Special Issue "Technological Eco-Innovations for the Quality Control and the Decontamination of Polluted Waters and Soils"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water and Wastewater Treatment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Massimo Zacchini Website E-Mail
Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystem
Interests: phytoremediation; metal uptake and transport in plants; ecotoxicological assessment; redox state of plant cells; plant tissue culture
Guest Editor
Dr. Paras Ranjan Pujari Website E-Mail
CSIR-NEERI
Interests: near surface geophysics; hydrogeology; biogeophysics; groundwater contamination; critical zone

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The impact of industrial development on the environment is often severe and many times dramatically destructive. In these last years, technologies based on a better understanding of natural processes and the discovery of new materials and analytical techniques have been further developed, offering a wide array of innovative solutions to recover critical situations due to the over-exploitation of natural resources. Such technologies represent extraordinary tools for addressing the environmental challenges we are facing worldwide, in order to propose sustainable approaches to the issues related to water and soil quality and the decontamination of polluted environmental matrices. In this regard, the Special Issue will be particularly focused on research papers highlighting a collaboration between European and Indian researchers under the EU–India Research and Innovation Partnership “TECO” project. Apart from that, papers dealing with eco-innovative solutions, carried out both at field and laboratory scale, addressing the issues related to water and soil quality and decontamination, will be welcomed. Special attention will be given to research articles focused on the use of biological organisms to monitor environmental quality and to decontaminate polluted water and soils. 

Dr. Massimo Zacchini
Dr. Paras Ranjan Pujari
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • bioremediation
  • environmental quality
  • EU–India partnership
  • pollution
  • sustainability
  • water and soil decontamination

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Mining Rock Wastes for Water Treatment: Potential Reuse of Fe- and Mn-Rich Materials for Arsenic Removal
Water 2019, 11(9), 1897; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091897 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
The worldwide mining industry produces millions of tons of rock wastes, raising a considerable burden for managing both economic and environmental issues. The possible reuse of Fe/Mn-rich materials for arsenic removal in water filtration units, along with rock properties, was evaluated. By characterizing [...] Read more.
The worldwide mining industry produces millions of tons of rock wastes, raising a considerable burden for managing both economic and environmental issues. The possible reuse of Fe/Mn-rich materials for arsenic removal in water filtration units, along with rock properties, was evaluated. By characterizing and testing 47 samples collected from the Joda West Iron and Manganese Mine in India, we found As removal up to 50.1% at 1 mg/L initial As concentration, with a corresponding adsorption capacity of 0.01–0.46 mgAs/g mining waste. The As removal potential was strictly related to spectral, mineralogical, and elemental composition of rock wastes. Unlike rock crystallinity due to quartz and muscovite, the presence of hematite, goethite, and kaolinite, in association with the amorphous fractions of Fe and Al, enhanced the As adsorption. The natural content of arsenic indicated itself the presence of active sorptive sites. The co-occurrence of site-specific competitors (i.e., phosphate) represented a consequent limitation, whereas the content of Ce, Cu, La, and Pb contributed positively to the As adsorption. Finally, we proposed a simplified multiple linear model as predictive tool to select promising rock wastes suitable for As removal by water filtration in similar mining environments: As predicted = 0.241 + 0.00929[As] + 0.000424[La] + 0.000139[Pb] − 0.00022[P]. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Different Copper Levels on Growth and Morpho-Physiological Parameters in Giant Reed (Arundo donax L.) in Semi-Hydroponic Mesocosm Experiment
Water 2019, 11(9), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091837 - 04 Sep 2019
Abstract
In Mediterranean countries, the use of copper-based fungicides in agriculture is causing a concerning accumulation of copper in the upper layer (0–20 cm) of soils and water bodies. Phytoremediation by energy crops offers the chance to associate the recovering of polluted environments with [...] Read more.
In Mediterranean countries, the use of copper-based fungicides in agriculture is causing a concerning accumulation of copper in the upper layer (0–20 cm) of soils and water bodies. Phytoremediation by energy crops offers the chance to associate the recovering of polluted environments with the production of biomass for bioenergy purposes. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the morpho-physiological response of giant reed (Arundo donax L.), a well-known energy crop, when treated with increasing concentrations of Cu (0, 150, and 300 ppm) in a semi-hydroponic growing system (mesocosm) for one month. The plant morphology (height and base diameter of the stem, number of stems) was not affected by the treatments. The presence of Cu led to the disequilibrium of Fe and Zn foliar concentration and caused an impairment of photosynthetic parameters: at 150 and 300 ppm the chlorophyll content and the ETR were significantly lower than the control. The study demonstrated that, although the presence of Cu may initially affect the plant physiology, the Arundo plants can tolerate up to 300 ppm of Cu without any adverse effect on biomass production, even when grown in semi-hydroponic conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Bottom Sediments and Inoculation with Rhizobacterial Inoculants on the Physiological State of Plants Used in Urban Plantings
Water 2019, 11(9), 1792; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091792 - 28 Aug 2019
Abstract
Bottom sediments accumulate rapidly in urban reservoirs and should be periodically removed. Their high organic matter content makes them valuable fertilizers, but they often contain toxic substances. The present study compares the responses of the dicotyledonous Tagetes patula and monocotyledon Festuca arundinacea to [...] Read more.
Bottom sediments accumulate rapidly in urban reservoirs and should be periodically removed. Their high organic matter content makes them valuable fertilizers, but they often contain toxic substances. The present study compares the responses of the dicotyledonous Tagetes patula and monocotyledon Festuca arundinacea to the presence of such sediments in soil and to soil inoculation with two rhizobacterial strains (Massilia niastensis p87 and Streptomyces costaricanus RP92) isolated from contaminated soil. Total soluble protein, total chlorophyll content, as well as chlorophyll a/b ratio, degree of lipid peroxidation (TBARS), α-tocopherol content, total phenolic compounds (TPC) content and anthocyanins content were examined in the leaves of investigated plants. T. patula was more sensitive to the toxic substances in the sediments than F. arundinacea. Rhizobacterial inoculation reduced the toxic effect of the sediment. RP92 has a more favorable effect on the condition of T. patula than p87. F. arundinacea was not adversely affected by the addition of sediments or inoculation with the p87 or RP92 strains. Both tested plant species are suitable for planting on soils enriched with urban sediments, and the addition of bacterial inoculums promote plant growth and reduce the damage caused by the xenobiotics contained in the sediments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis against Chemical Pollution of Water
Water 2019, 11(9), 1759; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091759 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
The basis of phytoremediation technology for cleaning chemically polluted water was developed in the framework of the presented work. This technology is based on the ability of blue-green alga Arthrospira platensis to eliminate different environmental toxicants from water. This technological approach was conducted [...] Read more.
The basis of phytoremediation technology for cleaning chemically polluted water was developed in the framework of the presented work. This technology is based on the ability of blue-green alga Arthrospira platensis to eliminate different environmental toxicants from water. This technological approach was conducted for the following pollutants: 1,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane (DDT), 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), and cesium ions. The effectiveness of the technology was tested in model experiments, which were carried out in glass containers (volume 40 L). In particular, the different concentrations of alga biomass with the aforementioned pollutants were incubated with permanent illumination conditions and air barbotage, at a temperature of 25 °C. The results of the model experiments showed that after two weeks from the start of remediation Arthrospira effectively cleaned artificially polluted waters. Particularly in the case of TNT 56 mg/L concentration, the effect of water remediation was 97%. In the case of DDT 10 mg/L concentration, the degree of cleaning was 90%. Similar results were obtained in the case of 100 mg/L concentration of cesium ions. Thus, the model experiments confirmed that the alga Arthrospira effectively removed tested pollutants from water. That is the basis of phytoremediation technology. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Gradual Exposure to Salinity Improves Tolerance to Salt Stress in Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.)
Water 2019, 11(8), 1667; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081667 - 12 Aug 2019
Abstract
Soil salinity is considered one of the most severe abiotic stresses in plants; plant acclimation to salinity could be a tool to improve salt tolerance even in a sensitive genotype. In this work we investigated the physiological mechanisms underneath the response to gradual [...] Read more.
Soil salinity is considered one of the most severe abiotic stresses in plants; plant acclimation to salinity could be a tool to improve salt tolerance even in a sensitive genotype. In this work we investigated the physiological mechanisms underneath the response to gradual and prolonged exposure to sodium chloride in cultivars of Brassica napus L. Fifteen days old seedlings of the cultivars Dynastie (salt tolerant) and SY Saveo (salt sensitive) were progressively exposed to increasing soil salinity conditions for 60 days. Salt exposed plants of both cultivars showed reductions of biomass, size and number of leaves. However, after 60 days the relative reduction in biomass was lower in sensitive cultivar as compared to tolerant ones. An increase of chlorophylls content was detected in both cultivars; the values of the quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry (ΦPSII) and those of the electron transport rate (ETR) indicated that the photochemical activity was only partially reduced by NaCl treatments in both cultivars. Ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity was higher in treated samples with respect to the controls, indicating its activation following salt exposure, and confirming its involvement in salt stress response. A gradual exposure to salt could elicit different salt stress responses, thus preserving plant vitality and conferring a certain degree of tolerance, even though the genotype was salt sensitive at the seed germination stage. An improvement of salt tolerance in B. napus could be obtained by acclimation to saline conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Removal of Diesel Oil in Soil Microcosms and Implication for Geophysical Monitoring
Water 2019, 11(8), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081661 - 11 Aug 2019
Abstract
Bioremediation of soils polluted with diesel oil is one of the methods already applied on a large scale. However, several questions remain open surrounding the operative conditions and biological strategies to be adopted to optimize the removal efficiency. This study aimed to investigate [...] Read more.
Bioremediation of soils polluted with diesel oil is one of the methods already applied on a large scale. However, several questions remain open surrounding the operative conditions and biological strategies to be adopted to optimize the removal efficiency. This study aimed to investigate the environmental factors that influence geophysical properties in soil polluted with diesel oils, in particular, during the biodegradation of this contaminant by an indigenous microbial population. With this aim, aerobic degradation was performed in soil column microcosms with a high concentration of diesel oil (75 g kg−1 of soil); the dielectric permittivity and electrical conductivity were measured. In one of the microcosms, the addition of glucose was also tested. Biostimulation was performed with a Mineral Salt Medium for Bacteria. The sensitivity of the dielectric permittivity versus temperature was analyzed. A theoretical approach was adopted to estimate the changes in the bulk dielectric permittivity of a mixture of sandy soil-water-oil-gas, according to the variations in the oil content. The sensitivity of the dielectric permittivity to the temperature effects was analyzed. The results show that (1) biostimulation can give good removal efficiency; (2) the addition of glucose as a primary carbon source does not improve the diesel oil removal; (3) a limited amount of diesel oil was removed by adsorption and volatilization effects; and (4) the diesel oil efficiency removal was in the order of 70% after 200 days, with different removal percentages for oil components; the best results were obtained for molecules with a low retention time. This study is preparatory to the adoption of geophysical methods to monitor the biological process on a larger scale. Altogether, these results will be useful to apply the process on a larger scale, where geophysical methods will be adopted for monitoring. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Removal and Ecotoxicity of 2,4-D and MCPA in Microbial Cultures Enriched with Structurally-Similar Plant Secondary Metabolites
Water 2019, 11(7), 1451; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071451 - 13 Jul 2019
Abstract
The removal of contaminants from the environment can be enhanced by interactions between structurally-related plant secondary metabolites (PSMs), selected xenobiotics and microorganisms. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of selected PSMs (ferulic acid—FA; syringic acid—SA) on the removal of [...] Read more.
The removal of contaminants from the environment can be enhanced by interactions between structurally-related plant secondary metabolites (PSMs), selected xenobiotics and microorganisms. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of selected PSMs (ferulic acid—FA; syringic acid—SA) on the removal of structurally-similar phenoxy herbicides (PHs): 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid (MCPA). The study also examines the biodegradation potential of soil bacteria, based on the occurrence of functional tdfA-like genes, and the ecotoxicity of the samples against two test species: Sinapis alba L. and Lepidium sativum L. The microbial cultures spiked with the PSMs demonstrated higher phenoxy acid removal: 97–100% in the case of 2,4-D and 99%–100% for MCPA. These values ranged from 5% to 100% for control samples not amended with FA or SA. The higher herbicide removal associated with PSM spiking can be attributed to acceleration of the microbial degradation processes. Our findings showed that the addition of SA particularly stimulated the occurrence of the total number of tfdA genes, with this presence being higher than that observed in the unamended samples. PSM spiking was also found to have a beneficial effect on ecotoxicity mitigation, reflected in high (102%) stimulation of root growth by the test species. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Bacteria and Synthetic Zeolites in Remediation of Soil and Water Polluted with Superhigh-Organic-Sulfur Raša Coal (Raša Bay, North Adriatic, Croatia)
Water 2019, 11(7), 1419; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071419 - 10 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Raša Bay (North Adriatic, Croatia) has been receiving various pollutants by inflowing streams laden with untreated municipal and coalmine effluents for decades. The locality was a regional center of coalmining (Raša coal), coal combustion, and metal processing industries for more than two [...] Read more.
The Raša Bay (North Adriatic, Croatia) has been receiving various pollutants by inflowing streams laden with untreated municipal and coalmine effluents for decades. The locality was a regional center of coalmining (Raša coal), coal combustion, and metal processing industries for more than two centuries. As local soil and stream water were found to be contaminated with sulfur and potentially toxic trace elements (PTEs) as a consequence of weathering of Raša coal and its waste, some clean-up measures are highly required. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the remediating potential of selected microorganisms and synthetic zeolites in the case of soil and coal-mine water, respectively, for the first time. By employing bacterial cultures of Ralstonia sp., we examined removal of sulfur and selected PTEs (As, Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Rb, Se, Sr, U, V, and Zn) from soil. The removal of sulfur was up to 60%, arsenic up to 80%, while Se, Ba, and V up to 60%, and U up to 20%. By applying synthetic zeolites on water from the Raša coalmine and a local stream, the significant removal values were found for Sr (up to 99.9%) and Ba (up to 99.2%) only. Removal values were quite irregular (insignificant) in the cases of Fe, Ni, Zn, and Se, which were up to 80%, 50%, 30%, and 20%, respectively. Although promising, the results call for further research on this topic. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Morpho-Physiological and Metal Accumulation Responses of Hemp Plants (Cannabis Sativa L.) Grown on Soil from an Agro-Industrial Contaminated Area
Water 2019, 11(4), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040808 - 18 Apr 2019
Abstract
Hemp is a promising plant for phytomanagement. The possibility to couple soil restoration to industrial crop cultivation makes this plant attractive for the management of contaminated sites. In this trial, Cannabis sativa L. plants were grown in a greenhouse on soils from two [...] Read more.
Hemp is a promising plant for phytomanagement. The possibility to couple soil restoration to industrial crop cultivation makes this plant attractive for the management of contaminated sites. In this trial, Cannabis sativa L. plants were grown in a greenhouse on soils from two sites of “Valle del Sacco” (Lazio Region, Italy), a wide area contaminated by agro-industrial activities. One site was representative of moderate and diffuse metal(loid) multi-contamination, above the Italian concentration limit for agriculture (MC—moderately contaminated). The second site showed a metal(loid) content below the aforementioned limit, as a typical background level of the district (C—control). After 90 days, biometric and physiological parameters revealed satisfactory growth in both soil types. MC-grown plants showed a slight, but significant reduction in leaf area, root, and leaf biomass compared with C-grown plants. Chlorophyll content and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters, namely the quantum yield of primary photochemistry (Fv/Fm) and the Performance Index (PIABS), confirmed the good physiological status of plants in both soils. Metal(loid) analyses revealed that As, V, and Pb accumulated only in the roots with significant differences in MC- and C-grown plants, while Zn was found in all organs. Overall, preliminary results showed a satisfactorily growth coupled with the restriction of toxic metal translocation in MC-grown hemp plants, opening perspectives for the phytomanagement of moderately contaminated areas. Full article
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