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  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Yunping Han, Lin Li, Ying Wang, Jiawei Ma, Pengyu Li, Chao Han, Junxin Liu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(3): 38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1330-1

    • Bioaerosols are produced in the process of wastewater biological treatment.

    • The concentration of bioaerosol indoor is higher than outdoor.

    • Bioaerosols contain large amounts of potentially pathogenic biomass and chemicals.

    • Inhalation is the main route of exposure of bioaerosol.

    • Both the workers and the surrounding residents will be affected by the bioaerosol.

    Bioaerosols are defined as airborne particles (0.05–100 mm in size) of biological origin. They are considered potentially harmful to human health as they can contain pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This review summarizes the most recent research on the health risks of bioaerosols emitted from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in order to improve the control of such bioaerosols. The concentration and size distribution of WWTP bioaerosols; their major emission sources, composition, and health risks; and considerations for future research are discussed. The major themes and findings in the literature are as follows: the major emission sources of WWTP bioaerosols include screen rooms, sludge-dewatering rooms, and aeration tanks; the bioaerosol concentrations in screen and sludge-dewatering rooms are higher than those outdoors. WWTP bioaerosols contain a variety of potentially pathogenic bacteria, fungi, antibiotic resistance genes, viruses, endotoxins, and toxic metal(loid)s. These potentially pathogenic substances spread with the bioaerosols, thereby posing health risks to workers and residents in and around the WWTP. Inhalation has been identified as the main exposure route, and children are at a higher risk of this than adults. Future studies should identify emerging contaminants, establish health risk assessments, and develop prevention and control systems.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Dongjie Shang, Jianfei Peng, Song Guo, Zhijun Wu, Min Hu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(2): 34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1326-x

    • Characteristics and interannual variation of aerosol pollution are illustrated.

    • Mechanisms of secondary aerosol formation in winter haze of North China are reviewed.

    • Directions in future studies of secondary aerosol formation are provided.

    Severe haze pollution occurs frequently in the winter over the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region (China), exerting profound impacts on air quality, visibility, and human health. The Chinese Government has taken strict mitigation actions since 2013 and has achieved a significant reduction in the annual mean PM2.5 concentration over this region. However, the level of secondary aerosols during heavy haze episodes showed little decrease during this period. During heavy haze episodes, the concentrations of secondary aerosol components, including sulfate, nitrate and secondary organics, in aerosol particles increase sharply, acting as the main contributors to aerosol pollution. To achieve effective control of particle pollution in the BTH region, the precise and complete secondary aerosol formation mechanisms have been investigated, and advances have been made about the mechanisms of gas phase reaction, nucleation and heterogeneous reactions in forming secondary aerosols. This paper reviews the research progress in aerosol chemistry during haze pollution episodes in the BTH region, lays out the challenges in haze formation studies, and provides implications and directions for future research.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Wenwen Xie, Yanpeng Li, Wenyan Bai, Junli Hou, Tianfeng Ma, Xuelin Zeng, Liyuan Zhang, Taicheng An
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(3): 44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1336-8

    • Emission of microbe from local environments is a main source of bioaerosols.

    • Regional transport is another important source of the bioaerosols.

    • There are many factors affecting the diffusion and transport of bioaerosols.

    • Source identification method uncovers the contribution of sources of bioaerosols.

    Recent pandemic outbreak of the corona-virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has raised widespread concerns about the importance of the bioaerosols. They are atmospheric aerosol particles of biological origins, mainly including bacteria, fungi, viruses, pollen, and cell debris. Bioaerosols can exert a substantial impact on ecosystems, climate change, air quality, and public health. Here, we review several relevant topics on bioaerosols, including sampling and detection techniques, characterization, effects on health and air quality, and control methods. However, very few studies have focused on the source apportionment and transport of bioaerosols. The knowledge of the sources and transport pathways of bioaerosols is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the role microorganisms play in the atmosphere and control the spread of epidemic diseases associated with them. Therefore, this review comprehensively summarizes the up to date progress on the source characteristics, source identification, and diffusion and transport process of bioaerosols. We intercompare three types of diffusion and transport models, with a special emphasis on a widely used mathematical model. This review also highlights the main factors affecting the source emission and transport process, such as biogeographic regions, land-use types, and environmental factors. Finally, this review outlines future perspectives on bioaerosols.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yang Li, Yixin Zhang, Guangshen Xia, Juhong Zhan, Gang Yu, Yujue Wang
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(1): 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1293-2

    • Gas diffusion electrode (GDE) is a suitable setup for practical water treatment.

    • Electrochemical H2O2 production is an economically competitive technology.

    • High current efficiency of H2O2 production was obtained with GDE at 5–400 mA/cm2.

    • GDE maintained high stability for H2O2 production for ~1000 h.

    • Electro-generation of H2O2 enhances ibuprofen removal in an E-peroxone process.

    This study evaluated the feasibility of electrochemical hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production with gas diffusion electrode (GDE) for decentralized water treatment. Carbon black-polytetrafluoroethylene GDEs were prepared and tested in a continuous flow electrochemical cell for H2O2 production from oxygen reduction. Results showed that because of the effective oxygen transfer in GDEs, the electrode maintained high apparent current efficiencies (ACEs,>80%) for H2O2 production over a wide current density range of 5–400 mA/cm2, and H2O2 production rates as high as ~202 mg/h/cm2 could be obtained. Long-term stability test showed that the GDE maintained high ACEs (>85%) and low energy consumption (<10 kWh/kg H2O2) for H2O2 production for 42 d (~1000 h). However, the ACEs then decreased to ~70% in the following 4 days because water flooding of GDE pores considerably impeded oxygen transport at the late stage of the trial. Based on an electrode lifetime of 46 days, the overall cost for H2O2 production was estimated to be ~0.88 $/kg H2O2, including an electricity cost of 0.61 $/kg and an electrode capital cost of 0.27 $/kg. With a 9 cm2 GDE and 40 mA/cm2 current density, ~2–4 mg/L of H2O2 could be produced on site for the electro-peroxone treatment of a 1.2 m3/d groundwater flow, which considerably enhanced ibuprofen abatement compared with ozonation alone (~43%–59% vs. 7%). These findings suggest that electrochemical H2O2 production with GDEs holds great promise for the development of compact treatment technologies for decentralized water treatment at a household and community level.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xuesong Liu, Jianmin Wang
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2020, 14(6): 97. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1276-3

    • Micro-plastics (MPs) significantly increase Pb toxicity.

    • Algae reduce the combined toxicity of MP and Pb.

    • The toxicity increase comes from high soluble Pb and MP-Pb uptake.

    • The toxicity reduction might come from energy related pathway.

    Microplastics (MPs) have been recognized as a new class of emerging contaminants in recent years. They not only directly impact aquatic organisms, but also indirectly impact these organisms by interacting with background toxins in the environment. Moreover, under realistic environmental conditions, algae, a natural food for aquatic organisms, may alter the toxicity pattern related to MPs. In this research, we first examined the toxicity of MPs alone, and their effect on the toxicity of lead (Pb) on Ceriodaphnia dubia (C. dubia), a model aquatic organism for toxicity survey. Then, we investigated the effect of algae on the combined toxicity of MPs and Pb. We observed that, MPs significantly increased Pb toxicity, which was related to the increase in soluble Pb concentration and the intake of Pb-loaded MPs, both of which increased the accumulation of Pb in C. dubia. The presence of algae mitigated the combined toxicity of MPs and Pb, although algae alone increased Pb accumulation. Therefore, the toxicity mitigation through algae uptake came from mechanisms other than Pb accumulation, which will need further investigation.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Jinjin Fu, Quan Zhang, Baocheng Huang, Niansi Fan, Rencun Jin
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(1): 17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1309-y

    • Anammox is promising for nitrogen removal from antibiotic-containing wastewater.

    • Most antibiotics could inhibit the anammox performance and activity.

    • Antibiotic pressure promoted the increase in antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs).

    • Antibiotic-resistance mechanisms of anammox bacteria are speculated.

    Antibiotic is widely present in the effluent from livestock husbandry and the pharmaceutical industry. Antibiotics in wastewater usually have high biological toxicity and even promote the occurrence and transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes. Moreover, most antibiotic-containing wastewater contains high concentration of ammonia nitrogen. Improper treatment will lead to high risk to the surrounding environment and even human health. The anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) with great economic benefit and good treatment effect is a promising process to remove nitrogen from antibiotic-containing wastewater. However, antibiotic inhibition has been observed in anammox applications. Therefore, a comprehensive overview of the single and combined effects of various antibiotics on the anammox system is conducted in this review with a focus on nitrogen removal performance, sludge properties, microbial community, antibiotic resistance genes and anammox-involved functional genes. Additionally, the influencing mechanism of antibiotics on anammox consortia is summarized. Remaining problems and future research needs are also proposed based on the presented summary. This review provides a better understanding of the influences of antibiotics on anammox and offers a direction to remove nitrogen from antibiotic-containing wastewater by the anammox process.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Supaporn Phanwilai, Naluporn Kangwannarakul, Pongsak (Lek) Noophan, Tamao Kasahara, Akihiko Terada, Junko Munakata-Marr, Linda Ann Figueroa
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2020, 14(6): 115. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1374-2

    • Two IFAS and two MBBR full-scale systems (high COD:N ratio 8:1) were characterized.

    • High specific surface area carriers grew and retained slow-growing nitrifiers.

    • High TN removal is related to high SRT and low DO concentration in anoxic tanks.

    The relative locations of AOB, NOB, and DNB were examined for three different kinds of carriers in two types of hybrid biofilm process configurations: integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) and moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) processes. IFAS water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) used AnodkalnessTM K1 carriers (KC) at Broomfield, Colorado, USA and polypropylene resin carriers (RC) at Fukuoka, Japan, while MBBR WRRFs used KC carriers at South Adams County, Colorado, USA and sponge carriers (SC) at Saga, Japan. Influent COD to N ratios ranged from 8:1 to 15:1. The COD and BOD removal efficiencies were high (96%–98%); NH4+-N and TN removal efficiencies were more varied at 72%–98% and 64%–77%, respectively. The extent of TN removal was higher at high SRT, high COD:N ratio and low DO concentration in the anoxic tank. In IFAS, RC with high specific surface area (SSA) maintained higher AOB population than KC. Sponge carriers with high SSA maintained higher overall bacteria population than KC in MBBR systems. However, the DNB were not more abundant in high SSA carriers. The diversity of AOB, NOB, and DNB was fairly similar in different carriers. Nitrosomonas sp. dominated over Nitrosospira sp. while denitrifying bacteria included Rhodobacter sp., Sulfuritalea sp., Rubrivivax sp., Paracoccus sp., and Pseudomonas sp. The results from this work suggest that high SRT, high COD:N ratio, low DO concentration in anoxic tanks, and carriers with greater surface area may be recommended for high COD, BOD and TN removal in WRRFs with IFAS and MBBR systems.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Shengjie Qiu, Jinjin Liu, Liang Zhang, Qiong Zhang, Yongzhen Peng
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(2): 26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1318-x

    • Sludge fermentation liquid addition resulted in a high NAR of 97.4%.

    • Extra NH4+-N from SFL was removed by anammox in anoxic phase.

    • Nitrogen removal efficiency of 92.51% was achieved in municipal wastewater.

    • The novel system could efficiently treat low COD/N municipal wastewater.

    Biological nitrogen removal of wastewater with low COD/N ratio could be enhanced by the addition of wasted sludge fermentation liquid (SFL), but the performance is usually limited by the introducing ammonium. In this study, the process of using SFL was successfully improved by involving anammox process. Real municipal wastewater with a low C/N ratio of 2.8–3.4 was treated in a sequencing batch reactor (SBR). The SBR was operated under anaerobic-aerobic-anoxic (AOA) mode and excess SFL was added into the anoxic phase. Stable short-cut nitrification was achieved after 46d and then anammox sludge was inoculated. In the stable period, effluent total inorganic nitrogen (TIN) was less than 4.3 mg/L with removal efficiency of 92.3%. Further analysis suggests that anammox bacteria, mainly affiliated with Candidatus_Kuenenia, successfully reduced the external ammonia from the SFL and contributed approximately 28%–43% to TIN removal. Overall, this study suggests anammox could be combined with SFL addition, resulting in a stable enhanced nitrogen biological removal.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Mengzhi Ji, Zichen Liu, Kaili Sun, Zhongfang Li, Xiangyu Fan, Qiang Li
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 84. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1378-y

    •Phages can be better indicators of enteric viruses than fecal indicator bacteria.

    •Multiple phages should be added to the microbial source tracking toolbox.

    •Engineered phage or phage cocktail can effectively target resistant bacteria.

    •In phage use, phage-mediated horizontal gene transfer cannot be ignored.

    •More schemes are needed to prevent phage concentration from decreasing.

    Wastewater is a breeding ground for many pathogens, which may pose a threat to human health through various water transmission pathways. Therefore, a simple and effective method is urgently required to monitor and treat wastewater. As bacterial viruses, bacteriophages (phages) are the most widely distributed and abundant organisms in the biosphere. Owing to their capacity to specifically infect bacterial hosts, they have recently been used as novel tools in water pollution control. The purpose of this review is to summarize and evaluate the roles of phages in monitoring pathogens, tracking pollution sources, treating pathogenic bacteria, infecting bloom-forming cyanobacteria, and controlling bulking sludge and biofilm pollution in wastewater treatment systems. We also discuss the limitations of phage usage in water pollution control, including phage-mediated horizontal gene transfer, the evolution of bacterial resistance, and phage concentration decrease. This review provides an integrated outlook on the use of phages in water pollution control.

  • VIEWS & COMMENTS
    Chunyan Wang, Jiangshan Wang, Yi Liu, Lei Zhang, Yong Sun, Jiuhui Qu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 110. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-021-1398-2

    • A survey on individual’s perception of SARS-CoV-2 transmission was conducted.

    • Waterborne transmission risks are far less perceived by individuals.

    • Precautions of preventing wastewater mediated transmission are implemented.

    • The precautions for wastewater transmission are less favored by the public.

    • Education level differs the most regarding to waterborne transmission perception.

    SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in various environmental media. Community and individual-engaged precautions are recommended to stop or slow environmentally-mediated transmission. To better understand the individual’s awareness of and precaution to environmental dissemination of SARS-CoV-2, an online survey was conducted in Beijing during March 14–25, 2020. It is found that the waterborne (especially wastewater mediated) spreading routes are far less perceived by urban communities. The precautions for wastewater transmission are less favored by the public than airborne and solid waste mediated spreading routes. Such risk communication asymmetry in waterborne transmission will be further enlarged in places with fragile water system. Furthermore, education level is the most significant attribution (Sig.<0.05) that causes the difference of awareness and precautions of the waterborne transmission among the respondents, according to the variance analysis results. Our survey results emphasize the urgent need for evidence-based, multifactorial precautions for current and future outbreaks of COVID-19.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Kun Zhang, Jialuo Xu, Qing Huang, Lei Zhou, Qingyan Fu, Yusen Duan, Guangli Xiu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2020, 14(6): 92. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1271-8

    • Air masses from Zhejiang Province is the major source of O3 in suburban Shanghai.

    • O3 formation was in VOC-sensitive regime in rural Shanghai.

    • O3 formation was most sensitive to propylene in rural Shanghai.

    A high level of ozone (O3) is frequently observed in the suburbs of Shanghai, the reason for this high level remains unclear. To obtain a detailed insight on the high level of O3 during summer in Shanghai, O3 and its precursors were measured at a suburban site in Shanghai from July 1, 2016 to July 31, 2016. Using the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model and concentration weighted trajectories (CWT), we found that Zhejiang province was the main potential source of O3 in suburban Shanghai. When the sampling site was controlled by south-western winds exceeding 2 m/s, the O3-rich air masses from upwind regions (such as Zhejiang province) could be transported to the suburban Shanghai. The propylene-equivalent concentration (PEC) and ozone formation potential (OFP) were further calculated for each VOC species, and the results suggested that propylene, (m+p)-xylene, and toluene played dominant roles in O3 formation. The Ozone Isopleth Plotting Research (OZIPR) model was used to reveal the impact of O3 precursors on O3 formation, and 4 base-cases were selected to adjust the model simulation. An average disparity of 18.20% was achieved between the simulated and observed O3 concentrations. The O3 isopleth diagram illustrated that O3 formation in July 2016 was in VOC-sensitive regime, although the VOC/NOx ratio was greater than 20. By introducing sensitivity (S), a sensitivity analysis was performed for O3 formation. We found that O3 formation was sensitive to propylene, (m+p)-xylene, o-xylene and toluene. The results provide theoretical support for O3 pollution treatment in Shanghai.

  • FEATURE ARTICLE
    Ying Xu, Hui Gong, Xiaohu Dai
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(4): 71. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1364-4

    • High-solid anaerobic digestion (HS-AD) of sewage sludge (SS) is overviewed.

    • Factors affecting process stability and performance in HS-AD of SS are revealed.

    • HS effect and knowledge gaps of current research on the HS-AD of SS are identified.

    • Future efforts on addressing knowledge gaps and improving HS-AD of SS are proposed.

    High-solid anaerobic digestion (HS-AD) has been applied extensively during the last few decades for treating various organic wastes, such as agricultural wastes, organic fractions of municipal solid wastes, and kitchen wastes. However, the application of HS-AD to the processing of sewage sludge (SS) remains limited, which is largely attributable to its poor process stability and performance. Extensive research has been conducted to attempt to surmount these limitations. In this review, the main factors affecting process stability and performance in the HS-AD of SS are comprehensively reviewed, and the improved methods in current use, such as HS sludge pre-treatment and anaerobic co-digestion with other organic wastes, are summarised. Besides, this paper also discusses the characteristics of substance transformation in the HS-AD of SS with and without thermal pre-treatment. Research has shown that the HS effect is due to the presence of high concentrations of substances that may inhibit the function of anaerobic microorganisms, and that it also results in poor mass transfer, a low diffusion coefficient, and high viscosity. Finally, knowledge gaps in the current research on HS-AD of SS are identified. Based on these, it proposes that future efforts should be devoted to standardising the definition of HS sludge, revealing the law of migration and transformation of pollutants, describing the metabolic pathways by which specific substances are degraded, and establishing accurate mathematical models. Moreover, developing green sludge dewatering agents, obtaining high value-added products, and revealing effects of the above two on HS-AD of SS can also be considered in future.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Huan He, Qinjin Yu, Chaochao Lai, Chen Zhang, Muhan Liu, Bin Huang, Hongping Pu, Xuejun Pan
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(2): 18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1310-5

    • An innovative bubble column tower BPE was designed to treat the black-odorous water.

    • PO43, S2 and turbidity were removed, and dissolved oxygen was enriched in the BPE.

    • An aluminum bipolar electrode gave the best oxygen enrichment and pollutant removal.

    • Changes of microorganisms confirmed the improvement in water quality achieved.

    The large amount of municipal wastewater discharged into urban rivers sometimes exceeds the rivers’ self-purification capacity leading to black-odorous polluted water. Electro-flocculation has emerged as a powerful remediation technology. Electro-flocculation in a bubble column tower with a bipolar electrode (BPE) was tested in an attempt to overcome the high resistance and weak gas-floatation observed with a monopolar electrode (MPE) in treating such water. The BPE reactor tested had a Ti/Ta2O5-IrO2 anode and a graphite cathode with an iron or aluminum bipolar electrode suspended between them. It was tested for its ability to reduce turbidity, phosphate and sulphion and to increase the concentration of dissolved oxygen. The inclusion of the bipolar electrode was found to distinctly improved the system’s conductivity. The system’s electro-flocculation and electrical floatation removed turbidity, phosphate and sulphion completely, and the dissolved oxygen level improved from 0.29 to 6.28 mg/L. An aluminum bipolar electrode performed better than an iron one. Changes in the structure of the microbial community confirmed a significant improvement in water quality.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yangyang Liang, Qingbin Song, Naiqi Wu, Jinhui Li, Yuan Zhong, Wenlei Zeng
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(6): 115. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-021-1407-5

    • Implication of COVID-19 on medical waste and MSW generation is studied.

    • Challenges and effective strategy of solid waste generation is reviewed.

    • 2.9 million tons of COVID-19 related medical waste has been generated until Sep. 22.

    • The pandemic has postponed policies related to the reduction of plastic use.

    • Blockade resulted in a significant drop in waste generation in some regions.

    It has been over ten months since the beginning of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-2019), and its impact on solid waste management, especially medical waste, is becoming clearer. This study systematically reviews the potential influences of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical waste, personal protection equipment waste and municipal solid waste (MSW), and discusses the corresponding measures and policies of solid waste management in typical countries. The results show that the generation of medical waste from the pandemic increased significantly, with 18%‒425% growth. It is estimated that the daily output of COVID-19 medical waste increased from 200 t/d on Feb. 22 to over 29000 t/d at the end of September 2020 throughout the world. The use of personal protective equipment will continue to grow in the long-term, while the blockade and isolation measures greatly reduced the volume of commercial waste, especially for tourist cities, and part of this waste was transferred to household waste. Residents’ attitudes and behavior toward food waste have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, international organizations and several countries have issued new policies and guidelines and adjusted their management strategies for medical waste and MSW treatment. The pandemic has brought specific challenges to the disposal capacity of medical waste worldwide. It has also brought about the stagnation of policies related to the reduction of plastic products and waste recycling. This study will provide some useful information for managers and governmental officials on effective solid waste management during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Shuchang Wang, Binbin Shao, Junlian Qiao, Xiaohong Guan
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 80. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1373-3

    • The properties of Fe(VI) were summarized.

    • Both the superiorities and the limitations of Fe(VI) technologies were discussed.

    • Methods to improve contaminants oxidation/disinfection by Fe(VI) were introduced.

    • Future research needs for the development of Fe(VI) technologies were proposed.

    The past two decades have witnessed the rapid development and wide application of Fe(VI) in the field of water de-contamination because of its environmentally benign character. Fe(VI) has been mainly applied as a highly efficient oxidant/disinfectant for the selective elimination of contaminants. The in situ generated iron(III) (hydr)oxides with the function of adsorption/coagulation can further increase the removal of contaminants by Fe(VI) in some cases. Because of the limitations of Fe(VI) per se, various modified methods have been developed to improve the performance of Fe(VI) oxidation technology. Based on the published literature, this paper summarized the current views on the intrinsic properties of Fe(VI) with the emphasis on the self-decay mechanism of Fe(VI). The applications of Fe(VI) as a sole oxidant for decomposing organic contaminants rich in electron-donating moieties, as a bi-functional reagent (both oxidant and coagulant) for eliminating some special contaminants, and as a disinfectant for inactivating microorganisms were systematically summarized. Moreover, the difficulties in synthesizing and preserving Fe(VI), which limits the large-scale application of Fe(VI), and the potential formation of toxic byproducts during Fe(VI) application were presented. This paper also systematically reviewed the important nodes in developing methods to improve the performance of Fe(VI) as oxidant or disinfectant in the past two decades, and proposed the future research needs for the development of Fe(VI) technologies.

  • PERSPECTIVE
    Wenbing Tan, Dongyu Cui, Beidou Xi
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(3): 50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-021-1423-5

    Single-use plastics are often used once or cannot be reused for extended periods. They are widely consumed with the rapid development of social economy. The waste generated by single-use plastics threatens ecosystem health by entering the environment and ultimately restricts sustainable human development. The innovation of sustainable and environmentally friendly single-use plastic alternative materials and the joint participation of governments, enterprises and the public are promising technologies and management approaches that can solve the problem of single-use plastics wastes. The development of single-use plastic alternative products can be promoted fundamentally only by improving relevant legislation and standards, providing differentiated industrial policies, encouraging scientific and technological innovation and expanding public participation.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ying Cui, Feng Tan, Yan Wang, Suyu Ren, Jingwen Chen
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2020, 14(6): 111. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1290-5

    • Selective molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) binding gel was prepared.

    • MIP-DGT showed excellent uptake performance for antibiotics.

    • In situ measurement of antibiotics in wastewaters via MIP-DGT was developed.

    • The MIP-DGT method was robust, reliable, and highly sensitive.

    Urban wastewater is one of main sources for the introduction of antibiotics into the environment. Monitoring the concentrations of antibiotics in wastewater is necessary for estimating the amount of antibiotics discharged into the environment through urban wastewater treatment systems. In this study, we report a novel diffusive gradient in thin films (DGT) method based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for in situ measurement of two typical antibiotics, fluoroquinolones (FQs) and sulfonamides (SAs) in urban wastewater. MIPs show specific adsorption toward their templates and their structural analogs, resulting in the selective uptake of the two target antibiotics during MIP-DGT deployment. The uptake performance of the MIP-DGTs was evaluated in the laboratory and was relatively independent of solution pH (4.0–9.0), ionic strength (1–750 mmol/L), and dissolved organic matter (DOM, 0–20 mg/L). MIP-DGT samplers were tested in the effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant for field trials, where three SA (sulfamethoxazole, sulfapyridine, and trimethoprim) and one FQ (ofloxacin) antibiotics were detected, with concentrations ranging from 25.50 to 117.58 ng/L, which are consistent with the results measured by grab sampling. The total removal efficiency of the antibiotics was 80.1% by the treatment plant. This study demonstrates that MIP-DGT is an effective tool for in situ monitoring of trace antibiotics in complex urban wastewaters.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ragini Pirarath, Palani Shivashanmugam, Asad Syed, Abdallah M. Elgorban, Sambandam Anandan, Muthupandian Ashokkumar
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(1): 15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1307-0

    • Synthesized few-layered MoS2 nanosheets via surfactant-assisted hydrothermal method.

    • Synthesized MoS2 nanosheets show petal-like morphology.

    • Adsorbent showed 93% of mercury removal efficiency.

    • The adsorption of mercury is attributed to negative zeta potential (-21.8 mV).

    Recently, different nanomaterial-based adsorbents have received greater attention for the removal of environmental pollutants, specifically heavy metals from aqueous media. In this work, we synthesized few-layered MoS2 nanosheets via a surfactant-assisted hydrothermal method and utilized them as an efficient adsorbent for the removal of mercury from aqueous media. The synthesized MoS2 nanosheets showed petal-like morphology as confirmed by scanning electron microscope and high-resolution transmission electron microscopic analysis. The average thickness of the nanosheets is found to be about 57 nm. Possessing high stability and negative zeta potential makes this material suitable for efficient adsorption of mercury from aqueous media. The adsorption efficiency of the adsorbent was investigated as a function of pH, contact time and adsorbent dose. The kinetics of adsorption and reusability potential of the adsorbent were also performed. A pseudo-second-order kinetics for mercury adsorption was observed. As prepared MoS2 nanosheets showed 93% mercury removal efficiency, whereas regenerated adsorbent showed 91% and 79% removal efficiency in the respective 2nd and 3rd cycles. The adsorption capacity of the adsorbent was found to be 289 mg/g at room temperature.

  • VIEWS & COMMENTS
    Qingyan Chen
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(3): 35. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1328-8

    It is well recognized that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus could be spread through touch and large droplets. However, we may have under-estimated the disease transmission by small droplets or aerosols that contain SARS-CoV-2 virus. Social distancing in public transport vehicles, such as airplanes, is not feasible. It is also not possible to wear masks in restaurant. This paper recommended wearing masks in airplanes and use partition screens in the middle of a table in a restaurant to reduce the infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus. Advanced ventilation systems, such as personalized ventilation and displacement ventilation, are strongly recommended for transport vehicles and buildings.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Haiyan Mou, Wenchao Liu, Lili Zhao, Wenqing Chen, Tianqi Ao
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(4): 61. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1353-7

    • Separate reduction and sintering cannot be effective for Cr stabilization.

    • Combined treatment of reduction and sintering is effective for Cr stabilization.

    • Almost all the Cr in the reduced soil is residual form after sintering at 1000°C.

    This study explored the effectiveness and mechanisms of high temperature sintering following pre-reduction with ferric sulfate (FeSO4), sodium sulfide (Na2S), or citric acid (C6H8O7) in stabilizing hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in highly contaminated soil. The soil samples had an initial total Cr leaching of 1768.83 mg/L, and Cr(VI) leaching of 1745.13 mg/L. When FeSO4 or C6H8O7 reduction was followed by sintering at 1000°C, the Cr leaching was reduced enough to meet the Safety Landfill Standards regarding general industrial solid waste. This combined treatment greatly improved the stabilization efficiency of chromium because the reduction of Cr(VI) into Cr(III) decreased the mobility of chromium and made it more easily encapsulated in minerals during sintering. SEM, XRD, TG-DSC, and speciation analysis indicated that when the sintering temperature reached 1000°C, almost all the chromium in soils that had the pre-reduction treatment was transformed into the residual form. At 1000°C, the soil melted and promoted the mineralization of Cr and the formation of new Cr-containing compounds, which significantly decreased subsequent leaching of chromium from the soil. However, without reduction treatment, chromium continued to leach from the soil even after being sintered at 1000°C, possibly because the soil did not fully fuse and because Cr(VI) does not bind with soil as easily as Cr(III).

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Fengping Hu, Yongming Guo
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(4): 74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1367-1

    •Impacts of air pollution on various body systems health in China were highlighted.

    •China’s actions to control air pollution and their effects were briefly introduced.

    •Challenges and perspectives of the health effects of air pollution are provided.

    The health effects of air pollution have attracted considerable attention in China. In this review, the status of air pollution in China is briefly presented. The impacts of air pollution on the health of the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the nervous system, the digestive system, the urinary system, pregnancy and life expectancy are highlighted. Additionally, China’s actions to control air pollution and their effects are briefly introduced. Finally, the challenges and perspectives of the health effects of air pollution are provided. We believe that this review will provide a promising perspective on the health impacts of air pollution in China, and further elicit more attention from governments and researchers worldwide.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yuxin Li, Jiayin Ling, Pengcheng Chen, Jinliang Chen, Ruizhi Dai, Jinsong Liao, Jiejing Yu, Yanbin Xu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(4): 57. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1349-3

    Pseudomonas mendocina was first reported for aerobic nitrate removal.

    • It removed 90% of NO3-N in 24 h under aerobic conditions.

    • This strain converted NO3-N to bio-nitrogen (37.9%) and gaseous nitrogen (49.7%).

    • Inoculation of this strain increased sludge denitrification rate by 4.3 times.

    The problem of nitrate accumulation in aerobic tank and total nitrogen excessive discharge in effluent was very common in traditional livestock and poultry farming wastewater treatment systems owing to the lengthy process flow and low process control level. A strain LYX of aerobic bacterium was isolated from the activated sludge of a wastewater treatment system in a pig farm, which could remove nitrate effectively in aerobic tank and was identified Pseudomonas mendocina by 16S rRNA sequencing. Under the condition of nitrate as the sole nitrogen source, this strain removed over 90% of NO3-N with an initial concentration of 110 mg/L under aerobic conditions within 48 hours. Among them, 37.9% of NO3-N was assimilated into Bio-N, about 51.9% was reduced to gaseous nitrogen and less than 0.5% of nitrogen was replaced by NO2-N and NH4+-N, 9.7% NO3-N remained in the effluent at the end. At the same time, four key genes (napA, nirK, norB and nosZ) related to nitrate nitrogen removal were expressed during the denitrification process of P. mendocina LYX, in which the transcription level of the indicator genes of this aerobic denitrifying bacterium (napA) was the highest. In addition, it was found with the 15N tracer technique that inoculation of this strain on sludge increased the amount of nitrogen loss from 9.26 nmol N/(g·h) to 23.835 nmol N/(g·h). Therefore, P. medocina LYX is a potential bioagent for advanced nitrogen removal by assimilating and reducing nitrate simultaneously in aerobic tanks.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Caihong Xu, Jianmin Chen, Zhikai Wang, Hui Chen, Hao Feng, Lujun Wang, Yuning Xie, Zhenzhen Wang, Xingnan Ye, Haidong Kan, Zhuohui Zhao, Abdelwahid Mellouki
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(3): 37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1329-7

    • Urban aerosols harbour diverse bacterial communities in Shanghai.

    • The functional groups were associated with nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur cycling.

    • Temperature, SO2, and wind speed were key drivers for the bacterial community.

    Airborne bacteria play key roles in terrestrial and marine ecosystems and human health, yet our understanding of bacterial communities and their response to the environmental variables lags significantly behind that of other components of PM2.5. Here, atmospheric fine particles obtained from urban and suburb Shanghai were analyzed by using the qPCR and Illumina Miseq sequencing. The bacteria with an average concentration of 2.12 × 103 cells/m3, were dominated by Sphingomonas, Curvibacter, Acinetobacter, Bradyrhizobium, Methylobacterium, Halomonas, Aliihoeflea, and Phyllobacterium, which were related to the nitrogen, carbon, sulfur cycling and human health risk. Our results provide a global survey of bacterial community across urban, suburb, and high-altitude sites. In Shanghai (China), urban PM2.5 harbour more diverse and dynamic bacterial populations than that in the suburb. The structural equation model explained about 27%, 41%, and 20%–78% of the variance found in bacteria diversity, concentration, and discrepant genera among urban and suburb sites. This work furthered the knowledge of diverse bacteria in a coastal Megacity in the Yangtze river delta and emphasized the potential impact of environmental variables on bacterial community structure.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Jinbiao Ma, Manman Du, Can Wang, Xinwu Xie, Hao Wang, Qian Zhang
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(3): 47. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-021-1420-8

    • Airborne microorganism detection methods are summarized.

    • Biosensors play an important role in detecting airborne microorganisms.

    • The principle of biosensor detection of airborne microorganisms is introduced.

    • The application and progress of biosensor in recent years is summarized.

    • The future perspectives of biosensor are identified.

    Humanity has been facing the threat of a variety of infectious diseases. Airborne microorganisms can cause airborne infectious diseases, which spread rapidly and extensively, causing huge losses to human society on a global scale. In recent years, the detection technology for airborne microorganisms has developed rapidly; it can be roughly divided into biochemical, immune, and molecular technologies. However, these technologies still have some shortcomings; they are time-consuming and have low sensitivity and poor stability. Most of them need to be used in the ideal environment of a laboratory, which limits their applications. A biosensor is a device that converts biological signals into detectable signals. As an interdisciplinary field, biosensors have successfully introduced a variety of technologies for bio-detection. Given their fast analysis speed, high sensitivity, good portability, strong specificity, and low cost, biosensors have been widely used in environmental monitoring, medical research, food and agricultural safety, military medicine and other fields. In recent years, the performance of biosensors has greatly improved, becoming a promising technology for airborne microorganism detection. This review introduces the detection principle of biosensors from the three aspects of component identification, energy conversion principle, and signal amplification. It also summarizes its research and application in airborne microorganism detection. The new progress and future development trend of the biosensor detection of airborne microorganisms are analyzed.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Lijie Zhou, Hongwu Wang, Zhiqiang Zhang, Jian Zhang, Hongbin Chen, Xuejun Bi, Xiaohu Dai, Siqing Xia, Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, Bruce E. Rittmann
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(1): 16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1308-z

    5R (Recover, Reduce, Recycle, Resource and Reuse) approaches to manage urban water.

    5R harvests storm water, gray water and black water in several forms.

    5R offers promise for moving solutions for urban water scarcity in practice.

    Demand for water is expanding with increases in population, particularly in urban areas in developing countries. Additionally, urban water system needs a novel perspective for upgradation with urbanization. This perspective presents a novel 5R approach for managing urban water resources: Recover (storm water), Reduce (toilet flushing water), Recycle (gray water), Resource (black water), and Reuse (advanced-treated wastewater). The 5R generation incorporates the latest ideas for harvesting storm water, gray water, and black water in its several forms. This paper has briefly demonstrated each R of 5R generation for water treatment and reuse. China has the chance to upgrade its urban water systems according to 5R principles. Already, a demonstration project of 5R generation has been installed in Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition, and Dalian International Convention Center (China) has applied 5R, achieving over 70% water saving. The 5R offers promise for moving solutions for urban water scarcity from “hoped for in the future” to “realistic today”.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Chi Zhang, Wenhui Kuang, Jianguo Wu, Jiyuan Liu, Hanqin Tian
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(2): 29. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1321-2

    • China’s rural industrial land (RIL) area quadrupled from 1990 to 2015.

    • RIL expansion cost 9% of China’s crop production and threatened human/ecosystem safety.

    • The underprivileged population bears a disproportionally large share of the risks.

    China’s rural industrialization has been a major driver for its rapid economic growth during the recent decades, but its myriad environmental risks are yet to be fully understood. Based on a comprehensive national land-use data set, our study shows that the area of China’s rural industrial land (RIL) quadrupled during 1990–2015, reaching 39000 km2 in 2015, comparable to urbanization in magnitude but with a much greater degree of landscape fragmentation which implies stronger ecological and environmental impacts. About 91% of the protected areas in the central China were within 50 km from rural industrial land, thus exposed to industrial disturbances. Accelerated rural industrial land expansion, particularly in regions under high geo-hazard risks, led to dramatically increased environmental risks, threatening the safety and health of both rural industrial workers and residents. Moreover, negative effects from rural industrial land expansion could partially offset the crop production growth in recent decades. The underprivileged rural population in the west bears a disproportionally large share of the increased environmental risks. China urgently needs to design and implement sustainable policies to restrict and reshape its rural industrialization. This study aims to inspire policy makers and researchers to rethink the current model of industrial expansion and improve rural industrial land planning, which is important for achieving the sustainable development goals of China.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Sanjena Narayanasamydamodaran, Jian’e Zuo, Haiteng Ren, Nawnit Kumar
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(4): 66. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1358-2

    • Microbes enhance denitrification under varying DO concentrations and SIF dosages.

    • Abiotic nitrate reduction rates are proportional to SIF age and dosage.

    • Over 80% of the simultaneously loaded NO3-N and PO43 is removed biologically.

    This study focuses on identifying the factors under which mixed microbial seeds assist bio-chemical denitrification when Scrap Iron Filings (SIF) are used as electron donors and adsorbents in low C/N ratio waters. Batch studies were conducted in abiotic and biotic reactors containing fresh and aged SIF under different dissolved oxygen concentrations with NO3-N and/or PO43- influent(s) and their nitrate/phosphate removal and by-product formations were studied. Batch reactors were seeded with a homogenized mixed microbial inoculum procured from natural sludges which were enriched over 6 months under denitrifying conditions in the presence of SIF. Results indicated that when influent containing 40 mg/L of NO3-N was treated with 5 g SIF, 79.9% nitrate reduction was observed in 8 days abiotically and 100% removal was accomplished in 20 days when the reactor was seeded. Both abiotic and seeded reactors removed more than 92% PO43 under high DO conditions in 12 days. Abiotic and biochemical removal of NO3-N and abiotic removal of PO43 were higher under independent NO3-N/PO43 loading, while 99% PO43- was removed biochemically under combined NO3-N and PO43 loading. This study furthers the understandings of nitrate and phosphate removal in Zero Valent Iron (ZVI) assisted mixed microbial systems to encourage the application of SIF-supported bio-chemical processes in the simultaneous removals of these pollutants.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yuanyuan Luo, Yangyang Zhang, Mengfan Lang, Xuetao Guo, Tianjiao Xia, Tiecheng Wang, Hanzhong Jia, Lingyan Zhu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 96. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1340-z

    • The source of DOM in surface water and sediment is inconsistent.

    • The DOC content changes differently in surface water and sediment.

    • The content of DOC in the surface water is lower than that in the sediment.

    • The DOM in the surface water had higher photodegradation potentials than sediment.

    Dissolved organic matter (DOM) in rivers is a critical regulator of the cycling and toxicity of pollutants and the behavior of DOM is a key indicator for the health of the environment. We investigated the sources and characteristics of DOM in surface water and sediment samples of the Wei River, China. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm (UV254) increased in the surface water and were decreased in the sediment downstream, indicating that the source of DOM in the water differed from the sediment. Parallel factor (PARAFAC) analysis of the excitation-emission matrices (EEM) revealed the presence of terrestrial humus-like, microbial humus-like and tryptophan-like proteins in the surface water, whereas the sediment contained UVA humic-like, UVC humic-like and fulvic-like in the sediment. The DOM in the surface water and sediment were mainly derived from microbial metabolic activity and the surrounding soil. Surface water DOM displayed greater photodegradation potential than sediment DOM. PARAFAC analysis indicated that the terrestrial humic-like substance in the water and the fulvic-like component in the sediment decomposed more rapidly. These data describe the characteristics of DOM in the Wei River and are crucial to understanding the fluctuations in environmental patterns.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yingdan Zhang, Na Liu, Wei Wang, Jianteng Sun, Lizhong Zhu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2020, 14(6): 103. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-020-1282-5

    • The rice growth was promoted by nano-TiO2 of 0.1–100 mg/L.

    • Nano-TiO2 enhanced the energy storage in photosynthesis.

    • Nano-TiO2 reduced energy consumption in carbohydrate metabolism and TCA cycle.

    Titanium dioxide nanoparticle (nano-TiO2), as an excellent UV absorbent and photo-catalyst, has been widely applied in modern industry, thus inevitably discharged into environment. We proposed that nano-TiO2 in soil can promote crop yield through photosynthetic and metabolic disturbance, therefore, we investigated the effects of nano-TiO2 exposure on related physiologic-biochemical properties of rice (Oryza sativa L.). Results showed that rice biomass was increased >30% at every applied dosage (0.1–100 mg/L) of nano-TiO2. The actual photosynthetic rate (Y(II)) significantly increased by 10.0% and 17.2% in the treatments of 10 and 100 mg/L respectively, indicating an increased energy production from photosynthesis. Besides, non-photochemical quenching (Y(NPQ)) significantly decreased by 19.8%–26.0% of the control in all treatments respectively, representing a decline in heat dissipation. Detailed metabolism fingerprinting further revealed that a fortified transformation of monosaccharides (D-fructose, D-galactose, and D-talose) to disaccharides (D-cellobiose, and D-lactose) was accompanied with a weakened citric acid cycle, confirming the decrease of energy consumption in metabolism. All these results elucidated that nano-TiO2 promoted rice growth through the upregulation of energy storage in photosynthesis and the downregulation of energy consumption in metabolism. This study provides a mechanistic understanding of the stress-response hormesis of rice after exposure to nano-TiO2, and provides worthy information on the potential application and risk of nanomaterials in agricultural production.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Guowen Hu, Zeqi Zhang, Xuan Zhang, Tianrong Li
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2021, 15(5): 108. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-021-1396-4

    • Size and shape-dependent MnFe2O4 NPs were prepared via a facile method.

    • Ligand-exchange chemistry was used to prepare the hydrophilic MnFe2O4 NPs.

    • The catalytic properties of MnFe2O4 NPs toward dye degradation were fully studied.

    • The catalytic activities of MnFe2O4 NPs followed Michaelis–Menten behavior.

    • All the MnFe2O4 NPs exhibit selective degradation to different dyes.

    The magnetic nanoparticles that are easy to recycle have tremendous potential as a suitable catalyst for environmental toxic dye pollutant degradation. Rationally engineering shapes and tailoring the size of nanocatalysts are regarded as an effective manner for enhancing performances. Herein, we successfully synthesized three kinds of MnFe2O4 NPs with distinctive sizes and shapes as catalysts for reductive degradation of methylene blue, rhodamine 6G, rhodamine B, and methylene orange. It was found that the catalytic activities were dependent on the size and shape of the MnFe2O4 NPs and highly related to the surface-to-volume ratio and atom arrangements. Besides, all these nanocatalysts exhibit selectivity to different organic dyes, which is beneficial for their practical application in dye pollutant treatment. Furthermore, the MnFe2O4 NPs could be readily recovered by a magnet and reused more than ten times without appreciable loss of activity. The size and shape effects of MnFe2O4 nanoparticles demonstrated in this work not only accelerate further understanding the nature of nanocatalysts but also contribute to the precise design of nanoparticles catalyst for pollutant degradation.