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Journal: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)


Mercury (Hg) is a globally ubiquitous pollutant that has received much attention due to its toxicity to humans and wildlife. The development of non-destructive sampling techniques is a critical step for sustainable monitoring of Hg accumulation. We evaluated the efficacy of non-destructive sampling techniques and assessed spatial, temporal, and demographic factors that influence Hg bioaccumulation in turtles. We collected muscle, blood, nail, and eggs from snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) inhabiting an Hg contaminated river. As predicted, all Hg tissue concentrations strongly and positively correlated with each other. Additionally, we validated our mathematical models against two additional Hg contaminated locations and found that tissue relationships developed from the validation sites did not significantly differ from those generated from the original sampling site. The models provided herein will be useful for a wide array of systems where biomonitoring of Hg in turtles needs to be accomplished in a conservation-minded fashion.

Concepts: Mathematics, Turtle, Demographics, Turtles, Common Snapping Turtle, Turtle soup, Chelydridae


This study investigates the metabolism and mode of action of galaxolide (HHCB) in the European sea bass -Dicentrarchus labrax- following a single intraperitoneal injection of 50 mg HHCB/kg body weight. In addition, a group of fish was injected with 50 mg/kg of ketoconazole (KCZ), a fungicide that is known to interfere with different Cyp isoenzymes. HHCB was actively metabolised by sea bass and acted as a weak inhibitor of the synthesis of oxyandrogens in gonads of male fish. Both, HHCB and a hydroxylated metabolite were detected in bile. The fungicide ketoconazole was a strong inhibitor of Cyp11β and Cyp3a-catalyzed activities. The work contributes to the better understanding of the impact of synthetic musks on fish and proposes the determination of HHCB and/or its hydroxylated metabolite in bile as a tool to assess environmental exposure in wild fish.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, Enzyme inhibitor, Drug metabolism, Xenobiotic metabolism, European seabass, Sea bass


Manufactured nanoparticles (NPs) present in consumer products could enter soils through re-use of biosolids. Among these NPs are those based on silver (Ag), which are found sulphidised (e.g. silver sulphide, Ag2S) in biosolids. Herein, our aim was to examine the release of retained Ag(0) and Ag2S NPs in soils and biosolids as facilitated by environmentally and agriculturally relevant ligands. Under natural soil conditions, exemplified by potassium nitrate and humic acid experiments, release of Ag retained in soil was limited. The highest total Ag release was facilitated by ligands that simulated root exudates (citrate) or fertilisers (thiosulphate). Released Ag was predominantly present in the colloidal phase (>3 kDa-< 0.45 μm); intact NPs only identified in Ag2S-NP extracts. For biosolids containing nanoparticulate-Ag-S, release was also enhanced by thiosulphate, though mostly as colloidal-Ag - not intact NPs. These results suggest that exposure to NPs as a result of its release from soils or biosolids will be low.

Concepts: Ammonia, Soil, Sulfur, Potassium, Silver, Chelation, Humus, Silver sulfide


The fate and lability of added soluble Ag in soils over time was examined by measurement of labile metal (E-value) by isotopic dilution using the (110m)Ag radioactive isotope and the solid-phase speciation of Ag by X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy. After two weeks of ageing the E-values for Ag decreased by 20-90% with a further decrease of 10-40% after six months. The overall decrease in labile Ag for all soils after the 6 month ageing period was 50-100%. The ageing was more rapid and pronounced in the alkaline soils. XANES results for Ag in soils indicated that for the majority of soils the added Ag(+) was reduced to metallic Ag over time, and associations with Fe-oxohydroxides and reduced S groups in organic matter also decreased Ag lability. Strong positive correlations were found between metallic Ag and non-labile Ag and between organic carbon and Ag bonded with S species.

Concepts: Hydrogen, Chemical element, Carbon, Metal, Zinc, Silver, Isotope, Organic matter


Samples of Hypnum cupressiforme were collected at two types of site in forest areas: within the forest stand and within forest openings, and analyzed for N and S concentrations and δ(15)N. Mosses sampled within forest openings reflect the atmospheric N deposition; however, no influence of throughfall N deposition on the N in the moss that was sampled within the forest stand was found, nor was any influence of S deposition on the S in the moss found. For the N and S concentrations in the mosses sampled within forest openings, the within-site variability was comparable to the between-site variability, and for the δ(15)N, the within-site variability was lower than the between-site. The results showed that a short distance (<1 m) between the sampling location and the nearest tree canopy increases the N in the moss, and significantly higher values are found in mosses sampled in areas within the forest stand.

Concepts: Plant, Forest ecology, Mosses


The loss of genetic diversity, due to exposure to chemical contamination (genetic erosion), is a major threat to population viability. Genetic erosion is the loss of genetic variation: the loss of alleles determining the value of a specific trait or set of traits. Almost a third of the known amphibian species is considered to be endangered and a decrease of genetic variability can push them to the verge of extinction. This review indicates that loss of genetic variation due to chemical contamination has effects on: 1) fitness, 2) environmental plasticity, 3) co-tolerance mechanisms, 4) trade-off mechanisms, and 5) tolerance to pathogens in amphibian populations.

Concepts: Gene, Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Evolution, Species, Population genetics, Amphibian, Genetic diversity


The relationship between trace metal concentrations in Pseudoscleropodium purum (Hedw.) M. Fleish. and bulk deposition (BD) was examined at 21 sites (SS) to ascertain whether the lack of correlations reported in previous studies are due to limitations in the experimental design. Thus, we implemented some improvements to it and examined the correlations in depth. We could conclude that this relationship is determined by other variables rather than by the pollutant inputs themselves (BD). Thus, whether or not moss concentrations and bulk deposition are significantly correlated will depend on the combination of the above referred factors in a given area at a given time. Therefore, P. purum in particular, and most likely native terrestrial mosses in general, are less than ideal biomonitors for yielding absolute values of atmospheric trace metal deposition. We recommend their use as qualitative indicators and the use of classical methods to obtain absolute values.

Concepts: Iron, Planet, Correlation and dependence, Mercury, Absolute value, Moss, Mosses


Metal-based nanoparticles (MNPs) may be translocated and biochemically modified in vivo, which may influence the fate of MNPs in the environment. Here, synchrotron-based techniques were used to investigate the behavior of CuO NPs in rice plants exposed to 100 mg/L CuO NPs for 14 days. Micro X-ray fluorescence (μ-XRF) and micro X-ray absorption near edge structure (μ-XANES) analysis revealed that CuO NPs moved into the root epidermis, exodermis, and cortex, and they ultimately reached the endodermis but could not easily pass the Casparian strip; however, the formation of lateral roots provided a potential pathway for MNPs to enter the stele. Moreover, bulk-XANES data showed that CuO NPs were transported from the roots to the leaves, and that Cu (II) combined with cysteine, citrate, and phosphate ligands and was even reduced to Cu (I). CuO NPs and Cu-citrate were observed in the root cells using soft X-ray scanning transmission microscopy (STXM).

Concepts: DNA, Plant, Root, Epidermis, Phloem, Rice, Oryza sativa, Jay-Z


Actual measure-based studies have estimated ingestion rate of moderate and high daily use to female college students and career women in northeast of China. Sequential extraction analyses showed that total bioaccessible metals concentration in lipstick ranged from 2.103 to 31.103 μg/g and in lip balm ranged from 0.100 to 3.716 μg/g. The relationship between total bioaccessible metal concentrations and the cost of lip cosmetics showed a negative correlation. Lead was detected in all 30 products (100%), with an average concentration of 0.346 for lip balm and 0.407 μg/g for lipstick. With the exception of chromium content in three lipsticks, the estimated exposure in female college students and career women to target metals via lipstick and lip balm ingestion (calculated for moderate and high use) were much lower than the acceptable reference limits. The findings strongly emphasize the need to focus on the health risk of lip balm.

Concepts: Mouth, Metal, Mercury, Cosmetics, Heavy metal music, Chromium, Lipstick, Lip gloss


This study focused on the combined effect of environmental conditions (temperature) and contamination (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs) on the activity of soil microorganisms (nitrifying bacteria). Phenanthrene (Phe) at five contamination levels (0, 1, 10, 100 and 1000 mg kg(-1) dry mass of soil) was employed as a model PAH compound in laboratory experiments that were conducted at three temperatures (i.e., 20 °C (recommended by ISO 15685 method), 15 and 30 °C). Three soils with different properties were used in these studies, and the activity of the nitrifying bacteria was assessed based on nitrification potential (NP) determinations. For the statistical evaluation of the results, the ANCOVA (analysis of covariance) method for three independent variables (i.e., temperature, phenanthrene concentration, soil matrix (as a qualitative variable)) and their interactions was employed. The results indicated on the significant interaction of all studied factors. Temperature influenced the toxicity of Phe towards NP, and this effect was related to the Phe concentration as well as was varied for the different soils. A low content of soil organic matter (controlling bioavailability of phenanthrene to soil microorganisms) enhanced the combined effect of temperature and Phe toxicity, and a high biological activity of the soil (high NP values) increased the effect of high temperature on the Phe stimulatory influence. The results indicate that the temperature should not be neglected in tests evaluating PAH ecotoxicity, especially for reliable ecological risk assessment.

Concepts: Archaea, Microbiology, Evaluation, Soil, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Humus, Organic matter, Phenanthrene