Topical Collection "Environmental Chemistry and Technology"

Editor

Prof. Dr. Daniela Varrica
Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e del Mare (DiSTeM) Via Archirafi 36 - 90123 Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Interests: different aspects of environmental geochemistry; ranging from hydrogeochemistry to air; water and soil pollution in volcanic; mining and anthropic areas
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

In a historical moment of rapid environmental changes, critical energy, demographic development, and environmental chemistry, coupled with technological development, must address numerous problems in order to understand the influence of human activities on the transport, transformation, and fate of organic pollutants and inorganic.

Environmental chemistry examines the chemical and biological phenomena that occur in the natural environment. In particular, it studies the interaction of chemical substances (sources, functions, reactions, transport, effects, and destiny) in ecosystems (water, air, soil, and living organisms).

The fields of applications can be very extensive, including a) hydrogeochemistry: aqueous models to explain the chemical reactions and transport processes in natural or polluted water; b) atmospheric chemistry: assessments of environmental concentrations of PM, gaseous pollutants, trace elements, and chemical speciation of atmospheric particulates; c) soil chemistry and remediation; d) environmental geochemistry; and e) monitoring air pollution using new technologies.

Environmental chemistry and technology can be extensively used to develop new analytical techniques to determine the presence of pollutants in several environmental spheres (water, soil, and air), providing important support for environmental protection agencies.

Prof. Dr. Daniela Varrica
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Aquatic chemistry: oxidation/reduction in aquatic chemistry; phase interactions in aquatic chemistry; aquatic microbial biochemistry; water pollutants and water pollution; chemical limnology
  • Atmospheric chemistry: particles in the atmosphere; gaseous inorganic air pollutants; gaseous inorganic air pollutants; photochemical smog
  • Soil chemistry and sediment remediation
  • The geosphere and geochemistry
  • Chemical and biochemical techniques; advanced technologies and materials for environmental pollution prevention and control
  • Environmental technology and ecosystems management
  • Alternative energy technologies
  • Industrial ecology and green chemistry: water renovation and recycling; resources and sustainable materials; industrial ecology for waste minimization, utilization, and treatment

Published Papers (12 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020

Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Quality in Agricultural Lands Near a Rapidly Urbanized Area, South China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1783; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041783 - 12 Feb 2021
Abstract
Understanding the groundwater quality and its factors is a key issue in the context of the use and protection of groundwater resources in agricultural areas near urbanized areas. This study assessed the groundwater quality in agricultural areas in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) [...] Read more.
Understanding the groundwater quality and its factors is a key issue in the context of the use and protection of groundwater resources in agricultural areas near urbanized areas. This study assessed the groundwater quality in agricultural areas in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) by a fuzzy synthetic evaluation method and determined the main factors controlling the groundwater quality by principal component analysis (PCA). Results showed that approximately 85% of groundwater sites in agricultural lands in the PRD were good-quality (drinkable). Drinkable groundwater was 95% and 80% in fissured aquifers and porous aquifers, respectively. Poor-quality groundwater in porous aquifers was controlled by four factors according to the PCA, including the seawater intrusion; the lateral recharge and irrigation of surface water and geogenic sources for As, Fe, NH4+, and Mn; the wastewater infiltration; and the geogenic sources for iodide. By contrast, another four factors, including the infiltration of wastewater and agricultural fertilizers, the geogenic sources for heavy metals, the geogenic sources for iodide, and the irrigation of contaminated river water, were responsible for the poor-quality groundwater in fissured aquifers. Therefore, in the future, the groundwater protection in agricultural lands in the PRD should be strengthened because the majority of groundwater in these areas was good-quality and suitable for drinking and agricultural purposes. In addition, poor-quality groundwater in agricultural lands in the PRD was a small proportion and negligible because the factors for poor-quality groundwater are complicated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Microbial Diversity Dynamics in a Methanogenic-Sulfidogenic UASB Reactor
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1305; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18031305 - 01 Feb 2021
Abstract
In this study, the long-term performance and microbial dynamics of an Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor targeting sulfate reduction in a SOx emissions treatment system were assessed using crude glycerol as organic carbon source and electron donor under constant S and C [...] Read more.
In this study, the long-term performance and microbial dynamics of an Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB) reactor targeting sulfate reduction in a SOx emissions treatment system were assessed using crude glycerol as organic carbon source and electron donor under constant S and C loading rates. The reactor was inoculated with granular sludge obtained from a pulp and paper industry and fed at a constant inlet sulfate concentration of 250 mg S-SO42−L−1 and a constant C/S ratio of 1.5 ± 0.3 g Cg−1 S for over 500 days. Apart from the regular analysis of chemical species, Illumina analyses of the 16S rRNA gene were used to study the dynamics of the bacterial community along with the whole operation. The reactor was sampled along the operation to monitor its diversity and the changes in targeted species to gain insight into the performance of the sulfidogenic UASB. Moreover, studies on the stratification of the sludge bed were performed by sampling at different reactor heights. Shifts in the UASB performance correlated well with the main shifts in microbial communities of interest. A progressive loss of the methanogenic capacity towards a fully sulfidogenic UASB was explained by a progressive wash-out of methanogenic Archaea, which were outcompeted by sulfate-reducing bacteria. Desulfovibrio was found as the main sulfate-reducing genus in the reactor along time. A progressive reduction in the sulfidogenic capacity of the UASB was found in the long run due to the accumulation of a slime-like substance in the UASB. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Validation of Green UV Derivative Spectrophotometric Methods for Simultaneous Determination Metformin and Remogliflozin from Formulation: Evaluation of Greenness
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 448; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020448 - 08 Jan 2021
Abstract
The recent trend in green analytical chemistry is the development of green analytical methods using environmentally friendly solvents. Therefore, three ecofriendly manipulated UV spectroscopic techniques have been validated for the concurrent quantification of newly approved remogliflozin etabonate (REM) and metformin HCl (MET) tablets [...] Read more.
The recent trend in green analytical chemistry is the development of green analytical methods using environmentally friendly solvents. Therefore, three ecofriendly manipulated UV spectroscopic techniques have been validated for the concurrent quantification of newly approved remogliflozin etabonate (REM) and metformin HCl (MET) tablets using water as a solvent. The first method was established using first derivative absorption spectroscopic method by determining the peak amplitude at 233.0 nm for REM and 252.2 nm for MET, a zero crossing of one the component. The second and third methods were based on the peak amplitude difference and first-order derivative absorption of the ratio spectra developed by the manipulation of scanned UV spectra. REM and MET showed good linearity in the series of 1–20 µg ml−1 and 2.5–35 µg ml−1, respectively, by all three methods with an excellent correlation coefficient (r2 ≥ 0.998). Further, the proposed UV spectroscopic techniques were validated as per International Council for Harmonization guidelines. The methods showed good sensitivity, accuracy, and precision. Anticipated procedures were effectively utilized for the concurrent quantification of REM and MET in laboratory prepared mixtures and tablets. The high percent recovery with low standard deviation found for both analytes by all three methods confirms the accuracy and precision of the procedures. Finally, the greenness of the proposed spectroscopic methods, evaluated by semi-quantitative and quantitative methods, showed the eco-friendly nature of the methods. Furthermore, the proposed approaches were simple, accurate, sensitive, economic, and environmentally friendly and hence can be utilized for regular quality control of REM and MET formulation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Marine Waste—Sources, Fate, Risks, Challenges and Research Needs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 433; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020433 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The article presents a comprehensive and cross-cutting review of key marine waste issues, taking into account: sources, fate, risks, transport pathways, threats, legislation, current challenges, and knowledge gaps. The growing amount of both human-created waste in seas and oceans and waste reaching marine [...] Read more.
The article presents a comprehensive and cross-cutting review of key marine waste issues, taking into account: sources, fate, risks, transport pathways, threats, legislation, current challenges, and knowledge gaps. The growing amount of both human-created waste in seas and oceans and waste reaching marine ecosystems from land is one of today’s challenges for the global economy and the European Union. It is predicted that if no decisive steps are taken to limit the amount of this type of waste, there may be more plastic waste than fish in the oceans after 2050. The influence of microplastics and nanoplastics on living organisms remains undiagnosed. Within the international and EU law, solutions are being developed to properly manage waste on board ships and to reduce the impact of processes related to the recycling of the vessels on the environment. Currently, over 80% of ships are dismantled in the countries of South Asia, in conditions that threaten the environment and the safety of workers. After World War 2, large quantities of chemical weapons were deposited in the seas. Steel containers with dangerous substances residing in the sea for over 70 years have begun leaking, thus polluting water. For many years, radioactive waste had also been dumped into marine ecosystems, although since 1993 there has been a total ban on such disposal of radionuclides. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on marine waste generation has also been presented as a significant factor influencing marine waste generation and management. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021

Open AccessArticle
Comparative Study of Hydrochemical Classification Based on Different Hierarchical Cluster Analysis Methods
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9515; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17249515 - 18 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Traditional methods for hydrochemical analyses are effective but less diversified, and are constrained to limited objects and conditions. Given their poor accuracy and reliability, they are often used in complement or combined with other methods to solve practical problems. Cluster analysis is a [...] Read more.
Traditional methods for hydrochemical analyses are effective but less diversified, and are constrained to limited objects and conditions. Given their poor accuracy and reliability, they are often used in complement or combined with other methods to solve practical problems. Cluster analysis is a multivariate statistical technique that extracts useful information from complex data. It provides new ideas and approaches to hydrogeochemical analysis, especially for groundwater hydrochemical classification. Hierarchical cluster analysis is the most widely used method in cluster analysis. This study compared the advantages and disadvantages of six hierarchical cluster analysis methods and analyzed their objects, conditions, and scope of application. The six methods are: The single linkage, complete linkage, median linkage, centroid linkage, average linkage (including between-group linkage and within-group linkage), and Ward’s minimum-variance. Results showed that single linkage and complete linkage are unsuitable for complex practical conditions. Median and centroid linkages likely cause reversals in dendrograms. Average linkage is generally suitable for classification tasks with multiple samples and big data. However, Ward’s minimum-variance achieved better results for fewer samples and variables. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Glucocorticoids in Freshwaters: Degradation by Solar Light and Environmental Toxicity of the Photoproducts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(23), 8717; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17238717 - 24 Nov 2020
Abstract
The photodegradation process of seven glucocorticoids (GCs), cortisone (CORT), hydrocortisone (HCORT), betamethasone (BETA), dexamethasone (DEXA), prednisone (PRED), prednisolone (PREDLO) and triamcinolone (TRIAM) was studied in tap and river water at a concentration close to the environmental ones. All drugs underwent sunlight degradation according [...] Read more.
The photodegradation process of seven glucocorticoids (GCs), cortisone (CORT), hydrocortisone (HCORT), betamethasone (BETA), dexamethasone (DEXA), prednisone (PRED), prednisolone (PREDLO) and triamcinolone (TRIAM) was studied in tap and river water at a concentration close to the environmental ones. All drugs underwent sunlight degradation according to a pseudo-first-order decay. The kinetic constants ranged from 0.00082 min−1 for CORT to 0.024 min−1 for PRED and PREDLO. The photo-generated products were identified by high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS). The main steps of the degradation pathways were the oxidative cleavage of the chain 17 for CORT, HCORT and the rearrangement of the cyclohexadiene moiety for the other GCs. The acute and chronic toxicity of GCs and of their photoproducts was assessed by the V. fischeri and P.subcapitata inhibition assays. The bioassays revealed no significant differences in toxicity between the parent compounds and their photoproducts, but the two organisms showed different responses. All samples produced a moderate acute toxic effect on V. fisheri and no one in the chronic tests. On the contrary, evident hormesis or eutrophic effect was produced on the algae, especially for long-term contact. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Disposable and Low-Cost Colorimetric Sensors for Environmental Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8331; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17228331 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Environmental contamination affects human health and reduces the quality of life. Therefore, the monitoring of water and air quality is important, ensuring that all areas are acquiescent with the current legislation. Colorimetric sensors deliver quick, naked-eye detection, low-cost, and adequate determination of environmental [...] Read more.
Environmental contamination affects human health and reduces the quality of life. Therefore, the monitoring of water and air quality is important, ensuring that all areas are acquiescent with the current legislation. Colorimetric sensors deliver quick, naked-eye detection, low-cost, and adequate determination of environmental analytes. In particular, disposable sensors are cheap and easy-to-use devices for single-shot measurements. Due to increasing requests for in situ analysis or resource-limited zones, disposable sensors’ development has increased. This review provides a brief insight into low-cost and disposable colorimetric sensors currently used for environmental analysis. The advantages and disadvantages of different colorimetric devices for environmental analysis are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of the Optimum Removal Efficiency of Fine Particulate Matter Using Activated Carbon Fiber (ACF)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8230; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17218230 - 07 Nov 2020
Abstract
In Korea, concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) are significantly higher in urban railway tunnels (178.1 μg/m3) than in metropolitan areas (49 μg/m3). In railway tunnels in Korea, it was maintained at 3–4 times higher concentration than general [...] Read more.
In Korea, concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) are significantly higher in urban railway tunnels (178.1 μg/m3) than in metropolitan areas (49 μg/m3). In railway tunnels in Korea, it was maintained at 3–4 times higher concentration than general atmosphere and platform. Dust generated by trains is scattered at high speed in these tunnels, making filtration difficult; therefore, the development of filters that can be maintained in tunnels is required. In the present study, we examined PM adsorption in the laboratory scale using activated carbon fiber (ACF), which has high adsorption and capacity. The ACF depth, velocity of flow, and fine PM concentration in the tunnel were the experimental variables. We compared PM concentrations before and after the filter experiments, and calculated removal efficiency to determine the optimal conditions. Comprehensive examination of the experimental variables and differential pressure showed that the optimal conditions for an ACF specimen were a wind speed of 3.0 m/s and the ACF depth of 400 mm. The average removal efficiency of PM10 was 55.5%, and that of PM2.5 was 36.6%. The reproducibility tests showed that the ACF filter could be washed and reused and is suitable for various places because it is easily maintained. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Formation and In Situ Treatment of High Fluoride Concentrations in Shallow Groundwater of a Semi-Arid Region: Jiaolai Basin, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8075; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17218075 - 02 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Fluorine is an essential nutrient, and excessive or deficient fluoride contents in water can be harmful to human health. The shallow groundwater of the Jiaolai Basin, China has a high fluoride content. This study aimed to (1) investigate the processes responsible for the [...] Read more.
Fluorine is an essential nutrient, and excessive or deficient fluoride contents in water can be harmful to human health. The shallow groundwater of the Jiaolai Basin, China has a high fluoride content. This study aimed to (1) investigate the processes responsible for the formation of shallow high-fluoride groundwater (SHFGW); (2) identify appropriate methods for in situ treatment of SHFGW. A field investigation into the formation of SHFGW was conducted, and the results of experiments using soils from high-fluoride areas were examined to investigate the leaching and migration of fluoride. The results showed that the formation of SHFGW in the Jiaolai Basin is due to long-term geological and evaporation processes in the region. Stratums around and inside the basin act as the source of fluoride whereas the terrain promotes groundwater convergence. The hydrodynamic and hydrochemical conditions resulting from slow groundwater flow along with high evaporation and low rainfall all contribute to the enrichment of fluoride in groundwater. In situ treatment of SHFGW may be an effective approach to manage high SHFGW in the Jiaolai Basin. Since soil fluoride in high-fluoride areas can leach into groundwater and migrate with runoff, the construction of ditches can shorten the runoff of shallow groundwater and accelerate groundwater loss, resulting in the loss of SHFGW from high-fluoride areas through river outflow. The groundwater level will be reduced, thereby lowering the influence of evaporation on fluoride enrichment in shallow groundwater. The results of this study can act a reference for further research on in situ treatment for high-fluoride groundwater. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is It Possible to Predict the Concentration of Natural Volatile Organic Compounds in Forest Atmosphere?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7875; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17217875 - 27 Oct 2020
Abstract
We aimed to understand the correlation between the microclimate environment within a forest and NVOC (Natural volatile organic compounds) concentration and the concentration of NVOC more efficiently through the prediction model method. In this study, 380 samples were collected and analyzed to examine [...] Read more.
We aimed to understand the correlation between the microclimate environment within a forest and NVOC (Natural volatile organic compounds) concentration and the concentration of NVOC more efficiently through the prediction model method. In this study, 380 samples were collected and analyzed to examine the characteristics of NVOC emitted from a birch forest. NVOC were analyzed in May and July 2019, and measurements were performed at three different locations. Using a pump and stainless-steel tube filled with Tenax-TA, 9 L of NVOC was collected at a speed of 150 mL/h. The analysis of NVOC composition in the forest showed that it comprised α-pinene 27% and camphor 10%. Evaluation of the correlation between the NVOC concentration and the microclimate in the forests showed that the concentration increased markedly with the increase in temperature and humidity, and the concentration decreased with the increase in wind velocity. Nineteen substances in total including α-pinene and β-pinene were detected at high concentrations during the sunset. The results of the study site analysis presented a significant regression model with a R2 as high as 60.1%, confirming that the regression model of the concentration prediction of NVOC in birch forest has significant explanatory power. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Graphene Oxide–ZnO Nanocomposites for Removal of Aluminum and Copper Ions from Acid Mine Drainage Wastewater
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6911; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17186911 - 21 Sep 2020
Abstract
Adsorption technologies are a focus of interest for the removal of pollutants in water treatment systems. These removal methods offer several design, operation and efficiency advantages over other wastewater remediation technologies. Particularly, graphene oxide (GO) has attracted great attention due to its high [...] Read more.
Adsorption technologies are a focus of interest for the removal of pollutants in water treatment systems. These removal methods offer several design, operation and efficiency advantages over other wastewater remediation technologies. Particularly, graphene oxide (GO) has attracted great attention due to its high surface area and its effectiveness in removing heavy metals. In this work, we study the functionalization of GO with zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO) to improve the removal capacity of aluminum (Al) and copper (Cu) in acidic waters. Experiments were performed at different pH conditions (with and without pH adjustment). In both cases, decorated GO (GO/ZnO) nanocomposites showed an improvement in the removal capacity compared with non-functionalized GO, even when the pH of zero charge (pHPZC) was higher for GO/ZnO (5.57) than for GO (3.98). In adsorption experiments without pH adjustment, the maximum removal capacities for Al and Cu were 29.1 mg/g and 45.5 mg/g, respectively. The maximum removal percentages of the studied cations (Al and Cu) were higher than 88%. Further, under more acidic conditions (pH 4), the maximum sorption capacities using GO/ZnO as adsorbent were 19.9 mg/g and 33.5 mg/g for Al and Cu, respectively. Moreover, the removal percentages reach 95.6% for Al and 92.9% for Cu. This shows that decoration with ZnO nanoparticles is a good option for improving the sorption capacity of GO for Cu removal and to a lesser extent for Al, even when the pH was not favorable in terms of electrostatic affinity for cations. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the potential and effectiveness of GO functionalization with ZnO nanoparticles to treat acidic waters contaminated with heavy metals and its applicability for wastewater remediation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation on Fixed-Bed Column Parameters of Breakthrough Behaviors for Gold Recovery by Adsorption onto Modified/Functionalized Amberlite XAD7
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6868; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17186868 - 20 Sep 2020
Abstract
The objective of this paper was to evaluate the potential of a new adsorbent material to recover Au (III) from real wastewater, in a column with a fixed bed in a dynamic regime. The material was obtained through functionalization, by impregnation of the [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper was to evaluate the potential of a new adsorbent material to recover Au (III) from real wastewater, in a column with a fixed bed in a dynamic regime. The material was obtained through functionalization, by impregnation of the commercial resin, Amberlite XAD 7 type, with L-glutamic acid, which has active groups –NH2 and –COOH. The goal of the experiments was to follow the correlation of fixed-bed column specific adsorption parameters (the effluent volume, the amounts of adsorbent, heights of the adsorbent layer in column) with the time necessary to cross the column. The experimental data obtained were modeled, using the Bohart–Adams, Yoon–Nelson Thomas and Clark models, to establish the mechanism of the Au (III) recovery process, in a dynamic regime. Also, we established the number of cycles for adsorption–desorption for which the new material can be used. We used 5% HNO3 (5%) as desorption agent in five adsorption–desorption cycles, until the process was no longer efficient. The degree of desorption varied between 84% and 34% from cycle 1 to cycle 5. Full article
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