Publications by authors named "Nikolina Charalampous"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Chemical and biological tracking in decentralized sanitation systems: The case of artificial constructed wetlands.

J Environ Manage 2021 Dec 21;300:113799. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, Foundation of Research & Technology Hellas (ICEHT/FORTH), 10 Stadiou St., Platani, 26504, Patras, Greece.

Given that the social and economic sustainability of rural areas is highly based on the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and human health, simple-operated and cost-effective wastewater treatment systems, like artificial constructed wetlands (CWs), are widely proposed for minimizing the environmental and human impact of both water and soil pollution. Considering that the optimization of wastewater treatment processes is vital for the reduction of effluents toxic potential, there is imperative need to establish appropriate management strategies for ensuring CW performance and operational efficiency. To this end, the present study aimed to assess the operational efficiency of a horizontal free water surface CW (HFWS-CW) located in a world heritage area of Western Greece, via a twelve-month duration Toxicity Identification Evaluation (TIE)-like approach, including both chemical and biological tracking tools. Conventional chemical tracking, by means of pH, conductivity, total COD, and nitrogen-derived components, like nitrates and ammonia-nitrogen, were monthly recorded in both influents and effluents to monitor whether water quality standards are maintained, and to assess potent CW operational deficiencies occurring over time. In parallel, Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) bioassays were thoroughly applied, using freshwater algae and higher plant species (producers), crustaceans and rotifers (consumers), as well as human lymphocytes (in terms of Cytokinesis Block Micronucleus assay) to evaluate the acute and short-term toxic and hazardous potential of both influents and effluents. The integrated analysis of abiotic (physicochemical parameters) and biotic (toxic endpoints) parameters, as well as the existence of "cause-effect" interrelations among them, revealed that CW operational deficiencies, mainly based on poorly removal rates, could undermine the risk posed by treated sewage. Those findings reinforce the usage of WET testing, thus giving rise to the importance of applying appropriate water management strategies and optimization actions, like oxygen enrichment of surface and bottom of HFWS-CW basins, expansion of the available land, the enhancement of bed depth and seasonal harvesting of plants, for ensuring sewage quality, in favor of water resources protection and sustainable growth in rural areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113799DOI Listing
December 2021

Effects of Burkholderia thailandensis rhamnolipids on the unicellular algae Dunaliella tertiolecta.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2019 Oct 5;182:109413. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

Section of Animal Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Patras, GR-26500, Patras, Greece. Electronic address:

The effects of rhamnolipids (RLs) produced and further purified from Burkholderia thailandensis, on the unicellular microalgae Dunaliella tertiolecta were investigated, in terms of RLs ability to affect algal growth, photosynthetic apparatus structure and energy flux, round and through photosystems II and I. Specifically, 24-48 h RLs-treated algae (RLs at concentrations ranged from 5 to 50 mg L) showed significantly decreased levels of growth rate, while increased levels of Chl a and b were obtained only in 72-96 h RLs-treated algae. Similarly, although no changes were obtained in the Chl a/b ratio and almost all chlorophyll fluorescence parameters over time, yields of electron transport (ϕR, ϕE) and respective performance index (PI) were negatively affected at 72 and 96 h. Based on those findings, it seems that the inhibitory effect of RLs on the algae growth rate after 24 and 48 h and the gradual attenuation of the phenomenon (after 72 h of exposure), may indicate the initial response of the organism, as well as algae ability to overcome, since RLs showed no effects on algae photosynthetic ability. Those findings reveal for the first time that RLs from Burkholderia thailandensis are not harmful for Dunaliella tertiolecta. However, further studies with the use of more aquatic species could be essential for assessing the RLs-mediated effects on aquatic biota.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.109413DOI Listing
October 2019

Treatment of printing ink wastewater using electrocoagulation.

J Environ Manage 2019 May 27;237:442-448. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Rio, GR-26504, Patras, Greece; Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (ICE-HT), Stadiou Str., Platani, GR-26504, Patras, Greece. Electronic address:

The present study investigates the treatment of real printing ink wastewater by using the electrocoagulation (EC) process. Effects of initial chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentrations, electrode materials and current densities were examined to determine the maximum COD and color removal from the wastewater. In parallel, raw and treated printing ink wastewater toxic potential was further estimated via the application of toxicity tests using the freshwater crustacean Thamnocephalus platyurus for assessing EC process efficiency. According to the results, it was observed that the EC is efficient under most of the operating conditions used, as COD and color removal ranged between 72.03 to 85.81% and 98.7-100%, respectively. The total cost of the EC process, considering the treatment time, applied current, applied voltage and the total anode electrode mass consumption was also estimated. The Fe electrode proved to be of lower cost than the Al electrode, however the use of Al electrode produced better decolorization results in the solutions. Moreover, toxicity tests currently performed with the use of larvae of the fairy shrimp Thamnocephalus platyurus revealed a substantial decrease in the toxic potential of printing ink wastewater, thus indicating the efficiency of the proposed EC process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.02.080DOI Listing
May 2019

The impact of expired commercial drugs on non-target marine species: A case study with the use of a battery of biomarkers in hemocytes of mussels.

Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2018 Feb 6;148:160-168. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

Section of Animal Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Patras, Rio, GR-26500 Patra, Greece. Electronic address:

The present study investigated the effects of two expired commercial medicines, like Buscopan Plus and Mesulid, commonly classified as household medical wastes, on hemocytes of mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Mussel hemocytes' lysosomal membrane stability (in terms of neutral red retention assay), superoxide anions (O) and nitric oxides (NO, in terms of nitrites) production, lipid peroxidation (in terms of malondialdehyde/MDA content) and the formation of nuclear abnormalities (using the micronucleus/MN assay) were assessed in hemocytes of mussels treated for 7 days with appropriate amounts of each drug (the concentrations of active substances were considered in each case, due to the absence of data related with the excipients) as well as in hemocytes of post-treated/recovered mussels (7 days post-treatment/recovery period). According to the results, treated mussels showed significantly decreased NRRT values, enhanced O, NO and MDA levels, as well as high frequencies of nuclear abnormalities in both cases. Thοse effects showed a drastic reduction in almost all cases, after the post-treatment/recovery period. Moreover, the "stress on stress" method, commonly performed for estimating mussels' ability to survive in air, showed significantly reduced LT values in challenged mussels, compared to values observed in control mussels. The current findings revealed for the first time that both expired commercial drugs could affect mussels, probably via the formation of active substances bioactivated metabolites, as well as excipients, such as TiO and SiO, at least in case of Buscopan plus. Although further research is needed, the current findings indicate the environmental impact of expired commercial drugs, thus revealing the need for the proper disposal of household medical wastes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2017.10.021DOI Listing
February 2018

A Multidisciplinary Assessment of River Surface Water Quality in Areas Heavily Influenced by Human Activities.

Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 2015 Aug 2;69(2):208-22. Epub 2015 Apr 2.

Section of Animal Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, School of Natural Sciences, University of Patras, 26500, Patras, Greece.

The present study could serve as a multidisciplinary approach for the assessment of river surface water quality with the use of chemical and biological methods. Specifically, physicochemical parameters, heavy metals, and pesticides were measured in water samples from three different stations (sampling station S1, S2, and S3) along Asopos River (Greece). In parallel, algal species (primary producers)-such as Scenedesmus rubescens and Chlorococcum sp.; consumer invertebrate species, such as the fairy shrimp Thamnocephalus platyurus and the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus; as well as human lymphocytes-were exposed to those samples for assessing their toxic and genotoxic/mutagenic effects. According to the results, although the values of almost all of the physicochemical parameters tested, heavy metals (zinc, cadmium, lead, and mercury) and pesticides were lower than or within the respective environmental quality standards, thus offering no clear evidence for their natural or anthropogenic origin. Values recorded for nickel, chromium, hexavalent chromium, and malathion represent a typical case of mixed influence from natural and anthropogenic enrichments. In contrast, the algal growth arrest, the acute toxic effects on the freshwater invertebrates, and the increased micronuclei frequencies observed in human lymphocytes showed the presence of human-derived hazardous substances, which were hardly determinable with the use of conventional chemical methods. Given that the presence of priority pollutants in river surface waters, heavily burdened by anthropogenic activities, could give no clear evidence for their biological risk, the results of the present study showed that chemical and biological assays should be applied in parallel, thus serving as a reliable tool for the assessment of river water quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00244-015-0152-9DOI Listing
August 2015
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