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)
Aminomonas paucivorans gen. nov., sp. nov., a mesophilic, anaerobic, amino-acid-utilizing bacterium.
A novel, asaccharolytic, amino-acid-degrading bacterium, designated strain GLU-3T, was isolated from an anaerobic lagoon of a dairy wastewater treatment plant. Strain GLU-3T stained Gram-negative and was an obligately anaerobic, non-spore-forming, slightly curved, rod-shaped bacterium (0.3 x 4.0-6.0 microns) which existed singly or in pairs. The DNA G+C content was 43 mol%. Optimum growth occurred at 35 degrees C and pH 7.5 on arginine with a generation time of 16 h. Good growth was obtained on arginine, histidine, threonine and glycine. Acetate was the end-product formed from all these substrates, but in addition, a trace of formate was detected from arginine and histidine, and ornithine was produced from arginine. Strain GLU-3T grew slowly on glutamate and produced acetate, carbon dioxide, formate, hydrogen and traces of propionate as the end-products. In syntrophic association with Methanobacterium formicicum, strain GLU-3T oxidized arginine, histidine and glutamate to give propionate as the major product; acetate, carbon dioxide and methane were also produced. Strain GLU-3T did not degrade alanine and the branched-chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine either in pure culture or in association with M. formicicum. The nearest phylogenetic relative of strain GLU-3T was the thermophile Selenomonas acidaminovorans (similarity value of 89.5%). As strain GLU-3T is phylogenetically, physiologically and genotypically different from other amino-acid-degrading genera, it is proposed that it should be designated a new species of a new genus Aminomonas paucivorans gen. nov., sp. nov. (DSM 12260T). (+info)
Clostridium methoxybenzovorans sp. nov., a new aromatic o-demethylating homoacetogen from an olive mill wastewater treatment digester.
A strictly anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium (3.0-5.0 x 0.4-0.8 microns), designated strain SR3T (T = type strain), which stained Gram-positive and possessed a Gram-positive type cell wall was isolated from a methanogenic pilot-scale digester fed with olive mill wastewater (Sfax, Tunisia). It utilized a number of carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, sorbose, galactose, myo-inositol, sucrose, lactose, cellobiose), organic compounds (lactate, betaine, sarcosine, dimethylglycine, methanethiol, dimethylsulfide), alcohol (methanol) and all methoxylated aromatic compounds only in the presence of yeast extract (0.1%). The end products from carbohydrate fermentation were H2, CO2, formate, acetate and ethanol, that from lactate was methanol, those from methoxylated aromatics were acetate and butyrate, and that from betaine, sarcosine, dimethylglycine, methanethiol and dimethylsulfide was only acetate. Strain SR3T was non-motile, had a G+C content of 44 mol% and grew optimally at 37 degrees C and pH 7.4 on a glucose-containing medium. Phylogenetically, the closest relatives of strain SR3T were the non-methoxylated aromatic-degrading Clostridium xylanolyticum, Clostridium aerotolerans, Clostridium sphenoides and Clostridium celerecrescens (mean similarity of 98%). On the basis of the phenotypic, genotypic and phylogenetic characteristics of the isolate, it is proposed to designate strain SR3T as Clostridium methoxybenzovorans sp. nov. The type strain is SR3T (= DSM 12182T). (+info)
Sporobacterium olearium gen. nov., sp. nov., a new methanethiol-producing bacterium that degrades aromatic compounds, isolated from an olive mill wastewater treatment digester.
A strictly chemo-organotrophic, anaerobic bacterium was isolated from an olive mill wastewater treatment digester on syringate and designated strain SR1T. The cells were slightly curved rods, stained Gram-positive and possessed terminal spores. Strain SR1T utilized crotonate, methanol and a wide range of aromatic compounds including 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoate (TMB), 3,4,5-trimethoxycinnamate (TMC), syringate, 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenylacetate (TMPA), 3,4,5-trimethoxyphenylpropionate (TMPP), ferulate, sinapate, vanillate, 3,4-dimethoxybenzoate, 2,3-dimethoxybenzoate, gallate, 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzoate (THB), pyrogallol, phloroglucinol and quercetin as carbon and energy sources. Acetate and butyrate were produced from aromatic compounds, methanol and crotonate whereas methanethiol (MT) was produced from methoxylated aromatic compounds and methanol. Strain SR1T had a G + C content of 38 mol% and grew optimally between 37 and 40 degrees C at pH 7.2 on a crotonate-containing medium. Phylogenetically, strain SR1T was a member of cluster XIVa of the Clostridiales group and shared a sequence similarity of 90% with Clostridum aminovalericum and Eubacterium fissicatena. Consequently, its precise neighbourliness to any one of them depended on the selection of strains of the cluster. On the basis of the phylogenetic and phenotypic evidence presented in this paper, the designation of strain SR1T as Sporobacterium olearium gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is SR1T (= DSM 12504T). (+info)
Phylogenetic relationships of filamentous sulfur bacteria (Thiothrix spp. and Eikelboom type 021N bacteria) isolated from wastewater-treatment plants and description of Thiothrix eikelboomii sp. nov., Thiothrix unzii sp. nov., Thiothrix fructosivorans sp. nov. and Thiothrix defluvii sp. nov.
The relationship of mixotrophic and autotrophic Thiothrix species to morphologically similar chemoorganotrophic bacteria (e.g. Leucothrix species, Eikelboom type 021N bacteria) has been a matter of debate for some years. These bacteria have alternatively been grouped together on the basis of shared morphological features or separated on the basis of their nutrition. Many of these bacteria are difficult to maintain in axenic culture and, until recently, few isolates were available to allow comprehensive phenotypic and genotypic characterization. Several isolates of Thiothrix spp. and Eikelboom type 021N strains were characterized by comparative 16S rRNA sequence analysis. This revealed that the Thiothrix spp. and Eikelboom type 021N isolates formed a monophyletic group. Furthermore, isolates of Eikelboom type 021N bacteria isolated independently from different continents were phylogenetically closely related. The 16S rRNA sequence-based phylogeny was congruent with the morphological similarities between Thiothrix and Eikelboom type 021N. However, one isolate examined in this study (Ben47) shared many morphological features with the Thiothrix spp. and Eikelboom type 021N isolates, but was not closely related to them phylogenetically. Consequently, morphology alone cannot be used to assign bacteria to the Thiothrix/type 021N group. Comparative 16S rRNA sequence analysis supports monophyly of the Thiothrix/type 021N group, and phenotypic differences between the Thiothrix spp. and Eikelboom type 021N bacteria are currently poorly defined. For example, both groups include heterotrophic organisms that deposit intracellular elemental sulfur. It is therefore proposed that the Eikelboom type 021N bacteria should be accommodated within the genus Thiothrix as a new species, Thiothrix eikelboomii sp. nov., and three further new Thiothrix species are described: Thiothrix unzii sp. nov., Thiothrix fructosivorans sp. nov. and Thiothrix defluvii sp. nov. (+info)
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)
Estimation of methanogen biomass by quantitation of coenzyme M.
Determination of the role of methanogenic bacteria in an anaerobic ecosystem often requires quantitation of the organisms. Because of the extreme oxygen sensitivity of these organisms and the inherent limitations of cultural techniques, an accurate biomass value is very difficult to obtain. We standardized a simple method for estimating methanogen biomass in a variety of environmental matrices. In this procedure we used the thiol biomarker coenzyme M (CoM) (2-mercaptoethanesulfonic acid), which is known to be present in all methanogenic bacteria. A high-performance liquid chromatography-based method for detecting thiols in pore water (A. Vairavamurthy and M. Mopper, Anal. Chim. Acta 78:363-370, 1990) was modified in order to quantify CoM in pure cultures, sediments, and sewage water samples. The identity of the CoM derivative was verified by using liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy. The assay was linear for CoM amounts ranging from 2 to 2,000 pmol, and the detection limit was 2 pmol of CoM/ml of sample. CoM was not adsorbed to sediments. The methanogens tested contained an average of 19.5 nmol of CoM/mg of protein and 0.39 +/- 0.07 fmol of CoM/cell. Environmental samples contained an average of 0.41 +/- 0.17 fmol/cell based on most-probable-number estimates. CoM was extracted by using 1% tri-(N)-butylphosphine in isopropanol. More than 90% of the CoM was recovered from pure cultures and environmental samples. We observed no interference from sediments in the CoM recovery process, and the method could be completed aerobically within 3 h. Freezing sediment samples resulted in 46 to 83% decreases in the amounts of detectable CoM, whereas freezing had no effect on the amounts of CoM determined in pure cultures. The method described here provides a quick and relatively simple way to estimate methanogenic biomass. (+info)
An appraisal of sewage pollution along a section of the Natal coast after the introduction of submarine outfalls.
A bacteriological survey on the distribution and occurrence of coliforms and pathogenic indicators of pollution within the surf-zone and near-shore waters along a section of the Natal coast before the use of submarine outfalls with reported previously. In that report more than half the beaches in the region were found to be of Class IV or III quality. After the submarine outfalls became operational, ten further sampling runs were made. A considerable improvement in the sea-water quality was apparent, most of the beaches being regarded to Class II or I, notably in the bathing areas. (+info)