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Environments, Volume 5, Issue 4 (April 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Animal by-products can be converted into gelatin. The process of conversion of animal hides into [...] Read more.
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Research

Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Instrumental Odor Analysis Using SIFT-MS: A Case Study
Environments 2018, 5(4), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040043
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
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Abstract
Instrumental analysis of odor is challenging due to the chemical diversity of many important odorants, the high sensitivity required to achieve human odor thresholds, and the dynamic nature of the odor itself. Conventional sensor-based and chromatographic technologies are poorly suited to the task.
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Instrumental analysis of odor is challenging due to the chemical diversity of many important odorants, the high sensitivity required to achieve human odor thresholds, and the dynamic nature of the odor itself. Conventional sensor-based and chromatographic technologies are poorly suited to the task. In this paper, we apply a novel direct mass spectrometric technique—selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS)—to the chemical analysis of odor. The SIFT-MS technique provides comprehensive real-time odor analysis through detection and quantitation of all odorants, including aldehydes, amines, organosulfur compounds, and volatile fatty acids. In the case study described, SIFT-MS is utilized to monitor specific odor compounds at a gelatin factory in Christchurch, New Zealand. Odor composition from various steps in the gelatin manufacturing process was determined using SIFT-MS in scan mode. Over a period of several years, the gelatin manufacturer made improvements to their plant to reduce fugitive odors, and sources were re-analyzed. In this investigation, SIFT-MS analysis was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of an odor neutralization technology based on UV photolysis at the plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Odor and VOCs: Human Perception, Sensing, and Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle An Exploratory Analysis of Sound Field Characteristics using the Impulse Response in a Car Cabin
Environments 2018, 5(4), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040044
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
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Abstract
Sound environments in cars are becoming quieter and receiving attention because of the prevalence of low-noise engines such as hybrid and electric engines and the manifestation of automated driving. Although the car cabin has potential as a listening space, its acoustic quality has
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Sound environments in cars are becoming quieter and receiving attention because of the prevalence of low-noise engines such as hybrid and electric engines and the manifestation of automated driving. Although the car cabin has potential as a listening space, its acoustic quality has not been examined in detail. The present study investigated sound field characteristics in the car cabin using acoustic parameters obtained by impulse response analysis. In particular, effects of the passenger position, open windows and the use of an air conditioner on acoustic parameters were investigated. The passenger position affected the sound strength at low frequencies. Rear seats, except for the rear central seat, had lower interaural correlation than the front seats, suggesting that rear seats have more diffused sound fields. The opening of windows and use of air conditioners attenuated the ratio of early- and late-arriving energy at high frequencies, suggesting a loss of clarity for music. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound Environments)
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Open AccessArticle Geometric Factor as the Characteristics of the Three-Dimensional Process of Volume Changes of Heavy Soils
Environments 2018, 5(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040045
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 24 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
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Abstract
During simulation of a water regime of heavy soils, it is necessary to know the isotropy parameters of any volume changes. Volume changes appear in both vertical and horizontal directions. In vertical directions, they appear as a topsoil movement, and in horizontal directions
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During simulation of a water regime of heavy soils, it is necessary to know the isotropy parameters of any volume changes. Volume changes appear in both vertical and horizontal directions. In vertical directions, they appear as a topsoil movement, and in horizontal directions as the formation of a crack network. The ratio between horizontal and vertical change is described using the geometric factor, rs. In the present paper, the distribution of volume changes to horizontal and vertical components is characterized by the geometric factor, in selected soil profiles, in the East Slovakian Lowland. In this work the effect of soil texture on the value of the geometric factor and thus, on the distribution of volume changes to vertical and horizontal components was studied. Within the hypothesis, the greatest influence of the clay soil component was shown by the geometric factor value. New information is obtained on the basis of field and laboratory measurements. Results will be used as inputs for numerical simulation of a water regime for heavy soils in the East Slovakian Lowland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Environmental Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Hepatobiliary-Related Outcomes in US Adults Exposed to Lead
Environments 2018, 5(4), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040046
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 27 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 31 March 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate hepatobiliary-related clinical markers in Unites States adults (aged ≥ 20) exposed to lead using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2008 and 2009–2010 datasets. Clinical markers and occupation were evaluated in 4
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The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate hepatobiliary-related clinical markers in Unites States adults (aged ≥ 20) exposed to lead using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2008 and 2009–2010 datasets. Clinical markers and occupation were evaluated in 4 quartiles of exposure—0–2 μg/dL, 2–5 μg/dL, 5–10 μg/dL, and 10 μg/dL and over—to examine how the markers and various occupations manifested in the quartiles. Linear regression determined associations, and binary logistic regression predicted the likelihood of elevated clinical makers using binary degrees of exposure set at (2 μg/dL, 5 μg/dL, and 10 μg/dL). Clinical makers, and how they manifested between exposed and less-exposed occupations, were explored in addition to how duration of exposure altered these clinical markers. In regression analysis, Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT), total bilirubin, and Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) were positively and significantly associated with Blood lead level (BLL). Using binary logistic regression models, at the binary 2 μg/dL level ALP, and GGT were more likely to be elevated in those exposed. At 5 μg/dL level, it was ALP and GGT that were more likely to be elevated in those exposed whereas at 10 μg/dL level, it was GGT that were more likely to be elevated in those exposed. In the occupational analysis, Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT), GGT, and ALP showed differences between populations in the exposed and less-exposed occupations. Regarding Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, duration of exposure altered AST, ALP, and total bilirubin significantly (p < 0.05) while ALT and GGT were altered moderately significantly (p < 0.10). With mining, duration of exposure altered AST and GGT moderately significantly, whereas in construction duration in occupation altered AST, and GGT significantly, and total bilirubin moderately significantly. The study findings are evidence of occupational exposure to lead playing a significant role in initiating and promoting adverse hepatobiliary clinical outcomes in United States adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
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Open AccessArticle Efficient Bacteria Inactivation by Ultrasound in Municipal Wastewater
Environments 2018, 5(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040047
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 1 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
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Abstract
The reuse of treated wastewaters could contribute to reducing water stress. In this research, ultrasound application on bacterial inactivation in municipal wastewater (MWW) was evaluated. Total and fecal coliforms were used as standard fecal indicators; volatile suspended solids (VSS) were analyzed too. Samples
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The reuse of treated wastewaters could contribute to reducing water stress. In this research, ultrasound application on bacterial inactivation in municipal wastewater (MWW) was evaluated. Total and fecal coliforms were used as standard fecal indicators; volatile suspended solids (VSS) were analyzed too. Samples were taken from the effluent of secondary clarifiers. In addition, inactivation tests were carried out on pure cultures of E. coli (EC) and B. subtilis (BS). Sonication was performed at 20 kHz, 35% amplitude and 600 W/L for 15, 30 and 45 min. After 15 min of sonication, bacterial density was reduced by 1.85 Log10 MPN/100 mL for EC and 3.16 Log10 CFU/mL for BS. After 30 min, no CFU/mL of BS were observed in MWW and, after 45 min, the reduction of total and fecal coliforms was practically 6.45 Log10 MPN/100mL. Inactivation mechanism was made by cavitation, which causes irreversible damage to the cell wall. Although high bacterial densities were employed, percentages of inactivation >99% were reached at 45 min. This research contributes to the implementation of ultrasound as a disinfection technique with high potential due to its high efficiency without producing byproducts. In fact, the water meets the guidelines for reuse in direct human contact services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil and Water Contamination, Remediation and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle Trace Metal Modelling of a Complex River Basin Using the Suite of Models Integrated in the OpenMI Platform
Environments 2018, 5(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040048
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
Modelling trace metal dynamics is essential in an integrated modelling framework as trace metals have the potential to be fatal, even when present at low concentrations. Since the degree of bioavailability of a metal depends on its presence in the dissolved phase, it
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Modelling trace metal dynamics is essential in an integrated modelling framework as trace metals have the potential to be fatal, even when present at low concentrations. Since the degree of bioavailability of a metal depends on its presence in the dissolved phase, it is necessary to keep track of both the dissolved and particulate phase of metals. In general, the well-known partitioning coefficient approach is widely used for trace metal speciation. As such, we applied a parametric approach to relate the partitioning coefficient to several environmental variables. These environmental variables are made available by a suite of physically based models (a hydrologic and diffuse pollution model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT); a hydraulic model, Storm Water Management Model (SWMM); a stream temperature model; an in-stream water quality conversion model; and a sediment transport model) integrated using the Open Modelling Interface (OpenMI). For trace metal speciation, two regression techniques, (a) the multi-linear regression (MLR) and (b) the principle component regression (PCR), were used. It is then tested in the Zenne river basin, Belgium, to simulate four trace metals (copper, cadmium, zinc and lead) dynamics. We demonstrated the usefulness of the OpenMI platform to link different model components for integrated trace metal transport modelling of a complex river basin. It was found that the integrated model simulated different metals with ‘satisfactory’ accuracy. The MLR- and PCR-based model results were also comparable. From a management perspective, the river is not heavily polluted except for the level of dissolved zinc. We believe that the availability of such a model will allow for a better understanding of trace metal dynamics, which could be utilized to improve the present condition of the river. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Toxicology of Trace Metals)
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Open AccessArticle U.S. Inland Pacific Northwest Wheat Farmers’ Perceived Risks: Motivating Intentions to Adapt to Climate Change?
Environments 2018, 5(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040049
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 14 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
The Regional Approaches to Climate Change for the Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH PNA) project was a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded effort aimed at taking a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the implications of climate change on wheat and
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The Regional Approaches to Climate Change for the Pacific Northwest Agriculture (REACCH PNA) project was a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funded effort aimed at taking a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to understanding the implications of climate change on wheat and other cereal crop production in the inland Pacific Northwest (iPNW). As part of this project, two comprehensive surveys of wheat producers were conducted in 2012/13 and 2015/16, which included questions concerning production practices, risk perception, and attitudes towards climate change adaptation and mitigation. This paper explores farmers’ anticipated adaptive responses to climate change across five different adaptation strategies, including, cropping system, crop rotation, tillage practices, soil conservation practices, and crop insurance. This research examines whether farmers anticipate making little to no change or moderate to big changes to their production system in response to climate change and whether perceived economic and environmental risks motivate farmers’ intentions to adapt to climate change. I found that a small percentage (18–28%) of respondents intend on taking moderate to big action in response to predicted climate change, across both surveys and all five adaptation strategies. Further, high levels of perceived economic and environmental risks, associated with climate change and positive attitudes towards adaptation, are motivating intentions to adapt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle A Multi-Criteria Analysis Model for Investment Projects in Smart Cities
Environments 2018, 5(4), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5040050
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 4 April 2018 / Accepted: 15 April 2018 / Published: 23 April 2018
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Abstract
A city plays a central role in the processes of economic, social, and environmental development, becoming the core of policy makers’ strategies. Thus, it is essential to optimize the use of monetary resources available by means of integrated decision-support approaches, able to pursue
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A city plays a central role in the processes of economic, social, and environmental development, becoming the core of policy makers’ strategies. Thus, it is essential to optimize the use of monetary resources available by means of integrated decision-support approaches, able to pursue an increasingly “instrumented, interconnected and intelligent” cities prototype. In this perspective, the Smart City paradigm addresses the challenges of sustainable development through the implementation of new spatial planning schemes, which require the selection of projects on the basis of multi-criteria economic evaluation logics, namely financial and extra-financial criteria. The purpose of the work is to define an innovative model of economic analysis for the choice of investments in a Smart City, useful for both public operators and private investors. The evaluation protocol is written in the A Mathematical Programming Language (AMPL) through the optimization algorithms of Discrete Linear Programming (DLP). The effectiveness, adaptability, and operational simplicity of the investigative tool are tested on a case study. The model’s limitations and research perspectives are highlighted in the conclusions of the work. Full article
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