Author Archive

Upcoming events with the Aerosol Society

On the 8th-9th November 2017 the Aersol Society will be holding two events at the University of Birmingham.

 

A course on the “Fundamentals of Aerosol Science 2017” will be held on the 8th November – find out more here.

This established and highly recommended course provides an opportunity for both new and existing researchers to explore and understand aerosol science and improve or refresh their knowledge of some of the fundamental concepts.

Delegates are also able to choose to attend an interactive exhibitor demonstration and training workshop where our industry exhibitors will be showcasing their aerosol related instruments and technology.

 

The Annual Aerosol Science Conference will be held on the following day. This year’s theme is “Pushing the Limits in Aerosol Measurements and Simulations“.

Now celebrating its 31st year, the conference provides a forum for like-minded aerosol scientists from both academia and industry to network & share knowledge.

Aerosol processes are extremely complex, occurring over wide ranges in timescale and lengthscale, and extending to dense sprays and clouds. Refined measurement and simulation techniques are essential to adequately capture the microphysical detail while describing collective large scale effects and identifying new phenomena.

A focus of this meeting will be to explore the challenges faced in aerosol characterisation and simulation and how these challenges are being addressed.

Deadline for abstracts – 6th October 2017 

 

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IEEC 2017

We are delighted to introduce the 2017 International Environmental Engineering Conference & Annual Meeting of the Korean Society of Environmental Engineers (IEEC 2017), held on November 15 – 17, 2017 in Jeju, Korea.

The theme for this year’s meeting will be “Innovative Technologies and Climate Change Adaptation“. In recent years, researchers in environmental science and engineering associated with water, wastewater, air and soil/groundwater are more active than ever. In light of recent concerns about climate change and global environmental issues, resilient solutions for sustainable growth are urgently needed. Therefore, the theme of IEEC 2017 is to disseminate and share Innovative Technologies in environmental science and engineering with respect to climate change adaptation together with scientists, engineers, and policy makers around the world.

Important dates:

Abstract submission due: July 17, 2017
Early registration due: August 21, 2017

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Computer plastics recycled into toys

Brominated flame retardants found in toys and cup lids

Researchers in Europe have narrowed the search for bad recycling practices that are to blame for some toys and food packaging inadvertently containing banned pollutants.

Manufacturers often incorporate chemicals designed to limit household fires, such as brominated flame retardants, in soft furnishings and electronic devices. However, concerns about brominated flame retardants’, particularly polybrominated diphenyl ethers’, impact on the environment and human health means their use is heavily restricted.

infant playing with toy cars

Source: Georgijevic/iStock /Getty Images Plus

Previous studies have already indicated that brominated compounds unintentionally exist in toys and food packaging. The EU recently updated its guidance on recycling and disposal of materials containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers to combat this contamination.

Chromatography combined with mass spectrometry is the standard method to analyse plastics for brominated flame retardants, but this is expensive and time consuming. Now, Stuart Harrad, at the University of Birmingham, and colleagues have shown they can simplify the process by using a handheld x-ray fluorescence spectrometer.

 

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


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Congratulations to the Poster Awards winners at the 26th Japan Society for Environmental Chemistry Annual meeting

The 26th Japan Society for Environmental Chemistry Annual meeting was held in Shizuoka, Japan from 7 – 9th June 2017. This year’s event was attended by 700 people, with 156 oral presentations and 180 poster presentations.

Since 1990, the JEC has been working for the sound management of environmental chemicals through development of analytical techniques and waste treatment, understanding geochemical cycling of elements and molecules, and risk assessment. In order to facilitate communication between researchers and stakeholders in different countries, the JEC has held international conferences for exchanging knowledge related to environmental pollution by micro-pollutants by cooperating with societies in foreign countries.

Presentation of the Poster Awards. From left: Minori Furukawa, Kenichi Kitahara, Prof. Masahiro Sakata (conference chair, University of Shizuoka), Hashimoto, Kohki Takaguchi, Hiromitsu Urakami (RSC Manager for Japan)

The Environmental Science journals were proud to sponsor four Poster Awards at the meeting. We would like to congratulate the following winners:

 

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Poster Award

Kohki Takaguchi

”Effects of PCB-exposure on thyroid hormone homeostasis of dogs and cats”

 

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Poster Award

Minori Furukawa

“Alternative Flame Retardants in House Dust Collected from Residential Houses and Kindergartens”

 

Environmental Science: Nano Poster Award

Fumi Hashimoto

“A Structural Elucidation Method of Constitutional Isomer by Collision Cross Section Analysis”

 

Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology Poster Award

Kenichi Kitahara

“Plastics in Commercial Products, Sewage Sludge and Environmental Samples Collected from Coastal and Deep-Sea Waters: Possible Transfer of Plastics from Terrestrial to Marine Environments”

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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

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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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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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

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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Quantifying UK carbon reduction potential

With 2016 set to become the warmest year on record, global warming has never been more prominent in the news. Researchers have found that scientifically viable carbon capture and reduction technologies could reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 8–32%.

This year the UK signed up to the Paris climate agreement, which aims to limit global temperature increases to below 2°C compared with pre-industrial temperatures. One way to start meeting this agreement is for the UK to aim for net zero CO2 emissions through the use of negative emissions technologies (NETs) – these include methods to capture CO2 either directly from the air of before it is released from fossil fuel emissions, planting trees and creating forests, accelerating natural geological weathering to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, changing agricultural practices and land use, and binding CO2 in the form of biochar.

Negative emission technologies

Carbon dioxide flows among atmospheric, land, ocean and geological reservoirs for different negative emission technologies. Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

Pete Smith, from the University of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues have assessed the impact that UK-based NETs could have on reducing the country’s CO2emission levels. Smith’s team discovered that if the UK implemented all possible NETs, regardless of their technical viability, it would reduce current emissions by 8–32%. However, the actual proportion of this potential that can be realised might be smaller than this; factors such as cost, energy requirements, environmental impact and public acceptance will all affect these technologies’ viability.

Read the full article in Chemistry World.


Pete Smith, R. Stuart Haszeldine and Stephen M. Smith
DOI: 10.1039/C6EM00386A
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