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

Published on behalf of Ian Keyte, Doctoral Researcher, University of Birmingham, and web writer for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

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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Top ten most accessed ES:P&I articles in Q2 2013

This month sees the following articles in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts that are in the top ten most accessed April – June:-

Heavy metals and organic compounds contamination in soil from an e-waste region in South China
Ming Liu, Bo Huang, Xinhui Bi, Zhaofang Ren, Guoying Sheng and Jiamo Fu
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 919-929
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00043E

Quantifying temporal and spatial variations in sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus transport in stream inflows to a large eutrophic lake
Ming Liu, Bo Huang, Xinhui Bi, Zhaofang Ren, Guoying Sheng and Jiamo Fu
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1137-1152
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00083D

Application of fluorescence and PARAFAC to assess vertical distribution of subsurface hydrocarbons and dispersant during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Wilson G. Mendoza, Daniel D. Riemer and Rod G. Zika
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1017-1030
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM30816B

Molecular toxicology of polybrominated diphenyl ethers: nuclear hormone receptor mediated pathways
Xiao-Min Ren and Liang-Hong Guo
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 702-708
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00023K

Sources, transport and fate of PAHs in sediments and superficial water of a chronically polluted semi-enclosed body of seawater: linking of compartments
Elisa Rojo-Nieto, Diego Sales and José Antonio Perales
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 986-995
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00050H

PAHs in the Chinese environment: levels, inventory mass, source and toxic potency assessment
Ji-Zhong Wang, Cheng-Zhu Zhu and Tian-Hu Chen
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1104-1112
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00070B

Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) sorption behavior unaffected by the presence of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) in a natural soil system
Shibin Li, Todd A. Anderson, Micah J. Green, Jonathan D. Maul and Jaclyn E. Cañas-Carrell
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1130-1136
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00099K

Size distribution effects of cadmium tellurium quantum dots (CdS/CdTe) immunotoxicity on aquatic organisms
A. Bruneau, M. Fortier, F. Gagne, C. Gagnon, P. Turcotte, A. Tayabali, T. L. Davis, M. Auffret and M. Fournier
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 596-607
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30896G

Statistical analysis and estimation of annual suspended sediments of major rivers in Japan
Pingping Luo, Bin He, Pedro Luiz Borges Chaffe, Daniel Nover, Kaoru Takara and M. A. Z. Mohd Remy Rozainy
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1052-1061
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM30777H

Fecal pathogen pollution: sources and patterns in water and sediment samples from the upper Cook Inlet, Alaska ecosystem
Stephanie A. Norman, Roderick C. Hobbs, Stefan Wuertz, Ann Melli, Laurel A. Beckett, Nadira Chouicha, Arti Kundu and Woutrina A. Miller
Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1041-1051
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM30930D

Why not take a look at the articles today and blog your thoughts and comments below.

Fancy submitting an article to Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts? Then why not submit to us today or alternatively email us your suggestions.

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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

*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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It’s an aluminium age: exploring human exposure

Published on behalf of Ian Keyte, Doctoral Researcher, University of Birmingham, and web writer for Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

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!*

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

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

*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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Journal of Environmental Monitoring: The Most Cited Articles of 2010 and 2011

The editors at ESPI (formally Journal of Environmental Monitoring, JEM, until 2012) would like to introduce the most cited articles of 2010 and 2011, and use this chance to highlight some of the fantastic work that the environmental science community is producing right now.  

As of now, all of the below articles will be free for 4 weeks (until Monday 16th Sept),* so make the most of this opportunity to download the full papers!  

Top 3 Cited Reviews:  

  1. B Nowack & F Gottschalk: The release of engineered nanomaterials to the environment. (DOI: 10.1039/c0em00547a).

    A critical review on the environmental release of nanomaterials and our current ability to quantitatively monitor their concentration in the environment. Nowack and Gottschalk discuss the limits of our knowledge in measuring nanomaterial release, and why.


      
  2. JW Martin et. al.: PFOS or PreFOS? Are perfluorooctane sulfonate precursors (PreFOS) important determinants of human and environmental perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) exposure? (DOI: 10.1039/c0em00295j).

    A critical review on the extent to which perfluorooctanesulfonate precursors (preFOS) play a role in human or environmental exposure to the global pollutant, prefluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).



      
  3. M Elsner: Stable isotope fractionation to investigate natural transformation mechanisms of organic contaminants: principles, prospects and limitations (DOI: 10.1039/c0em00277a)

    A critical review on the use of gas chromatography ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS) and its use in the analysis of organic contaminants in environmental samples.



 Top 10 Cited Research Papers:  

  1. P Westerhoff et. al.: Occurrence and removal of titanium at full scale wastewater treatment plants: implications for TiO2 nanomaterials (DOI: 10.1039/c1em10017c).

    A paper on the titanium concentrations of treated water samples from a range of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), showing evidence of Nanoscale particles passing through WWTPs, with the ability to enter aquatic systems.



  2.  RI MacCspie et. al.: Challenges for physical characterization of silver nanoparticles under pristine and environmentally relevant conditions (DOI: 10.1039/c1em10024f)

    A paper which discusses the reasons behind our limitations in the measurement of silver nanoparticles in the environment, and presents an approach to developing routine screening.



  3.  F Wania et. al.: Spatial and temporal pattern of pesticides in the global atmosphere (DOI: 10.1039/c0em00134a).

    A paper on the measurement of a number of banned organochloride pesticides and a number of current-use pesticides, as part of the Global Atmospheric Passive Sampling (GAPS) study.


     
  4. R Ashauer et. al.: Advantages of toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic modelling in aquatic ecotoxicology and risk assessment (DOI: 10.1039/c0em00234h)

     
  5. L Hanssen et. al.: Perfluorinated compounds in maternal serum and cord blood from selected areas of South Africa: results of a pilot study (DOI: 10.1039/b924420d)

     
  6. KR Smith et. al.: Estimating personal PM2.5 exposures using CO measurements in Guatemalan households cooking with wood fuel (DOI: 10.1039/b916068j)

     
  7. GS Bilotta et. al.: Assessing catchment-scale erosion and yields of suspended solids from improved temperate grassland (DOI: 10.1039/b921584k)

     
  8. YQ Cai et. al.: Investigation of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in mollusks from coastal waters in the Bohai Sea of China (DOI: 10.1039/b909302h)

     
  9. BK Gaiser et. al.: Effects of silver and cerium dioxide micro- and nano-sized particles on Daphnia magna (DOI: 10.1039/c1em10060b)

     
  10. HY Guo et. al.: TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles negatively affect wheat growth and soil enzyme activities in agricultural soil (DOI: 10.1039/c0em00611d)

     

*free through an RSC account

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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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Environmental Monitoring in the Energy Sector: Exploring parallels between shale gas and nuclear

The Royal Society of Chemistry is holding a free half-day event which will consider the current and future role of chemistry in environmental monitoring in the energy sector.  The event will centre on a comparison between shale gas, an emerging technique in the UK and the established nuclear sector. The event is likely to be of interest to people working on environmental monitoring in the energy sector as well as individuals with wider interests in environmental monitoring techniques including geoscientists, chemists and toxicologists. 

The event will begin with a brief overview of the current energy landscape and the respective roles and prospects for established and emerging energy technologies. This will be followed by an introduction on the extraction of shale gas by ‘fracking’ and its emerging profile in the energy sector. The speakers will then give perspectives on challenges in monitoring for the shale gas industry comparing with approaches in the nuclear industry.  The talks will include strategies and techniques developed to ensure accurate and effective monitoring of both land and water.  Following each presentation there will be a brief Question & Answer session. 

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion looking at commonalities and differences between the sectors, areas for collaboration and knowledge-exchange, the role for chemistry in developing and adapting methods for environmental monitoring in the UK’s evolving energy landscape and whether the extraction of shale gas presents a specific set of new challenges for research.

There will also be opportunities for informal networking between delegates.

This invitation-only event will take place at the Chemistry Centre in Burlington House, London, from 13:30 – 18:00 on Thursday 26 September. There is no registration fee but registration is required prior to the event. 

If you are interested in attending the event, please visit the website to register your interest in attending.

 

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Free to access HOT articles!

These articles are HOT as recommended by the referees. And we’ve made them free to access for 4 weeks*
 

Chrysotile asbestos in serpentinite quarries: a case study in Valmalenco, Central Alps, Northern Italy
Alessandro Cavallo and Bianca Rimoldi
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00193H


Mineralogical comparisons of experimental results investigating the biological impacts on rock transport processes
Doris Wagner, Antoni E. Milodowski, Julia M. West, Joanna Wragg and Hideki Yoshikawa
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00188A


Arrays of microelectrodes: technologies for environmental investigations
Frank Davis and Séamus P. J. Higson
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00234A

 


 Biovolatilisation: a poorly studied pathway of the arsenic biogeochemical cycle
Adrien Mestrot, Britta Planer-Friedrich and Jörg Feldmann
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00105A


Is meconium useful to predict fetal exposure to organochlorines and hydroxylated PCBs?
Anna Sofía Veyhe, Therese Haugdahl Nøst, Torkjel M. Sandanger, Solrunn Hansen, Jon Øyvind Odland and Evert Nieboer
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00132F


Using quantitative structural property relationships, chemical fate models, and the chemical partitioning space to investigate the potential for long range transport and bioaccumulation of complex halogenated chemical mixtures
Anya Gawor and Frank Wania  
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00098B


Continuous, short-interval redox data loggers: verification and setup considerations
C. Shoemaker, R. Kröger, B. Reese and S. C. Pierce
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00036B

*Free access to individuals is provided through an RSC Publishing personal account. Registration is quick, free and simple

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