Volume 13 Number 6 2016
RESEARCH FRONT: Antimony – Environmental Issues to Human Health
EN16028Analysis of antimony species – lessons learnt from more than two decades of environmental research
Environmental context. The environmental behaviour and toxicological effects of antimony depend strongly on the specific form of the element, and thus methods have been developed for measuring the various forms of antimony. These methods, applicable to quite clean samples, often fail when applied to more complex environmental samples. We discuss some of the pitfalls in determining environmental antimony forms and the resulting risk of getting the bigger picture wrong regarding antimony pollution.
Environmental context. Antimony enters the soil mostly through mining and shooting activities and can thereafter be taken up by plants. In the soil, antimony may undergo several transformations such as biomethylation, leading to the formation of trimethylantimony. Here, we measured for the first time the uptake and translocation of trimethylantimony in a plant using a new extraction and analysis method.
EN16013Soluble secondary minerals of antimony in Pezinok and Kremnica (Slovakia) and the question of mobility or immobility of antimony in mine waters
Environmental context. Antimony enters the environment from tailings and mines but there are widely divergent statements about its mobility in the environment. This work addresses the question of mobility of Sb by a combination of mineralogical and geochemical studies.
Environmental context. Why does antimony become mobile faster in shooting range soils than in laboratory settings? We used controlled experiments and found that increased salinity and the presence of lead (which occurs with antimony at shooting ranges because they are both used in bullets) accelerate the change of antimony to a form that moves more easily through the watershed. This work helps explain the behaviour of this important pollutant – antimony – in the environment.
EN16029Role of microbial reducing activity in antimony and arsenic release from an unpolluted wetland soil: a lab scale study using sodium azide as a microbial inhibiting agent
Environmental context. Antimony and arsenic are toxic elements occurring naturally in the environment. We found that arsenic release to water from an unpolluted wetland soil is related to microbial reducing activity only, whereas antimony can still be released when this activity is inhibited, suggesting the involvement of additional processes. The findings show that microbial/non-microbial mechanisms control arsenic and antimony release and can thereby impact water quality at wetland outlets.
Environmental context. Antimony is a toxic metalloid that is used in a wide range of modern technology applications and in medical treatments. The accelerating needs for antimony in various industrial applications has led to concerns about increased human and environmental exposure. This review provides a brief summary of the biological properties of antimony and its mechanisms of actions in cells.
Environmental context. Increasing commercial use of antimony is raising its environmental presence and thus possible effects on humans and ecosystems. An important uncertainty is the risk that exposure poses for biological systems. The present work explores the similarity in response of human epidermal keratinocytes, a known target cell type, to antimony and arsenic, where deleterious consequences of exposure to the latter are better known.
Environmental context. Scientific knowledge is continuously built up based on research results, and relies on their efficient and accurate dissemination. Using antimony as an example, a system is proposed that combines ease of access with focussed reviews while keeping track of all published work. This system, termed BUKI (Building Up Knowledge Initiative) is a collaborative approach based on the combination of a web-based platform and the elaboration of systematic reviews.
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EN16128Online analysis of secondary organic aerosols from OH-initiated photooxidation and ozonolysis of α-pinene, β-pinene, Δ3-carene and d-limonene by thermal desorption–photoionisation aerosol mass spectrometry
Environmental context. Secondary organic aerosol, formed by oxidation of volatile precursors such as monoterpenes, is a major contributor to the total atmospheric organic aerosol. We focus on the online mass spectrometric analysis of the aerosol generated by oxidation products of four major monoterpenes in an environmental chamber. Numerous important monoterpene oxidation products were clearly observed and provided a direct comparison of the formation of biogenic secondary organic aerosols.
EN16135Using fluorescence quenching combined with two-dimensional correlation fluorescence spectroscopy to characterise the binding-site heterogeneity of dissolved organic matter with copper and mercury in lake sediments
Environmental context. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) plays an important role in influencing the migration and ultimate fate of metals. Different sources of pollution resulted in changes in the structure of sediment DOM in Lake Wuliangsuhai. We investigate the binding properties of DOM with CuII and HgII using fluorescence quenching combined with two-dimensional correlation spectroscopy (2D-COS) in order to demonstrate the influence of different sources of DOM on metals.
EN16130Ion-exchange technique (IET) for measuring Cu2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+ activities in soils contaminated with metal mixtures
Environmental context. Terrestrial environments receiving trace metal contaminants are often impacted by more than one metal. This study demonstrates the adaptation of an ion-exchange technique to simultaneously obtain Cu2+, Ni2+ and Zn2+ activities in soil extracts. These measurements can be used to better understand and predict the behaviour and bioavailability of soil metals in metal–mixture contamination scenarios.
Environmental context. Eutrophication caused by excessive inputs of phosphorus is a prevalent global environmental problem. Reactive phosphorus released from sediments was measured by two new in situ passive sampling techniques capable of high-resolution measurements of phosphorus concentration. The methods provide the scientific evidence for solving the problems associated with deteriorating surface water quality.
Environmental context. Cerium, a Technology Critical Element with many technical, agricultural, and medicinal applications, is increasingly being discharged to the environment. One of the best ways to remove cerium from wastes is its fixation into inexpensive bulk material such as vermiculite. This paper investigates the mechanism of CeIII and CeIV uptake and capture by vermiculite in neutral and acidic aqueous solutions.
EN16039PEST-ORCHESTRA, a tool for optimising advanced ion-binding model parameters: derivation of NICA-Donnan model parameters for humic substances reactivity
Environmental context. The environmental behaviour of trace metals in soils and waters largely depends on the chemical form (speciation) of the metals. Speciation software programs combining models for the binding of metals to soil and sediment constituents are powerful tools in environmental risk assessment. This paper describes a new combination of speciation software with a fitting program to optimise geochemical model parameters that describes proton and metal binding to humic substances.
EN16080Theoretical study of the hydrolysis of HOSO+NO2 as a source of atmospheric HONO: effects of H2O or NH3
Environmental context. Nitrous acid (HONO) has long been recognized as an important atmospheric pollutant, with the reaction of HOSO + NO2 being a source of HONO. We explore the effects of an additional water or ammonia molecule on this reaction. Calculations show that the ammonia molecule has a more effective role than the water molecule in assisting the reaction.
Environmental context. The fate of nanomaterials in the environment is related to their colloidal stability. Although numerous studies have examined their homoagglomeration, their low concentration and the presence of high concentrations of natural particles implies that heteroagglomeration rather than homoagglomeration is likely to occur under natural conditions. In this paper, two state-of-the art analytical techniques were used to identify the conditions under which nanosilver was most likely to form heteroagglomerates in natural waters.
Environmental context. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes in terrestrial organic matter are widely used for reconstructing past environments, but organic matter is exposed to degradation as soon as it is deposited during what is called early diagenesis. This study explores the effects of this process on organic carbon and nitrogen isotopes, and concludes that it homogenises an environmental signal by integrating all their components. Thus, early diagenesis may not preclude paleoenvironmental reconstructions.
EN16038Insights into natural organic matter and pesticide characterisation and distribution in the Rhone River
Environmental context. Natural organic matter in surface waters is a transport vector for environmental pollutants with both its concentration and composition influencing pollutant fate. Characterisation of organic matter in surface waters, crucial to understanding pollutant transport, should also account for spatial variation along the water source. The present work characterises the natural organic matter in the Rhone River and describes the distributions of various pesticides and metabolites along the river.
These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
Ion exchange technique (IET) to characterize Ag+ exposure in soil extracts contaminated with engineered silver nanoparticles
On-site determination of bisphenol A in river water by a novel solid-state electrochemiluminescence quenching sensor
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