Publications by authors named "Guang-Guo Ying"

275 Publications

Continuous input of organic ultraviolet filters and benzothiazoles threatens the surface water and sediment of two major rivers in the Pearl River Basin.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jul 27;798:149299. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Environmental Research Institute, School of Environment, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety, MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China.

The extensive usage of organic ultraviolet filters (UV filters) and benzothiazoles (BTs) has caused continuous and widespread pollution in the aquatic environment. This study investigated the occurrence of nine organic UV filters and eight BTs in the surface water and sediment of two major drinking water source rivers in the Pearl River Basin (PRB). The detection frequencies of six organic UV filters and seven BTs were above 50% in surface water, while eight target compounds were as high as 100%. Composition profiles revealed that 2-Hydroxybenzothiazole (2-OH-BTH, 1112 ng/L) and 2-Mercaptobenzothiazole (2-SH-BTH, 426.3 ng/L) were the predominant compounds in surface water, while Octyl 4-methoxycinnamate (OMC, maximum concentration, 68.3 ng/g) and UV-329 (18.8 ng/g) were predominant in sediment. Significant positive correlations were observed between water quality parameters (temperature, total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN)) and organic UV filters (UV-327 and UV-P), indicating the domestic discharge. The calculated annual flux of targets compounds indicated that West River (WR) promoted more BTs and UV filters to the PRB than North River (NR) (BTs: WR22, 88,517 kg/year; NR13, 15,660 kg/year; UV filters: WR22, 28,332 kg/year; NR13, 1128 kg/year). Significant relationship between the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and annual flux of BTs (R = 0.96, p < 0.001), and UV filters (R = 0.88, p < 0.001) in the rivers were found by regression analysis. UV-329 was detected with medium risk (RQ > 0.1) in all WR surface water samples, and 2-SH-BTH was detected with high risk (RQ > 1) in half of the WR sediment samples. This study provides the first time reports on the organic UV filters and BTs in two major rivers in the Pearl River Basin, and further showed that these two types of contaminants are ubiquitous and with potential risks in surface water and sediment of PRB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149299DOI Listing
July 2021

Development and application of diffusive gradients in thin-films for in situ sampling of the bitterest chemical - denatonium benzoate in waters.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Jun 12;418:126393. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Environmental Research Institute/School of Environment, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Denatonium benzoate (DB), a commonly used bitter agent in numerous products, has recently been recognized as a waterborne contaminant due to concern about its potential persistence, mobility and toxicity (PMT). However, its occurrence, levels and fate in global aquatic environments are largely unknown. In this study, a new sampling method, based on diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) with mixed-mode cation exchange (MCX) as the binding agent, was developed for measuring DB in waters. MCX shows a rapid adsorption and high capacity for DB. DB is linearly accumulated by MCX-DGT. pH (6-8), ionic strength (0.01-0.5 M), or DOM (0-10 M) do not show any significant effect on the MCX-DGT performance, confirming its reliability. The DGT measurements in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) are comparable to those by paralleled grab sampling. The field results suggest DB is persistent in WWTPs and could be a potential domestic wastewater indicator. Therefore, MCX-DGT is a promising technique for understanding the environmental occurrence, levels and fate of DB. This is a first report of using DGT for DB monitoring and of DB occurrence in Chinese environments. Further exploration of DGT as a reliable passive monitoring tool for a wide range of PMT substances in different applications is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126393DOI Listing
June 2021

What is in Nigerian waters? Target and non-target screening analysis for organic chemicals.

Chemosphere 2021 Jul 15;284:131546. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Environmental Research Institute / School of Environment, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China; Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University, 10691, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:

Emerging organic contaminants (e.g., active pharmaceutical ingredients and personal care products ingredients) are ubiquitous in the environment and potentially harmful to ecosystems, have gained increasing public attention worldwide. Nevertheless, there is a scarcity of data on these contaminants in Africa. In this study, various types of water samples (wastewater, surface water and tap water) collected from Lagos, Nigeria were analyzed for these chemicals by both target and non-target analysis on an UHPLC-Orbitrap-MS/MS. In total, 109 compounds were identified by non-target screening using the online database mzCloud. Level 1 identification confidence was achieved for 13 compounds for which reference standards were available and level 2 was achieved for the rest. In the quantitative analysis, 18 of 38 target compounds were detected, including the parent compounds and their metabolites. Acetaminophen, sulfamethoxazole, acesulfame, and caffeine were detected in all samples with their highest concentrations at 8000, 5300, 16, and 7700 μg/L in wastewater, 140000, 3300, 7.7, and 12000 μg/L in surface water, and 66, 62, 0.17 and 1000 μg/L in tap water, respectively. The occurrence of psychoactive substances, anticancer treatments, antiretrovirals, antihypertensives, antidiabetics and their metabolites were reported in Nigeria for the first time. These results indicate poor wastewater treatment and management in Nigeria, and provide a preliminary profile of organic contaminants occurring in Nigerian waters. The findings from this study urge more future research on chemical pollution in the aquatic environments in Nigeria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.131546DOI Listing
July 2021

[Optimization of Tidal-Combined Flow Constructed Wetland System and Its Removal Effect on Antibiotic Resistance Genes].

Huan Jing Ke Xue 2021 Aug;42(8):3799-3807

School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China.

Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) pose a serious threat to environmental biology and public health, along with the discharge and spread of wastewater. The advanced treatment of ARGs in wastewater therefore deserves special attention. In our previous study, we found that tidal flow constructed wetlands can effectively remove multiple ammonia from wastewater. In this study, we further optimized tidal flow constructed wetland systems by adding baffles and cultivating plants; we investigated the influence of process optimization on the removal of ARGs and the influence of functional microorganism distribution on nitrogen removal. The results show that the addition of baffles and plants can effectively improve the removal efficiency of ARGs, with the maximum removal rate of 21 resistance genes, in 7 categories, reaching 83.82%-100.0% with the simultaneous addition of baffles and plants. These removal rates were significantly higher than the increase resulting from a single baffle or plant group. From the comparison of the absolute abundance of ARGs in the substrate and plants, it is clear that the baffles can promote the enrichment of ARGs in the wetland substrate, while uptake by plants is also a way of removing ARGs. Combined with the results of nitrogen-cycle functional gene sequencing, system optimization can increase the diversity and richness of nitrification and denitrification functional microorganisms in the substrate, which is consistent with the higher removal rate of nitrification and total nitrogen in wastewater.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13227/j.hjkx.202012168DOI Listing
August 2021

Crucial roles of 3D-MoO-PBC cocatalytic electrodes in the enhanced degradation of imidacloprid in heterogeneous electro-Fenton system: Degradation mechanisms and toxicity attenuation.

J Hazard Mater 2021 Jul 2;420:126556. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, PR China; School of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Quanzhou Normal University, Quanzhou, Fujian 362000, PR China. Electronic address:

Imidacloprid (IMI), as the most-consumed pesticide, has posed a severe threat to the water ecosystem due to its recalcitrance and inefficient elimination in the traditional wastewater treatment. Herein, a heterogeneous electro-Fenton (EF) system coupled with 3D-MoO-porous biochar (PBC) cocatalytic electrodes, abbreviated as 3D-MPE-EF, is initially applied to promote the elimination of IMI in the agrochemical wastewater from pesticide production. The elimination rate of IMI by 3D-MPE-EF system is 18.15 times higher than that by traditional EF system at pH 7.0. The utilization of 3D-MoO-PBC electrodes sufficiently compensates for inherent deficiencies of traditional EF system. The circular utilization of Fe is also addressed by 3D-MoO-PBC cocatalytic electrodes to reduce the consumption of Fe and the deposition of iron mud. Through comparison, MoO is considered the most appropriate cocatalyst in terms of the reutilization of Fe and degradation of IMI. Eight mechanisms are identified in the degradation pathways of IMI by UPLC-Q-TOF-MS. The ecotoxicities of IMI are remarkably attenuated in the 3D-MPE-EF system. This study provides insights into the roles of 3D-MoO-PBC cocatalytic electrodes in the enhanced elimination of IMI in heterogeneous EF system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.126556DOI Listing
July 2021

[Construction of Continuous Dynamic Model for River Networks and Its Application in Simulation of Spatiotemporal Migration of Typical Biocides].

Huan Jing Ke Xue 2021 Jul;42(7):3147-3155

School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China.

Biocides are widely added to personal care products and enter the environment through sewage treatment plant (STP) discharge, which affects ecological health. This paper evaluated the pollution characteristics of triclosan and triclocarban in a river network during the COVID-19 epidemic. Moreover, a continuous dynamic river network model coupling a one-dimensional hydrodynamic model and four-level fugacity model was established to address the temporal and spatial heterogeneity of pollutants in the river network migration process; then, this model was applied to evaluate two biocides in the Shima River Basin. The model passed calibration and in-field concentration verification tests and yielded satisfactory simulation results. The results of the study showed that the concentration of biocides in the river network during the new crown epidemic was twice that of the non-epidemic period. The concentration of triclosan and triclocarban in the river channel first increased and then decreased with the increase of the river migration distance after STP discharge. The time variation characteristics of the concentrations were affected by the river flow. The biocide concentration in the river network of the low flow upstream area first increased and then decreased, gradually stabilizing in about 20 h. The pollution concentration in the high flow downstream area was increased, and the concentration did not stabilize at 24 h. These results indicate the necessity of evaluating the temporal and spatial characteristics of migration of typical biocides in the river network by stages and time on the premise of distinguishing the flow.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13227/j.hjkx.202011202DOI Listing
July 2021

Legacy and alternative per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the West River and North River, south China: Occurrence, fate, spatio-temporal variations and potential sources.

Chemosphere 2021 Jun 22;283:131301. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou, 510006, China. Electronic address:

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are contaminants of global concern. Studies in Pearl River, south China have focused on the delta area, while the upstream contributions are unclear. Here, we systematically investigated the fate, trends and potential sources of 57 PFASs in river water, sediment and fish of the North and West Rivers of the Pearl River system. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and 6:2 chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonate (6:2Cl-PFESA) were frequently found compounds in waters, sediments and fish, suggesting their wide usage in this area and potential for bioaccumulation. Waters showed a higher ∑PFASs in the wet season compared to the dry season, but sediments did not. The North River contributed higher PFAS loads to the Pearl River Delta. Our results also reflect the current shift in PFAS usage from legacy substances to alternatives. This study, for the first time, reports data on PFASs in two upstream rivers of the Pearl River and on alternative PFASs such as PFESA in this area, which can better the understanding of their use, fate, risk assessment and further controls and management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.131301DOI Listing
June 2021

Photo-biodegradation of imidacloprid under blue light-emitting diodes with bacteria and co-metabolic regulation.

Environ Res 2021 Jun 18;201:111541. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, PR China.

Imidacloprid (IMI) is existence in the soil environment with a half-life habitually more than hundred days. This study targets to determine, identify and characterize photo-biodegradation bacteria from neonicotinoids (NEOs) contaminated agricultural field soils. The sub-surface soil had a higher level contamination of NEOs, in specifically greater concentration of IMI (3445.2 ± 0.09 μg/g) and thiacloprid (4084.4 ± 0.09 μg/g) has been found. Three bacteria Ralstonia pickettii (PBMS-2), Bacillus cereus (PBMS-3) and Shinella zoogloeoides (PBMS-4) was identified from soil-free stable enrichment cultures. The biodegradability of IMI (50 mg L) by three bacteria under different colors of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with a constant 12 V power supply was tested and found that the blue-LEDs had greatest efficiency in supporting biodegradation of IMI which is called photo-biodegradation. In specific, the rate of photo-biodegradation of IMI by Ralstonia pickettii (87%), Bacillus cereus (80%) and Shinella zoogloeoides (80%) was measured. Besides this study also tested the effect of aeration (rpm), pH, and temperature on photo-biodegradation of IMI. There were seven intermediate metabolites were measured as biodegradation products of IMI under photo-biodegradation conditions and they are; IMI-urea, IMI-desnitro, 6-chloronicotinic acid, 6-hydroxy nicotinic acid, IMI- aminoguanidine, IMI-nitrosoguanidine and 4,5-hydroxy IMI, these metabolites are may non-toxic to the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.111541DOI Listing
June 2021

Variations of antibiotic resistome in swine wastewater during full-scale anaerobic digestion treatment.

Environ Int 2021 Oct 12;155:106694. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Anaerobic digesters have been widely used to treat wastewaters in livestock farms. With the increasing risk of antibiotic resistance originated from livestock husbandry, removal of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) via anaerobic digesters deserved more attention. Here we investigated the removal of antibiotics and ARGs in swine wastewater by three on-farm full-scale anaerobic digesters, including buried biogas digester (BBD), up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) and high density polyethylene covered biogas digester (HDPE-BD). Variations of antibiotic resistome in swine wastewater were further revealed by metagenomic sequencing. Results showed the removal efficiencies for antibiotics, ARGs and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) varied in the three digesters, ranging from 65.1% to 98.1%, 3.5%-71.0% and 26.9%-77.2%, respectively. In general, UASB and HDPE-BD showed better removal efficiencies than BBD. However, enrichment of metal resistance genes (MRGs) was noted in UASB. Pathogens could not be effectively removed by all of the three digesters. What's more, accumulation of pathogens was found in UASB (removal efficiencies: -8.5%-13.6%). Bacterial community succession, horizontal genetic transfer and biocide and metal resistance genes (BMRGs) profiles jointly structured the variation of antibiotic resistome during anaerobic digestion. A total of 334 high-quality bins were identified from swine wastewater, 96 of which belonged to phylum of Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria carried ARGs. Proteobacteria was the dominant multi-drug resistant flora. Meanwhile, ARG-carrying pathogens (Bacteroides and Mycolicibacter) were found in the swine wastewater, suggesting a potential threat to human and animal health. The findings from this study showed that HDPE-BD is the most eco-friendly and effective anaerobic digester in controlling risks from antibiotic resistance determinants in swine wastewater.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106694DOI Listing
October 2021

Contamination of drinking water by neonicotinoid insecticides in China: Human exposure potential through drinking water consumption and percutaneous penetration.

Environ Int 2021 May 24;156:106650. Epub 2021 May 24.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, School of Environment, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, PR China.

Neonicotinoids (NEOs) are the most widely used pesticides and have posed a serious threat to human health. However, data on human exposure to NEOs are extremely scarce. To bridge this gap, human exposure potential of NEOs through drinking water consumption and percutaneous penetration was evaluated with the influences of 17 age groups, 4 seasons, 6 regions, and 2 genders. The results showed that drinking water in the present study had an upper middle level of NEO contamination. Anthropogenic activity and weather condition played important roles in the regional distribution of NEOs in tap water. For both children and adults, NEOs intake from drinking water exposure (NDE) and percutaneous exposure (NPE) in the south regions of China are significantly higher than those in the north regions, while the order of NDE and NPE by season is summer > spring = autumn > winter. Furthermore, human age and gender also have remarkable impacts on NDE and NPE. The age groups of children subjected to the highest NDE and NPE were 9 months - 2 years old and 9-12 years old, respectively. This study provides insights into the role of seasonal and regional influence, age and gender in the risk of drinking water and percutaneous exposure to NEOs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106650DOI Listing
May 2021

[Pollution Characteristics and Removal of Typical Pharmaceuticals in Hospital Wastewater and Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants].

Huan Jing Ke Xue 2021 Jun;42(6):2928-2936

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety, School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China.

In this study, solid phase extraction (SPE) coupled with high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) was used to track the contamination of 17 benzodiazepines, 14 acidic pharmaceuticals, and 5 neutral pharmaceuticals in 4 hospital wastewater treatment systems and 3 municipal wastewater treatment plants in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. The results showed that a total of 10 benzodiazepines, 8 acidic, and 3 neutral pharmaceuticals were detected in the hospital wastewater treatment systems with concentrations in the ranges of 0.41-23376 ng·L and 0.11-22888 ng·L in the influents and effluents, respectively; The 8 benzodiazepines, 8 acidic, and 4 neutral pharmaceuticals were detected in the municipal wastewater treatment plants with concentrations in the ranges of 0.4-1695 ng·L (influents) and 0.1-1526 ng·L (effluents). Among them, high levels of benzodiazepine compounds including lorazepam[(53.1±2.7) ng·L, H1], oxazepam[(39.5±4.1) ng·L, W2] and clozapine[(30.6±4.0) ng·L, W1] were detected. Ibuprofen[(19014±5430) ng·L, H1] and paracetamol[(2600±570) ng·L, H2] were found to have the highest concentrations for the acidic and neutral pharmaceuticals, respectively. Less than 30% of benzodiazepines were removed in hospital wastewater treatment systems and municipal wastewater treatment plants; however, acidic and neutral pharmaceuticals had higher removal rates. The municipal wastewater treatment plants had greater performance in the removal of acidic and neutral pharmaceuticals (mostly 60%-99%) than the hospital wastewater treatment systems (mostly 10%-60%). Finally, the usage and pollution emissions of 20 typical pharmaceuticals in Guangzhou and Guangdong Province were calculated based on the average emission per person. The total amount of usage in Guangzhou and Guangdong was 3942 kg·a and 30371 kg·a, respectively. Paracetamol and ibuprofen had the greatest values, as did oxazepam and lorazepam benzodiazepines. The emission rate of these 20 pharmaceuticals in Guangzhou reached 1456 g·a with concentrations ranging from 3.07 (mefenamic acid) to 378 g·a (oxazepam).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13227/j.hjkx.202011001DOI Listing
June 2021

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the soil-plant system: Sorption, root uptake, and translocation.

Environ Int 2021 May 15;156:106642. Epub 2021 May 15.

State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Joint Laboratory for Environmental Pollution and Control, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China; CAS Center for Excellence in Deep Earth Science, Guangzhou, 510640, China.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are ubiquitous in the environment but pose potential risks to ecosystems and human health. The soil-plant system plays an important role in the bioaccumulation of PFASs. Because most PFASs in the natural environment are anionic and amphiphilic (both lipophilic and hydrophilic), their sorption and accumulation behaviors differ from those of neutral organic and common ionic compounds. In this review, we discuss processes affecting the availability of PFASs in soil after analyzing the potential mechanisms underlying the sorption and uptake of PFASs in the soil-plant system. We also summarize the current knowledge on root uptake and translocation of PFASs in plants. We found that the root concentration factor of PFASs for plants grown in soil was not significantly correlated with hydrophobicity, whereas the translocation factor was significantly and negatively correlated with PFAS hydrophobicity regardless of whether plants were grown hydroponically or in soil. Further research on the cationic, neutral, and zwitterionic forms of diverse PFASs is urgently needed to comprehensively understand the environmental fates of PFASs in the soil-plant system. Additional research directions are suggested, including the development of more accurate models and techniques to evaluate the bioavailability of PFASs, the effects of root exudates and rhizosphere microbiota on the bioavailability and plant uptake of PFASs, and the roles of different plant organelles, lipids, and proteins in the accumulation of PFASs by plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106642DOI Listing
May 2021

Dissipation of antibiotic resistance genes in manure-amended agricultural soil.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Sep 13;787:147582. Epub 2021 May 13.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Environmental Theoretical Chemistry, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Soil antibiotic resistance due to animal manure application is of great concern in recent years. Little is known about the fate of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in agricultural soils associated with long-term manure application. Here we used soil microcosms to investigate the dissipation of ARGs and the change of bacterial community in agricultural soil originated from a vegetable field which had received 24 years' swine manure application. Soil microcosms were conducted at different soil moistures and with or without biochar over a testing period of two years in lab. Results showed that continuous manure application induced an accumulation of ARGs in soil, wherein the dissipation of ARGs differed from those in non-manure amended soil. ARGs persisted in soils at least two years, although their abundance declined gradually. Meanwhile, soil moisture and biochar had significant impact on the fate of ARGs. ARGs dissipated faster in soil with higher moisture. Biochar amendment contributed to the maintenance of bacterial diversity. Within the two years of simulation experiment, biochar enhanced soil ARG retention as they dissipated slowly in the soil amended with biochar. Succession of microbial community may have sustained the transfer and resilience of ARGs. This study provides insight into the dissipation of antibiotic resistance genes in manure-applied agricultural soil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.147582DOI Listing
September 2021

Environmental perspective of COVID-19: Atmospheric and wastewater environment in relation to pandemic.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2021 Aug 30;219:112297. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

College of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China.

The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a major challenge to health systems worldwide. Recently, numbers of epidemiological studies have illustrated that climate conditions and air pollutants are associated with the COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide. Researches also suggested that the SARS-CoV-2 could be detected in fecal and wastewater samples. These findings provided the possibility of preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic from an environmental perspective. With this review, the main purpose is to summarize the relationship between the atmospheric and wastewater environment and COVID-19. In terms of the atmospheric environment, the evidence of the relationship between atmospheric environment (climate factors and air pollution) and COVID-19 is growing, but currently available data and results are various. It is necessary to comprehensively analyze their associations to provide constructive suggestions in responding to the pandemic. Recently, large numbers of studies have shown the widespread presence of this virus in wastewater and the feasibility of wastewater surveillance when the pandemic is ongoing. Therefore, there is an urgent need to clarify the occurrence and implication of viruses in wastewater and to understand the potential of wastewater-based epidemiology of pandemic. Overall, environmental perspective-based COVID-19 studies can provide new insight into pandemic prevention and control, and minimizes the economic cost for COVID-19 in areas with a large outbreak or a low economic level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2021.112297DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086803PMC
August 2021

Microalgae-based technology for antibiotics removal: From mechanisms to application of innovational hybrid systems.

Environ Int 2021 Oct 30;155:106594. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Antibiotics contamination is an emerging environmental concern, owing to its potential risks to ecosystems and human health. Microalgae-based technology has been widely reported as a promising alternative to conventional wastewater treatment, since it is a solar-power driven, ecologically friendly, cost-effective, and sustainable reclamation strategy. This review provides fundamental insights into the major mechanisms underpinning microalgae-based antibiotics removal, including bioadsorption, bioaccumulation, and biodegradation. The critical role of extracellular polymeric substances on bioadsorption and extracellular biodegradation of antibiotics are also covered. Moreover, this review sheds light on the important factors affecting the removal of antibiotics by microalgae, and summarizes several novel approaches to improve the removal efficiency, including acclimation, co-metabolism and microbial consortium. Besides, hybrid systems (such as, microalgae-based technologies combined with the conventional activated sludge, advanced oxidation processes, constructed wetlands, and microbial fuel cells), and genetic engineering are also recommended, which will be feasible for enhanced removal of antibiotics. Finally, this review also highlights the need for further studies aimed at optimizing microalgae-based technology, with emphasis on improving performance and expanding its application in large-scale settings, especially in terms of technical, environmental-friendly and economically competitiveness. Overall, this review summarizes current understanding on microalgae-based technologies for removal of antibiotics and outlines future research directions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106594DOI Listing
October 2021

The fate of sulfonamides in the process of phytoremediation in hydroponics.

Water Res 2021 Jun 14;198:117145. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Guangdong Provincial Engineering Technology Research Center for Life and Health of River&Lake, Pearl River Hydraulic Research Institute, Pearl River Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources, Guangzhou 510611, China. Electronic address:

Phytoremediation has been proven to be an alternative in-situ treatment technique for sulfonamide polluted wastewater. However, the fate of sulfonamides in the phytoremediation process of multiple sulfonamides coexistence is unclear. Therefore, the possibility and mechanism of phytoremediation of ten sulfonamides by different wetland plants through hydroponics were investigated in this study. The phytoremediation rates of Σsulfonamides by different wetland plants were from 44.5% to 56.9%. Mass balance analysis showed that rhizosphere biodegradation (90.2% - 92.2%) dominated the phytoremediation of Σsulfonamides, while hydrolysis (7.63% - 8.95%) and plant uptake (0.05% - 0.17%) accounted for a small proportion. It is worth mentioning that the dissipation of the target sulfonamides in the hydroponic system followed the first-order reaction kinetic model, with half-lives of 13.3 d to 53.3 d, which are close to or even lower than that of aerobic biodegradation in river water, sediment, and piggery wastewater. Six of the ten spiked sulfonamides were detected in plant samples demonstrated that the selective uptake of plants under the coexistence of multiple sulfonamides. The distribution of sulfonamides (concentrations and uptake amounts) in plant tissues followed the sequence of root > stem > leaf in this study, but the distribution in stems and leaves needs further study. The uptake and rhizosphere biodegradation of Cyperus papyrus to sulfonamides are optimally resulting that its phytoremediation rate is significantly higher than other plants (p < 0.05), which indicates that plant species is one of the key factors affecting the phytoremediation efficiency of sulfonamides. These findings verify the feasibility of phytoremediation of sulfonamides, and provide new insights into the fate of sulfonamides in the process of phytoremediation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2021.117145DOI Listing
June 2021

Anticancer drugs in the aquatic ecosystem: Environmental occurrence, ecotoxicological effect and risk assessment.

Environ Int 2021 08 2;153:106543. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Anticancer drugs are a group of therapeutic agents used to enhance cell death in targeted cell types of neoplasia. Because of frequent use and eventual discharge, they have been often detected in wastewater from pharmaceutical factories and hospitals, domestic wastewater, and surface waters. The occurrence of these drugs in aquatic ecosystems and their effects on aquatic organisms have been poorly characterized. This review focuses on the global occurrence of major classes of anticancer drugs in water and sediments of freshwater ecosystems and their ecotoxicological effects at different biological levels. While the availability of data is fairly limited, concentrations of most anticancer drugs range from < 2 ng/L to 762 µg/L in receiving water, while levels in sediments and sludge vary from 0.25 to 42.5 µg/kg. Their detection frequencies were 58%, 52% (78%) and 59% in hospital wastewater, wastewater treatment plant effluents (influents) and surface water, respectively. Predicted log K values of vincristine, imatinib mesylate and tamoxifen are higher than 3 and have estimated half-lives>60 d in waters using quantitative structure-activity relationship models, indicating high potential for persistence and bioaccumulation. Based on a species sensitivity distribution evaluation of 9 compounds, crustaceans are most sensitive to anticancer drugs. The most hazardous compound is cisplatin which has a hazard concentration at the 5th percentile. For Daphnia magna, the acute toxicities of major classes of anticancer drugs are ranked as platinum complexes > endocrine therapy agents > antibiotics > antimetabolite agents > alkylating agents. Using hazard quotient analysis based primarily on the lowest observed effect concentrations (LOECs), cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, 5-fluorouracil, imatinib mesylate, bicalutamide, etoposide and paclitaxel have the highest hazard for aquatic organisms. Further research is needed to identify appropriate chronic endpoints for risk assessment thresholds as well as to better understand the mechanisms of action and the potential multigenerational toxicity, and trophic transfer in ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2021.106543DOI Listing
August 2021

Responses of aerobic granular sludge to fluoroquinolones: Microbial community variations, and antibiotic resistance genes.

J Hazard Mater 2021 07 24;414:125527. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

In this study, aerobic granular sludge (AGS) was operated under high levels of ammonium for removing three fluoroquinolones (FQs), i.e., ciprofloxacin (CFX), ofloxacin (OFX), and norfloxacin (NFX) at 3, 300, and 900 µg/L, respectively. Two key objectives were to investigate the differential distribution of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) in sludge fractions and to evaluate correlations between ARGs and MGEs to nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria. AGS showed excellent stability under the exposure of FQs, with nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) more sensitive to FQs than ammonium-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). Specific oxygen utilization rates (SOUR) showed a reduction of 26.9% for NOB but only 4.0% of the reduced activity of AOB by 3 μg/L FQs. AGS performed better removal efficiencies for CFX and NFX than OFX, and the efficiencies increased with their elevated concentrations, except at 900 μg/L FQs. The elevated FQ concentrations led to a significant enrichment of intI1 and genus Thauera, while qnrD and qnrS showed no accumulation. Compared to nitrifiers, FQs relevant ARGs and the intI1 gene preferred to exist in denitrifiers, and the abundance of denitrifiers behaved a decreasing trend with the sludge size. Two quinoline-degrading bacteria were found in the AGS system, i.e., Alicycliphilus and Brevundimonas, possibly carrying qnrS and qnrD, respectively. Their relative abundance increased with the sludge size, which was 2.18% in sludge <0.5 mm and increased to 3.70% in sludge >2.0 mm, suggesting that the AGS may be a good choice in treating FQs-containing wastewater.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.125527DOI Listing
July 2021

Evidence of Foodborne Transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) through the Animal Products Food Supply Chain.

Environ Sci Technol 2021 03 16;55(5):2713-2716. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

State Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c06822DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7927281PMC
March 2021

How much do human and livestock actually contribute to steroids emission and surface water pollution from past to the future: A global research.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jun 2;772:145558. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China.

A comprehensive global inventory of past, present, and future steroid emissions was firstly developed based on the global 5' × 5' grids relevant data available. From 1970 to 2070, the growth rate of the annual global steroid emission was relatively stable around 10%. At present (in 2015), the global steroid emissions was 18,270 t, with 17% contributed by humans. Almost one-third of total animal emissions have been occurring in India and Brazil. India also had the highest value of human steroid emissions. Regions with highest steroid emissions were concentrated between 10° ~ 35° N and 70° ~ 90° E. The increase of sewage treatment rates can effectively reduce the total quantity of steroids entering the environment, especially for some developing countries. But the "technology bonus" from sewage treatment process will be exhausted until to 2030. Meanwhile, global surface water pollution was predicted based on steroid emissions into water compartment and on the digital river network with annual river discharge. The modelling results show that steroids are widely distributed across the globe, with concentrations mostly below 100 ng/L. However, if no proper treatment measures for animal excretions, in another 100 years, the range of the surface water contaminated by steroids will increase by 1.2 times. The Nile River resulted as the most polluted among the eight world's longest and famous rivers during the whole period investigated. Various measured concentrations worldwide validated our modelling result. The global steroid emission inventory and surface water pollution from past to the future will stand as an important data and knowledge base for the management of pollution from different types of steroids at global and regional level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145558DOI Listing
June 2021

Antibiotic resistance genes in surface water and groundwater from mining affected environments.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Jun 2;772:145516. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Environmental Theoretical Chemistry, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Mining activities are known to generate a large amount of mine tailings and acid mine drainage which contain varieties of heavy metals. Heavy metals play an important role in co-selection for bacterial antibiotic resistance. However, the characteristics of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in mining-affected water environments are still unclear. Here we investigated the pollution of metals, profiles of ARGs, mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and microbial community in mining-affected surface water and groundwater. The results showed that in the tested water samples, the concentrations of Zn and Mn were the highest, and Ni was the lowest. Higher abundances of ARGs with great proportion of sulfonamides, chloramphenicols and tetracyclines resistance genes were found in mining-affected water when compared with those without mining activities. Additionally, there were positive correlations between heavy metals (especially Ni, Zn and Mn) and these ARGs. Linear regression analysis suggested that MGEs were positively correlated with ARGs. In addition, total phosphorus was correlated with ARGs (p < 0.05). The microbial community was different between the mining-affected water and the reference (p < 0.05). Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria were dominant phyla in the surface water and groundwater. Network analysis showed that many ARGs were significantly associated with these dominant bacteria, which suggested they might be potential hosts for these ARGs. These findings provide a clear evidence that the mining activities in the study area had a significant impact on surface water and groundwater to different degrees.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145516DOI Listing
June 2021

Dydrogesterone Affects the Transcription of Genes in Innate Immune and Coagulation Cascade in Zebrafish Embryos.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2021 Apr 11;106(4):594-599. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, SCNU Environmental Research Institute, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China.

Dydrogesterone (DDG) acts on the reproduction but also affects the functioning of non-reproductive system. So far, the knowledge about other effects of DDG remains limited. Here we investigated the effects of DDG on the transcription of genes in innate immune and coagulation cascade in zebrafish embryos. The zebrafish embryos were exposed to DDG at 49.0, 527 and 5890 ng L for 144 hour post fertilization (hpf). The results showed that DDG significantly decreased the transcription of marker genes (e.g. tnfa, il8 and cc-chem) involved in the innate immune response at environmental concentrations. Moreover, DDG also down-regulated the transcription of genes in coagulation cascade (e.g. fga, fgb, fgg and f2). These results indicated that DDG had potential effects on the innate immune and coagulation cascade functions in the early life zebrafish, thus further affecting fish growth and health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00128-021-03127-5DOI Listing
April 2021

Highly enhanced biodegradation of pharmaceutical and personal care products in a novel tidal flow constructed wetland with baffle and plants.

Water Res 2021 Apr 22;193:116870. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, School of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China.

Research on decentralized wastewaters deserves special focus due to the potential abundance of emerging organic pollutants including pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs), which might pose serious threats to the local water bodies and even to human health. Constructed wetland (CW) is a common decentralized wastewater treatment technology, with a certain ability to eliminate PPCPs. Nonetheless, PPCPs removal in common CWs is frequently challenging, besides, the removal mechanism remains elusive. Based on our previous study, tidal flow constructed wetlands (TFCWs) is effective in nitrogen removal. Here, 3 TFCWs with different modifications (baffle, plants, both baffle and plants) were constructed to treat raw domestic sewage and specifically to evaluate the removal efficiencies and mechanism of PPCPs. 24 PPCPs including 7 antibiotics, 8 steroid hormones and 9 biocides were detected in the level of 1.10 ± 0.29 ng/L-799 ± 10.6 ng/L in the influents. Consequently, we found that modification with both baffle and plants significantly influenced the removal of PPCPs. Moreover, the highest removal rates of biocides (97.1 ± 0.29%), steroid hormones (99.8 ± 0.02%), and antibiotics (90.2 ± 1.60%) were achieved via both baffles and plants in TFCWs. Based on the mass balance analysis, microbial degradation dominated the removal of PPCPs with a percentage higher than 85.7%, followed by substrate adsorption (5.22 × 10-14.3%) and plant uptake (1.66 × 10-0.44%). Further, 16S rDNA sequencing analysis revealed that the presence of baffle and plants improve the removal efficiency of PPCPs by means of enhancing microbial diversity and changing dominant microorganisms. Moreover, Thaumarchaeota was potentially the key microorganism in the phylum level for PPCPs elimination by TFCWs through LEfSe (linear discriminant analysis (LDA) effect size) analysis. These findings provide new insights into the removal of PPCPs in CWs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2021.116870DOI Listing
April 2021

Occurrence and fate of androgens, progestogens and glucocorticoids in two swine farms with integrated wastewater treatment systems.

Water Res 2021 Mar 14;192:116836. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Environmental Theoretical Chemistry, South China Normal University, Guangzhou510006, China. Electronic address:

Steroid hormones are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can cause adverse effects even at trace levels. The information about steroid hormones in animal wastes is still very limited. Here we investigated the occurrence and fate of fourteen androgens, twenty-one progestogens, and five glucocorticoids in Farm Luo Cheng (LC) and Farm Shui Tai (ST) with integrated wastewater treatment systems (WTSs) in South China. These two integrated systems have four stages: primary treatment (primary sedimentation tank), secondary biological treatment (biogas digester and up-flow anaerobic sludge reaction bed (UASB)), third-stage disinfection process, and fourth-stage dilution and further biodegradation process (oxidation fish ponds/lagoons). A total of 31 target steroid hormones were detected in the wastewater of the two swine farms, with concentrations ranging from 0.12 ng/L (medroxyprogesterone acetate, MPA) to 11,200 ng/L (5α-dihydroprogesterone, 5α-DHP). A total of 22 target steroid hormones were detected in feces, of which 19 were detected in Farm LC and 17 in Farm ST. Some of these detected steroids were synthetic chemicals, which might be parent chemicals from exogenous addition or their metabolites, or transformation products from other natural steroids. The steroids excretion of sows in swine farms were estimated, with some steroids such as androstenedione (AED, 41.5 μg/d), epiandrosterone (EADR, 268 μg/d), progesterone (P, 661 μg/d), and 5α-DHP (982μg/d) having much higher values than those from human bodies. Both WTSs in the swine farms could effectively remove the target steroid hormones, with the removal rates of most targets exceeding 90%. In comparison, the anaerobic digester-A/O (anaerobic-anoxic-oxic)-lagoon system performed better in removing steroids than the up-flow anaerobic sludge reaction bed (UASB)-two-stage series (A/O)-oxidation fish ponds system. However, there were still 22 steroid hormones, including 14 synthetic ones detected in the effluent, with the risk quotients of most synthetic steroids exceeding 1, showing high risks to aquatic organisms. The findings from this study showed that there is a wide presence of steroid hormones, especially some synthetic steroids in animal wastes, posing potential ecological risks, and these steroids should be removed before discharge to the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2021.116836DOI Listing
March 2021

Photo transformation of 5-methylbenzotriazole and 5-chlorobenzotriazole by UV irradiation: Influences of pH, salinity, metal species and humic acid.

Environ Res 2021 03 6;194:110678. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou, 510006, China.

5-methylbenzotriazole (5-TTri) and 5-chlorobenzotriazole (CBT) are two benzotriazole derivatives widely used in various industrial and domestic applications. This paper reports on the photochemical behaviour of 5-TTri and CBT in aqueous solutions under UV radiation at 254 nm and the influences of pH, salinity, metal species and humic acid (HA) on their photo-transformation processes. The photolysis of 5-TTri and CBT under the exposure to UV light were found to follow the first-order reaction kinetic in all cases with half-lives ranging from 7.1 h to 24.3 h for 5-TTri and 5.1 h-20.5 h for CBT in various aqueous solutions containing metal ions and HA. The photolysis rates for both 5-TTri and CBT were strongly dependent on the solution pH value, and decreased with increasing solution pH. Salinity, metal species Cu and Fe, and especially HA had inhibitory effects on the photolysis of 5-TTri and CBT under UV light irradiation at 254 nm. We proposed the tentative photo transformation schemes for both 5-TTri and CBT, which involved two photoproducts (4-methylaniline and N, N-diethylaniline- p-toluidine) and three photoproducts (4-chloroaniline, Aniline and 2,6-diethylaniline), respectively, via N-N and N-NH bond scission and dechlorination process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.110678DOI Listing
March 2021

Perfluoroalkyl substances in the urine and hair of preschool children, airborne particles in kindergartens, and drinking water in Hong Kong.

Environ Pollut 2021 Feb 7;270:116219. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong SAR, China; SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou, 510006, China. Electronic address:

Seven perfluorinated and polyfluorinated substances (PFASs), namely perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), and perfluoro-1,10-decanedicarboxylic acid (PFDDA), were evaluated in urine and hair samples from children (age: 4-6 years, N = 53), airborne particles sampled at 17 kindergartens, and tap water and bottled water samples. All samples were collected in Hong Kong. The analytical results suggested widespread PFAS contamination. All target PFASs were detected in at least 32% of urine samples, with geometric mean (GM) concentrations ranging from 0.18 to 2.97 ng/L, and in 100% of drinking water samples at GM concentrations of 0.18-21.1 ng/L. Although PFOS and PFDDA were not detected in hair or air samples, the other target PFASs were detected in 48-70% of hair samples (GM concentrations: 2.40-233 pg/g) and 100% of air samples (GM concentrations: 14.8-536.7 pg/m). In summary, the highest PFAS concentrations were detected in airborne particles measured in kindergartens. PFOA was the major PFAS detected in hair, urine, and drinking water samples, while PFOA, PFDA, and PFHpA were dominant in airborne particles. Although a significant difference in PFAS concentrations in hair samples was observed between boys and girls (p < .05), no significant sex-related difference in urinary PFAS or paired PFAS (hair/urine) concentrations was observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.116219DOI Listing
February 2021

New insight into the negative impact of imidazolium-based ionic liquid [Cmim]Cl on Hela cells: From membrane damage to biochemical alterations.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2021 Jan 11;208:111629. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

As an alternative to volatile organic solvents, ionic liquids (ILs) are known as "green solvents", and widely used in industrial applications. However, due to their high solubility and stability, ILs have tendency to persist in the water environment, thus having potential negative impacts on the aquatic ecosystem. For assessing the environmental risks of ILs, a fundamental understanding of the toxic effects and mechanisms of ILs is needed. Here we evaluated the cytotoxicity of 1-methyl-3-decylimidazolium chloride ([Cmim]Cl) and elucidated the main toxic mechanism of [Cmim]Cl in human cervical carcinoma (Hela) cells. Microstructural analysis revealed that [Cmim]Cl exposure caused the cell membrane breakage, swollen and vacuolated mitochondria, and spherical cytoskeletal structure. Cytotoxicity assays found that [Cmim]Cl exposure increased ROS production, decreased mitochondrial membrane potential, induced cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest. These results indicated that [Cmim]Cl could induce damage to cellular membrane structure, affect the integrity of cell ultrastructure, cause the oxidative damage and ultimately lead to the inhibition of cell proliferation. Moreover, alterations of biochemical information including the increased ratios of unsaturated fatty acid and carbonyl groups to lipid, and lipid to protein, and the decreased ratios of Amide I to Amide II, and α-helix to β-sheet were observed in [Cmim]Cl treated cells, suggesting that [Cmim]Cl could affect the structure of membrane lipid alkyl chain and cell membrane fluidity, promote the lipid peroxidation and alter the protein secondary structure. The findings from this work demonstrated that membrane structure is the key target, and membrane damage is involved in [Cmim]Cl induced cytotoxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111629DOI Listing
January 2021

Endocrine disrupting effects of binary mixtures of 17β-estradiol and testosterone in adult female western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis).

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2021 Jan 5;208:111566. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou 510006, China.

Androgens and estrogens often co-exist in aquatic environments and pose potential risks to fish populations. However, little is known about the endocrine disrupting effects of the mixture of androgens and estrogens in fish. In this study, transcriptional level of target genes related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-liver (HPGL) axis, sex hormone level, VTG protein concentration, histology and secondary sex characteristic were assessed in the ovaries and livers of adult female western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) exposed to 17β-estradiol (E2), testosterone (T), and mixtures of E2 and T for 91 days. The results showed that the transcriptional expression of cytochrome P450, family 19, subfamily A, polypeptide 1a (Cyp19a1a) was suppressed in the 200 ng/L T treatment and the 50 ng/L E2 + 200 ng/L T treatment in the ovaries. Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (Star) and Cyp11a1 showed a similar expression pattern in the T treatment to its corresponding T + E2 mixtures. In the ovaries, the concentrations of 17β-estradiol and testosterone were decreased in most treatments compared with the solvent control. VTG protein was induced in all steroid treatment. However, exposure to T or E2 + T mixture did not cause the abnormal cells of the ovaries and livers and an extension of the anal fins in female G. affinis. This study demonstrates that chronic exposure to E2, T and their mixtures affects the transcripts of genes in the HPGL axis, steroid hormone level and VTG protein concentration in the ovaries and livers, but fails to cause the histopathological effect of the ovaries and livers and alter the morphology of the anal fins in G. affinis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2020.111566DOI Listing
January 2021

Plasticizer contamination in the urine and hair of preschool children, airborne particles in kindergartens, and drinking water in Hong Kong.

Environ Pollut 2021 Feb 24;271:116394. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong, Tai Po, N.T., Hong Kong, SAR, China; SCNU Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety & MOE Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, 510006, China; School of Environment, South China Normal University, University Town, Guangzhou, 510006, China. Electronic address:

Common plasticizers and their alternatives are environmentally ubiquitous and have become a global problem. In this study, common plasticizers (phthalates and metabolites) and new alternatives [bisphenol analogs, t-butylphenyl diphenyl phosphate (BPDP), and bisphenol A bis(diphenyl phosphate) (BDP)] were quantified in urine and hair samples from children in Hong Kong, drinking water (tap water/bottled water) samples, and airborne particle samples from 17 kindergartens in Hong Kong. The results suggested that locally, children were exposed to various plasticizers and their alternatives. High concentrations of BPDP and BDP were present in urine, hair, tap water, bottled water, and air particulate samples. The geometric mean (GM) concentrations of phthalate metabolites in urine samples (126-2140 ng/L, detection frequencies < 81%) were lower than those detected in Japanese and German children in previous studies. However, a comparison of the estimated daily intake values for phthalates in tap water [median: 10.7-115 ng/kg body weight bw/day] and air particles (median: 1.23-7.39 ng/kg bw/day) with the corresponding reference doses indicated no risk. Bisphenol analogs were detected in 15-64% of urine samples at GM concentrations of 5.26-98.1 ng/L, in 7-74% of hair samples at GM concentrations of 57.5-2390 pg/g, in 59-100% of kindergarten air samples at GM concentrations of 43.1-222 pg/m, and in 33-100% of tap water samples at GM concentrations of 0.90-3.70 ng/L. A significant correlation was detected between the concentrations of bisphenol F in hair and urine samples (r = 0.489, p < .05). The estimated daily urinary excretion values of bisphenol analogs suggest that exposure among children via tap water intake and airborne particle inhalation in kindergartens cannot be ignored in Hong Kong.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.116394DOI Listing
February 2021

[Emission Estimation and Fate Simulation of Dichlorvos in the Dongjiang River Watershed].

Huan Jing Ke Xue 2021 Jan;42(1):127-135

Environmental Research Institute, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Chemical Pollution and Environmental Safety, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510006, China.

The application of pesticides and their constant inputs have resulted in the universal contamination of the environments within watersheds, and it is essential to assess the level of contamination. Compared with traditional monitoring methods, models coupled with GIS show more obvious advantages. However, the difficult access to application scenarios and emission data of pesticides hinder the modeling and assessment of the pesticides used in watersheds. We established an emission estimation method of pesticides, which was based on the planting scenarios and pesticide application standards of different crops in administered regions and by situational analysis and mathematical deduction, the usage of each sub-basin was able to be derived. Then, by using the aforementioned results as source input data, a semi-distributed watershed hydrological, SWAT (soil and water assessment tool) model, was used to simulate the fate of dichlorvos in the Dongjiang River watershed as an example. The verification results show that the comparisons of magnitude between the simulation and the observations were almost within 1, indicating that the SWAT model, which is based on a source input estimation, was able to assess the environmental fate of pesticides in watershed effectively. Also, the modeling results indicated that the annual emission load of the dichlorvos in the watershed accounted for 3.72% of the usage. Moreover, the losses due to degradation and other reactions within the channels reach 2.35%. Most reaches of the Dongjiang River watershed have mass concentrations over 0.1 μg·L, demonstrating that certain safety concerns exist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13227/j.hjkx.202005160DOI Listing
January 2021
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