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Special Issue "Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Green Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Albert Lebedev
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Organic Chemistry, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Interests: organic mass spectrometry; environmental chemistry; peptide sequencing; disinfection by-products

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

An enormous number of various compounds—from the vapors of heavy metals and inorganic gases to the most complex organic and bioorganic compounds, including entire microorganisms—enters the Earth’s atmosphere and water reservoirs every day. The number of known priority pollutants and emerging contaminants of environmental concern currently exceeds several thousand (US EPA Part 423, US EPA Part 401). It grows every day as new pollutants enter the environment (NORMAN List of Emerging Substances). This expanding list can also include their metabolites and degradation products, as well as reaction products occurring due to numerous atmospheric and aquatic reactions. In some cases, these products may even be more toxic than their parent compounds. Therefore, it becomes more and more challenging to conduct comprehensive screening for known and emerging environmental contaminants. Today, various laboratories all over the world work on the identification and quantification of environmental pollutants and contaminants using more and more powerful approaches and analytical tools. In the majority of these studies, a targeted approach is used, when the investigators know, a priori, what they are trying to detect. An alternative, non-targeted approach involves attempts to identify all the chemical compounds in the samples. The latter represents a challenging task, although it allows the establishment of novel contaminants and the finding of peculiarities of the pollution in certain territories of the planet. On the basis of these studies, local lists of priority pollutants can be created, followed by the establishment of the sources of these pollutants and development of adequate policies to address those sources.

The proposed Special Issue of Molecules will cover the results of studies of environmental pollution with various compounds, from the Arctic to Antarctic, with modern analytical tools. Besides those of direct air samples, the results of analyses of snow, rain, fog, cloud water etc.—indirectly revealing atmospheric pollution—as well as studies on water and soil contamination are welcomed

Prof. Dr. Albert Lebedev
Guest Editor

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. Molecules 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 2000 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

  • environmental pollution
  • priority pollutants
  • organic pollutants
  • POPs
  • organohalogen compounds
  • pesticides
  • emerging contaminants
  • GC-MS, LC-MS
  • instrumental methods of analysis
  • targeted analysis
  • non targeted analysis

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Statistics of the Popularity of Chemical Compounds in Relation to the Non-Target Analysis
Molecules 2021, 26(8), 2394; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26082394 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
The idea of popularity/abundance of chemical compounds is widely used in non-target chemical analysis involving environmental studies. To have a clear quantitative basis for this idea, frequency distributions of chemical compounds over indicators of their popularity/abundance are obtained and discussed. Popularity indicators are [...] Read more.
The idea of popularity/abundance of chemical compounds is widely used in non-target chemical analysis involving environmental studies. To have a clear quantitative basis for this idea, frequency distributions of chemical compounds over indicators of their popularity/abundance are obtained and discussed. Popularity indicators are the number of information sources, the number of chemical vendors, counts of data records, and other variables assessed from two large databases, namely ChemSpider and PubChem. Distributions are approximated by power functions, special cases of Zipf distributions, which are characteristic of the results of human/social activity. Relatively small group of the most popular compounds has been denoted, conventionally accounting for a few percent (several million) of compounds. These compounds are most often explored in scientific research and are practically used. Accordingly, popular compounds have been taken into account as first analyte candidates for identification in non-target analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
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Article
Monitoring and Statistical Analysis of Formation of Organochlorine and Organobromine Compounds in Drinking Water of Different Water Intakes
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1852; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071852 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 455
Abstract
The main drawback of drinking water chlorination involves the formation of quite hazardous disinfection by-products (DBPs), represented mainly by halogenated species. Based on the authors’ monitoring data since 2002, the prevalence of chlorine over bromine in the composition of volatile DBPs was shown [...] Read more.
The main drawback of drinking water chlorination involves the formation of quite hazardous disinfection by-products (DBPs), represented mainly by halogenated species. Based on the authors’ monitoring data since 2002, the prevalence of chlorine over bromine in the composition of volatile DBPs was shown for the drinking water in Ufa (Russia). However, the situation was completely reversed in the case of semi-volatile DBPs. The principal goal of the present study involved rationalization of the results of the long-term monitoring. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of volatile DBPs. Identification of semi-volatile compounds was carried out with GC-MS, while gas chromatography with an atomic emission detector (GC-AED) was used for their quantification. A significant contribution of oxygen to the composition of semi-volatile compounds proves the decisive role of the dissolved organic matter oxidative destructive processes. Statistical analysis revealed notable linear correlations for trihalomethane and haloacetic acid formation vs. chlorine dose. On the contrary, halogenated semi-volatile products do not demonstrate any correlations with the water quality parameters or chlorine dose. Principal component analysis (PCA) placed them into separate groups. The results allow for proposing that formation of the organohalogenated species involved the fast penetration of bromine into the humic matter molecules and, further, their oxidative destruction by active chlorine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
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Article
Simply Applicable Method for Microplastics Determination in Environmental Samples
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1840; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071840 - 25 Mar 2021
Viewed by 697
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) have gained significant attention in the last two decades and have been widely researched in the marine environment. There are, however, less studies on their presence, routes of entry, and impacts on the biota in the soil environment. One of the [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) have gained significant attention in the last two decades and have been widely researched in the marine environment. There are, however, less studies on their presence, routes of entry, and impacts on the biota in the soil environment. One of the main issues in the study of MPs is a lack of standardized methods for their identification in environmental samples. Currently the most commonly used techniques are thermal desorption gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) methods and pyrolysis followed by GC–MS. In this study, headspace-solid phase microextraction followed by GC–MS is proposed as a simple and widely applicable method for the determination of commonly present polymer MPs (polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, and polypropylene) in environmental samples, for analytical laboratories with basic equipment worldwide. The proposed method is based on the identification of compounds, which are formed during the well-controlled melting process of specific coarse (1–5 mm) and fine fraction (1 mm–100 μm) MPs. The method was upgraded for the identification of individual polymer type in blends and in complex environmental matrices (soil and algae biomass). The successful application of the method in complex matrices makes it especially suitable for widescale use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
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Article
Determination of Pharmaceuticals, Heavy Metals, and Oxysterols in Fish Muscle
Molecules 2021, 26(5), 1229; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26051229 - 25 Feb 2021
Viewed by 474
Abstract
The present study aimed to assess the levels of 98 multi-class pharmaceuticals including cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, hypnotics, antibiotics, and sulfonamides occurring in the muscle tissue of fish caught in the Baltic Sea. The following fish species were collected: perch (Perca fluviatilis); [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to assess the levels of 98 multi-class pharmaceuticals including cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, hypnotics, antibiotics, and sulfonamides occurring in the muscle tissue of fish caught in the Baltic Sea. The following fish species were collected: perch (Perca fluviatilis); flounder (Platichthys flesus); turbot (Scophthalmus maximus); plaice (Pleuronectes platessa); cod (Gadus morhua callarias); bream (Abramis brama); crucian (Carassius carassius). Additionally, in the examined fish muscle the levels of heavy metals and trace elements were determined (As; Ag; Au; Ba; Cd; Co; Cr; Cu; Hg; Li; Mo; Ni; Pb; Sb; Se; Sn; Tl; V) as well as the levels of cholesterol and its 5 derivatives (7-ketocholesterol; 7α-hydroxycholesterol; 7β-hydroxycholesterol; 5β,6β-epoxy-cholesterol; 5α,6α-epoxycholesterol). In the performed studies 11 out of 98 examined pharmaceuticals were detected in fish muscle. The levels of pharmaceuticals in fish muscle varied depending on the species. In the tissues of bream and crucian, no pharmaceuticals were found. Mercury, lead and arsenic were detected in the muscles of all examined fish. Based on the hazard factor for Hg, Pb, Cd, Ni (target hazard quotient, THQ < 1), it was found that the consumption of the studied fish does not constitute a health risk. However, the THQ for As remained >1 indicated possible risk from those metals. In the examined fish muscle the total cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) level of oxysterols were, respectively: 6.90 (cod) μg/g–4.18 μg/g (perch), which corresponded to 0.7–1.5% of cholesterol. The main COPs evaluated were 7-ketocholesterol (0.78 ± 0.14–1.79 ± 0.06 μg/g), 7β-hydroxycholesterol (0.50 ± 0.04–3.20 ± 2.95 μg/g) and 5β,6β-epoxycholesterol (0.66 ± 0.03–1.53 ± 0.66 μg/g). The assessment of health hazards due to contaminations is necessary, which may help to introduce national legislation and global standards aimed at reducing or even eliminating the exposure to contaminants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
Article
Environmental Risk Assessment Resulting from Sediment Contamination with Perfluoroalkyl Substances
Molecules 2021, 26(1), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26010116 - 29 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
Due to wide use of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) (e.g., in metal-plating, in fire-fighting foam, lubricants) and their resistance to degradation, they occur widely in the environment. The aim of this study was to estimate the environmental risk resulting from the presence of PFASs [...] Read more.
Due to wide use of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) (e.g., in metal-plating, in fire-fighting foam, lubricants) and their resistance to degradation, they occur widely in the environment. The aim of this study was to estimate the environmental risk resulting from the presence of PFASs in the Gulf of Gdansk. Therefore, 17 PFASs concentrations were determined using ultra performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection (UPLC-MS/MS). Additionally, sediment ecotoxicity was investigated. The results of the chemical analysis were used to asses environmental risk of PFASs. In samples collected around discharge collectors from a wastewater treatment plant and the Vistula mouth, Σ17PFASs values were 0.00403 ÷ 40.6 and 0.509 ÷ 614 ng/g d.w., respectively. In samples collected around discharge collectors, PFHxA, PFPeA, PFHpA, and PFOA were dominating, while at the Vistula River mouth, PFHxS, PFDS, and PFBS were prevalent. For most sediments, no toxic effect was observed in the toxicity tests with Heterocypris inconguens and Aliivibrio ficsheri. There was no observed correlation between the PFASs level and their ecotoxicity. Generally, the results of environmental risk assessment indicate that the PFASs would not generate high impact on the aquatic life (five water samples have shown medium risk related to PFBS and PFDoA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
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Article
The Influence of Non-Engineered Municipal Landfills on Groundwater Chemistry and Quality in Bloemfontein, South Africa
Molecules 2020, 25(23), 5599; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235599 - 28 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 524
Abstract
This study assessed the groundwater quality around two municipal solid waste landfill sites, in the city of Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa. The two landfill sites are located in two contrasting geological terrains, with both lacking some basic facilities found in a [...] Read more.
This study assessed the groundwater quality around two municipal solid waste landfill sites, in the city of Bloemfontein, Free State Province, South Africa. The two landfill sites are located in two contrasting geological terrains, with both lacking some basic facilities found in a well-designed landfill. A total of eight groundwater samples were collected from pollution monitoring boreholes near the two landfill sites, with five samples representing the northern landfill site and three samples representing the southern landfill site. The samples were collected in the autumn and winter seasons to assess any possible seasonal variations. They were analysed for physicochemical (pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolve solids (TDS), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total organic carbon (TOC)) and microbiological parameters (Escherichia coli, total coliform). The results of the analysis showed that the waters from both landfills were generally dominated by Ca, Mg, SO4, and HCO3 ions. Some of the major anions and cations in the water samples were above the South African National Standard (SANS241:2015) and World Health Organisation (WHO) permissible limits for drinking water. Majority of the boreholes had total dissolved solids and electrical conductivity values exceeding the SANS 241:2015 and WHO permissible limits. Piper trilinear plots for the two landfill sites showed that Ca(Mg)HCO3 water type predominates, but Ca(Mg)SO4 and Ca(Mg)Cl were also found. These water types were further confirmed with expanded Durov diagrams, indicating that that the boreholes represented a water type that is seldom found which is undergoing ion exchange, typical of sulphate contamination. From the SAR diagrams, boreholes in the northern landfill site had a high salinity hazard with only one borehole in the southern landfill site having a high salinity hazard. The geology was found to play a significant role in the distribution of contaminants into the groundwater systems in the study area. The study concluded that the northern landfill site had a poorer water quality in comparison to the southern landfill site based on the analysed physicochemical parameters. However, the southern landfill site showed significant microbial contamination, due to the elevated amount of E. coli and total coliform concentrations. The high permeability of the weathered dolerites in the northern landfill site might have enabled the percolation of contaminants into the groundwater resulting in the poorer water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
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Review

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Review
Interactions between Humic Substances and Microorganisms and Their Implications for Nature-like Bioremediation Technologies
Molecules 2021, 26(9), 2706; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26092706 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 615
Abstract
The state of the art of the reported data on interactions between microorganisms and HSs is presented herein. The properties of HSs are discussed in terms of microbial utilization, degradation, and transformation. The data on biologically active individual compounds found in HSs are [...] Read more.
The state of the art of the reported data on interactions between microorganisms and HSs is presented herein. The properties of HSs are discussed in terms of microbial utilization, degradation, and transformation. The data on biologically active individual compounds found in HSs are summarized. Bacteria of the phylum Proteobacteria and fungi of the phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota were found to be the main HS degraders, while Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes were found to be the predominant phyla in humic-reducing microorganisms (HRMs). Some promising aspects of interactions between microorganisms and HSs are discussed as a feasible basis for nature-like biotechnologies, including the production of enzymes capable of catalyzing the oxidative binding of organic pollutants to HSs, while electron shuttling through the utilization of HSs by HRMs as electron shuttles may be used for the enhancement of organic pollutant biodegradation or lowering bioavailability of some metals. Utilization of HSs by HRMs as terminal electron acceptors may suppress electron transfer to CO2, reducing the formation of CH4 in temporarily anoxic systems. The data reported so far are mostly related to the use of HSs as redox compounds. HSs are capable of altering the composition of the microbial community, and there are environmental conditions that determine the efficiency of HSs. To facilitate the development of HS-based technologies, complex studies addressing these factors are in demand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planet Contamination with Chemical Compounds)
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