Water pollution and human health in China.
China's extraordinary economic growth, industrialization, and urbanization, coupled with inadequate investment in basic water supply and treatment infrastructure, have resulted in widespread water pollution. In China today approximately 700 million people--over half the population--consume drinking water contaminated with levels of animal and human excreta that exceed maximum permissible levels by as much as 86% in rural areas and 28% in urban areas. By the year 2000, the volume of wastewater produced could double from 1990 levels to almost 78 billion tons. These are alarming trends with potentially serious consequences for human health. This paper reviews and analyzes recent Chinese reports on public health and water resources to shed light on what recent trends imply for China's environmental risk transition. This paper has two major conclusions. First, the critical deficits in basic water supply and sewage treatment infrastructure have increased the risk of exposure to infectious and parasitic disease and to a growing volume of industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and algal toxins. Second, the lack of coordination between environmental and public health objectives, a complex and fragmented system to manage water resources, and the general treatment of water as a common property resource mean that the water quality and quantity problems observed as well as the health threats identified are likely to become more acute. (+info)
Selection of clc, cba, and fcb chlorobenzoate-catabolic genotypes from groundwater and surface waters adjacent to the Hyde park, Niagara Falls, chemical landfill.
The frequency of isolation of three nonhomologous chlorobenzoate catabolic genotypes (clc, cba, and fcb) was determined for 464 isolates from freshwater sediments and groundwater in the vicinity of the Hyde Park industrial landfill site in the Niagara watershed. Samples were collected from both contaminated and noncontaminated sites during spring, summer, and fall and enriched at 4, 22, or 32 degrees C with micromolar to millimolar concentrations of chlorobenzoates and 3-chlorobiphenyl (M. C. Peel and R. C. Wyndham, Microb. Ecol: 33:59-68, 1997). Hybridization at moderate stringency to restriction-digested genomic DNA with DNA probes revealed the chlorocatechol 1,2-dioxygenase operon (clcABD), the 3-chlorobenzoate 3,4-(4,5)-dioxygenase operon (cbaABC), and the 4-chlorobenzoate dehalogenase (fcbB) gene in isolates enriched from all contaminated sites in the vicinity of the industrial landfill. Nevertheless, the known genes were found in less than 10% of the isolates from the contaminated sites, indicating a high level of genetic diversity in the microbial community. The known genotypes were not enriched from the noncontaminated control sites nearby. The clc, cba, and fcb isolates were distributed across five phenotypically distinct groups based on Biolog carbon source utilization, with the breadth of the host range decreasing in the order clc > cba > fcb. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) patterns showed that the cba genes were conserved in all isolates whereas the clc and fcb genes exhibited variation in RFLP patterns. These observations are consistent with the recent spread of the cba genes by horizontal transfer as part of transposon Tn5271 in response to contaminant exposure at Hyde Park. Consistent with this hypothesis, IS1071, the flanking element in Tn5271, was found in all isolates that carried the cba genes. Interestingly, IS1071 was also found in a high proportion of isolates from Hyde Park carrying the clc and fcb genes, as well as in type strains carrying the clcABD operon and the biphenyl (bph) catabolic genes. (+info)
PCR detection of genes encoding nitrite reductase in denitrifying bacteria.
Using consensus regions in gene sequences encoding the two forms of nitrite reductase (Nir), a key enzyme in the denitrification pathway, we designed two sets of PCR primers to amplify cd1- and Cu-nir. The primers were evaluated by screening defined denitrifying strains, denitrifying isolates from wastewater treatment plants, and extracts from activated sludge. Sequence relationships of nir genes were also established. The cd1 primers were designed to amplify a 778 to 799-bp region of cd1-nir in the six published sequences. Likewise, the Cu primers amplified a 473-bp region in seven of the eight published Cu-nir sequences. Together, the two sets of PCR primers amplified nir genes in nine species within four genera, as well as in four of the seven sludge isolates. The primers did not amplify genes of nondenitrifying strains. The Cu primers amplified the expected fragment in all 13 sludge samples, but cd1-nir fragments were only obtained in five samples. PCR products of the expected sizes were verified as nir genes after hybridization to DNA probes, except in one case. The sequenced nir fragments were related to other nir sequences, demonstrating that the primers amplified the correct gene. The selected primer sites for Cu-nir were conserved, while broad-range primers targeting conserved regions of cd1-nir seem to be difficult to find. We also report on the existence of Cu-nir in Paracoccus denitrificans Pd1222. (+info)
High-rate anaerobic treatment of wastewater at low temperatures.
Anaerobic treatment of a volatile fatty acid (VFA) mixture was investigated under psychrophilic (3 to 8 degrees C) conditions in two laboratory-scale expanded granular sludge bed reactor stages in series. The reactor system was seeded with mesophilic methanogenic granular sludge and fed with a mixture of VFAs. Good removal of fatty acids was achieved in the two-stage system. Relative high levels of propionate were present in the effluent of the first stage, but propionate was efficiently removed in the second stage, where a low hydrogen partial pressure and a low acetate concentration were advantageous for propionate oxidation. The specific VFA-degrading activities of the sludge in each of the modules doubled during system operation for 150 days, indicating a good enrichment of methanogens and proton-reducing acetogenic bacteria at such low temperatures. The specific degradation rates of butyrate, propionate, and the VFA mixture amounted to 0.139, 0.110, and 0.214 g of chemical oxygen demand g of volatile suspended solids-1 day-1, respectively. The biomass which was obtained after 1.5 years still had a temperature optimum of between 30 and 40 degrees C. (+info)
Effects of nickel and cobalt on kinetics of methanol conversion by methanogenic sludge as assessed by on-line CH4 monitoring.
When metals were added in a pulse mode to methylotrophic-methanogenic biomass, three methane production rate phases were recognized. Increased concentrations of Ni and Co accelerated the initial exponential and final arithmetic increases in the methane production rate and reduced the temporary decrease in the rate. When Ni and Co were added continuously, the temporary decrease phase was eliminated and the exponential production rate increased. We hypothesize that the temporary decrease in the methane production rate and the final arithmetic increase in the methane production rate were due to micronutrient limitations and that the precipitation-dissolution kinetics of metal sulfides may play a key role in the biovailability of these compounds. (+info)
Nocardioides nitrophenolicus sp. nov., a p-nitrophenol-degrading bacterium.
A p-nitrophenol-degrading bacterial strain was isolated from industrial wastewater. This strain (NSP41T) was identified as a member of the genus Nocardioides from chemotaxonomic characterizations and phylogenetic inference based on 16S rDNA sequence analysis. The G + C content is 71.4 mol%. The diamino acid in the cell-wall peptidoglycan is LL-diaminopimelic acid. The predominant menaquinone is MK-8(H4). The cellular fatty acid profile is similar to those of Nocardioides species. 16S rDNA sequence analysis show that strain NSP41T is the most related to Nocardioides simplex strains with a level of nucleotide similarity of 98.6%. The levels of 16S rDNA similarity between strain NSP41T and other Nocardioides species ranged from 93.8 to 95.1%. This organism is distinguishable from some other Nocardioides species as well as N. simplex strains by DNA-DNA relatedness data. This organism is different from N. simplex strains in some phenotypic characteristics. Therefore, on the basis of the data presented, a new species of the genus Nocardioides, Nocardioides nitrophenolicus, is proposed. The type strain of the new species is strain NSP41T (= KCTC 0457BPT). (+info)
Phylogenetic diversity, polyamine pattern and DNA base composition of members of the order Planctomycetales.
The 16S rDNA sequences of 20 novel isolates of members of the order Planctomycetales were compared to those of the type strains of described planctomycete species and 22 planctomycete isolates for which the 16S rDNA sequences had been previously determined. The novel isolates could be assigned to several phylogenetically broad groups, four of which are defined by the genera Gemmata, Isosphaera, Planctomyces and Pirellula. To evaluate polyamines as a chemotaxonomic marker within this order, the polyamine pool was determined for six planctomycete reference species and for 20 planctomycete isolates. All analysed members of the order Planctomycetales contained significant amounts of polyamines. sym-Homospermidine (HSPD) is present in all strains except Planctomyces limnophilus and related strains, which had high amounts of putrescine (PUT) as the dominant polyamine component. The distribution of PUT, HSPD and spermidine reflects the phylogenetic diversity within the Planctomycetales as closely related representatives of the phylogenetic groups defined by described species and novel isolates exhibit similar polyamine patterns. Determination of the DNA base composition revealed G + C contents of > 60 mol% for members of Gemmata and Isosphaera whereas, except for two isolates, strains which are phylogenetically associated with Planctomyces and Pirellula had G + C contents of 51-57 mol%. (+info)
Chemical wastes, children's health, and the Superfund Basic Research Program.
Three to 4 million children and adolescents in the United States live within 1 mile of a federally designated Superfund hazardous waste disposal site and are at risk of exposure to chemical toxicants released from these sites into air, groundwater, surface water, and surrounding communities. Because of their patterns of exposure and their biological vulnerability, children are uniquely susceptible to health injury resulting from exposures to chemical toxicants in the environment. The Superfund Basic Research Program, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and directed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is extremely well positioned to organize multidisciplinary research that will assess patterns of children's exposures to hazardous chemicals from hazardous waste disposal sites; quantify children's vulnerability to environmental toxicants; assess causal associations between environmental exposures and pediatric disease; and elucidate the mechanisms of environmental disease in children at the cellular and molecular level. (+info)