(1/308) High-performance liquid chromatography column switching applied to the trace determination of herbicides in environmental and drinking water samples.

A selective and sensitive coupled-column high-performance liquid chromatographic method is developed for the simultaneous determination of 5 phenylurea herbicides (monuron, linuron, isoproturon, monolinuron, and diuron) in environmental and drinking water samples. Sample clean-up is performed automatically by means of a column switching technique. Using 2 octadecyl silica columns connected via two programmable 6-port valves and ultraviolet detection at 244 nm, the aforementioned compounds can be determined at the low concentration levels required for pesticide residue analysis in water samples. A mobile phase consisting of a mixture of methanol-water (55:45, v/v) is pumped at 1 mL/min. For the 5 phenylureas, high recoveries ranging from 94.9 to 101.6%, good reproducibility with relative standard deviations lower than 5%, and wide linear ranges up to 20 micrograms/L are observed with determination limits of 0.05 microgram/L. The method is successfully applied to the screening of different environmental water samples such as surface, ground, rain, and drinking water.  (+info)

(2/308) Some characteristics of bacteria found in a bioreactor to treat trichloroethylene-contaminated groundwater.

A mixture of bacteria, having a methane-utilizing ability, was separated from a bioreactor supplied with air and methane gas. The bioreactor was operated to treat trichloroethylene (TCE)-contaminated groundwater. The mixture was composed of an obligate methane-utilizing bacterium and a heterotroph, identified as Methylomonas methanica and Pseudomonas sp., respectively. The mixed culture of these two strains removed TCE. In addition, it appeared that a cooperative metabolic interaction of these strains enabled Meth.methanica to maintain the TCE degradation ability.  (+info)

(3/308) Fish as an indicator of eco-system contamination with mercury.

AIM: To compare the total and organic mercury content in sea-fish samples from Croatia, where fishing occurs in a closed part of the Mediterranean Sea, and from other countries fishing mostly in the oceans. METHOD: During 1997, we collected at the Zagreb fish market a total of 115 samples of fifteen kinds of fish including bathypelagic, pelagic and elasmobranch fish, caught in the wider coastal areas of Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, and Croatia. Total mercury and organic methyl-mercury in the fish were determined at the laboratory for testing of food and other common use material at the Zagreb Institute of Public Health. Total mercury was determined by the method of atomic absorption spectrometry. Methyl-mercury was determined by the method of gas chromatography. The mean annual fish consumption in each country was used to calculate the mean weekly intake of mercury and methyl-mercury in each individual country relative to the recommended values. RESULTS: The mean content of total mercury and organic mercury in pooled samples was 111+100 ug/kg and 95+87 ug/kg (85.6%), respectively. The highest values were found in the fish from Croatia (170+124 ug/kg and 150+107 ug/kg; 88.2%, respectively). This concentration did not exceed the maximal allowed level of 500 ug/kg for total and 400 ug/kg for organic mercury in any of the samples examined. The highest values of total mercury (119+111 ug/kg) and organic mercury (103+96 ug/kg; 86.6%) were found in bathypelagic fish. According to the mean annual per capita fish consumption in each country, the mean weekly mercury intake was highest in Spain (49.8 ug) and lowest in Croatia (19.0 ug. CONCLUSION: At present conditions of mercury content and its mean annual consumption, dietary use of sea-fish can still be recommended, even from the seas with closed circulation, such as Adriatic.  (+info)

(4/308) Removal of mercury from chloralkali electrolysis wastewater by a mercury-resistant Pseudomonas putida strain.

A mercury-resistant bacterial strain which is able to reduce ionic mercury to metallic mercury was used to remediate in laboratory columns mercury-containing wastewater produced during electrolytic production of chlorine. Factory effluents from several chloralkali plants in Europe were analyzed, and these effluents contained total mercury concentrations between 1.6 and 7.6 mg/liter and high chloride concentrations (up to 25 g/liter) and had pH values which were either acidic (pH 2.4) or alkaline (pH 13.0). A mercury-resistant bacterial strain, Pseudomonas putida Spi3, was isolated from polluted river sediments. Biofilms of P. putida Spi3 were grown on porous carrier material in laboratory column bioreactors. The bioreactors were continuously fed with sterile synthetic model wastewater or nonsterile, neutralized, aerated chloralkali wastewater. We found that sodium chloride concentrations up to 24 g/liter did not inhibit microbial mercury retention and that mercury concentrations up to 7 mg/liter could be treated with the bacterial biofilm with no loss of activity. When wastewater samples from three different chloralkali plants in Europe were used, levels of mercury retention efficiency between 90 and 98% were obtained. Thus, microbial mercury removal is a potential biological treatment for chloralkali electrolysis wastewater.  (+info)

(5/308) Removal of nitrate from groundwater by cyanobacteria: quantitative assessment of factors influencing nitrate uptake.

The feasibility of biologically removing nitrate from groundwater was tested by using cyanobacterial cultures in batch mode under laboratory conditions. Results demonstrated that nitrate-contaminated groundwater, when supplemented with phosphate and some trace elements, can be used as growth medium supporting vigorous growth of several strains of cyanobacteria. As cyanobacteria grew, nitrate was removed from the water. Of three species tested, Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 displayed the highest nitrate uptake rate, but all species showed rapid removal of nitrate from groundwater. The nitrate uptake rate increased proportionally with increasing light intensity up to 100 micromol of photons m(-2) s(-1), which parallels photosynthetic activity. The nitrate uptake rate was affected by inoculum size (i.e., cell density), fixed-nitrogen level in the cells in the inoculum, and aeration rate, with vigorously aerated, nitrate-sufficient cells in mid-logarithmic phase having the highest long-term nitrate uptake rate. Average nitrate uptake rates up to 0.05 mM NO(3-) h(-1) could be achieved at a culture optical density at 730 nm of 0.5 to 1. 0 over a 2-day culture period. This result compares favorably with those reported for nitrate removal by other cyanobacteria and algae, and therefore effective nitrate removal from groundwater using this organism could be anticipated on large-scale operations.  (+info)

(6/308) Zinc accumulation in phosphate granules of Ucides cordatus hepatopancreas.

Amorphous phosphate granules are present in vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. The functions attributed to these structures depend on their mineral contents and organic matrix composition. In the present study we have determined zinc concentrations in the hepatopancreas of the crab Ucides cordatus from regions contaminated with zinc, and the elemental composition of hepatopancreal phosphate granules. Organisms were collected from the contaminated areas of Sepetiba Bay (SB) and Guanabara Bay (GB), and from a non-contaminated area, Ribeira Bay (RB). The first two sites are located near the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil. Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) showed a significant difference (P<0.05) for zinc concentration in the hepatopancreas from organisms collected at the contaminated sites GB (210 +/- 20 microg/g dry weight) and SB (181 +/- 16 microg/g dry weight) compared to the non-contaminated site RB (76 +/- 14 microg/g dry weight). Phosphate granules isolated from hepatopancreatic tissue were studied by electron diffraction (ED), energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX) and electron spectroscopic imaging (ESI). ED of granules presented no diffraction spots, indicating that these structures are in an amorphous state, while EDX of granules isolated from a contaminated area contained P, Ca and Zn. Mg, Cl and Fe were also found in some of the spectra. ESI showed that O, P and Ca were colocalized in the mineralized layers of most granules observed. The correlation between the results obtained by AAS and those obtained by microanalytical techniques suggests that the hepatopancreatic granules of U. cordatus may be related to the phenomenon of heavy metal retention.  (+info)

(7/308) The dead zones: oxygen-starved coastal waters.

After the great Mississippi River flood of 1993, the hypoxic (or low-oxygen) "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico more than doubled its size, reaching an all-time high of over 7,700 square miles in July of 1999. Scientists attribute the Gulf of Mexico dead zone largely to nutrient runoff from agriculture in the Mississippi River basin. During the warm months, these nutrients fuel eutrophication, or high organic production, causing large algal blooms. When the algae decay, the result is hypoxia. Reports of such hypoxic events around the world have been increasing since the mid 1960s. Eutrophication and hypoxia have resulted in mortality of bottom-dwelling life in dozens of marine ecosystems and have stressed fisheries worldwide. Some algal blooms can alter the function of coastal ecosystems or, potentially, threaten human health. Anthropogenic nutrient loading from sources such as agriculture, fossil fuel emissions, and climate events is believed to be related to the global increase in frequency, size, and duration of certain algal blooms.  (+info)

(8/308) Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. pectinolytica subsp. nov., a new pectinase-positive subspecies isolated from a heavily polluted river.

Aeromonas strains which phenotypically and genetically belong to the Aeromonas salmonicida species but that according to their phenotypic properties constitute a new subspecies have been isolated from the water of a heavily polluted river, the Matanza river, situated near the central district of Buenos Aires city. These strains were ascribed to the A. salmonicida species by using 65 biochemical tests and by DNA-DNA hybridization. They produce acid from -sorbitol, an unusual biochemical property found in a few members of the A. salmonicida species. They also utilize urocanic acid and do not ferment L-rhamnose or utilize LD-lactate, and are elastase- and gluconate-negative. The DNA relatedness was over 70%, the current limit accepted for the phylogenetic definition of a species, to the described A. salmonicida subspecies and nearly 100% within the new group of Aeromonas strains. Phenotypic differentiation from other A. salmonicida subspecies was readily achieved using the following characteristics: growth at 37 degrees C, melanin production, indole and Voges-Proskauer assays, growth on KCN broth, mannitol and sucrose fermentation and gas from glucose. A remarkable property of the strains of the new group was their ability to degrade polypectate, an unusual feature among Aeromonas species in general. The complete 16S rRNA gene of one strain of the new group was sequenced. Comparison with rDNA sequences of Aeromonas members available in databases revealed a close relationship between this strain and strains belonging to A. salmonicida subsp. salmonicida, masoucida and achromogenes, in agreement with the biochemical data. Since the new A. salmonicida strains constitute a tight genomic group that can be identified by phenotypic properties it was concluded that they represent a new subspecies for which the name Aeromonas salmonicida subsp. pectinolytica is proposed. The type strain of A. salmonicida subsp. pectinolytica is 34melT (= DSM 12609T).  (+info)