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13 December 2015
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Latest on-line papers from the SEGH journal: Environmental Geochemistry and Health

  • Determination of biomarkers for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) toxicity to earthworm ( Eisenia fetida ) 2015-04-29


    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds are persistent, carcinogenic, and mutagenic. When PAHs enter agricultural soils through sewage sludge, they pose an environmental risk to soil organisms, including earthworms. Therefore, we aimed to determine the toxic effects of PAHs on earthworms. Five PAHs were used: fluorene, anthracene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene. Only fluorene and phenanthrene exhibited toxicity (LC50 values 394.09 and 114.02 g L−1, respectively) against the earthworm Eisenia fetida. None of the other PAHs tested in this study enhanced the mortality of adult earthworm until the concentrations reached to 1000 g L−1. After exposure to PAHs, acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in E. fetida decreased in a concentration-dependent manner, and phenanthrene exhibited the strongest inhibitory effect on AChE, followed by fluorene. Activity of a representative detoxifying enzyme, carboxylesterase, was dramatically reduced in E. fetida exposed to all tested PAHs in comparison with that observed in the control test. The remaining glutathione S-transferase activity significantly decreased in E. fetida after exposure to PAHs. To profile small proteins <20 kDa, SELDI-TOF MS with Q10 ProteinChips was used, and 54 proteins were identified as being significantly different from the control (p = 0.05). Among them, the expressions of three proteins at 4501.8, 4712.4, and 4747.9 m/z were only enhanced in E. fetida exposed to anthracene and pyrene. One protein with 16,174 m/z was selectively expressed in E. fetida exposed to fluorene, phenanthrene, and fluoranthene. These proteins may be potential biomarkers for the five PAHs tested in E. fetida.

  • Increase in platinum group elements in Mexico City as revealed from growth rings of Taxodium mucronatum ten 2015-04-24


    Tree rings may be used as indicators of contamination events providing information on the chronology and the elemental composition of the contamination. In this framework, we report PGEs enrichment in growth rings of Taxodium mucronatum ten for trees growing in the central area of Mexico City as compared to trees growing in a non-urban environment. Concentrations of PGE were determined by ICP-MS analysis on microwave-digested tree rings. The element found in higher concentrations was Pd (1.13–87.98 μg kg−1), followed by Rh (0.28–36.81 μg kg−1) and Pt (0.106–7.21 μg kg−1). The concentration trends of PGEs in the tree-ring sequences from the urban area presented significant correlation values when comparing between trees (r between 0.618 and 0.98, P < 0.025) and between elements within individual trees (r between 0.76 and 0.994, P < 0.01). Furthermore, a clear increase was observed for rings after 1997, with enrichment of up to 60 times the mean concentration found for the sequence from the non-urban area and up to 40 times the mean concentration for the pre-1991 period in the urban trees. These results also demonstrate the feasibility of applying T. mucronatum ten to be used as a bioindicator of the increase in PGE in urban environments.

  • Trace elements distributions at Datoko-Shega artisanal mining site, northern Ghana 2015-04-24


    Environmental geochemistry classifies elements into essential, non-essential and toxic elements in relationship to human health. To assess the environmental impact of mining at Datoko-Shega area, the distributions and concentrations of trace elements in stream sediments and soil samples were carried out. X-ray fluorescence analytical technique was used to measure the major and trace element concentrations in sediments and modified fire assay absorption spectrometry in soils. The results showed general depletion of major elements except titanium oxide (TiO2) compared to the average crustal concentrations. The retention of TiO2 at the near surface environment probably was due to the intense tropical weathering accompanied by the removal of fine sediments and soil fractions during the harmattan season by the dry north-east trade winds and sheet wash deposits formed after flash floods. The results also showed extreme contamination of selenium (Se), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg), plus strong contaminations of arsenic (As) and chromium (Cr) in addition to moderate contamination of lead (Pb) in the trace element samples relative to crustal averages in the upper continental crust. However Hg, Pb and Cd concentrations tend to be high around the artisanal workings. It was recognised from the analysis of the results that the artisanal mining activity harnessed and introduces some potentially toxic elements such as Hg, Cd and Pb mostly in the artisan mine sites. But the interpretation of the trace element data thus invalidates the elevation of As concentrations to be from the mine operations. It consequently noticed As values in the mine-impacted areas to be similar or sometimes lower than As values in areas outside the mine sites from the stream sediment results.