23rd International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry

23rd International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry (ISEB23), Palm Cove, Australia on 25-29th September 2017, hosted by the International Society for Environmental Biogeochemistry.

The Symposium brings together environmental scientists with a diverse range of interests in an intimate setting which encourages close interactions and exchange of information. A major attraction of the ISEB Symposia are their broad, cross-disciplinary coverage and single theme format. Attendance is typically 150 people.

The theme of this years symposium is “From cells to Earth scale processes: traversing the breadth of temporal and spatial scales in biogeochemistry” and includes sessions on:

  • Biogeochemistry of mined/industrial environments and impacts of resource extraction
  • Frontier techniques in environmental biogeochemistry and microbiology (e.g. –omics)
  • Aquatic and terrestrial microbiology including studies on extreme environments
  • Impacts of pollutants on ecosystems and their remediation
  • Biological interactions and transformations of metallic and organic contaminants in the environment
  • Soil, water and landscape processes (including atmospheric fluxes/interactions)
  • Microbe-mineral-organic matter interactions
  • Marine and coastal biogeochemistry (special focus on tropical coastal systems e.g. reefs)
  • Biogeochemical cycling of major (C, N, P, S) and minor elements – methods, applications, fundamental and applied studies

Key Dates:

Abstract deadline: 31st May 2017

Early Bird Registration: 28th July 2017

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DOXIN 2017

International Symposium on Halogenated Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) – DIOXIN 2017 will be held on 20-25th August in Vancouver, Canada at the Sheraton Wall Centre.

The year 2017 marks the 37th anniversary of the Dioxin Symposia. In 1980, Otto Hutzinger organized the first symposium in Rome, Italy. Since then, annual symposia (except 1983) have been held in cities around the world. Over the past 37 years, there have been major advances in the analytical determination, and the understanding of the transport, fate and toxic behavior of these compounds. The year 2017 also marks the 150th anniversary of Canada. We will have numerous activities and celebrations showcasing Vancouver and Canada

This years conference will have over 60 sessions covering all expects of POPs and will include numerous special sessions, including new and emerging persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as halogenated flame retardants and perflourinted chemicals.  Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Advisory Board member, Stuart Harrad, will be presenting at the event.

Key Dates:

Abstract Deadline: 21st April 2017

Early Bird Registration: 30th June 2017

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Call for Input: Grand Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental Engineering and Science for the 21st Century

To help guide the next generation of environmental engineers and scientists, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has appointed a committee of experts to conduct a study on Grand Challenges and Opportunities in Environmental Engineering and Science for the 21st Century.

Environmental challenges continue to multiply as the global population expands and as demands for clean water, food, and energy rise, all in the context of global climate change.  With expertise in a wide range of fields and with input from the scientific community, the committee will identify the biggest environmental challenges to be solved over the next several decades and comment on how education and training might be better aligned to address those challenges.

The committee slate is provisional, pending a 20-day comment period ending on March 29, 2017 and final approval.

 

                                                    Call for Input: What are the biggest challenges?

The committee invites the scientific community and the public to submit ideas about ambitious but achievable goals that harness science, technology, and innovation from environmental engineering and science to solve important national or global problems.  Submit your ideas here.

 

                                      First Public Meeting on May 4: Register Today!

The first public meeting will be held in Washington, DC and also on the web on Thursday, May 4, 2017 (agenda TBA).  Attendees will hear from committee chair Domenico Grasso of the University of Delaware and from the National Science Foundation and other sponsors about the goals of this effort.  The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) will also share insights into its highly successful Grand Challenges for Engineering study and campaign, upon which this new study is modeled. Register to attend today!

If you are interested in following the activities of this study, sign up for email updates on the study website and discuss the study on Twitter using #GrandChallenges.

 

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Unexpected levels of monoterpenes found in UK homes

Written for Chemistry World by Rebecca Campbell

Overusing household cleaners may reduce indoor air quality

Domestic indoor air

Source: (c) iStock

The air in some UK homes contains potentially harmful levels of volatile compounds due to residents overusing household chemicals without proper ventilation, new research shows.

Air quality research tends to focus on the outdoors. However, with homes becoming more insulated and energy efficient, and with people spending more time indoors, it’s worthwhile studying this air too.

Alastair Lewis’ team at the University of York and colleagues at King’s College London have measured the concentration of gaseous organic compounds in 25 UK homes to see how occupants’ activity can affect indoor air quality.

 

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Unexpectedly high concentrations of monoterpenes in a study of UK homes
Chunting Michelle Wang, Benjamin Barratt, Nicola Carslaw, Artemis Doutsi, Rachel E. Dunmore, Martyn W. Ward and Alastair C. Lewis
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2017
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00569A
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Emerging Investigators Series: Yu (Frank) Yang

 

Yu (Frank) Yang is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, working in the Civil and Engineering Department. Prior to this, he completed both his undergraduate studies and PhD at Peking University, China. His current research interests include: the impact of global climate change on the fate of critical pollutants; the response of organic matter geochemistry to the temperature increases; and the colloid-facilitated reactive transport of insoluble radionuclides.

Read his Emerging Investigators article “Dual role of organic matter in the anaerobic degradation of triclosan” and find ourmore about Frank and his research in the interview below:

Are you within 10 years of receiving your PhD? Do you have an independent research career? Then you could be eligible for our Emerging Investigator Series! find out more at rsc.li/emerging-espi

 

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on the role of organic matter in the anaerobic degradation of triclosan. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

My first research paper is about the human exposure to legacy pesticides (e.g. DDT) and their health risk. My Ph.D. studies and postdoctoral projects are mainly focused on the organic matter-mediated fate and transport of organic and inorganic pollutants. In this paper, we have found an interesting novel dual role of organic matter in the degradation of an emerging organohalide compound.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

In my research group, we are mainly working on the important environmental redox reactions, focusing on the degradation of organohalides, microbial assimilation and plant uptake of carbon nanomaterials, and stability of soil organic carbon. We are currently using lots of state-of-the-art technologies to study the transformation of organohalides and natural organic carbon, which is really exciting to us.

In your opinion, what is the biggest impact to the environment presented by antimicrobial agents?

Release of antimicrobial agents can induce the development of antimicrobial resistance, which is one of the biggest environmental problems.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

I would like to fully understand the degradation pathways of emerging organohalides and work out cost-effective removal strategies. Both are challenging tasks.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

My group and I will present our work (6 talks and 3 posters) at American Chemical Society 2017 Spring Meeting (April 2-6, 2017, San Francisco). I am also chairing two symposia with my colleagues, with one for redox reactions and the other for nanomaterials.

How do you spend your spare time?

When I have spare time, I enjoy watching movies, playing chess, and spending time with my family.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

Without science, probably I would become a high-school teacher.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Have a good balance and be persistent. Balance between the crazy ideas and relatively “low-risk” projects, balance between pursuing grants and publishing papers, balance between research and teaching, and many others

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Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts in 2016, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Dr Hans Peter Arp, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo
Professor Ning Dai, University at Buffalo
Professor Tom Harner, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Dr Douglas Latch, Seattle University
Dr Aijun Miao, Nanjing University
Dr Christina Remucal, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Dr Vanessa-Nina Roth, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
Dr Richard Spinney, Ohio State University
Dr Zhanyun Wang, ETH Zurich
Professor Frank Wania, University of Toronto

 

We would also like to thank the Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts board and the environmental science community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

 

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre.

 

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Emerging Investigator Series: Cora Young

We are delighted to be able to bring you the first in interview for our Emerging Investigators Series in Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts

Cora completed her undergraduate and doctoral studies in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Prof. Scott Mabury, her Ph.D. research focused on the atmospheric chemistry of polyfluorinated compounds and their role as long-lived greenhouse gases and sources of persistent compounds to the environment. She went on to a postdoctoral position in Boulder, CO with Dr. Steven Brown at the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There, she developed novel, state-of-the-science instruments and used them to measure reactive atmospheric trace gases and determine their impact on the oxidative potential of the atmosphere. Cora joined the Department of Chemistry at Memorial University as an Assistant Professor in September 2012.

Read her Emerging Investigators article “A 14-year depositional ice record of perfluoroalkyl substances in the High Arctic“, which is featured in Issue 1 of the journal, and find out more in the interview below:

Are you within 10 years of receiving your PhD? Do you have an independent research career? Then you could be eligible for our Emerging Investigator Series! find out more at rsc.li/emerging-espi

Your recent Emerging Investigator Series paper focuses on improving the understanding of transport of perfluoroalkyl substances in the High Arctic. How has your research evolved from your first article to this most recent article?

One of my first papers as a graduate student also involved looking at long-range transport of perfluoroalkyl substances to the Devon Ice Cap and was published ten years ago. As instrumentation improves and we develop better analytical methods, we are able to learn so much more about how pollutants impact our environment. We were able to look at four times as many chemical species as the original study, which greatly increases our understanding of the environmental fate of these compounds. We have also expanded our research network to include Northern community members and Arctic researchers with complementary expertise, which allows us to interpret and apply our results more effectively.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

We have some new environmental field and laboratory samples, including ice cores and biomass burning smoke samples, that I am excited to analyze using analytical techniques recently developed in my group.

In your opinion, what is the biggest impact to the environment presented by perfluoroalkyl substances?

Perfluorinated compounds have no natural degradation pathways in the environment. When we emit these chemicals to the environment, they will remain for the foreseeable future. We know that many perfluoroalkyl molecules bioaccumulate and could affect the health of humans or animals, which is cause for concern because there is no going back to an environment uncontaminated with these chemical species.

What do you find most challenging about your research?

I find field work simultaneously the most rewarding and the most difficult aspect of my research. Addressing environmental chemistry questions often means challenging collection of samples (such as those from ice caps) or the design and/or operation of complex instrumentation under harsh conditions.

In which upcoming conferences or events may our readers meet you?

Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in Toronto, Ontario (June 2017) and Healthy Buildings Europe in Lublin, Poland (July 2017). I can also be found online at cjygroup.com and on Twitter @SVOCora.

How do you spend your spare time?

I don’t have too much of it right now! When I do have free time, I enjoy travelling, walking, hiking, reading, and yoga.

Which profession would you choose if you were not a scientist?

It’s hard to imagine my life without science! If I wasn’t a scientist, I would want to do something that still involved science, like science communication or conservation management.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Seek out a supportive career network of mentors, collaborators, and colleagues. I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors from my doctoral and post-doctoral work, and throughout the environmental chemistry community. My excellent collaborators from other academic institutions, Environment Canada (who were collaborators on this project), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration improve the quality and impact of my research and make it more fun to do!

To find out more about the series and submit an article, click here.

 

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What’s new in the analysis of complex environmental matrices?

What’s new in the analysis of complex environmental matrices?

Royal Society of Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry Group, Water Science Forum and the Separation Science Group Joint Meeting

Friday 3rd March 2017

at

Science Suite, Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, LONDON, W1J 0BA

The analysis of environmental matrices such as water, sediments and soils is often demanding and challenging for the chemist due to both matrix effects and the myriad of substances that can be present in the sample. This one-day Royal Society of Chemistry Meeting, jointly organised by three special interest groups (Environmental Chemistry Group, Separation Science Group and Water Science Forum), addresses this issue. It is the third in sequence of biennial conferences. The meeting brings together national and two international experts on the topic. The monitoring and screening-type analyses of a wide range of both regulatory and emerging pollutants (such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products) in water is major theme of the event. The detection of potentially hazardous compounds in dusts and consumer articles is also considered. Other topics to be addressed include new types of detectors (i.e. ion mobility spectrometry, direct probe time-of-flight mass spectrometry and selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry) for measuring environmental chemicals. In addition to the lectures, there will an exhibition where number of instrument manufacturers and suppliers of laboratory consumables will be presenting.

Important Date

Registration Deadline: 28th February 2017

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What are your colleagues reading in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts?

The articles below are some of the most read Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts articles in 2016. You can view the full collection of our top 10 downloaded articles here.

 

Assessment of the long-term impacts of PM10 and PM2.5 particles from construction works on surrounding areas
Farhad Azarmi, Prashant Kumar, Daniel Marsh and Gary Fuller

 

The dilemma in prioritizing chemicals for environmental analysis: known versus unknown hazards
Sobek Anna, Bejgarn Sofia, Rudén Christina and Breitholtz Magnus

 

Role of snow and cold environment in the fate and effects of nanoparticles and select organic pollutants from gasoline engine exhaust
Yevgen Nazarenko, Uday Kurien, Oleg Nepotchatykh, Rodrigo B. Rangel-Alvarado and Parisa A. Ariya

 

Environmental transmission of diarrheal pathogens in low and middle income countries
Timothy R. Julian

 

Immobilized materials for removal of toxic metal ions from surface/groundwaters and aqueous waste streams
Iwona Zawierucha, Cezary Kozlowski and Grzegorz Malina

 

Keep up-to-date with the latest issues of Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts by joining our e-alerts.

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Novel isolate of Sphingopyxis sp. and its cyanotoxin degradation activity

a blog article by Luiza Cruz, PhD student at Imperial College London

Cyanotoxins are often found in surface waters worldwide. If contaminated water is consumed, they can bioaccumulate in the liver and cause death in high doses. They can also poison other animals and plants, causing a real threat to life and increasing the potential of disruption in drinking water supply in affected areas.  Among all cyanotoxins, microcystin (MC) is the most studied. Herein, Maghsoudi and colleagues report a new bacterium isolate that degrade these toxins and present a study on some factors involved on its biodegradation activity.

MCs are small cyclic toxins composed of seven peptides and, as a result of structural variation, 89 analogues have been identified to date. Their hepatotoxicity is due to the presence of the unique amino acid, Adda, in their structure. They are resistant to enzymatic and physico-chemical breakdown owing to their small cyclic structure. However, they can be biodegraded by a few genus of bacteria.

The majority of studies that have focused on MC degradation have identified Sphingomonas sp as the most common degrades.  Among these, the gene mlrA encodes the enzyme responsible for cleaving the peptide bond between arginine and Adda and, therefore, causing the breaking down of the cyclic structure. However, different peptides that do not carry the arginine-Adda bond are also degraded by bacteria from the genus Sphingomonas. This indicates that different pathways may be involved in biodegradation. Using modern sequencing methods, Maghsoudi and colleagues also sought to identify and determine the role of theses genes in different MC variants.

The group collected samples of water from the Missisquoi Bay, Quebec, Canada, where several cyanobacterial blooms have been observed. A total of 22 strains were isolated with the ability to degrade cyanotoxins and, among these, four were able to degrade all MC variants (MCLR, YR, LY, LW and LF). Moreover, sequencing analysis showed that one of the isolates (MB-E) demonstrated 99% identity with the Sphingopyxis genus.

Following this finding, a next generation sequencing method was used for analysing the mlr gene cluster of the new strain. Results showed that organisation of mlr genes in this cluster is identical to those of several Sphingomonas strains that degrade MCs. Results also revealed that transcription of the mlrA gene is triggered by the presence of microcystin in the medium and that the same pathway is used in the biodegradation of all MC variants. This was the first time that this new sequencing method was used to characterise the genome of MC degraders.

Moreover, pH-dependent biodegradation is thought to be the determinant factor in the fate and disappearance of these toxins. However, limited information is known about the correlation of dynamic changes in pH and cyanotoxin degradation. Using MB-E, biodegradation was observed at pH values between 6.10 and 8.05. The highest biodegradation rate was observed at pH 7.22 and data showed that MB-E was not able to grow under basic conditions. Considering that cyanobacterial blooms are often associated with a high pH (between 8.5 and 11), MB-E may have had limited biodegradation activity in the bay. However, MB-E was still able to degrade toxins at pH 9.12, that is closer to the pH of drinking water during cyanobacterial blooms.

In summary, using new sequencing methods, Maghsoudi and colleagues proved that gene expression profile of a new isolate that exhibit microcystin biodegradation is identical to Sphingopyxis sp, a novel result. Moreover, further studies on dynamic pH changes during cyanobacterial blooms might be useful in providing insight into the persistence and biodegradation activity of MB-E in drinking waters.

To read the full article for free* click the link below:
Cyanotoxin degradation activity and mlr gene expression profiles of a Sphingopyxis sp. isolated from Lake Champlain, Canada
Ehsan Maghsoudi, Nathalie Fortin, Charles Greer, Christine Maynard, Antoine Pagé, Sung Vo Duy, Sébastien Sauvé, Michèle Prévost and Sarah Dorner
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2016, 18, 1417-1426
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00001K

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About the webwriter

Luiza Cruz is a PhD student in the Barrett Group at Imperial College London. Her work is towards the development of new medicines, using medicinal and natural products chemistry.

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*Access is free until 08/02/2017 through a registered publishing personal account.

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