Publications by authors named "Li'an Hou"

43 Publications

Study on the influence of operational and management processes of a water reclamation plant since COVID-19 situation.

Environ Pollut 2021 Apr 28;285:117257. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Xi'an High-Tech Institute, Shaanxi, Xi'an, 710025, China.

Reusing treated wastewater can effectively alleviate water shortages and water contamination problems but depends on ensuring the safety of the reclaimed water that is produced. The operating and management conditions for water reclamation plants in China have been changed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in China at the end of 2019 to prevent emerging viruses being spread through wastewater treatment processes and the reclaimed water that is produced. Removal of pathogens and trace organic compounds (e.g., pharmaceuticals and personal care products and endocrine disrupting chemicals) in a real water reclamation plant after the start of COVID-19 epidemic was studied. Disinfection byproduct formation caused by chlorine being added to meet disinfection requirements was also assessed. The pathogenic microorganism concentrations in effluent were <2 (most probable number)/L, and the removal rates for most trace organic compounds were >80% when advanced treatments were performed using ozone, ultraviolet light, and chlorine doses of 2 mg/L, 20.5 mJ/cm, and 2-3 mg/L, respectively. The main disinfection byproduct produced at a chlorine dose of 2 mg/L and a residence time of 1 h was chloroform (at concentrations <15 μg/L). The results indicated that the water reclamation processes with modified conditions gave high pathogen and trace organic compound removal rates and reasonably well-controlled disinfection byproduct concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117257DOI Listing
April 2021

Adaptive wall-based attachment ventilation: A comparative study on its effectiveness in airborne infection isolation rooms with negative pressure.

Engineering (Beijing) 2021 Jan 23. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

School of Thermal Engineering, Shandong Jianzhu University, Jinan 250101, China.

The transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has presented challenges for the control of the indoor environment of isolation wards. Scientific air distribution design and operation management are crucial to ensure the environmental safety of medical staff. This paper proposes the application of adaptive wall-based attachment ventilation and evaluates this air supply mode based on contaminants dispersion, removal efficiency, thermal comfort, and operating expense. Adaptive wall-based attachment ventilation provides a direct supply of fresh air to the occupied zone. In comparison with a ceiling air supply or upper sidewall air supply, adaptive wall-based attachment ventilation results in a 15%-47% lower average concentration of contaminants, for a continual release of contaminants at the same air changes per hour (ACH; 10 h). The contaminant removal efficiency of complete mixing ventilation cannot exceed 1.0. For adaptive wall-based attachment ventilation, the contaminant removal efficiency is an exponential function of the ACH. Compared with the ceiling air supply mode or upper sidewall air supply mode, adaptive wall-based attachment ventilation achieves a similar thermal comfort level (predicted mean vote (PMV) of -0.1-0.4; draught rate of 2.5%-6.7%) and a similar performance in removing contaminants, but has a lower ACH and uses less energy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2020.10.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825860PMC
January 2021

Temporal variation of airborne fungi in university library rooms and its relation to environmental parameters and potential confounders.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Mar 17;28(11):14068-14079. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

School of Building Services Science and Engineering, Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, Xi'an, 710055, Shaanxi, People's Republic of China.

Indoor airborne fungi have been associated with adverse human health effects. Therefore, it is important to understand the causes of underlying variation in airborne fungi in indoor environments. This study consequently aimed to investigate the association between indoor fungi with temporal variation, environmental parameters, and potential confounders over 10 months in four library rooms using Andersen samplers. Indoor fungal concentrations peaked in October and were lowest in March in both stack rooms, whereas the highest concentrations in both reading rooms were observed in September with lowest concentrations in July. Nonparametric analyses revealed higher fungal concentrations in the rooms that were significantly associated with relative humidity ≥ 60%, PM ≥ 35 μg/m, number of people ≥ 16, open windows, working air conditioners, and room area < 400 m. Multiple linear regression modeling for the library building considering only continuous variables revealed that relative humidity, PM, and the number of people were significant predictors of fungal concentrations. Additionally, the model with continuous and categorical variables suggested that relative humidity, PM, the number of people, ceiling fan condition, window state, and air conditioner operating status were significant predictor variables of concentrations. Outdoor fungal concentrations were a significant predictor for the two models of indoor fungal concentrations for each room. Ceiling fan or air conditioner operation was associated with altered fungal particle concentrations. These results provide a deeper understanding of indoor air fungal quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-11582-6DOI Listing
March 2021

An evaluation of urine and serum iodine status in the population of Tibet, China: No longer an iodine-deficient region.

Nutrition 2021 02 15;82:111033. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Laboratory Medicine , Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Beijing, China. Electronic address:

Objectives: Iodine is a critical trace element for the synthesis of thyroid-related hormones, and either low or high iodine status can lead to thyroid dysfunction. This study aimed to evaluate the iodine status of the Tibetan population.

Methods: From September 2016 to August 2018, we enrolled 1499 healthy adults from three areas of varying altitudes in Tibet. Urine iodine concentrations (UICs), adjusted UICs, and serum iodine concentrations (SICs) were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

Results: The median UIC, adjusted UIC, and SIC was 137.9 μg/L, 118.4 µg/gCr, and 58.3 μg/L, respectively. Of the participants, 30.4% had UICs <100 µg/L, 63.0% had UICs ranging from 100 to 300 µg/L, and 9.6% had UICs >300 µg/L. The correlation between UIC, adjusted UIC, and SIC was good (r > 0.65, P < 0.01). The SICs were more stable than the UICs, and were not associated with age or sex. The prevalence of clinical hyperthyroidism, clinical hypothyroidism, subclinical hyperthyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism, positive thyroid peroxide antibody, positive thyroglobulin antibody, either positive and both positive was 0.5%, 1.3%, 1.7% and 17.9%, 9.3%, 6.5%, 12.5%, and 2.5%, respectively. The prevalence of almost all thyroid disorders was higher in women than in men.

Conclusion: This multicenter cross-sectional study found that the human iodine status of adults in Tibet was considered adequate, based on the World Health Organization's criteria.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2020.111033DOI Listing
February 2021

Temporal variations and source apportionment of volatile organic compounds at an urban site in Shijiazhuang, China.

J Environ Sci (China) 2020 Nov 1;97:25-34. Epub 2020 Jun 1.

Logistics Science and Technology Research Institute of Rocket Army, Beijing 100011, China.

Shijiazhuang, the city with the worst air quality in China, is suffering from severe ozone pollution in summer. As the key precursors of ozone generation, it is necessary to control the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) pollution. To have a better understanding of the pollution status and source contribution, the concentrations of 117 ambient VOCs were analyzed from April to August 2018 in an urban site in Shijiazhuang. Results showed that the monthly average concentration of total VOCs was 66.27 ppbv, in which, the oxygenated VOCs (37.89%), alkanes (33.89%), and halogenated hydrocarbons (13.31%) were the main composite on. Eight major sources were identified using Positive Matrix Factorization modeling with an accurate VOCs emission inventory as inter-complementary methods revealed that the petrochemical industry (26.24%), other industrial sources (15.19%), and traffic source (12.24%) were the major sources for ambient VOCs in Shijiazhuang. The spatial distributions of major industrial activities emissions were identified by using geographic information statistics system, which illustrated the VOCs was mainly from the north and southeast of Shijiazhuang. The inverse trajectory analysis using Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) and Potential Source Contribution Function (PSCF) clearly demonstrated the features of pollutant transport to Shijiazhuang. These findings can provide references for local governments regarding control strategies to reduce VOCs emissions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jes.2020.04.022DOI Listing
November 2020

Effects of Sulfamethoxazole Exposure on the Growth, Antioxidant System of Chlorella vulgaris and Microcystis aeruginosa.

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2020 Sep 1;105(3):358-365. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Institute for Logistic Science and Technology of the PLA Rocket Force, Beijing, 100011, People's Republic of China.

Sulfamethoxazole (SMZ) is a kind of sulfonamides antibiotic, which is widely used in human life. This study investigated the effects of SMZ on physiological and biochemical indexes of Chlorella vulgaris (C. vulgaris) and Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) for 35-day. The results showed that SMZ inhibited the growth and Chl-a content of C. vulgaris and M. aeruginosa, and growth inhibition rate was 8.06%-95.86%, Chl-a content decreased 2.44%-98.04%. SMZ resulting in increased SOD and CAT activity and destroyed the dynamic balance of antioxidant system. In addition, SMZ increased the content of malondialdehyde (MDA) in algae, destroyed the cell membrane to a certain extent, which was 1.8-7.3 folds higher than the control group. High concentration of SMZ can make algae cells exceed the limit of cell antioxidant capacity. Coupled with the serious damage of cell membrane, algae cells begin to appear a large number of death phenomenon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00128-020-02952-4DOI Listing
September 2020

Effects of calcium dobesilate (CaD) interference on serum creatinine measurements: a national External Quality Assessment (EQA)-based educational survey of drug-laboratory test interactions.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2020 Jul 12;59(1):139-145. Epub 2020 Jul 12.

National Center for Clinical Laboratories, Beijing Hospital, National Center of Gerontology, Institute of Geriatric Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, PR China.

Objectives: Drug-laboratory test interactions (DLTIs) are one of the major sources of laboratory errors. Calcium dobesilate (CaD) interference on serum creatinine testing is a widespread problem that has long been ignored in China. A national EQA-based survey was launched to investigate the current status of CaD interference on creatinine routine methods used in China and enhance the education of CaD interference in clinical laboratories.

Methods: A descriptive survey was developed to characterize the status quo of Chinese laboratory professionals' cognition to CaD interference. Four of survey samples which were spiked with/without interference additive were shipped to 175 participant laboratories. The target reference values from a reference measurement procedure were compared against the results from participating laboratories to evaluate the CaD interference on serum creatinine measurements using enzymatic method or Jaffé method.

Results: The lack of knowledge of DLTIs and the barriers to collect information from pharmacological and laboratory data systems had become the main problems on implementing DLTIs education in China. A significant negative influence of CaD on enzymatic method was observed regardless of measurement platforms. Jaffé method was generally free from interaction with CaD but showed poor precision and accuracy at low creatinine concentrations.

Conclusions: More efforts should be made to enhance the education of DLTIs in clinical laboratories in China.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/cclm-2020-0424DOI Listing
July 2020

Green and facile synthesis of cobalt-based metal-organic frameworks for the efficient removal of Congo red from aqueous solution.

J Colloid Interface Sci 2020 Oct 3;578:500-509. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

Wastewater discharged from the dye production and consumption process has a high chemical oxygen demand, high chroma, and complex structure. In this study, a boat shaped flaky cobalt-based metal-organic framework (Co-MOF) was synthesized in aqueous solution by using a green one-step precipitation strategy. This strategy exhibited favorable efficiency for the removal of Congo red (CR). Furthermore, ZIF-67 with a rhombic dodecahedral shape was synthesized in anhydrous methanol solvent through a one-step precipitation strategy. The effects of the contact time, adsorbent dosage, initial CR concentration, and pH value on the adsorption of CR were also investigated. Results indicated that the adsorption of CR by Co-MOF and ZIF-67 fitted well with the Langmuir model and pseudo-second-order kinetic model. The maximum adsorption capacities obtained for Co-MOF and ZIF-67 with the Langmuir model were 1019.06 and 1044.58 mg/g at 25 °C, respectively. The obtained equilibrium time was less than 5 min. Moreover, Co-MOF and ZIF-67 had the same removal capacities for CR. The adsorption mechanism was attributed to the strong electrostatic and π-π stacking interactions of CR with Co-MOF and ZIF-67. Thus, the proposed method is a facile and green method to synthesize Co-MOF for the efficient removal of organic dyes from aqueous solutions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2020.05.126DOI Listing
October 2020

Biomass molded fuel in China: Current status, policies and suggestions.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jul 1;724:138345. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, PR China; Logistics Science and Technology Research Institute of Rocket Army, Beijing 100011, PR China.

China is an agricultural country, approximately producing more than 1000 million tons of crop straw in 2018. The utilization of straw as energy can replace fossil fuels, protect environment and guarantee energy security. Biomass fuel has been regarded as renewable energy with the characteristics of carbon-neutral, and low emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Biomass molded fuel (BMF), a major type of biomass fuel, has attracted particular attention. Currently, the BMF industry in China develops slowly. To achieve the rapid and healthy development of the industry, in this paper, a three-part standard system as fuel side, production and combustion equipment side and pollutant emission side is proposed to regulate the BMF market. Simultaneously, a policy system consisting of legislation, development plans and incentive measures also is introduced to maintain policy consistency and continuity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138345DOI Listing
July 2020

Study on the removal of humic acid by ultraviolet/persulfate advanced oxidation technology.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2020 Jul 1;27(21):26079-26090. Epub 2020 May 1.

Institute for Logistic Science and Technology of the PLA Rocket Force, Beijing, 100011, People's Republic of China.

Humic acid (HA) in water is the main precursor of disinfection by-products in the chlorination process of drinking water. In this study, an ultraviolet/persulfate (UV/PS) process, in a laboratory-scale system, is successful in the degradation of HA. The results showed that HA was significantly degraded (UV removal rate of ~ 89%) and partially mineralized (~ 62.5%) by UV/PS treatment at a PS dose of 0.4 mM, pH of 7.12, and UV irradiation time of 160 min. The trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP) was also significantly reduced (THMFP reduction of ~ 85.4%). A strong linear relationship was observed between UV and dissolved organic carbon. The removal rate of HA at low pH was better than that at high pH conditions, and the inhibition by Cl slowed down after an initial increase, and the inhibition was weaker than HCO. By analyzing the fluorescence spectrum of two humic-like substances, the fluorescent compounds C1 and C2 in HA were significantly degraded, and the change in C1 and C2 concentration was correlated with the decrease of THMFP. The degradation of different fractions of natural organic matter in real-world water samples indicated that UV/PS has significant potential to decrease HA in water.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08894-yDOI Listing
July 2020

Analytical evaluation of three soluble transferrin receptor measurement systems for diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia: A retrospective study.

J Clin Lab Anal 2020 Aug 22;34(8):e23342. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, CAMS, Beijing, China.

Background: Soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) is a promising indicator of iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Here, we investigated the application value of sTfR assays based on three different methods for the diagnosis of IDA.

Methods: The sTfR concentrations in two groups of patient specimens with high-level and low-level sTfR concentrations and in quality control materials were measured four times a day for five consecutive days to evaluate the precision of the three methods. We selected patients with IDA, anemia of chronic disease (ACD), or chronic diseases with iron deficiency anemia (CIDA), and apparently healthy subjects, and measured the serum sTfR concentrations in all subjects using the three different methods. The cutoff points for an IDA diagnosis using the three assays and their corresponding clinical sensitivities and specificities were calculated by receiver operating characteristic analysis.

Results: For the diagnosis of IDA, the cutoff points of sTfR measured by the chemiluminescent, immunoturbidimetric, and immunonephelometric assays were 2.91, 6.70, and 2.48 mg/L, respectively. The corresponding sensitivities were 85.59%, 85.59%, and 85.59%, the specificities were 91.47%, 90.31%, and 90.70%, and area under the curve was 0.943, 0.944, and 0.936, respectively. The sTfR concentrations measured by the different methods were significantly higher in the IDA and CIDA groups than in the other two groups (P < .05).

Conclusions: The sTfR based on the three different measurement methods presented promising analytical performances and met the clinical requirements for sensitivity and specificity. However, the different measurement methods had markedly different cutoff points for IDA diagnosis, which should be critically considered in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcla.23342DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7439353PMC
August 2020

Assessment of biomass demineralization on gasification: From experimental investigation, mechanism to potential application.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jul 13;726:138634. Epub 2020 Apr 13.

Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium.

Considering the advantages (e.g. agglomeration mitigation) and disadvantages (e.g. inorganic species catalysis removal) of biomass demineralization, it is valuable to investigate its effects on gasification performance, thus assessing its necessity prior to performing gasification. To accomplish this, corn straw (CS) was demineralized to different degrees with HO and HCl, respectively. HO and HCl demineralization behaved different abilities to inorganic species removal. Cellulose and hemicelluloses content decreased, while lignin content increased, especially with HCl demineralization. The experiments were investigated by using a bench-scale downdraft fixed-bed gasifier at 600-800 °C and were further analyzed via thermogravimetric coupled with Fourier transform infrared spectrometry. Demineralization demonstrated a positive effect on gasification at lower temperatures (600-700 °C) for a dominant effect of lignin content and an insignificant effect of inorganic species removal. However, the catalysis of inorganic species increased as the temperature increased, resulting in the highest H (11.30 vol%) and CO (16.02 vol%) production of raw CS compared to demineralized CS at 800 °C. Inorganic species had a dual positive effect on CO generation, promoting both CO and char generation leading to a higher CO yield following Boundouard reaction, and increasing the formation of active intermediates thus producing more CO. These effects enhanced when the gasification temperature increased. Additionally, inorganic species catalyzed the aromatic rings rearrangement to generate more HO, thus driving the endothermic Primary water-gas to produce H. This was also positively correlated with gasification temperature. Therefore, raw CS demonstrated higher H and CO production than demineralized CS at a higher gasification temperature. Moreover, the promotion effect of inorganic species on thermal devolatilization of methoxyl groups and Methanation reaction led to the higher CH production of raw CS. This research clarifies the effects of biomass demineralization on its gasification and suggests the potential application.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138634DOI Listing
July 2020

Establishing reference intervals for urine and serum iodine levels: A nationwide multicenter study of a euthyroid Chinese population.

Clin Chim Acta 2020 Mar 15;502:34-40. Epub 2019 Dec 15.

Faculty of Health Sciences, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Ube, Japan. Electronic address:

Context: Urinary iodine (UI) is commonly used for evaluating iodine status, whereas serum iodine (SI) is more closely correlated with bioavailable iodine. However, no reliable reference intervals (RIs) for clinical use are available. We aimed to establish RIs for SI, UI, and a ratio of UI to urinary creatinine (U-Cre) applicable to the Chinese population.

Methods: This multicenter cross-sectional study enrolled 930 apparently healthy adults from six representative cities in China (Beijing, Dongying, Guiyang, Urumqi, Shenzhen, and Qiqihar) in 2017. Thyroid ultrasonography and thyroid function tests, including antithyroid antibody tests, were performed to exclude individuals with latent thyroid diseases. An iodine intake-related questionnaire survey was performed. SI and UI were measured using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Possible influencing factors of iodine levels were evaluated using multiple regression analysis.

Results: Post-exclusion, the final analysis included 894 individuals. Seafood intake frequency was positively correlated with SI (standardized partial regression coefficient = 0.23) but not with UI and UI/U-Cre. SI was positively correlated with serum TT4 (Spearman correlation coefficient: 0.40), TT3 (0.23), and FT4 (0.18). SI and UI showed no age- or sex-specific variations. Significantly higher UI/U-Cre values were observed in Qiqihar than in Beijing, Guizhou, and Shenzhen. Shenzhen showed the lowest UI levels among all evaluated cities. With application of latent abnormal values exclusion procedurere, the RIs for SI, UI, and UI/U-Cre in the population were 36.0-79.3 μg/L, 19-385 μg/L, 22-450 μg/g, respectively.

Conclusions: We established RIs for UI and SI among healthy Chinese individuals with no thyroid nodule or dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cca.2019.11.038DOI Listing
March 2020

Uranium extraction using hydroxyapatite recovered from phosphorus containing wastewater.

J Hazard Mater 2020 01 16;382:120784. Epub 2019 Jun 16.

Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, PR China. Electronic address:

A considerable amount of uranium (U(VI))-containing industrial wastewater is generated from both uranium mining and processing, and nuclear electrical power generation. Discharge of U(VI) containing wastewater causes severe damage to the environment and leads to a loss of resources. Uranium sorption on hydroxyapatite (HAP) has been studied extensively to address the abovementioned issues. In the present study, BC-HAP was recovered through phosphate sorption from wastewater, which was first reused as a potential sorbent for extracting uranium from aqueous solutions comparing to commercially available nano-HAP. The sorption behavior of uranium and its transformation on the recovered BC-HAP were investigated by conducting batch experiments as well as Fourier-transform infrared, scanning electron microscopy, and x-ray diffraction analyses. BC-HAP had superior sorption ability for uranium extraction. Autunite precipitant at nano-scale is observed after uranium sorption. Partial desorption of uranium was observed in the presence of NaCO and NaHCO. Surface complexation and phosphate dissolution precipitation contributed to the favorable uranium sorption. Thus, recovered BC-HAP can be widely used as a promising and cost-effective adsorbent to extract uranium from aqueous solution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2019.120784DOI Listing
January 2020

Removal of U(VI) from nuclear mining effluent by porous hydroxyapatite: Evaluation on characteristics, mechanisms and performance.

Environ Pollut 2019 Nov 15;254(Pt A):112891. Epub 2019 Jul 15.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China; Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

The effluents from nuclear mining processes contain relatively high content of radionuclides (such as uranium), which may seriously threaten the environment and human health. Herein, a novel adsorbent, porous hydroxyapatite, was prepared and proven highly efficient for removal of uranyl ions (U(VI)) given its high U(VI) uptake capacity of 111.4 mg/g, fast adsorption kinetics, and the potential stabilization of adsorbed U(VI). A nearly complete removal of U(VI) was achieved by porous HAP under optimized conditions. Langmuir model could well describe the adsorption equilibrium. The data fit well with pseudo-second-order kinetic model, suggesting that U(VI) adsorption is primarily attributed to chemisorption with porous HAP. Intraparticle diffusion analysis showed that the intraparticle diffusion is the rate-limiting step for U(VI) adsorption by porous HAP. After removal by porous HAP, the adsorbed U(VI) ions were incorporated into tetragonal autunite, which has a low solubility (log Ksp: -48.36). Our findings demonstrate that the porous HAP can effectively remediate uranium contamination and holds great promise for environmental applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.07.059DOI Listing
November 2019

Nationwide Chinese study for establishing reference intervals for thyroid hormones and related tests.

Clin Chim Acta 2019 Sep 22;496:62-67. Epub 2019 Jun 22.

Faculty of Health Sciences, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Ube, Japan. Electronic address:

Objective: This nationwide study aimed to establish Chinese specific reference intervals (RIs) for thyroid related tests: thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), free triiodothyronine (FT3), total thyroxine (TT4), total triiodothyronine (TT3), anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO-Ab) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TG-Ab).

Method: Apparently healthy individuals (n = 2380) were recruited from Beijing, Guizhou, Urumqi, Dongying, Shenzhen, and Qiqihar in China. All the tests were measured by immunoassay testing. Ultrasonography was performed to exclude thyroid nodules. Multiple regression analysis was performed to identify sources of variation (SVs). Standard deviation ratio (SDR) was calculated by ANOVA for judging the need to partition RI by any given SV. RIs were computed by the parametric method.

Results: TPO-Ab and TG-Ab cutoffs were determined as 5 mIU/L and 2 IU/L, respectively using probability plot analysis and extrapolation of the central linear segment. Individuals with thyroid nodule and/or autoantibodies showed altered levels of thyroid hormones, and were thus excluded (n reduced to 1828). Gender difference was observed for FT3 and TT3 with females having lower levels than males. A significant relationship between age and FT3 was observed in males by Spearman correlation analysis (r = -0.231, p < .05). Although the SDR for gender difference in TSH levels was low, the difference in the upper limits of the RI was beyond allowable bias, and thus RIs (mIU/L) were partitioned by sex: females 0.72-5.50, males 0.70-4.59.

Conclusion: By this nationwide study, RIs for thyroid hormones and cutoff values for anti-thyroid autoantibodies were established as matched to the Chinese population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cca.2019.06.011DOI Listing
September 2019

Ultrasound assisted zero valent iron corrosion for peroxymonosulfate activation for Rhodamine-B degradation.

Chemosphere 2019 Aug 25;228:412-417. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources, Rural Non-point Source Pollution Comprehensive Management Technology Center of Guangdong Province, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, 510006, China; Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, PR China. Electronic address:

In this work, ultrasound (US) irradiation assisted powder zero valent iron (ZVI) corrosion was conducted for peroxymonosulfate (PMS) activation. PMS activation activity was evaluated by Rhodamine-B (Rh B) degradation efficiency. The other US/PMS, ZVI/PMS, Fe/PMS and US/PMS/Fe systems were performed to investigate the synergistic effects of US and ZVI on PMS activation activity. US/PMS/ZVI system performed the highest activity of Rh B degradation. 99.76% of Rh B was removed within 12 min under the optimum condition (pH = 4.5, ZVI dosage = 1 g/L, PMS = 1 mM, US power = 50 W). A comparison of US/PMS/ZVI system with PMS/ZVI and homogeneous US/PMS/Fe systems for Rh B degradation was conducted, indicating that ultrasound irradiation contributed to acceleration of ZVI corrosion and removal of passive films. Besides, the electrons transformation from Fe to PMS made main contribution to the generation of sulfate radical, which resulted in the ability of degradation of Rh B. ZVI could be reused for five cycles with efficient activity of PMS activation. Exhaustion of ZVI led to the decrease in PMS activation at the sixth recycle. Thus, this work presents important information on understanding reuse of iron fillings for PMS/PS activation in practical application of pollution remediation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.04.164DOI Listing
August 2019

Comparison of Six Automated Immunoassays With Isotope-Diluted Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Total Thyroxine Measurement.

Ann Lab Med 2019 Jul;39(4):381-387

Department of Clinical Laboratory, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.

Background: Accurate serum total thyroxine (TT4) measurement is important for thyroid disorder diagnosis and management. We compared the performance of six automated immunoassays with that of isotope-diluted liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (ID-LC-MS/MS) as the reference method. We also evaluated the correlation of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) with TT4 measured by ID-LC-MS/MS and immunoassays.

Methods: Serum was collected from 156 patients between October 2015 and January 2016. TT4 was measured by immunoassays from Abbott (Architect), Siemens (ADVIA Centaur XP), Roche (E601), Beckman-Coulter (Dxi800), Autobio (Autolumo A2000), and Mindray (CL-1000i), and by ID-LC-MS/MS. Results were analyzed using Passing-Bablok regression and Bland-Altman plots. Minimum requirements based on biological variation were as follows: a mean bias of ≤4.5% and total imprecision (CV) of ≤3.7%.

Results: All immunoassays showed a correlation >0.945 with ID-LC-MS/MS; however, the slope of the Passing-Bablok regression line varied from 0.886 (Mindray) to 1.23 (Siemens) and the intercept from -12.8 (Siemens) to 4.61 (Mindray). Only Autobio, Beckman-Coulter, and Roche included the value of one in the 95% confidence interval for slope. The mean bias ranged from -10.8% (Abbott) to 9.0% (Siemens), with the lowest value noted for Roche (3.5%) and the highest for Abbott (-10.8%). Only Abbott and Roche showed within-run and total CV ≤3.7%.

Conclusions: Though all immunoassays correlated strongly with ID-LC-MS/MS, most did not meet the minimum clinical requirement. Laboratories and immunoassay manufacturers must be aware of these limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3343/alm.2019.39.4.381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400722PMC
July 2019

Microbubble aeration enhances performance of vacuum membrane distillation desalination by alleviating membrane scaling.

Water Res 2019 02 20;149:588-595. Epub 2018 Nov 20.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Control and Resource Reuse, Tongji University, 1239, Siping Road, Shanghai, China; Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai, 200092, China. Electronic address:

Membrane fouling, especially inorganic fouling due to salt crystal formation and deposition on the membrane surface, is still a major technical issue in membrane distillation (MD) applications. In this study, microbubble aeration (MBA) was included in a laboratory-scale vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) rig and its effect on a desalination process was examined. Without MBA, serious membrane scaling occurred during desalination of simulated high-salinity sea water (100 g.L salt concentration), which resulted in a dramatic reduction of permeate flux to essentially zero after 120 min. Scanning electron microscopy showed that a layer of large cuboid salt crystals uniformly covered the membrane surface. However, membrane scaling was mitigated with the introduction of MBA, resulting in the improved VMD desalination performance, which was positively correlated with pump pressure in the microbubble (MB) generator. Results showed that the effective processing time of the VMD desalination processing cycle was respectively prolonged to 150, 180, and more than 300 and 360 min (cf. 120 min without MBA) when the pump pressure was respectively at 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 MPa, leading to the increase of cumulative water production. Further studies found that larger numbers of MBs of smaller size were produced at higher pump pressure, which are more beneficial for increasing water vapor production and alleviating salt precipitation. The difference in zeta potential between the MBs in distilled water (about -30 mV) and that in SW100 solution (about -2 mV) demonstrated that MBA not only effectively mitigated the negative effect of concentration polarization by enhancing the surface shear rate at the membrane surface, but also reduced salt precipitation probably due to the MBs attracting counterions to the gas-water interface. Finally, energy consumption analysis of the modified VMD desalination process revealed that MBA, while itself only adding about 3% to the total energy consumption at varied pump pressures, was able to improve the specific energy consumption, especially at higher pump pressures. Together, these results demonstrate that MBA is an effective way of improving the performance of VMD desalination of water.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.11.048DOI Listing
February 2019

Solvent-free hydrothermal synthesis of gamma-aluminum oxide nanoparticles with selective adsorption of Congo red.

J Colloid Interface Sci 2019 Feb 19;536:180-188. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China; Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address:

Aluminum hydroxide and oxide have been widely used for decontamination due to their environmentally friendly nature and cost effectiveness. Aluminum (hydro) oxides are the main phases of aluminum-derived environment materials. Herein, the solvent-free hydrothermal synthesis of gamma-aluminum oxide (γ-AlO) nanoparticles and phase transformation of AlOOH into γ-AlO are reported. Hydrothermal treatment of NH·HO-induced aluminum precipitate resulted in the formation of AlOOH, which was an intermediate product of γ-AlO. AlOOH was transformed into highly crystalline 20-nm γ-AlO particles through calcination at 500 °C due to dehydration. The transformation was confirmed through X-ray diffraction (XRD) and thermogravimetric (TG) analyses. The resulting γ-AlO had superior adsorption ability for the anionic Congo red (CR) dye than for the cationic methylene blue (MB) and malachite green (MG) dyes. The selective adsorption ability of CR instead of MB was attributed to the electrostatic attraction and hydrogen bonds between the amino group and azo double bond of CR, and between the amino group and hydroxyl group in γ-AlO. Thus, this study investigated crystalline phase transformation into γ-AlO and selective adsorption capacity of CR, which provides important information regarding the synthesis of crystalline γ-AlO adsorbent, with selective adsorption ability for decontamination applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2018.10.054DOI Listing
February 2019

Recovery of phosphorus rich krill shell biowaste for uranium immobilization: A study of sorption behavior, surface reaction, and phase transformation.

Environ Pollut 2018 Dec 5;243(Pt A):630-636. Epub 2018 Sep 5.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, 510006, China. Electronic address:

Increased generation of shrimp shell from exploitation of krill results in emerging biowaste pollution, in addition, uranium pollution has drawn public concern due to the rapid development of nuclear power, uranium mining, and nuclear fuel processing. In this study, krill shells were recovered and used as a potential natural biosorbent for uranium immobilization, thereby enabling both uranium decontamination and krill shell reutilization. Interaction of uranium with krill shell surface and their transformation were investigated by using batch sorption experiments, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. Krill shell had high uranium sorption ability. Uranium was transformed into a nano-scale precipitate. The mapping of phosphorus and uranium was related to the nano-scale precipitate, indicating that sorption of uranium was dependent on phosphorus. Surface chemisorption between phosphate in krill shell and uranium as well as the formation of the nano-scale precipitate were interpreted as the mechanism of uranium immobilization. Thus, natural krill shell waste has potential for extensive use as a promising and cost-effective sorbent for uranium immobilization and krill shell reutilization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.08.023DOI Listing
December 2018

Accelerated phosphorus recovery from aqueous solution onto decorated sewage sludge carbon.

Sci Rep 2018 09 7;8(1):13421. Epub 2018 Sep 7.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radioactive Contamination Control and Resources, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou, 510006, P.R. China.

In search of efficient phosphorus resource recovery and pollution remediation should be highly concerned due to the view of phosphorus nonrenewable and eutrophication. This work presented a new insight into conversion of sewage sludge into favorable carbonaceous adsorbent for accelerated removing and recovering phosphorus from aqueous solution, what addressed the issues of phosphorus recovery and pollution remediation as well as sludge disposal. Ca and water hyacinth were evolved to decorate sludge derived carbon. Effect of mass ratio of sludge, water hyacinth and calcium carbonate on the morphologies and adsorption kinetics was investigated. The adsorbents (SW-Ca-112) resulted from sludge in the presence of water hyacinth and CaCO in a mass ratio of 1:1:2 had the highest adsorption capacity of 49.50 mg/g P and adsorption rate. Decoration of Ca favored adsorption ability and the presence of water hyacinth accelerated the adsorption rate due to the enhanced porosity. Formation of acicular Ca(PO)OH nanoparticles contributed to the favorable adsorption process. Thus, the contribution of decorated Ca and water hyacinth to the adsorption ability and rate to phosphorus was understand, providing important information on resource utilization of sewage sludge as efficient adsorbent for immobilizing phosphorus from aqueous solution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31750-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6128935PMC
September 2018

Preparation, characterization, and application of macroporous activated carbon (MAC) suitable for the BAC water treatment process.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jan 20;647:1359-1367. Epub 2018 Jul 20.

School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China.

To address the sharp decrease in efficiency of the biological activated carbon (BAC) process at low temperatures, a new type of activated carbon (AC), macroporous activated carbon (MAC), was developed from bamboo waste scraps via a special compression, carbonation and activation process without the introduction of chemicals. MAC contains not only the micron-level macropores (V > 0.71 ml/g) sufficient for bacteria to access and multiply, but ensures the developed smaller pores (particularly micropores, V > 0.41 ml/g) and a higher hardness (>90%). In addition, the desired volume of macropores with an adiabatic function, which will provide livable space environment for bacteria, can be obtained by adjusting the compression ratio (1:5-1:10). Because of the maximum macropore volume (V = 0.805 ml/g) and the most abundant macropore distribution (particularly diameters>10,000 nm), MAC (1:6) was selected for the parallel experiment in the laboratory, taking three representative commercial ACs (PICABIOL® 2, raw coal AC-1 and briquetting AC-2) as controls, in which the filtration effluent of a water treatment plant was used as the influent and glucose was added to accelerate bacterial growth. The results showed that MAC (1:6) exhibited the highest DOC removal and biological activity at room/low temperatures (4 °C), indicating that the abundant macropores distribution with adiabatic function in MAC (1:6) is conducive to the growth and breeding of microorganisms. It is equivalent to artificially increasing the surface suitable for bacteria attachment. This is coupled with the higher adsorption capacity for pollutants supplied by the developed micropores in MAC, which provided the substrate for bacteria growth, thus forming a benign circle for water treatment by the BAC process. The results provide significant technical support for BAC's application, particularly at cold temperatures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.280DOI Listing
January 2019

Measuring lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 activity in China: Protocol comparison and recalibration.

J Clin Lab Anal 2019 Jan 24;33(1):e22628. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Department of Clinical Laboratory, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Science, Beijing, China.

Background: Lp-PLA2 is a novel inflammation marker in cardiovascular disease. While several manufactures have registered Lp-PLA2 activity reagents, few studies have investigated the consistency among these assays. In this study, we compared and recalibrated Lp-PLA2 activity assays.

Methods: Serum samples from 110 patients and 140 healthy individuals were collected for method comparison and reference interval validation, respectively. Fresh human serum pools (847 and 442 U/L) were used for recalibration. Lp-PLA2 activity was analyzed using all five assays with a Beckman AU 5800 analyzer. Passing-Bablok regression equations and Bland-Altman plots were used to estimate the relationship and bias among the results. A 2.5% confidence interval (CI) and 97.5% CI were used to establish a laboratory reference interval.

Results: Assay imprecision varied from 0.8%-2.9%, while the overall coincidence rates ranged from 75.5%-98.2%. Passing-Bablok regression shows excellent linear correlation between Evermed and Diasys (R = 0.999), while that between Diazyme and Evermed was poor (R = 0.846). The R and correlation coefficient r among assays were 0.846-0.999 and 0.8947-0.9993, respectively. The mean bias percentages ranged from -71.5%-1.6% and -2.0%-11.6% before and after recalibration. As Diazyme and Diasys were not comparable, the Diazyme assay was not recalibrated. The reference intervals determined for Diasys, Evermed, Hengxiao, and Zybio were 184-605, 208-704, 81-328, and 273-696 U/L, respectively.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that recalibration increased assay agreement and also highlight the need for each laboratory to establish its own reference interval for Lp-PLA2 activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcla.22628DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6430350PMC
January 2019

A new function of spent activated carbon in BAC process: Removing heavy metals by ion exchange mechanism.

J Hazard Mater 2018 10 7;359:76-84. Epub 2018 Jul 7.

Yixin Activated Carbon Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Province, 225452, China.

To investigate the potential of the spent activated carbon (AC) on removing heavy metals, the spent ACs used 5 years were collected from a full-scale BAC water treatment plant of southern China. The study found that the spent ACs had very good adsorption capacity for Pb(II) and Cd(II) at low concentrations (about 200 μg/L or less) with the maximum removal rates of more than 95% and 86% respectively (only 10-15% for virgin ACs), which will provide the theoretical basis for the disposal of spent AC (the hazardous waste) in BAC process or the combination reuse of spent AC and the virgin AC. Surface properties analyses showed that compared to virgin AC, the pH and PZC in the spent AC significantly decreased, and the relative abundance of surface carboxyl increased by 81% on average, which are essential for the adsorption of metals. To explore the adsorption mechanism, take Pb(II) for example, the adsorption isotherm and kinetics fittings were carried out, which can be well described by Freundlich model (R = 0.9356) and the pseudo-second-order kinetic model (R = 0.9276), respectively. Analyses of influencing factors, FT-IR and XPS before and after Pb(II) adsorption confirmed the ion exchange mechanism of spent AC for the removal of heavy metals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.07.030DOI Listing
October 2018

An Adaptive Self-Stabilizing Algorithm for Minor Generalized Eigenvector Extraction and Its Convergence Analysis.

IEEE Trans Neural Netw Learn Syst 2018 10 5;29(10):4869-4881. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

Generalized eigendecomposition, which extracts the generalized eigenvector from a matrix pencil, is a powerful tool and has been widely used in many fields, such as data classification and blind source separation. First, to extract the minor generalized eigenvector (MGE), we propose a deterministic discrete-time (DDT) system. Unlike some existing systems, the proposed DDT system does not need to normalize the weight vector in each iteration, since the weight vectors in the proposed DDT system are self-stabilizing. Second, we propose an adaptive algorithm corresponding to the proposed DDT system. Moreover, we study the dynamic behavior and convergence properties of the proposed DDT system and prove that the weight vector must converge to the direction of the MGE of a matrix pencil under some mild conditions. Numerical simulations show that the proposed algorithm has a better performance in terms of convergence speed and estimation accuracy than some existing algorithms. Finally, we conduct two experiments on real data sets to demonstrate its practicability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TNNLS.2017.2783360DOI Listing
October 2018

Influence of the 2-methylimidazole/zinc nitrate hexahydrate molar ratio on the synthesis of zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 crystals at room temperature.

Sci Rep 2018 Jun 25;8(1):9597. Epub 2018 Jun 25.

Xi'an High Technology Institute, Xi'an, China.

The effect of the 2-methylimidazole (Hmim)/zinc nitrate hexahydrate (Zn) molar ratio on the physicochemical characteristics of the zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) was investigated. ZIF-8 crystals were synthesized by mixing Hmim with Zn at room temperature without any additives in methanol solution. It was found that Hmim/Zn molar ratio had significant influence on the crystallinity, yield, particle size and porosity of ZIF-8. The samples synthesized at low Hmim/Zn molar ratio showed a cubic shape, whereas at higher Hmim/Zn ratios truncated rhombic dodecahedron or rhombic dodecahedron morphologies were obtained. The particle size is decreased upon increasing the Hmim/Zn molar ratio. Besides, higher Hmim/Zn molar ratio in a certain range resulted in improving crystallinity, yield, surface area and micropore volume of ZIF-8. The ZIF-8 crystals produced at Hmim/Zn molar ratio of 8 exhibited the best characteristics. The present work provides new insights in relation to the role of Hmim/Zn molar ratio on the synthesis process of ZIF-8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28015-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018639PMC
June 2018

Synthesis of FC-supported Fe through a carbothermal process for immobilizing uranium.

J Hazard Mater 2018 Sep 30;357:168-174. Epub 2018 May 30.

Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Radionuclides Pollution Control and Resources, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China. Electronic address:

The abundant generation of uranium (U), a radioactive nuclide, engenders a severe hazard to the environment. Iron based materials were used to immobilize U from water, however, the immobilization is limited by the agglomeration of nanoparticle Fe. In this study, a novel carbothermal process was proposed to synthesize flour carbon (FC) supported nano-flake Fe (Fe-FC). Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nitrogen isotherm adsorption-desorption analysis were conducted to characterize Fe-FC. The immobilization characteristics were investigated through batch sorption experiments. Results indicated that nano-flake was appropriately dispersed on the surface. The sorption capacity reached 19.12 mg/g when the initial concentration of U and the dosage of Fe-FC were 20 mg/L and 1 g/L, respectively. Langmuir isotherm sorption and pseudo-second-order models were fitted well to sorption experimental data. The sorption mechanism is ascribed to surface chemisorptions between U(VI) and Fe-FC. Subsequently, X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis validated that formation of FeUO contributed to the favorable immobilization of U and that FeUO was the fate of U.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2018.05.067DOI Listing
September 2018

Establishing reference intervals for sex hormones and SHBG in apparently healthy Chinese adult men based on a multicenter study.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2018 06;56(7):1152-1160

Department of Clinical Laboratory, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, P.R. China.

Background: Measuring sex hormones is essential in diagnosing health issues such as testicular dysfunction, male infertility and feminization syndrome. However, there are no reports on reference intervals (RIs) in Chinese men. We conducted a nationwide multicenter study to establish RIs for seven sex hormones (luteinizing hormone [LH], follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH], prolactin [PRL], total testosterone [TT], free testosterone [FT], bioavailable testosterone [BAT] and estrogen [E2]), as well as sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG).

Methods: In 2013, 1043 apparently healthy adult men from five representative cities in China (Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Dalian and Urumqi) were recruited; hormones were measured using an automated immunoassay analyzer. Multiple regression analysis (MRA) was performed to identify sources of variation (SVs) that might influence the hormone serum levels. RIs were computed using the parametric method.

Results: Dalian and Hangzhou had significantly higher E2 values than other cities; age was a major source of variation for FSH, LH, PRL, SHBG, FT and BAT. FSH, LH and SHBG increased significantly with age, while PRL, FT and BAT decreased with age. TT showed no significant age-related changes. Median (RIs) derived without partition by age were as follows: FSH, 5.6 (1.9-16.3) IU/L; LH, 4.2 (1.6-10.0) IU/L; PRL, 189 (88-450) mIU/L; E2, 85 (4.7-195) pmol/L; SHBG, 29.4 (11.5-66.3) nmol/L; TT, 15.6 (7.4-24.5) nmol/L; FT, 0.31 (0.16-0.52) nmol/L; and BAT, 8.0 (3.7-13.2) nmol/L. RIs were also derived in accordance with between-city and between-age differences.

Conclusions: RIs were established for sex hormones and SHBG in apparently healthy Chinese men in consideration of age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/cclm-2017-0749DOI Listing
June 2018