and a maximum nitrogen-removal rate of 0.52 kgN·m−3·d−1 was achieved. The FISH analysis revealed that aerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AerAOB) Nitrosomonas and anaerobic ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AnAOB) dominated the community. To quantify the microbial activities inside the sludge aggregates, microprofiles were measured using pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), NH4+, NO2 and NO3 microelectrodes. In the outer layer of sludge aggregates (0–700 μm), nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) showed high activity with 4.1 μmol·cm−3·h−1 of maximum nitrate production rate under the condition of DO concentration higher than 3.3 mg·L−1. Maximum AerAOB activity was detected in the middle layer (depths around 1700 μm) where DO concentration was 1.1 mg·L−1. In the inner layer (2200–3500 μm), where DO concentration was below 0.9 mg·L−1, AnAOB activity was detected. We thus showed that information obtained from microscopic views can be helpful in optimizing the SBR performance.

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Leaching toxicity characteristics of municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash
Khamphe PHOUNGTHONG,Yi XIA,Hua ZHANG,Liming SHAO,Pinjing HE
Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.. 2016, 10 (2): 399-411.  
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0819-5

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The continuously increasing production of municipal solid waste incineration bottom ash (MSWIBA) has promoted its utilization as construction material and raised environmental concern. The physico-chemical properties and leaching behavior of MSWIBA were studied, and ecotoxicological testing using a luminescent bacterium bioassay was performed to assess the ecological pollution risks associated with its leached constituents. The MSWIBA was leached by two types of leachants, H2SO4/HNO3 and HAc solution, at different liquid to solid ratios and contact times. The concentrations of heavy metals and anions in the leachates were analyzed. Multivariate statistical analyses, including principle component analysis, Pearson's correlation analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis, were used to evaluate the contributions of the constituents to the toxicity (EC50) of the MSWIBA leachate. The statistical analyses of the ecotoxicological results showed that the Ba, Cr, Cu, Pb, F and total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations were closely correlated with the EC50 value, and these substances were the main contributors to the ecotoxicity of the MSWIBA leachate. In addition, the cluster of these variables indicated similar leaching behaviors. Overall, the research demonstrated that the ecotoxicological risks resulting from MSWIBA leaching could be assessed before its utilization, which provides crucial information for the adaptation of MSWIBA as alternative materials.

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