Archive for the ‘Hot Articles’ Category

Free access to HOT articles!

These HOT articles were recommended by our referees and are free to access for 4 weeks*

The role of indirect photochemical degradation in the environmental fate of pesticides: a review
Christina K. Remucal
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00549F, Critical Review 

Automated method for determining the flow of surface functionalized nanoparticles through a hydraulically fractured mineral formation using plasmonic silver nanoparticles
Samuel J. Maguire-Boyle, David J. Garner, Jessica E. Heimann, Lucy Gao, Alvin W. Orbaek and Andrew R. Barron
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 220-231
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00718A, Paper 

Elevated risk from estrogens in the Yodo River basin (Japan) in winter and ozonation as a management option
Vimal Kumar, Seiya Hanamoto, Andrew C. Johnson, Naoyuki Yamashita, Norihide Nakada and Hiroaki Tanaka
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 232-238
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00219E, Paper 

Evaluation of DGT as a long-term water quality monitoring tool in natural waters; uranium as a case study
Geraldine S. C. Turner, Graham A. Mills, Michael J. Bowes, Jonathan L. Burnett, Sean Amos and Gary R. Fones
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00574G, Paper 

Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) for the treatment of concentrated Cu(II) wastewater: a field demonstration
Shaolin Li, Wei Wang, Weile Yan and Wei-xian Zhang
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00578J, Paper

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Bio-cathodes : powering towards clean water, energy and biomass production

The use of passive biocathodes could potentially hold the key to producing an environmentally sustainable approach for achieving combined waste water treatment and water desalinization, researchers at Mississippi State University have indicated.

Current world population now exceeds 7 billion. As this number continues to grow, so does the demand for fresh water resources. Ensuring access to clean water supplies is now a major priority across the planet. A key factor governing this is the approach taken to achieve effective wastewater treatment and water desalination.

Wastewater treatment is commonly achieved through activated sludge treatment utilising biochemical reaction and physical separation, while desalination can be achieved through thermal evaporation or membrane separation. However, both of these approaches are intensive in terms of cost and energy usage and also emit CO2. There is a need to develop methods where external energy consumption is minimized and energy recovery can be optimized.

Microbial desalination cells (MDCs) are a recent technological innovation where simultaneous wastewater treatment and desalination are achieved. In such bioelectrochemical cells, chemical catholytes such as ferricyanide are commonly used. However, these are not suitable for large-scale usage due to the prohibitive cost, large energy demands and environmental toxicity issues.

Another option is to use air-cathodes, which utilize oxygen as a thermal electron acceptor. However, these can suffer from slower redox kinetics, requiring the use of expensive catalysts, and large energy requirements to maintain aeration levels. A more sustainable and financially viable approach could therefore be to use biological cathodes, which utilise microorganisms as biocatalysts.


In this study by Bahareh Kokabian and Veera Gnaneswar Gude, which featured as the cover article for Issue 12, Vol 15 of ESPI, the performance of an MDC with a conventional air-cathode and a photosynthetic microbial desalination cell (PMDC) utilising the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris were evaluated for their performance in terms of COD removal, desalination and energy generation from sewage sludge. This represents the first study of its kind to be attempted.

Fig 1. Schematic of the photosynthetic microbial desalination cell system with algal biocathode

The results indicate that PMDCs can perform better than air-cathodes and as well as other conventional MDCs. COD removal of 66% and 57% were measured for the PMDC and air-cathode MDC respectively. Desalination rates were also enhanced, with levels of 40% measured for the PMDC and 24% for the air-cathode MDC.

Maximum voltage produced was higher for the PMDC (0.236 V) than for the air-cathode MDC (0.219 V). Moreover, the PMDC produces longer, more stable voltage, unlike conventional cathodes where potential reduction occurs after a time. Furthermore, it was shown that only 55% of the cathode volume was utilised, indicating that power production and desalination rates could be further improved if the MDC reactor design and electrode/material configuration are optimized.


Algae biocathodes in PMDCs provide the advantage of a continuous supply of electron acceptors and omit the need for additional chemical transport, storage, dosing, and post-treatment. The biochemical nature of the process also means the wastewater is essentially treated as a growth medium, producing valuable algal biomass, which could be used to obtain constructive products such as biogas, biohydrogen and biofuels.

This study therefore demonstrates that the use of PMDCs can provide an environmentally benign approach to wastewater treatment in which algae act as an in situ generator of oxygen. This has the potential to be beneficial in enhancing environmental and economic sustainability of water treatment whilst helping to improve COD removal, desalination and energy recovery in the same process.


This HOT paper is available to download through the following link:
Photosynthetic microbial desalination cells (PMDCs) for clean energy, water and biomass production, Bahareh Kokabian and Veera Gnaneswar Gude. DOI: 10.1039/c3em00415e

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Free to access HOT articles!

These HOT articles were recommended by our referees and are free to access for 4 weeks*

Priority organic compounds in wastewater effluents from the Mediterranean and Atlantic basins of Andalusia (Spain)
Nieves Barco-Bonilla, Roberto Romero-González, Patricia Plaza-Bolaños, José Luis Martínez Vidal, Antonio J. Castro, Isabel Martín, Juan José Salas and Antonia Garrido Frenich  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 2194-2203
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00329A, Paper

Graphical abstract: Priority organic compounds in wastewater effluents from the Mediterranean and Atlantic basins of Andalusia (Spain)
Photosynthetic microbial desalination cells (PMDCs) for clean energy, water and biomass production
Bahareh Kokabian and Veera Gnaneswar Gude  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 2178-2185
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00415E, Paper

Graphical abstract: Photosynthetic microbial desalination cells (PMDCs) for clean energy, water and biomass production

Environmental specimen banks as a resource for mercury and mercury isotope research in marine ecosystems
Rusty D. Day, Paul R. Becker, Olivier F. X. Donard, Rebecca S. Pugh and Stephen A. Wise  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 10-27
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00261F, Perspective

Graphical abstract: Environmental specimen banks as a resource for mercury and mercury isotope research in marine ecosystems

Effects of pretreatment on the denaturation and fragmentation of genomic DNA for DNA hybridization
Xiaofang Wang and Ahjeong Son  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 2204-2212
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00457K, Paper

Graphical abstract: Effects of pretreatment on the denaturation and fragmentation of genomic DNA for DNA hybridization

Neutral polyfluoroalkyl substances in the global Atmosphere
A. Gawor, C. Shunthirasingham, S. J. Hayward, Y. D. Lei, T. Gouin, B. T. Mmereki, W. Masamba, C. Ruepert, L. E. Castillo, M. Shoeib, S. C. Lee, T. Harner and F. Wania  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00499F, Paper

Graphical abstract: Neutral polyfluoroalkyl substances in the global Atmosphere
Assessment of environmentally persistent free radicals in soils and sediments from three Superfund sites
Albert Leo N. dela Cruz, Robert L. Cook, Barry Dellinger, Slawomir M. Lomnicki, Kirby C. Donnelly, Matthew A. Kelley and David Cosgriff  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 44-52
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00428G, Paper

Graphical abstract: Assessment of environmentally persistent free radicals in soils and sediments from three Superfund sites

Internal transcribed spacer rRNA gene sequencing analysis of fungal diversity in Kansas City indoor environments
William R. Rittenour, Christina E. Ciaccio, Charles S. Barnes, Michael L. Kashon, Angela R. Lemons, Donald H. Beezhold and Brett J. Green  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 33-43
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00441D, Paper

Graphical abstract: Internal transcribed spacer rRNA gene sequencing analysis of fungal diversity in Kansas City indoor environments

Field calibration of low density polyethylene passive samplers for gaseous POPs
Mohammed A. Khairy and Rainer Lohmann  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00493G, Paper

Graphical abstract: Field calibration of low density polyethylene passive samplers for gaseous POPs

Bubble bursting as an aerosol generation mechanism during an oil spill in the deep-sea environment: laboratory experimental demonstration of the transport pathway
Franz S. Ehrenhauser, Paria Avij, Xin Shu, Victoria Dugas, Isaiah Woodson, Thilanga Liyana-Arachchi, Zenghui Zhang, Francisco R. Hung and Kalliat T. Valsaraj  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 65-73
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00390F, Paper

Graphical abstract: Bubble bursting as an aerosol generation mechanism during an oil spill in the deep-sea environment: laboratory experimental demonstration of the transport pathway

Bubble bursting as an aerosol generation mechanism during an oil spill in the deep-sea environment: molecular dynamics simulations of oil alkanes and dispersants in atmospheric air/salt water interfaces
Thilanga P. Liyana-Arachchi, Zenghui Zhang, Franz S. Ehrenhauser, Paria Avij, Kalliat T. Valsaraj and Francisco R. Hung  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 53-64
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00391D, Paper

Graphical abstract: Bubble bursting as an aerosol generation mechanism during an oil spill in the deep-sea environment: molecular dynamics simulations of oil alkanes and dispersants in atmospheric air/salt water interfaces

Evaluation of a novel personal nanoparticle sampler
Yue Zhou, Hammad Irshad, Chuen-Jinn Tsai, Shao-Ming Hung and Yung-Sung Cheng  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00497J, Paper

Graphical abstract: Evaluation of a novel personal nanoparticle sampler

APEX (Aqueous Photochemistry of Environmentally occurring Xenobiotics): a free software tool to predict the kinetics of photochemical processes in surface waters
Marco Bodrato and Davide Vione  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00541K, Paper

Graphical abstract: APEX (Aqueous Photochemistry of Environmentally occurring Xenobiotics): a free software tool to predict the kinetics of photochemical processes in surface waters

A review with recent advancements on bioremediation-based abolition of heavy metals
Nisha Gaur, Gagan Flora, Mahavir Yadav and Archana Tiwari  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00491K, Critical Review

Graphical abstract: A review with recent advancements on bioremediation-based abolition of heavy metals

Leaching potential of metallic elements from contaminated soils under anoxia
Ramona Balint, Gheorghe Nechifor and Franco Ajmone-Marsan  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00546A, Paper

Graphical abstract: Leaching potential of metallic elements from contaminated soils under anoxia

Testing flow-through air samplers for use in near-field vapour drift studies by measuring pyrimethanil in air after spraying
Trudyanne S. Geoghegan, Kimberly J. Hageman and Andrew J. Hewitt  
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00498H, Paper

Graphical abstract: Testing flow-through air samplers for use in near-field vapour drift studies by measuring pyrimethanil in air after spraying
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A novel spectroscopic technique for assessing vegetation stresses in post-mining sites

Novel spectroscopic techniques could provide a useful tool for monitoring the physiological status of vegetation in post-mining sites, according to a new study by Zuzana et al from the Charles University in Prague, which featured as our Cover Article in Issue 11.

Long-term lignite mining has caused widespread ecological damage in many areas across the world. The principal cause of these problems is acid mine drainage, which causes increased acidity of soil and water environments and subsequent  mobilization of heavy metals e.g. Cd, Zn, Co, Cu and Ni leading to plant uptake from contaminated soils.

Reforestation is a common method for reclamation of post-mining sites with Scots pine being a popular option due to its high ecological tolerance to diverse environments. Monitoring the effects of low pH conditions and heavy metal contamination and identifying key non-specific indicators of stress in this vegetation is therefore important in order to best develop the most effective remediation strategies for post-mining locations.

However, only a limited amount of work has so far been performed under field conditions to establish the effects of high acidity and heavy metal levels on the biochemical processes within vegetation and suitable biomarkers for these effects have not yet been identified. In this study, Zuzana et al. outline the results of a pilot study for monitoring reclaimed post-mining sites, developing a method to identify the key physiological stress factors in Scots pine trees.




Spectroscopic methods are becoming increasingly popular in environmental monitoring. They potentially offer a cheaper and faster alternative to conventional biochemical analysis. The approach in this study modelled the relationship between the visible to-near-infrared (VNIR) spectral properties of Scots pine needles and their key physiochemical properties, measured in the laboratory.

The most suitable biochemical traits identified as non-specific stress indicators for Scots pine trees were ; relative water content (fraction of weight decrease after drying),  content of photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a+b and carotenoids, and the ratio of these two components) and concentration soluble phenolic compounds.

The technique was applied to four sites in northwest Czech Republic, each exhibiting different levels of physiological stress. The method was able to successfully separate the different sites, using at least three of the above variables, based on their spectral reflectance data and validated using bootstrapped partial least squares regression (PLSR) modelling  predictions.

The study demonstrates the potential use for the VNIR spectroscopic technique for estimating the physiological status of vegetation in post-mining sites. The method has potential use in larger-scale monitoring studies, allowing simple and quick assessment of reclamation quality in post-mining regions using air-born or satellite hyperspectral data.


This paper is an ESPI HOT article and is of interest to researchers interested in contaminated land remediation, specifically post-mining sites, or anyone that likes trees.

Detection of multiple stresses in Scots pine growing at post-mining sites using visible to near-infrared spectroscopy, Lhotáková Zuzana et al, DOI: 10.1039/c3em00388d

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Semipermeable membrane devises (SPMDs) as models in dissolved hydrocarbon exposure studies

Crude oil spillages are a major ecological threat, exposing aquatic wildlife to high concentrations of toxic organic pollutants. This study by Van Scoy et al. demonstrates the potential usefulness of semi-permeable membrane devises (SPMDs) in monitoring the exposure of aquatic organisms to dissolved hydrocarbons from crude oil, and in assessing the toxic effects that these compounds may exert.

Oil spills and their environmental impacts are frequently in the public and media spotlight. In order to adequately address this issue it is essential to establish the most effective way to limit exposure to the toxic compounds released. It is common for chemical dispersants to be used following spillages. These accelerate the natural dispersion of oil by reducing the interfacial surface tension. While these are considered to be an effective treatment method, the ecological impact of dispersed oil needs to be considered.

In this study SPMDs were used to extract the bioavailable fraction of dissolved hydrocarbons present in both ‘undispersed’ and ‘chemically dispersed’ crude oil. SPMDs mimic the action of biological membranes by allowing passive diffusion of aqueous compounds through the lipid membrane. Here, this technique was used to monitor levels of key polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of pollutants shown to display toxic and bioaccumulative properties in aquatic organisms.

The use of SPMDs is favourable compared to living models in bioavailability studies, providing a relatively quick, economical and efficient method and also avoids biotransformation of compounds during the experiment. In this study, ultra high purity triolein (C57H104O6) was used to extract 7 PAHs, monitoring accumulation over a 24hr exposure time to simulate the initial period after a spillage. Concentrations of 7 PAHs were measured using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

It was shown that, while the initial crude oil loading was 8 times higher for the undispersed oil (2 g L-1) compared to the dispersed oil (0.25 g L-1), accumulation of PAHs was greater for the dispersed oil. This was attributed to the micelles, formed upon dispersant application, weathering over time. This would suggest the use of chemical dispersants as a remediation measure may increase the risk of exposure of aquatic organisms to toxic hydrocarbons.

The study demonstrates the usefulness of SPMDs in measuring concentrations of dissolved organic pollutants present in crude oil. Data from this technique, in combination with metabolomic data, could be a valuable tool in better understanding the bioavailability of dissolved hydrocarbons in crude oil and the possible toxic effects this can have on aquatic wildlife. The paper would therefore be of interest to ecotoxicologists investigating aquatic organisms in both saltwater and freshwater environments.

Use of semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to characterize dissolved hydrocarbon fractions of both dispersed and undispersed oil by April R. Van Scoy, Jennifer Voorhees, Brian S. Anderson, Bryn M. Philips and Ronald S. Tjeerdema.  

DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00275F

This paper is part of the ESPI HOT articles series and is free to download* for the next 2 weeks  – grab it while it’s HOT!

*Free access to individuals is provided through an RSC Publishing personal account. It’s quick, easy and more importantly – free – to register!

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Free to access HOT articles!

These HOT articles were recommended by our referees and are free to access for 4 weeks*

Contaminated land: can acute exposure be a significant health risk? Two case studies and associated risk assessment methods George Kowalczyk, Mark Brown, Rebecca Twigg, William Welfare and Yolande Macklin  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00278K

The influence of glacial meltwater on alpine aquatic ecosystems: a review
Krista E. H. Slemmons, Jasmine E. Sarosa and Kevin Simon  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00243H

Use of semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to characterize dissolved hydrocarbon fractions of both dispersed and undispersed oil
April R. Van Scoy, Jennifer Voorhees, Brian S. Anderson, Bryn M. Philips and Ronald S. Tjeerdema  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00275F

Release of TiO2 from paints containing pigment-TiO2 or nano-TiO2 by weathering
Ahmed Al-Kattan, Adrian Wichser, Roger Vonbank, Samuel Brunner, Andrea Ulrich, Stefano Zuin and Bernd Nowack  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00331K

Pilot-scale in situ bioremediation of HMX and RDX in soil pore water in Hawaii
Zachary M. Payne, Krishna M. Lamichhane, Roger W. Babcock and Stephen J. Turnbull  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00320E

The impact of an anti-idling campaign on outdoor air quality at four urban schools
Patrick H. Ryan, Tiina Reponen, Mark Simmons, Michael Yermakov, Ken Sharkey, Denisha Garland-Porter, Cynthia Eghbalniad and Sergey A. Grinshpun  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00377A

Influence of organic surface coatings on the sorption of anticonvulsants on mineral surfaces
Shen Qua and David M. Cwiertny  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00288H

Detection of multiple stresses in Scots pine growing at post-mining sites using visible to near-infrared spectroscopy Lhotáková Zuzana,  Brodský Lukáš, Kupková Lucie, Kopačková Veronika, Potůčková Markéta, Mišurec Jan, Klement Aleš,   Kovářová Monika and Albrechtová Jana  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00388D

 
Human exposure to aluminium
Christopher Exleya  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00374D

 
Lability, solubility and speciation of Cd, Pb and Zn in alluvial soils of the River Trent catchment UK
Maria Izquierdo, Andrew M. Tye and Simon R. Chenery  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00370A

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It’s an aluminium age: exploring human exposure

Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. Its range of desirable chemical and physical properties (e.g. low density, thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance etc) has made it the most widely used metal of the 21st century, utilised in a huge variety of products and applications, from kitchen utensils to aircraft parts, from food packaging to window frames. However, while the extracting and casting of this abundant resource yields many benefits, the disruption of natural geochemical and biochemical systems may expose organisms including humans to potential harm. It is of paramount importance that we fully understand the ways in which humans are exposed to aluminium and its behaviour within the body. This will allow the nature and extent of potential toxic effects to be assessed and enable people to live safely with these possible dangers.

In this article, which featured on the cover of Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts Issue 10, Christopher Exley provides a detailed and comprehensive critical review, addressing these issues. A broad range of specific aspects within the field of aluminium exposure are covered. The myriad ways in which humans are exposed to aluminium (including inhalation, diet and cosmetics) are discussed as well as the key impact routes (e.g. skin. nose, lung and gut), distribution networks within the body (e.g. blood) and excretion routes. The mechanisms through which aluminium can exert biochemical effects in humans (e.g. pro-oxidant activity, immunopotency and mutagenicity) are also described. Additionally, the article provides a complete and clear description of the aluminium ‘body burden’ (the balance between exposure and excretion).

This article challenges the current perception that aluminium is completely ‘safe’ and demonstrates the need to change our thinking regarding human exposure to metals like aluminium. Furthermore, several key knowledge gaps in this field are identified. Specific areas for future research, required to improve our understanding of aluminium exposure and toxicology, are outlined. In particular, the need to identify specific ‘targets’ within biological systems that may be more vulnerable to aluminium ‘attack’ than others is emphasised. Also, a need to establish an acceptable level of ‘safe’ exposure in humans is highlighted.

Exley suggests that gaining a full understanding of aluminium exposure and body burden in humans will require further data to be gathered from both laboratory and computer modelling approaches. This article will therefore be a valuable resource for researchers within these fields as well as for policy-makers at local and national levels.

Read the full article here:
Human exposure to aluminium, Christopher Exley, DOI : 10.1039/c3em00374d

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Nanoparticles on Fire!

schematic of nanoparticles in incineratorNanomaterials have become a ‘hot topic’ within many spheres of science, from their manufacture and use through to their toxicity.  However a critical review by Holder et al, has shed light on their disposal by incineration, an often overlooked area.

Incineration is a key route of disposal of many solid wastes, including from wastewater, which could be a significant source of silver nanoparticles.  Incineration is a complex process which could see nanomaterials released into the environment through several different pathways.

This very comprehensive article reviews social aspects of this topic, such as legislation from across the globe, as well physical scientific data on how nanomaterials behave under combustion conditions and their fate.

This article would be of interest to anyone keen to learn more about modern waste disposal, the manufacture of nanoparticles or the release and behaviour of antiparticles in the environment.

The review is free to access for the next 4 weeks, so pick it up while it’s hot!*

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Nanomaterial disposal by Incineration by Amara L. Holder, Eric P. Vejerano, Xinzhe Zhou and Linsey C. Marr. DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00224A

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HOT articles – free to access!

Take a look at our HOT articles recommended by our referees – these have been made free to access for 4 weeks*

Nanomaterial disposal by incineration
Amara L. Holder, Eric P. Vejerano, Xinzhe Zhou and Linsey C. Marr
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00224A

GA

Combining multivariate statistics and analysis of variance to redesign a water quality monitoring network
Nathalie Guigues, Michèle Desenfant and Emmanuel Hance  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00168G

GA

The oxidative toxicity of Ag and ZnO nanoparticles towards the aquatic plant Spirodela punctuta and the role of testing media parameters
Melusi Thwala, Ndeke Musee, Lucky Sikhwivhilu and Victor Wepener
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00235G

GA

Lability, solubility and speciation of Cd, Pb and Zn in alluvial soils of the River Trent catchment UK
Maria Izquierdo, Andrew M. Tye and Simon R. Chenery
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00370A   

GA

Human exposure to aluminium
Christopher Exley
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00374D

GA

Human biomonitoring issues related to lead exposure
Evert Nieboer, Leonard J. S. Tsuji, Ian D. Martin and Eric N. Liberda
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00270E   

GA

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Real time identification of algal phyla

algae identificationAlgae are identified in variety of research fields and used as indicators of water quality.  Quantifying and identifying algae is often a laborious task and requires a high level of skill.  Although there are several automated techniques now available, commercial developments have been limited.  Several software techniques based on imaging have been previously presented, however they’re often limited to only a few algal types, so not applicable to field samples. 

This paper presents an innovative method which provides real time recognition of multiple algaes.  The software uses image segmentation, shape features i.e. contours, centroid spectrum calculations and pigmentation.  The set up uses relatively simple hardware and no sample processing or fixation.  Coltelli et al tested the method on both cultured strains and field samples with the method correctly identifing 96.6% of 24 different algal phyla from 3423 images.

This article would be of interest to anyone involved in algal identification, whether from lab based cultures or water samples from the field. 

Automatic and real time recognition of microalgae by means of pigment and shape
Primo Coltelli, Laura Barsanti, Evangelista, Anna Maria Frassanito, Vincenzo Passarelli and Paolo Gualtieri
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00160A

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