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Special Issue "Advances in Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment of Aquatic Toxicity"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Magdalena Toporowska
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Hydrobiology and Protection of Ecosystems, Faculty of Environmental Biology, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Dobrzańskiego 37, 20-262 Lublin, Poland
Interests: cyanobacterial blooms; cyanotoxin production; effects of cyanotoxins on hydrobionts; biodiversity; phytoplankton; periphyton; water quality assessment; ecological status and trophy state of freshwaters
Dr. Agnieszka Budzyńska
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Department of Water Protection, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland
Interests: cyanobacterial blooms; invasive species of cyanobacteria; cyanotoxin production; cyanobacterial akinetes; restoration of lakes; phytoplankton; freshwater ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Triantafyllos Kaloudis
E-Mail Website
Assistant Guest Editor
National Center for Scientific Research “DEMOKRITOS”, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Partiarchi Grigoriou E & Neapoleos 27 str., 15341, Agia Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
Interests: emerging organic pollutants in water; water quality monitoring; analytical methods for water analysis; mass spectrometry; in vitro assays; water safety plans
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the era of drastic climate changes and progressive water eutrophication and pollution, discussion about the value of monitoring studies in the broadly understood aquatic toxicology is strongly required. In recent decades, diverse chemicals have been widely used in agriculture, industry, and everyday life. The extensive discharge of these chemicals in aquatic environments as well as increasing production of natural aquatic toxins may strongly affect entire ecosystems and human populations. Thus, efficient methods for monitoring the quality of aquatic environments and assessing aquatic toxicity are a burning need. Due to the limited and decreasing freshwater resources, the basic research and the practical monitoring of the content and fate of toxic substances and their impact on aquatic organisms, biocenoses, and entire ecosystems, as well as human health, are necessary.

The aim of this Special Issue is to collect papers that advance the field of water quality monitoring and assessment of aquatic toxicity, in fresh-, brackish, marine, and ground waters. Potential research topics include but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring of toxic chemicals and their transformation products in aquatic environments;
  • Seasonal changes in the concentration of chemicals and their toxicity;
  • The development of sampling techniques, analytical methods, and monitoring systems of natural and anthropogenic chemicals in waters;
  • Methods of monitoring and assessment of aquatic toxicity: scaling techniques, biological indicators/biomarkers, pollution indicators, dynamic models;
  • Biology, ecology and monitoring of toxic aquatic organisms;
  • The influence of natural and anthropogenic harmful substances on aquatic organisms and ecosystems;
  • Factors influencing the bioaccumulation, biotransformation, and decomposition of harmful substances in aquatic environments;
  • The impact of natural aquatic toxins and anthropogenic chemicals on human health; methods and procedures of risk assessment;
  • Development and update of water quality guidelines.

Both original research papers and review papers are welcome.

Dr. Magdalena Toporowska
Dr. Agnieszka Budzyńska
Dr. Triantafyllos Kaloudis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • harmful chemicals
  • decomposition
  • bioindication
  • biotransformation
  • water blooms
  • human pressures
  • monitoring
  • water pollution
  • aquatic toxins
  • aquatic toxicity

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Assessment of Spatial and Vertical Variability of Water Quality: Case Study of a Polymictic Polish Lake
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8620; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168620 - 15 Aug 2021
Viewed by 568
Abstract
UE regulations focus on methods of water quality monitoring and their use in rational management practices. This study investigated horizontal and vertical variations of electrical conductivity (EC), pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and chlorophyll a (Chl-a) in a shallow polymictic lake. Monitoring of short-term [...] Read more.
UE regulations focus on methods of water quality monitoring and their use in rational management practices. This study investigated horizontal and vertical variations of electrical conductivity (EC), pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), and chlorophyll a (Chl-a) in a shallow polymictic lake. Monitoring of short-term variability of physical and chemical lake water parameters is a critical component in lake management, as it influences aquatic life. Based on the field research, maps of spatial distribution of the parameters were drawn. Using two methods: (1) a classical approach to water column measurements, from the top to the bottom (TB), in which the reference point is always a surface layer (SL), and (2) a newly introduced method of lake water quality monitoring based on a nearest neighbor (NN) approach; a comparison of higher and lower layers of the water column. By subtracting partial maps of spatial variability for different depths, final raster images were obtained. The NN method is rather absent in the limnology literature worldwide. Vertical and horizontal variability of the tested parameters in the polymictic, shallow Lake Bikcze (Poland) was presented in the results. In the presented paper, the commonly used TB method emphasized the role of the surface layer in shaping the variability of physicochemical parameters of lake waters. It shows a general trend of parameters’ changes from the top, to the bottom. The newly presented NN method, which has a major advantage in its simplicity and objectivity, emphasized structural differentiation within the range of variability. The nearest neighbor method was more accurate in showing the actual structure of fluctuation of parameters with higher fluctuation in the water column. Its advantage is a detailed recognition of the vertical variability of selected parameters in the water column. The method may be used regardless of the lake depth, its location in climatic zone, and/or region. Full article
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Article
Development of Genus-Specific PCR Primers for Molecular Monitoring of Invasive Nostocalean Cyanobacteria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5703; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115703 - 26 May 2021
Viewed by 1069
Abstract
The geographical range of invasive cyanobacteria with high toxigenic potential is widening because of eutrophication and global warming, thus, monitoring their appearance is necessary for safe water quality control. Most invasive cyanobacteria are nostocalean species, and their accurate identification by classical morphological methods [...] Read more.
The geographical range of invasive cyanobacteria with high toxigenic potential is widening because of eutrophication and global warming, thus, monitoring their appearance is necessary for safe water quality control. Most invasive cyanobacteria are nostocalean species, and their accurate identification by classical morphological methods may be problematic. In this study, we developed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers to selectively identify five invasive cyanobacterial genera, namely, Chrysosporum, Cuspidothrix, Cylindrospermopsis, Raphidiopsis, and Sphaerospermopsis, using genetic markers such as rbcLX, rpoB, rpoC1, and cpcBA, and determined the amplification conditions for each pair of primers. The primer performances were verified on single or mixed nostocalean cyanobacterial isolates. The five primers allowed selective identification of all the target genera. In field samples collected during summer, when cyanobacteria flourished in the Nakdong River, the respective PCR product was observed in all samples where the target genus was detected by microscopic analysis. Besides, weak bands corresponding to Sphaerospermopsis and Raphidiopsis were observed in some samples in which these genera were not detected by microscopy, suggesting that the cell densities were below the detection limit of the microscopic method used. Thus, the genus-specific primers developed in this study enable molecular monitoring to supplement the current microscopy-based monitoring. Full article
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Article
Ecotoxicological Studies on the Effect of Roundup® (Glyphosate Formulation) on Marine Benthic Microalgae
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 884; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030884 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
Glyphosate is a very effective herbicide and the main active ingredient in Roundup®—the most extensively used herbicide in the world. Since glyphosate is highly water soluble it reaches water bodies easily in surface water runoff. This prompted us to undertake an [...] Read more.
Glyphosate is a very effective herbicide and the main active ingredient in Roundup®—the most extensively used herbicide in the world. Since glyphosate is highly water soluble it reaches water bodies easily in surface water runoff. This prompted us to undertake an experiment to evaluate the effects of glyphosate in Roundup® on natural communities of marine microphytobenthos. Microphytobenthos communities were obtained from the environment, and after transporting them to the laboratory and acclimatizing them, they were tested under controlled conditions. Changes in microphytobenthos composition and structure and the deteriorating condition of the cells of community-forming organisms (assessed by analyzing changes in chloroplast shape) were used to assess the impact of Roundup® on endpoints. The tests indicated that microphytobenthic communities were relatively resistant to herbicide. The species richness of the communities probably enabled them to rebuild effectively. Sensitive species were replaced by those more tolerant of glyphosate. Only at the highest glyphosate concentration (8.5 g·dm−3) tested was a strong negative effect noted that limited community abundance and eliminated some of the organisms. The dominant diatoms in the communities were replaced by intensively developing cyanobacteria, which ultimately comprised nearly 60% of all the cells observed in the communities. Full article
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Article
Metal Fractionation in Surface Sediments of the Brahmaputra River and Implications for Their Mobilization
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249214 - 09 Dec 2020
Viewed by 960
Abstract
The Brahmaputra River is the largest tropical river in India that flows along the Himalayan regions and it is the lifeline of millions of people. Metal fractionation in the Brahmaputra River’s surface sediments and its correlation with turbidity are assessed in this study. [...] Read more.
The Brahmaputra River is the largest tropical river in India that flows along the Himalayan regions and it is the lifeline of millions of people. Metal fractionation in the Brahmaputra River’s surface sediments and its correlation with turbidity are assessed in this study. The interaction between metal fractions and the overlying water is studied using multivariate statistical analyses. The strong positive correlation between NH4 of the overlying water and the exchangeable fractions in sediments signifies that the metals in the exchangeable fractions can be substituted by NH4. Subsequently, these metals can be released into the overlying water. The fluctuation in turbidity from 73 to 875 NTU indicates a large variation in the suspended matter concentration, and a higher concentration of suspended matter could provide attachment sites for pollutants such as metals. Significant variation in turbidity manifests a potentially high risk of pollution. In addition, the observation of local people along the Brahmaputra River turning its color to muddy indicates the need for continuous monitoring of water quality and an assessment of pollution is crucial. Although the Brahmaputra River’s risk assessment code is at low risk, the exchangeable fractions of Ni and Zn are present at all sites. Thus, the Brahmaputra River requires early preventive measures and management strategies to control metal pollution. This study contributes to an understanding of the fluctuation of turbidity of a tropical river. We provide baseline data for policymakers, and the importance of further intensive studies on metal pollution in the Himalayan Rivers is highlighted. Full article
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Article
Improvement of Ficin-Based Inhibitive Enzyme Assay for Toxic Metals Using Response Surface Methodology and Its Application for Near Real-Time Monitoring of Mercury in Marine Waters
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8585; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228585 - 19 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 775
Abstract
Potentially toxic metals pollution in the Straits of Malacca warrants the development of rapid, simple and sensitive assays. Enzyme-based assays are excellent preliminary screening tools with near real-time potential. The heavy-metal assay based on the protease ficin was optimized for mercury detection using [...] Read more.
Potentially toxic metals pollution in the Straits of Malacca warrants the development of rapid, simple and sensitive assays. Enzyme-based assays are excellent preliminary screening tools with near real-time potential. The heavy-metal assay based on the protease ficin was optimized for mercury detection using response surface methodology. The inhibitive assay is based on ficin action on the substrate casein and residual casein is determined using the Coomassie dye-binding assay. Toxic metals strongly inhibit this hydrolysis. A central composite design (CCD) was utilized to optimize the detection of toxic metals. The results show a marked improvement for the concentration causing 50% inhibition (IC50) for mercury, silver and copper. Compared to one-factor-at-a-time (OFAT) optimization, RSM gave an improvement of IC50 (mg/L) from 0.060 (95% CI, 0.030–0.080) to 0.017 (95% CI, 0.016–0.019), from 0.098 (95% CI, 0.077–0.127) to 0.028 (95% CI, 0.022–0.037) and from 0.040 (95% CI, 0.035–0.045) to 0.023 (95% CI, 0.020–0.027), for mercury, silver and copper, respectively. A near-real time monitoring of mercury concentration in the Straits of Malacca at one location in Port Klang was carried out over a 4 h interval for a total of 24 h and validated by instrumental analysis, with the result revealing an absence of mercury pollution in the sampling site. Full article
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Article
Effects of Heavy Metals in Lake Water and Sediments on Bottom Invertebrates Inhabiting the Brackish Coastal Lake Łebsko on the Southern Baltic Coast
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6848; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186848 - 19 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
Lake Łebsko is the largest and most productive coastal lake of the southern Baltic Sea to which it is permanently connected. The shoreline is well-developed, and the lake is divided into three parts: eastern, central, and western. Seawater intrusion affects most strongly the [...] Read more.
Lake Łebsko is the largest and most productive coastal lake of the southern Baltic Sea to which it is permanently connected. The shoreline is well-developed, and the lake is divided into three parts: eastern, central, and western. Seawater intrusion affects most strongly the eastern part, where the Łeba River connects it with the sea. Samples of water and sediments were collected in 2014–2015. In the same places and time interval, bottom fauna was collected to determine the influence of environmental predictors on its qualitative-quantitative structure. Metals Cr (chromium), Pb (lead), Ni (nickel), Cu (copper), and Al (aluminium) in the samples were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. Most of the analyzed physicochemical variables of water were significantly higher in the eastern part: conductivity, salinity, sulfates (p < 0.0001) and chlorides (p = 0.01). Metal concentrations in water did not differ significantly between the lake parts, but in sediments they were generally higher in the western part. During the study, we detected significant changes in descriptors and abundance of the major groups of benthic fauna (Oligochaeta and Diptera), mostly between the eastern and western parts. BIO-ENV analysis showed that the benthic community of Lake Łebsko is shaped primarily by physicochemical variables of water (42% of the variance), linked with intrusion of seawater. Secondarily, the structure of the benthic community is affected by the amounts of heavy metals in sediments (31%) and water (12%). The findings can help us improve the principles of management of coastal lakes, including modification of hydrological conditions. Full article
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Article
Enhancement of Toxic Efficacy of Alkylated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Transformed by Sphingobium quisquiliarum
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6416; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176416 - 03 Sep 2020
Viewed by 847
Abstract
Alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are abundant in crude oils and refined petroleum products and are considered as major contributors to the toxicity of spilled oils. In this study, the microbial degradation of model (alkylated) PAHs (i.e., phenanthrene, 3-methylphenanthrene, 3,6-dimethylphenanthrene (36DMPhe), pyrene, and [...] Read more.
Alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are abundant in crude oils and refined petroleum products and are considered as major contributors to the toxicity of spilled oils. In this study, the microbial degradation of model (alkylated) PAHs (i.e., phenanthrene, 3-methylphenanthrene, 3,6-dimethylphenanthrene (36DMPhe), pyrene, and 1-methylpyrene (1MP)) by the bacterium Sphingobium quisquiliarum EPA505, a known degrader of PAHs, was studied. To evaluate the toxic potential of the metabolic products, reaction mixtures containing metabolites of 36DMPhe and 1MP were fractionated by high-performance liquid chromatography, and their effects on the luminescence inhibition of Aliivibrio fischeri were evaluated. Although the luminescence inhibition of 36DMPhe and 1MP at their solubility levels was not observed, inhibition was observed in their metabolite fractions at the solubility limit of their parent molecule. This indicates that initial biotransformation increases the toxicity of alkylated PAHs because of the increased solubility and/or inherent toxicity of metabolites. Qualitative analysis of the metabolite fractions suggested that mono-oxidation of the methyl group is the main metabolic pathway of 36DMPhe and 1MP. Full article
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Article
A Novel Procedure of Total Organic Carbon Analysis for Water Samples Containing Suspended Solids with Alkaline Extraction and Homogeneity Evaluation by Turbidity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113901 - 31 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 973
Abstract
This study was conducted to develop and validate a more reliable total organic carbon (TOC) analytical procedure for water samples containing suspended solids (SS). The effects of the combined ultrasonic and alkaline pretreatment (CULA) on the TOC measurement were studied in water samples [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to develop and validate a more reliable total organic carbon (TOC) analytical procedure for water samples containing suspended solids (SS). The effects of the combined ultrasonic and alkaline pretreatment (CULA) on the TOC measurement were studied in water samples containing SS from three origins (algae, sewage particles, and soil) under different analytical conditions (SS concentration, oxidation methods, and sieve size). The applicability of turbidity as a homogeneity index was also evaluated. With CULA, TOC recovery remained high (>80%) for SS concentration ranges up to four times larger than ultrasonic pretreatment alone (UL) due to enhanced particulate organic carbon (POC) solubilization, and did not significantly differ depending on the oxidation methods, at low SS concentrations, or with varying sieve sizes. In particular, the turbidity change rate (i.e., NTU5/NTU0) of the pretreated water sample showed a high correlation with TOC precision (r2 = 0.73, p < 0.01), which suggests that turbidity can be used as an indicator of sample homogeneity. A novel TOC analytical procedure is expected to be useful for more accurate assessments of the impact of particulate pollutants on water quality than current methods, and for the analysis of the carbon cycle, including POCs, in the environment. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Cyanobacterial Bloom Extracts on the Biomass, Chl-a, MC and Other Oligopeptides Contents in a Natural Planktothrix agardhii Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2881; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082881 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 917
Abstract
Blooms of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii are common in shallow, eutrophic freshwaters. P. agardhii may produce hepatotoxic microcystins (MCs) and many other bioactive secondary metabolites belonging mostly to non-ribosomal oligopeptides. The aim of this work was to study the effects of two extracts [...] Read more.
Blooms of the cyanobacterium Planktothrix agardhii are common in shallow, eutrophic freshwaters. P. agardhii may produce hepatotoxic microcystins (MCs) and many other bioactive secondary metabolites belonging mostly to non-ribosomal oligopeptides. The aim of this work was to study the effects of two extracts (Pa-A and Pa-B) of P. agardhii-predominated bloom samples with different oligopeptide profiles and high concentration of biogenic compounds on another natural P. agardhii population. We hypothesised that the P. agardhii biomass and content of oligopeptides in P. agardhii is shaped in a different manner by diverse mixtures of metabolites of different P. agardhii-dominated cyanobacterial assemblages. For this purpose, the biomass, chlorophyll a and oligopeptides content in the treated P. agardhii were measured. Seven-day microcosm experiments with four concentrations of the extracts Pa-A and Pa-B were carried out. Generally, aeruginosins (AERs), cyanopeptolins (CPs) and anabaenopeptins (APs) were the most numerous peptides; however, only 16% of them were common for both extracts. The addition of the extracts resulted in similar effects on P. agardhii: an increase in biomass, Chl-a and MC content in the exposed P. agardhii as well as changes in its oligopeptide profile were observed. MCs present in the extracts did not inhibit accumulation of P. agardhii biomass, and did not have any negative effect on MC and Chl-a content. No evidence for bioaccumulation of dissolved peptides in the P. agardhii exposed was found. As the two tested extracts differed considerably in oligopeptide composition, but contained similar high concentrations of nutrients, it seems that biogenic compounds, not oligopeptides themselves, positively influenced the mixed natural P. agardhii population. Full article
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