611 research outputs found

    Evening Methane Emission Pulses from a Boreal Wetland Correspond to Convective Mixing in Hollows

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    Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of methane flux from boreal wetlands makes prediction and up-scaling challenging, both within and among wetland systems. Drivers of methane production and emissions are also highly variable, making empirical model development difficult and leading to uncertainty in methane emissions estimates from wetlands. Previous studies have examined this problem using point-scale (static chamber method) and ecosystem-scale (flux tower methods) measurements, but few studies have investigated whether different processes are observed at these scales. We analyzed methane emissions from a boreal fen, measured by both techniques, using data from the Boreal Ecosystem-Atmosphere Study. We sought to identify driving processes associated with methane emissions at two scales and explain diurnal patterns in emissions measured by the tower. The mean methane emission rates from flux chambers were greater than the daytime, daily mean rates measured by the tower, but the nighttime, daily mean emissions from the tower were often an order of magnitude greater than emissions recorded during the daytime. Thus, daytime measurements from either the tower or chambers would lead to a biased estimate of total methane emissions from the wetland. We found that the timing of nighttime emission events was coincident with the cooling and convective mixing within hollows, which occurred regularly during the growing season. We propose that diurnal thermal stratification in shallow pools traps methane by limiting turbulent transport. This methane stored during daytime heating is later released during evening cooling due to convective turbulent mixing

    Triclosan: An Instructive Tale

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    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a final rule to ban triclosan and 18 other antimicrobial chemicals from soaps. We applaud this rule specifically because of the associated risks that triclosan poses to the spread of antibiotic resistance throughout the environment. This persistent chemical constantly stresses bacteria to adapt, and behavior that promotes antibiotic resistance needs to be stopped immediately when the benefits are null

    The Impact of Triclosan on the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment

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    Triclosan (TCS) is a commonly used antimicrobial agent that enters wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and the environment. An estimated 1.1 × 105 to 4.2 × 105 kg of TCS are discharged from these WWTPs per year in the United States. The abundance of TCS along with its antimicrobial properties have given rise to concern regarding its impact on antibiotic resistance in the environment. The objective of this review is to assess the state of knowledge regarding the impact of TCS on multidrug resistance in environmental settings, including engineered environments such as anaerobic digesters. Pure culture studies are reviewed in this paper to gain insight into the substantially smaller body of research surrounding the impacts of TCS on environmental microbial communities. Pure culture studies, mainly on pathogenic strains of bacteria, demonstrate that TCS is often associated with multidrug resistance. Research is lacking to quantify the current impacts of TCS discharge to the environment, but it is known that resistance to TCS and multidrug resistance can increase in environmental microbial communities exposed to TCS. Research plans are proposed to quantitatively define the conditions under which TCS selects for multidrug resistance in the environment

    Altered Antibiotic Tolerance in Anaerobic Digesters Acclimated to Triclosan Or Triclocarban

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    Bench-scale anaerobic digesters were amended to elevated steady-state concentrations of triclosan (850 mg/kg) and triclocarban (150 mg/kg) using a synthetic feed. After more than 9 solids retention time (SRT) values of acclimatization, biomass from each digester (and a control digester that received no antimicrobials) was used to assess the toxicity of three antibiotics. Methane production rate was measured as a surrogate for activity in microcosms that received doses of antibiotics ranging from no-antibiotic to inhibitory concentrations. Biomass amended with triclocarban was more sensitive to tetracycline compared to the control indicating synergistic inhibitory effects between this antibiotic and triclocarban. In contrast, biomass amended with triclosan was able to tolerate statistically higher levels of ciprofloxacin indicating that triclosan can induce functional resistance to ciprofloxacin in an anaerobic digester community

    Autocatalytic Pyrolysis of Wastewater Biosolids for Product Upgrading

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    The main goals for sustainable water resource recovery include maximizing energy generation, minimizing adverse environmental impacts, and recovering beneficial resources. Wastewater biosolids pyrolysis is a promising technology that could help facilities reach these goals because it produces biochar that is a valuable soil amendment as well as bio-oil and pyrolysis gas (py-gas) that can be used for energy. The raw bio-oil, however, is corrosive; therefore, employing it as fuel is challenging using standard equipment. A novel pyrolysis process using wastewater biosolids-derived biochar (WB-biochar) as a catalyst was investigated to decrease bio-oil and increase py-gas yield for easier energy recovery. WB-biochar catalyst increased the py-gas yield nearly 2-fold, while decreasing bio-oil production. The catalyzed bio-oil also contained fewer constituents based on GC-MS and GC-FID analyses. The energy shifted from bio-oil to py-gas, indicating the potential for easier on-site energy recovery using the relatively clean py-gas. The metals contained in wastewater biosolids played an important role in upgrading pyrolysis products. The Ca and Fe in WB-biochar reduced bio-oil yield and increased py-gas yield. The py-gas energy increase may be especially useful at water resource recovery facilities that already combust anaerobic digester biogas for energy since it may be possible to blend biogas and py-gas for combined use

    Curriculum Innovation: Incorporating the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurial Network (KEEN) Framework into Online Discussions

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    The purpose of this study was to respond to the following research question: How does the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurial Network (KEEN) framework build interest in technical topic areas, impact student learning outcomes, and develop the entrepreneurial mindset when applied to the engineering classroom? The KEEN framework was developed to combine the entrepreneurial mindset with engineering education to produce a more valuable, strategically prepared engineer, rather than simply an “obedient engineer”. The framework proposes that the entrepreneurial mindset of students is increased by promoting curiosity, encouraging connections, and creating value. The results from this work provide insight into the impact and implications resulting from applying the KEEN framework to the engineering classroom via online discussions

    The Impacts of Triclosan on Anaerobic Community Structures, Function, and Antimicrobial Resistance

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    Triclosan is a widespread antimicrobial agent that accumulates in anaerobic digesters used to treat the residual solids generated at municipal wastewater treatment plants; there is very little information, however, about how triclosan impacts microbial communities in anaerobic digesters. We investigated how triclosan impacts the community structure, function and antimicrobial resistance genes in lab-scale anaerobic digesters. Previously exposed (to triclosan) communities were amended with 5, 50, and 500 mg/kg of triclosan, corresponding to the median, 95th percentile, and 4-fold higher than maximum triclosan concentration that has been detected in U.S. biosolids. Triclosan amendment caused all of the Bacteria and Archaea communities to structurally diverge from that of the control cultures (based on ARISA). At the end of the experiment, all triclosan-amended Archaea communities had diverged from the control communities, regardless of the triclosan concentration added. In contrast, over time the Bacteria communities that were amended with lower concentrations of triclosan (5 mg/kg and 50 mg/kg) initially diverged and then reconverged with the control community structure. Methane production at 500 mg/kg was nearly half the methane production in control cultures. At 50 mg/kg, a large variability in methane production was observed, suggesting that 50 mg/kg may be a tipping point where function begins to fail in some communities. When previously unexposed communities were exposed to 500 mg triclosan/kg, function was maintained, but the abundance of a gene encoding for triclosan resistance (mexB) increased. This research suggests that triclosan could inhibit methane production in anaerobic digesters if concentrations were to increase and may also select for resistant Bacteria. In both cases, microbial community composition and exposure history alter the influence of triclosan

    Triclosan Adsorption Using Wastewater Biosolids-derived Biochar

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    Organic micropollutants are ubiquitous in the environment and stem from municipal wastewater treatment plant discharges. Adsorption can be used as a tertiary treatment to complement the conventional activated sludge process to remove micropollutants prior to discharge. This research evaluated the performance of wastewater biosolids-derived biochar as an adsorbent to remove triclosan from water. Pre-conditioning of the biochar using hydrochloric acid (HCl) was an essential step for triclosan adsorption. Using acid-conditioned biochar, maximum adsorption of 872 μg triclosan per g biochar was achieved with biochar produced at 800 °C. Biochar produced at higher pyrolysis temperatures tended to have higher triclosan sorption capacity using initial triclosan concentrations of 200 μg L−1 levels. However, pyrolysis temperature had less impact on triclosan sorption at lower, environmentally relevant concentrations. Low solution pH (3) enhanced adsorption and high pH (11) inhibited adsorption. Effective triclosan sorption was observed between pH 5 and 9, with little variation, which is positive for practical applications operated at near-neutral solution pH. In wastewater, acid-treated biochar also effectively sorbed triclosan, albeit at a decreased adsorption capacity and removal rate due to competition from other organic constituents. This study indicated that adsorption may occur mainly due to high surface area, hydrophobicity, and potential interaction between biochar and triclosan functional groups including hydrogen bonding and π-stacking. This work demonstrated that acid-conditioned biosolids-derived biochar could be a suitable sorbent to remove triclosan from wastewater as a final polishing treatment step

    The Impacts of Triclosan on Anaerobic Community Structures, Function, and Antimicrobial Resistance

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    Triclosan is a widespread antimicrobial agent that accumulates in anaerobic digesters used to treat the residual solids generated at municipal wastewater treatment plants; there is very little information, however, about how triclosan impacts microbial communities in anaerobic digesters. We investigated how triclosan impacts the community structure, function and antimicrobial resistance genes in lab-scale anaerobic digesters. Previously exposed (to triclosan) communities were amended with 5, 50, and 500 mg/kg of triclosan, corresponding to the median, 95th percentile, and 4-fold higher than maximum triclosan concentration that has been detected in U.S. biosolids. Triclosan amendment caused all of the Bacteria and Archaea communities to structurally diverge from that of the control cultures (based on ARISA). At the end of the experiment, all triclosan-amended Archaea communities had diverged from the control communities, regardless of the triclosan concentration added. In contrast, over time the Bacteria communities that were amended with lower concentrations of triclosan (5 mg/kg and 50 mg/kg) initially diverged and then reconverged with the control community structure. Methane production at 500 mg/kg was nearly half the methane production in control cultures. At 50 mg/kg, a large variability in methane production was observed, suggesting that 50 mg/kg may be a tipping point where function begins to fail in some communities. When previously unexposed communities were exposed to 500 mg triclosan/kg, function was maintained, but the abundance of a gene encoding for triclosan resistance (mexB) increased. This research suggests that triclosan could inhibit methane production in anaerobic digesters if concentrations were to increase and may also select for resistant Bacteria. In both cases, microbial community composition and exposure history alter the influence of triclosan

    Effect of Pyrolysis on the Removal of Antibiotic Resistance Genes and Class I Integrons from Municipal Wastewater Biosolids

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    Wastewater biosolids represent a significant reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). While current biosolids treatment technologies can reduce ARG levels in residual wastewater biosolids, observed removal rates vary substantially. Pyrolysis is an anoxic thermal degradation process that can be used to convert biosolids into energy rich products including py-gas and py-oil, and a beneficial soil amendment, biochar. Batch pyrolysis experiments conducted on municipal biosolids revealed that the 16S rRNA gene, the ARGs erm(B), sul1, tet(L), tet(O), and the integrase gene of class 1 integrons (intI1) were significantly reduced at pyrolysis temperatures ranging from 300–700 °C, as determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Pyrolysis of biosolids at 500 °C and higher resulted in approximately 6-log removal of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. ARGs with the highest observed removals were sul1 and tet(O), which had observed reductions of 4.62 and 4.04-log, respectively. Pyrolysis reaction time had a significant impact on 16S rRNA, ARG and intI1 levels. A pyrolysis residence time of 5 minutes at 500 °C reduced all genes to below detection limits. These results demonstrate that pyrolysis could be implemented as a biosolids polishing treatment technology to substantially decrease the abundance of total bacteria (i.e., 16S rRNA), ARGs and intI1 prior to land application of municipal biosolids
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