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Environmental Chemistry publishes papers reporting chemistry that enhances our understanding of the environment including air, water, soil, sediments, and biota. More

Editor-in-Chief: Kevin Francesconi


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Published online 18 September 2014
Effectiveness of various sorbents and biological oxidation in the removal of arsenic species from groundwater 
Anna Corsini, Lucia Cavalca, Gerard Muyzer and Patrizia Zaccheo

Environmental context. Arsenic contamination of aquifers is a worldwide public health concern and several technologies have been developed to reduce the arsenic content of groundwater. We investigated the efficiency of various materials for arsenic removal from groundwater and found that iron-based sorbents have great affinity for arsenic even if groundwater composition can depress their ability to bind arsenic. Moreover, we showed that the use of microorganisms can enhance the removal of arsenic from groundwater.

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Published online 16 September 2014
Biosynthesis of arsenolipids by the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 
Xi-Mei Xue, Georg Raber, Simon Foster, Song-Can Chen, Kevin A. Francesconi and Yong-Guan Zhu

Environmental context. Arsenic biotransformation processes play a key role in the cycling of arsenic in aquatic systems. We show that a freshwater cyanobacterium can convert inorganic arsenic into arsenolipids, and the conversion efficiency depends on the arsenic concentration. The role of these novel arsenic compounds remains to be elucidated.

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    | Supplementary Material (234 KB)
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Published online 15 September 2014
Improved groundwater geogenic arsenic hazard map for Cambodia 
C. Sovann and D. A. Polya

Environmental context. Groundwater arsenic is a major environmental risk to human health in many regions of the world, including Cambodia where groundwater is often used for drinking water. We present data for hitherto poorly sampled regions in Cambodia, notably around Tonle Sap and in the coastal provinces, and provide a geo-statistical model of arsenic in shallow groundwater for the whole country.

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Published online 15 September 2014
Dissolution of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles under natural freshwater conditions 
Niksa Odzak, David Kistler, Renata Behra and Laura Sigg

Environmental context. Engineered nanomaterials (e.g. silver, zinc oxide and copper oxide) are being widely used in many consumer products such are cosmetics, food packaging and textiles. During their usage and treatment, they will be released to natural waters and partly dissolve, depending on the water type and nanomaterial characteristics. These nanomaterials may thus have some toxic effects to aquatic organisms and indirectly to humans because of higher concentrations of dissolved silver, zinc and copper in natural waters.

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Published online 09 September 2014
Arsenic mobility and toxicity in South and South-east Asia – a review on biogeochemistry, health and socio-economic effects, remediation and risk predictions 
E. Marie Muehe and Andreas Kappler

Environmental context. The presence of high arsenic concentrations in South and South-east Asian groundwater causes dramatic health issues for the local population. As a consequence, scientists, governments and agencies investigate arsenic-related health issues and arsenic origin, fate and behaviour in ground- and drinking water and have started to provide remediation and mitigation strategies. This review broadly summarises our current knowledge on arsenic biogeochemistry, health and socio-economic effects, remediation and risk predications in Asia and discusses current and future research directions.

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Published online 05 September 2014
Voltammetric study of an FeS layer on a Hg electrode in supersaturated FeS chloride solution 
D. Krznarić and I. Ciglenečki

Environmental context. During the electrochemical analysis of natural waters, the Hg electrode could become the site for surface metal sulfide formation, such as FeS, which can have significant influence on the voltammetric determination of FeII. Reduction of FeII in such conditions can occur both on the bare Hg surface and on the FeS-modified Hg surface. Until recently, measurements of FeII have considered only the signal obtained from reduction on the bare Hg surface, and hence may have underdetermined the true FeII content of natural samples.

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Published online 14 August 2014
Release of arsenite, arsenate and methyl-arsenic species from streambed sediment affected by acid mine drainage: a microcosm study 
Marina Héry, Corinne Casiot, Eléonore Resongles, Zoe Gallice, Odile Bruneel, Angélique Desoeuvre and Sophie Delpoux

Environmental context. Arsenic-rich waters generated from the oxidation of mining wastes are responsible for the severe contamination of river waters and sediments located downstream from mining sites. Under certain environmental conditions, the affected riverbed sediments may represent a reservoir for arsenic from which this toxic element may be released into water, mainly as a consequence of microbial activity.

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Published online 08 August 2014
In vitro cytotoxicity assessment of a hydraulic fracturing fluid 
Madeleine E. Payne, Heather F. Chapman, Janet Cumming and Frederic D. L. Leusch

Environmental context. Hydraulic fracturing fluids, used in large volumes by the coal seam gas mining industry, are potentially present in the environment either in underground formations or in mine wastewater (produced water). Previous studies of the human health and environmental effects of this practice have been limited because they use only desktop methods and have not considered combined mixture toxicity. We use a novel in vitro method for toxicity assessment, and describe the toxicity of a hydraulic fracturing fluid on a human gastrointestinal cell line.

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Published online 30 July 2014
Solid-phase characterisation of an effective household sand filter for As, Fe and Mn removal from groundwater in Vietnam 
Andreas Voegelin, Ralf Kaegi, Michael Berg, Katja Sonja Nitzsche, Andreas Kappler, Vi Mai Lan, Pham Thi Kim Trang, Jörg Göttlicher and Ralph Steininger

Environmental context. Household sand filters are widely used in Vietnam to remove As, Fe and Mn from groundwater used as drinking water. From the solid-phase characterisation of a sand filter that has been used for 8 years, we conclude that As and Fe are retained by a combination of fast sorption reactions, surface-catalysed Fe oxidation and mediated As co-oxidation and that microbial processes are probably involved in effective Mn retention. This study contributes to a better mechanistic understanding of filter functioning as a basis for further improvements in filter design and operation.

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Published online 20 June 2014
Microbial fuel cells under extreme salinity: performance and microbial analysis 
Oihane Monzon, Yu Yang, Cong Yu, Qilin Li and Pedro J. J. Alvarez

Environmental context. The treatment of extremely saline, high-strength wastewaters while producing electricity represents a great opportunity to mitigate environmental effects and recover resources associated with wastes from shale oil and gas production. This paper demonstrates that extreme halophilic microbes can produce electricity at salinity up to 3- to 7-fold higher than sea water.

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blank image Environmental Chemistry
Volume 11 Number 4 2014
RESEARCH FRONT: Detection of Nanoparticles in the Environment

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Foreword to the Research Front on Detection of nanoparticles in the environment 
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Kevin J. Wilkinson , Jason M. Unrine and Jamie R. Lead
pp. i-ii

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Current status and future direction for examining engineered nanoparticles in natural systems 
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Manuel D. Montaño , Gregory V. Lowry , Frank von der Kammer , Julie Blue and James F. Ranville
pp. 351-366

Environmental context. The detection and characterisation of engineered nanomaterials in the environment is essential for exposure and risk assessment for this emerging class of materials. However, the ubiquitous presence of naturally occurring nanomaterials presents a unique challenge for the accurate determination of engineered nanomaterials in environmental matrices. New techniques and methodologies are being developed to overcome some of these issues by taking advantage of subtle differences in the elemental and isotopic ratios within these nanomaterials.


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In situ characterisation of physicochemical state and concentration of nanoparticles in soil ecotoxicity studies using environmental scanning electron microscopy 
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Jani Tuoriniemi , Stefan Gustafsson , Eva Olsson and Martin Hassellöv
pp. 367-376

Environmental context. Characterisation of nanoparticles in terms of number concentration and aggregation state is essential for interpreting data from toxicological tests. These parameters have never been measured in situ in tests carried out in soil matrices. Here, environmental scanning electron microscopy imaging is evaluated for particles in soil, and a method for determining the number concentrations by counting the particles in the images is developed.


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Observations and assessment of iron oxide and green rust nanoparticles in metal-polluted mine drainage within a steep redox gradient 
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Carol A. Johnson , Gina Freyer , Maria Fabisch , Manuel A. Caraballo , Kirsten Küsel and Michael F. Hochella
pp. 377-391

Environmental context. Legacy contamination from mining operations is a serious and complex environmental problem. We examine a former uranium mine where groundwater leaving the site enters a stream with chemically dramatic effects resulting in a fundamental change in the way contaminant metals are transported to the surface environment. The results are important for our understanding of how these contaminants are dispersed, and how they could interact with the biosphere.

    | Supplementary Material (663 KB)

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Separation, detection and characterisation of engineered nanoparticles in natural waters using hydrodynamic chromatography and multi-method detection (light scattering, analytical ultracentrifugation and single particle ICP-MS) 
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Kim Proulx and Kevin J. Wilkinson
pp. 392-401

Environmental context. The effects of engineered nanoparticles on the environment and on human health are difficult to evaluate largely because nanoparticles are so difficult to measure. The main problems are that concentrations are low and the engineered nanoparticles are often difficult to distinguish from the environmental matrices in which they are found. We report a separation technique that facilitates the detection of engineered nanoparticles in natural waters.

   | Supplementary Material (1.4 MB)  |        Open Access Article

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A pilot interlaboratory comparison of protocols that simulate aging of nanocomposites and detect released fragments 
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Wendel Wohlleben , Gemma Vilar , Elisabet Fernández-Rosas , David González-Gálvez , Claus Gabriel , Sabine Hirth , Thomas Frechen , Deborah Stanley , Justin Gorham , Li-Piin Sung , Hsiang-Chun Hsueh , Yu-Fan Chuang , Tinh Nguyen and Socorro Vazquez-Campos
pp. 402-418

Environmental context. Nanoparticles are contained in many commercialised products, but the lack of validated methods to assess their potential release into the environment hampers our ability to perform a reliable risk assessment. Equipment to simulate aging is available, but the challenge is to sample released entities, and to analyse those fragments with suitable nano-analytics. We describe methods to characterise the degradation and surface accumulation of nanoparticles, and to quantify fragments released during UV irradiation of polymer nanocomposites.

    | Supplementary Material (1024 KB)

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The persistence and transformation of silver nanoparticles in littoral lake mesocosms monitored using various analytical techniques 
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Lindsay M. Furtado , Md Ehsanul Hoque , Denise F. Mitrano , James F. Ranville , Beth Cheever , Paul C. Frost , Marguerite A. Xenopoulos , Holger Hintelmann and Chris D. Metcalfe
pp. 419-430

Environmental context. Silver nanoparticles discharged with municipal wastewater may contaminate surface waters and harm aquatic ecosystems. We applied several analytical techniques to investigate the persistence and transformation of silver nanoparticles in a natural lake environment, and show, through multiple lines of evidence, that they persisted in lake water for several weeks after addition. The nanoparticles were releasing silver ions through dissolution, but these toxic ions were likely binding with natural organic matter in the lake water.

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Recalcitrant pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment: a comparative screening study of their occurrence, formation of phototransformation products and their in vitro toxicity 
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Marlies Bergheim , Richard Gminski , Bernd Spangenberg , Malgorzata Dębiak , Alexander Bürkle , Volker Mersch-Sundermann , Klaus Kümmerer and Reto Gieré
pp. 431-444

Environmental context. Many pharmaceuticals on the market have not undergone detailed evaluation for potential aquatic toxicity. We found that most tested pharmaceuticals were persistent, that phototransformation products were likely to be formed as a result of UV treatment of wastewater and that some transformation products were more toxic to bacteria than their precursor pharmaceutical compound. Thus UV treatment of wastewater does not seem appropriate to completely degrade or transform micropollutants into harmless compounds.

   | Supplementary Material (603 KB)  |        Open Access Article

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The effect of anthropogenic volatile organic compound sources on ozone in Boise, Idaho 
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Victor Vargas , Marie-Cecile Chalbot , Robert O’Brien , George Nikolich , David W. Dubois , Vic Etyemezian and Ilias G. Kavouras
pp. 445-458

Environmental context. Volatile organic compounds are precursors of ozone, a pollutant with adverse environmental effects. It is important to determine the associations between the various sources of volatile organic compounds and ozone levels because emission controls are based on sources. We estimated the contributions of specific sources of volatile organic compounds on ozone levels using both measurements and statistical models, and found that traffic is the largest source even in events when wildfire smoke is present.


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Investigating the photo-oxidative and heterogeneous chemical production of HCHO in the snowpack at the South Pole, Antarctica 
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P. D. Hamer , D. E. Shallcross , A. Yabushita , M. Kawasaki , V. Marécal and C. S. Boxe
pp. 459-471

Snowpacks present a surprisingly active environment for photochemistry, leading to sunlight-induced oxidation of deposited organic matter and the subsequent emission of a variety of photochemically active trace gases. We seek to address questions regarding the ultimate fate of organic matter deposited onto snow in the remote regions of the world. The work is relevant to atmospheric composition and climate change.

   |        Open Access Article

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Analysis of soil organic matter at the solid–water interface by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy 
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Stephanie C. Genest , Myrna J. Simpson , André J. Simpson , Ronald Soong and David J. McNally
pp. 472-482

Environmental context. Structural and conformational information on organic matter–clay complexes and whole soils was obtained using different NMR methods. The results show that organic matter interactions with clay mineral surfaces determine the accessibility of specific organic matter components at the soil–water interface. This physical conformation may also play a role in soil biogeochemical processes and binding to pollutants in terrestrial environments.


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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.

    EN14093  Accepted 16 September 2014
    Reversible exchange of stable nitroxyl radicals on nanosilver particles
    Mark Chappell, Lesley Miller, Cynthia Price

    EN14116  Accepted 01 September 2014
    Degradation of Oxytetracycline in the Aquatic Environment: A proposed Steady State Kinetic Model that takes into account Hydrolysis, Photolysis, Microbial Degradation and Adsorption by Colloidal and Sediment Particles.
    Mark Zaranyika, Pamhidzai Dzomba, Jameson Kugara

    EN14035  Accepted 30 August 2014
    Fe(II)aq - Fe(III)oxide electron transfer and Fe exchange: Effect of organic carbon
    Timothy Pasakarnis, Michael McCormick, Gene Parkin, Aaron Thompson, Michelle Scherer

    EN14008  Accepted 30 August 2014
    Effect of multivalent cations, temperature, and ageing on SOM interfacial properties
    Doerte Diehl, Tatjana Schneckenburger, Jaane Krueger, Marc-Oliver Goebel, Susanne Woche, Jette Schwarz, Anastasia Shchegolikhina, Friederike Lang, Bernd Marschner, Soeren Thiele-Bruhn, Joerg Bachmann, Gabriele Schaumann

    EN13216  Accepted 30 August 2014
    Interpretation of Heavy Metal Speciation in Sequential Extraction Using Geochemical Modeling
    Yanshan Cui, Liping Weng

    EN14127  Accepted 22 August 2014
    A Critical Review of Nanohybrids: Synthesis, Applications, and Environmental Implications
    Nirupam Aich, Jaime Plazas-Tuttle, Jamie Lead, Navid Saleh

    EN14086  Accepted 14 August 2014
    Metal ion complexation by soft nanoparticles: the impact of Ca2+ on electrostatic and chemical contributions to the Eigen-type reaction rate
    Raewyn Town

    EN14123  Accepted 13 August 2014
    Antimony leaching from contaminated soil under manganese- and iron-reducing conditions: column experiments
    Kerstin Hockmann, Susan Tandy, Markus Lenz, Rainer Schulin

    EN13240  Accepted 12 August 2014
    Synchrotron XAS analysis of arsenic chemical speciation in human nail clippings
    Olena Ponomarenko, Mihai Gherase, Mark LeBlanc, Chang-Yong Kim, Elstan Desouza, Michael Farquharson, Fiona McNeill, Susan Nehzati, Ingrid Pickering, Graham George, David Fleming

    EN14045  Accepted 02 August 2014
    Geochemical Reaction Mechanism Discovery from Molecular Simulation.
    Andrew Stack, Paul Kent

    EN14100  Accepted 26 July 2014
    Lability of Pb in soil: effects of soil properties and contaminant source.
    Lingchen Mao, Elizabeth Bailey, Jonathan Chester, Joseph Dean, E Ander, Simon Chenery, Scott Young

    EN14047  Accepted 25 July 2014
    Measurement of labile arsenic speciation in water and soil using Diffusive Gradients in Thin-films (DGT) and X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (XANES)
    Trang Huynh, Hugh Harris, Hao Zhang, Barry Noller

    EN14097  Accepted 23 July 2014
    Seasonal distributions and sources of low molecular weight dicarboxylic acids, ω-oxocarboxylic acids, pyruvic acid, α-dicarbonyls and fatty acids in ambient aerosols from subtropical Okinawa in the western Pacific rim
    Bhagawati Kunwar, Kimitaka Kawamura

    EN14039  Accepted 23 July 2014
    Arsenic cycling in freshwater phytoplankton and zooplankton cultures
    Guilhem Caumette, Iris Koch, Kim House, Ken Reimer

    EN14041  Accepted 21 July 2014
    Oxidation of Cr(III) Aminocarboxylate Complexes by Hydrous Manganese Oxide: Products and Time Course Behavior
    Richard Carbonaro, Alan Stone

    EN14068  Accepted 11 July 2014
    Interpretation of DGT measurements. Review of a systematic approach
    Josep Galceran, Jaume Puy

    EN14091  Accepted 30 June 2014
    Two dispersive liquid–liquid microextraction methods coupled with GC–MS for the determination of organophosphorus pesticides in field water
    Shang-Ping Chu, Chun-Kai Huang, Pai-Shan Chen, Shang-Da Huang

    EN14078  Accepted 28 June 2014
    Comparative analyses of cadmium and zinc uptake correlated with changes in NRAMP expression in Solanum nigrum L. and Brassica rapa
    Y Song, Lee Hudek, David Freestone, J Puhui, Agnes Michalczyk, Senlin Zheng, M Leigh Ackland

    EN14054  Accepted 27 June 2014
    Chemical and bioanalytical assessment of coal seam gas associated water
    Janet Tang, Mauricio Taulis, Jacinta Edebeli, Frederic Leusch, Paul Jagals, Gregory Jackson, Beate Escher

    EN13222  Accepted 26 June 2014
    In Situ Oxalic Acid Injection to Accelerate Arsenic Remediation at a Superfund Site in New Jersey
    Karen Wovkulich, Martin Stute, Brian Mailloux, Alison Keimowitz, Jame Ross, Benjamin Bostick, Jing Sun, Steven Chillrud

    EN13244  Accepted 10 June 2014
    Deciphering and Predicting Spatial and Temporal Concentrations of Arsenic within the Mekong Delta Aquifer
    Benjamin Kocar, Shawn Benner, Scott Fendorf

    EN14090  Accepted 09 June 2014
    Long Term PM2.5 Trends in the Australian Industrial City of Newcastle: A 15 Year Study from 1998 to 2013
    Eduard Stelcer, David Cohen, Armand Atanacio

    EN13238  Accepted 05 June 2014
    Microbially-mediated reduction of Fe(III) and As(V) in Cambodian sediments amended with 13C-labelled hexadecane and kerogen
    Athanasios Rizoulis, Wafa Al Lawati, Richard Pancost, David Polya, Bart van Dongen, Jon Lloyd

    EN14043  Accepted 27 May 2014
    Ligand- and oxygen-isotope-exchange pathways of geochemical interest
    Bill Casey

    EN14020  Accepted 25 May 2014
    Factors affecting arsenic and uranium removal with zero-valent iron: Laboratory tests with Kanchan™-type iron nail filter columns with different groundwaters
    Christine Wenk, Ralf Kaegi, Stephan Hug

The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 19 December 2013
Organic phosphorus in the aquatic environment

Darren S. Baldwin

2. Published 19 December 2013
Organic fluorine content in aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs) and biodegradation of the foam component 6 : 2 fluorotelomermercaptoalkylamido sulfonate (6 : 2 FTSAS)

Barbara Weiner, Leo W. Y. Yeung, Erin B. Marchington, Lisa A. D'Agostino and Scott A. Mabury

3. Published 19 December 2013
Predicting PbII adsorption on soils: the roles of soil organic matter, cation competition and iron (hydr)oxides

Zhenqing Shi, Herbert E. Allen, Dominic M. Di Toro, Suen-Zone Lee and James B. Harsh

4. Published 25 October 2013
Composition of water-soluble organic carbon in non-urban atmospheric aerosol collected at the Storm Peak Laboratory

Vera Samburova, A. Gannet Hallar, Lynn R. Mazzoleni, Parichehr Saranjampour, Douglas Lowenthal, Steven D. Kohl and Barbara Zielinska

5. Published 25 February 2014
Hard X-ray synchrotron biogeochemistry: piecing together the increasingly detailed puzzle

Enzo Lombi, Ryo Sekine and Erica Donner

6. Published 25 February 2014
Visualising Fe speciation diversity in ocean particulate samples by micro X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy

Matthew A. Marcus and Phoebe J. Lam

7. Published 28 April 2014
Metal complexation by organic ligands (L) in near-pristine estuarine waters: evidence for the identity of L

Hollydawn Murray, Guillaume Meunier, Dagmar B. Stengel and Rachel Cave

8. Published 24 June 2014
Aquatic toxicity of manufactured nanomaterials: challenges and recommendations for future toxicity testing

Aaron G. Schultz, David Boyle, Danuta Chamot, Kimberly J. Ong, Kevin J. Wilkinson, James C. McGeer, Geoff Sunahara and Greg G. Goss

9. Published 25 February 2014
Effect of biogeochemical redox processes on the fate and transport of As and U at an abandoned uranium mine site: an X-ray absorption spectroscopy study

Lyndsay D. Troyer, James J. Stone and Thomas Borch

10. Published 28 April 2014
A critical look at the calculation of the binding characteristics and concentration of iron complexing ligands in seawater with suggested improvements

Loes J. A. Gerringa, Micha J. A. Rijkenberg, Charles-Edouard Thuróczy and Leo R. M. Maas

11. Published 28 April 2014
Voltammetric characterisation of macroalgae-exuded organic ligands (L) in response to Cu and Zn: a source and stimuli for L

Hollydawn Murray, Guillaume Meunier, Constant M. G. van den Berg, Rachel R. Cave and Dagmar B. Stengel

12. Published 19 December 2013
Bauxite residue neutralisation precipitate stability in acidic environments

Sara J. Couperthwaite, Sujung Han, Talitha Santini, Gurkiran Kaur, Dean W. Johnstone, Graeme J. Millar and Ray L. Frost

13. Published 25 October 2013
Secondary organic aerosol tracers and malic acid in Hong Kong: seasonal trends and origins

Di Hu and Jian Zhen Yu

14. Published 25 February 2014
Environmental chemistry: a discipline standing on two shoulders

Montserrat Filella

15. Published 25 February 2014
Scaling up: fulfilling the promise of X-ray microprobe for biogeochemical research

Brandy M. Toner, Sarah L. Nicholas and Jill K. Coleman Wasik

16. Published 24 June 2014
Speciation mapping of environmental samples using XANES imaging

Barbara E. Etschmann, Erica Donner, Joël Brugger, Daryl L. Howard, Martin D. de Jonge, David Paterson, Ravi Naidu, Kirk G. Scheckel, Chris G. Ryan and Enzo Lombi

17. Published 25 February 2014
Diffusion limitation of zinc fluxes into wheat roots, PLM and DGT devices in the presence of organic ligands

A. Gramlich, S. Tandy, E. Frossard, J. Eikenberg and R. Schulin

18. Published 25 February 2014
Synchrotron X-ray distinction of seasonal hydrological and temperature patterns in speleothem carbonate

Peter M. Wynn, Ian J. Fairchild, Christoph Spötl, Adam Hartland, Dave Mattey, Barbara Fayard and Marine Cotte

19. Published 25 October 2013
Combination of nitrate (N, O) and boron isotopic ratios with microbiological indicators for the determination of nitrate sources in karstic groundwater

Cyrielle Briand, Valérie Plagnes, Mathieu Sebilo, Pascale Louvat, Thierry Chesnot, Maude Schneider, Pierre Ribstein and Pierre Marchet

20. Published 24 June 2014
Isotopically modified silver nanoparticles to assess nanosilver bioavailability and toxicity at environmentally relevant exposures

Marie-Noële Croteau, Agnieszka D. Dybowska, Samuel N. Luoma, Superb K. Misra and Eugenia Valsami-Jones

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