Special Issue "The Fate and Potential Impacts of Emerging Pollutants on the Freshwater Systems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 August 2022) | Viewed by 6000

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lingzhan Miao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resources Development on Shallow Lakes of Ministry of Education, College of Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Interests: freshwater ecosystem; biofilm; microbial community; microplatics; nano particles; toxicity; ecological restoration
Dr. Jun Hou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Environment, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Interests: water quality improvement technology; water environment protection and bioremediation; coupling of biofilms and active substrata; ecological engineering; nanomaterials for environmental remediation; environmental behaviors of nanomaterials; toxicity of manufactured nanoparticles
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Currently, there is a rising concern about the presence of emerging pollutants among scientists, regulators, and the society in general, due to the their potential negative effects on aquatic systems. Emerging pollutants include a wide variety of chemicals, such as microplastics, nanomaterials, antibiotics, resistance genes, flame retardants, plasticizers, trace heavy metals, personal care products, endocrine disrupting compounds in general. Freshwaters are particularly vulnerable to pollutants and also other numerous anthropogenic stressors. Most emerging pollutants can be dicharged into freshwaters through different ways: improper disposal, release through domestic wastewater systems, through agriculture and industry or wastewater treatment plants.

Once released in freshwaters, these emerging pollutants are likely to exhibit a series of complex environmental behaviours (suspended or deposited, migration and transformaiton). During their transport, the growth and metabolism of individuals and communities can be affected, which may lead to changes in community structure, species distribution, and ecosystem functions. Research about the source, distribution, fate, and toxicity of emerging pollutants is pivotal for understanding their potential impacts. It is a vital scientific challenge to disentangle the transport and fate of emerging pollutants in freshwaters, as well as their possible effects on macro/micro organisms in the freshwater ecosystem.

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring together recent research and reviews into the fate of emerging pollutants in freshwaters and identifying the factors affecting their distribution and transport, as well as the bioaccumulation, toxicity and the associated risk assessments.  We also encourage the submission of examples of sustainable remediation practices, and research needs, which help to regulate and control emerging pollutants of freshwater ecosystems.

Prof. Dr. Lingzhan Miao
Prof. Dr. Jun Hou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • freshwater ecosystems
  • transport and fate of emerging pollutants
  • microplastics/nanoparticles
  • antibiotic resistance
  • metal/organic pollution
  • bioaccumulation
  • tocixity
  • aquatic species
  • wastewater treatment plants
  • environmental risk assessment

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of Specific Surface Area of Artificial Carriers on Carbon Metabolism Activity of Biofilm
Water 2022, 14(17), 2735; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14172735 - 02 Sep 2022
Viewed by 307
Abstract
Biofilm technology has been applied to polluted water treatment. The functional characteristics of biofilm play key roles in the decontamination efficiency and are affected by the physicochemical properties of the carrier surface. Previous studies reported that the larger the specific surface area of [...] Read more.
Biofilm technology has been applied to polluted water treatment. The functional characteristics of biofilm play key roles in the decontamination efficiency and are affected by the physicochemical properties of the carrier surface. Previous studies reported that the larger the specific surface area of the artificial carrier, the more biofilms there are attached to its surface. However, the coupling relationship between the metabolic activity of biofilm and the specific surface area of carrier remained limitedly studied. Herein, five carriers with a gradient of specific surface areas were selected to incubate biofilms in two low-pollution rivers for 44 days, and a BIOLOG ECO microplate was used to analyze the metabolic activity of biofilm. Results demonstrated that the carbon metabolic capacity of biofilm fluctuates with the increase in the specific surface area. In Xuanwu Lake, the carbon metabolism rate of biofilm demonstrated a linear correlation with a specific surface area. In Donghu Lake, there was a trend of a single hump because of mass transfer limitation. In different water bodies, the carbon metabolic activity of biofilm demonstrated different trends with the change of specific surface area, and mass transfer limitation should be considered. For the classified carbon sources, there was a threshold (with Xuanwu Lack of 7500 m2/m3 and Donghu Lack of 5000 m2/m3) to make the biofilm achieve the best utilization ability of classified carbon sources. Nevertheless, the change of carriers’ specific surface area had little effect on the community structure of biofilm. Full article
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Article
Effects of Selenium in Different Valences on the Community Structure and Microbial Functions of Biofilms
Water 2022, 14(15), 2394; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152394 - 02 Aug 2022
Viewed by 528
Abstract
With the wide application of selenium (Se) in industrial production, different Se-based compounds (selenate and selenite) are produced and released into aquatic environments. The potential impacts of such Se compounds on the biofilms (a complex microbial aggregate in aquatic systems) need to be [...] Read more.
With the wide application of selenium (Se) in industrial production, different Se-based compounds (selenate and selenite) are produced and released into aquatic environments. The potential impacts of such Se compounds on the biofilms (a complex microbial aggregate in aquatic systems) need to be substantially explored. Herein, we investigated the responses of bacterial community diversity, composition and structure, and function of biofilms after 21 days of exposure to low concentrations (100 µg/L) and high concentrations (1 mg/L) of sodium selenate and sodium selenite, respectively. Distinct effects of selenium in different valences on the community structure and microbial functions of biofilms were observed. Compared with the controls, the addition of selenate and selenite solutions altered the richness of biofilms but not the diversity, which is dependent on the concentration and valences, with sodium selenite (1 mg/L) exhibiting a strong inhibition effect on community richness. Significant changes of community composition and structure were observed, with a significant increase in Proteobacteria (31.08–58.00%) and a significant decrease in Bacteroidetes (32.15–11.45%) after exposure to sodium selenite with high concentration. Also, different responses of gamma-Proteobacteria and alpha-Proteobacteria were observed between the sodium selenite and sodium selenate treatments. Moreover, results showed that sodium selenite could strengthen the function of the metabolism of biofilms, and the higher the concentration is, the more apparent the enhancement effect is. All these results suggested that the effects of different valence states of selenium were obvious, and sodium selenite with high concentration strongly changed the diversity, structure and function of biofilms. Full article
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Article
Environmental Risk Assessment of Silver Nanoparticles in Aquatic Ecosystems Using Fuzzy Logic
Water 2022, 14(12), 1885; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14121885 - 11 Jun 2022
Viewed by 623
Abstract
The rapid development of nanotechnology has stimulated the use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in various fields that leads to their presence in different ecosystem compartments, in particular aquatic ecosystems. Several studies have shown that a variety of living organisms are affected by AgNPs. [...] Read more.
The rapid development of nanotechnology has stimulated the use of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in various fields that leads to their presence in different ecosystem compartments, in particular aquatic ecosystems. Several studies have shown that a variety of living organisms are affected by AgNPs. Therefore, a methodology to assess the risk of AgNPs for aquatic ecosystems was developed. The methodology is based on fuzzy logic, a proven method for dealing with variables with an associated uncertainty, as is the case with many variables related to AgNPs. After a careful literature search, a selection of relevant variables was carried out and the fuzzy model was designed. From inputs such as AgNPs’ size, shape, and coating, it is possible to determine their level of toxicity which, together with their level of concentration, are sufficient to create a risk assessment. Two case studies to assess this methodology are presented, one involving continuous effluent from a wastewater treatment plant and the second involving an accidental spill. The results showed that the accidental spills have a higher risk than WWTP release, with the combination of Plates–BPEI being the most toxic one. This approach can be adapted to different situations and types of nanoparticles, making it highly useful for both stakeholders and decision makers. Full article
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Article
Legacy and Emerging Pollutants in an Urban River Stretch and Effects on the Bacterioplankton Community
Water 2021, 13(23), 3402; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13233402 - 02 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 669
Abstract
River contamination is due to a chemical mixture of point and diffuse pollution, which can compromise water quality. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and emerging compounds such as pharmaceuticals and antibiotics are frequently found in rivers flowing through big cities. This work evaluated the [...] Read more.
River contamination is due to a chemical mixture of point and diffuse pollution, which can compromise water quality. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and emerging compounds such as pharmaceuticals and antibiotics are frequently found in rivers flowing through big cities. This work evaluated the presence of fifteen priority PAHs, eight pharmaceuticals including the antibiotics ciprofloxacin (CIP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX), together with their main antibiotic resistant genes (ARGs) and the structure of the natural bacterioplankton community, in an urbanized stretch of the river Danube. SMX and diclofenac were the most abundant chemicals found (up to 20 ng/L). ARGs were also found to be detected as ubiquitous contaminants. A principal component analysis of the overall microbiological and chemical data revealed which contaminants were correlated with the presence of certain bacterial groups. The highest concentrations of naphthalene were associated with Deltaproteobacteria and intI1 gene. Overall, the most contaminated site was inside the city and located immediately downstream of a wastewater treatment plant. However, both the sampling points before the river reached the city and in its southern suburban area were still affected by emerging and legacy contamination. The diffuse presence of antibiotics and ARGs causes particular concern because the river water is used for drinking purposes. Full article
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Article
Nitrate Removal from Actual Wastewater by Coupling Sulfur-Based Autotrophic and Heterotrophic Denitrification under Different Influent Concentrations
Water 2021, 13(20), 2913; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202913 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1051
Abstract
Contamination of wastewater with organic-limited nitrates has become an urgent problem in wastewater treatment. The cooperating heterotrophic with sulfur autotrophic denitrification is an alternative process and the efficiency has been assessed in many studies treating simulated wastewater under different operating conditions. However, due [...] Read more.
Contamination of wastewater with organic-limited nitrates has become an urgent problem in wastewater treatment. The cooperating heterotrophic with sulfur autotrophic denitrification is an alternative process and the efficiency has been assessed in many studies treating simulated wastewater under different operating conditions. However, due to the complex and diverse nature of actual wastewater, more studies treating actual wastewater are still needed to evaluate the feasibility of collaborative denitrification. In this study, lab-scale experiments were performed with actual nitrate polluted water of two different concentrations, with glucose and sodium thiosulfate introduced as mixed electron donors in the coupling sulfur-based autotrophic and heterotrophic denitrification. Results showed that the optimum denitrification performance was exhibited when the influent substrate mass ratio of C/N/S was 1.3/1/1.9, with a maximum denitrification rate of 3.52 kg NO3-N/(m3 day) and nitrate removal efficiency of 93% in the coupled systems. Illumina high-throughput sequencing analysis revealed that autotrophic, facultative, and heterotrophic bacteria jointly contributed to high nitrogen removal efficiency. The autotrophic denitrification maintained as the predominant process, while the second most prevalent denitrification process gradually changed from heterotrophic to facultative with the increase of influent concentration at optimum C/N/S ratio conditions. Furthermore, the initiation of dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) was very pivotal in promoting the entire denitrification process. These results suggested that sulfur-based autotrophic coupled with heterotrophic denitrifying process is an alternative and promising method to treat nitrate containing wastewater. Full article
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Article
Characteristics and Sources of Selected Halocarbon and Hydrocarbon Volatile Organic Compounds in Surface Water of the Han River Basin
Water 2021, 13(18), 2568; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13182568 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are ubiquitous pollutants in surface water, which is the main source of drinking water in South Korea. We investigated the behavior (concentration, distribution, and environmental risk) of eleven selected VOCs in the surface water of the Han River tributaries [...] Read more.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are ubiquitous pollutants in surface water, which is the main source of drinking water in South Korea. We investigated the behavior (concentration, distribution, and environmental risk) of eleven selected VOCs in the surface water of the Han River tributaries using purge-and-trap gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The average concentration of VOCs was 0.29 ± 0.47 μg/L. Chloroform and trichloroethylene (TCE) were the major pollutants, accounting for approximately 64.2% and 25.6% of the total concentration, respectively, and showing that halocarbons accounted for 94%. Chloroform was positively correlated with TCE and xylenes, and TCE was positively correlated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE). No differences were observed in the temporal average concentrations of total VOCs, but the concentrations differed significantly among sub-watershed areas. The Imjin-Hantan River, Han River mainstream, and Anseong Stream watersheds had a high positive association with TCE, whereas the Bukhan and Namhan River watersheds had a strong positive link with chloroform. The contamination and detection frequency of VOCs were highest in industrial complexes, followed by urban and rural areas. Thus, point source pollution significantly contributed to VOC contamination of these tributaries. Risk quotients for most VOCs were <1, suggesting negligible risk. Considering the relatively high occurrence of VOCs and their potential ecological risks, continuous environmental monitoring and study of environmental impacts based on ecotoxicity studies of domestic aquatic species are warranted. Full article
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Article
Identifying Microbial Distribution Drivers of Archaeal Community in Sediments from a Black-Odorous Urban River—A Case Study of the Zhang River Basin
Water 2021, 13(11), 1545; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13111545 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1147
Abstract
Rapid urbanization has destroyed urban water systems and led to blackened and odorous rivers. The heavily polluted rivers are always facing eutrophication and heavy metal pollution, while the combined effects of these environmental factors on the microbial diversity and distribution of the river [...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization has destroyed urban water systems and led to blackened and odorous rivers. The heavily polluted rivers are always facing eutrophication and heavy metal pollution, while the combined effects of these environmental factors on the microbial diversity and distribution of the river microbial communities have not been adequately reported, especially the archaeal communities. In this study, we investigated the community structure and microbial distribution of sediment archaeal communities from an urban blackened and odorous river basin of the Zhang river, in Nanling, China. Results showed that the archaeal community from the eight sediment sites have average values of Shannon and Chao1 at 3.4921 and 232.7202, respectively. The community diversity and richness were different among samples. Halobacterota and Euryarchaeota were the most abundant phylum and Crenarchaeota also took up a considerable amount of the archaeal community. To reveal the main environmental drivers of the distribution of archaeal communities in sediment, the environmental physicochemical factors (total nitrogen, total phosphorus, oxidation/reduction potential, nitrate nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen, pH and total organic carbon) and heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, Pb and Hg) in sediment were determined. A redundancy analysis (RDA) revealed that Eh was the most prominent influencing factor, and As was the most influential heavy metal on the microbial distribution of archaeal communities. Furthermore, a variance partitioning analysis (VPA) was used to identify the impacts of physicochemical factors and heavy metals on the archaeal community distribution. Results showed that heavy metals have higher effects on archaeal community distribution than physicochemical factors. The present study suggested that the heavy metal pollution should be paid more attention in the microbial distribution in heavily polluted urban rivers, and also should be taken into consideration for improving the efficacies of ecological evaluation and remediation. Full article
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