Gallo Junior, Adair; Farinha, Andreia S. F.; Dinis Veloso Guerreiro, Miguel; Emwas, Abdul-Hamid M.; Santana, Adriano; Nielsen, Robert J.; Goddard, William A.; Mishra, Himanshu(Chemical Science, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2018-12-21)[Article]
The recent application of electrosprays to characterize the air–water interface, along with the reports on dramatically accelerated chemical reactions in aqueous electrosprays, have sparked a broad interest. Herein, we report on complementary laboratory and in silico experiments tracking the oligomerization of isoprene, an important biogenic gas, in electrosprays and isoprene–water emulsions to differentiate the contributions of interfacial effects from those of high voltages leading to charge-separation and concentration of reactants in the electrosprays. To this end, we employed electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, proton nuclear magnetic resonance, ab initio calculations and molecular dynamics simulations. We found that the oligomerization of isoprene in aqueous electrosprays involved minimally hydrated and highly reactive hydronium ions. Those conditions, however, are non-existent at pristine air–water interfaces and oil–water emulsions under normal temperature and pressure. Thus, electrosprays should be complemented with surface-specific platforms and theoretical methods to reliably investigate chemistries at the pristine air–water interface.
Monitoring the development of vegetation height through time provides a key indicator of crop health and overall condition. Traditional manual approaches for monitoring crop height are generally time consuming, labor intensive and impractical for large-scale operations. Dynamic crop heights collected through the season allow for the identification of within-field problems at critical stages of the growth cycle, providing a mechanism for remedial action to be taken against end of season yield losses. With advances in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies, routine monitoring of height is now feasible at any time throughout the growth cycle. To demonstrate this capability, five digital surface maps (DSM) were reconstructed from high-resolution RGB imagery collected over a field of maize during the course of a single growing season. The UAV retrievals were compared against LiDAR scans for the purpose of evaluating the derived point clouds capacity to capture ground surface variability and spatially variable crop height. A strong correlation was observed between structure-from-motion (SfM) derived heights and pixel-to-pixel comparison against LiDAR scan data for the intra-season bare-ground surface (R2 = 0.77 − 0.99, rRMSE = 0.44% − 0.85%), while there was reasonable agreement between canopy comparisons (R2 = 0.57 − 0.65, rRMSE = 37% − 50%). To examine the effect of resolution on retrieval accuracy and processing time, an evaluation of several ground sampling distances (GSD) was also performed. Our results indicate that a 10 cm resolution retrieval delivers a reliable product that provides a compromise between computational cost and spatial fidelity. Overall, UAV retrievals were able to accurately reproduce the observed spatial variability of crop heights within the maize field through the growing season and provide a valuable source of information with which to inform precision agricultural management in an operational context.
Nitrogen loads in coastal areas have increased dramatically, with detrimental consequences for coastal ecosystems. Shallow sediments and seagrass meadows are hotspots for denitrification, favoring N loss. However, atmospheric dinitrogen (N2) fixation has been reported to support seagrass growth. Therefore, the role of coastal marine systems dominated by seagrasses in the net N2 flux remains unclear. Here, we measured denitrification, anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), and N2 fixation in a tropical seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) meadow and the adjacent bare sediment in a coastal lagoon in the central Red Sea. We detected high annual mean rates of denitrification (34.9±10.3 and 31.6±8.9 mg N m−2 d−1) and anammox (12.4±3.4 and 19.8±4.4 mg N m−2 d−1) in vegetated and bare sediments. The annual mean N loss was higher (between 8 and 63-fold) than the N2 fixed (annual mean = 5.9±0.2 and 0.8±0.3 mg N m−2 d−1) in the meadow and bare sediment, leading to a net flux of N2 from sediments to the atmosphere. Despite the importance of this coastal lagoon in removing N from the system, N2 fixation can contribute substantially to seagrass growth since N2 fixation rates found here could contribute up to 36 % of plant N requirements. In vegetated sediments, anammox rates decreased with increasing organic matter (OM) content, while N2 fixation increased with OM content. Denitrification and anammox increased linearly with temperature, while N2 fixation showed a maximum at intermediate temperatures. Therefore, the forecasted warming could further increase the N2 flux from sediments to the atmosphere, potentially impacting seagrass productivity and their capacity to mitigate climate change but also enhancing their potential N removal.
Abushaban, Almotasembellah; Salinas-Rodriguez, Sergio G.; Mangal, Muhammad Nasir; Mondal, Subhanjan; Goueli, Said A.; Knezev, Aleksandra; Vrouwenvelder, Johannes S.; Schippers, Jan C.; Kennedy, Maria D.(Desalination, Elsevier BV, 2018-12-06)[Article]
A direct method for measuring adenosine-triphosphate (ATP) in seawater was developed recently, in which commercial reagents are added directly to seawater. However, calibration is required if seawater quality changes (such as changes in salinity, pH, Mg, Fe) as the seawater matrix interferes with ATP measurement. In this research, a 0.1 μm filtration process is introduced to eliminate such interferences. In addition, a filter rinsing step with sterilized artificial seawater is proposed to eliminate interference of free ATP. The ATP-filtration method is fast (<5 min), reproducible (VC = 7%), six times more sensitive than the direct ATP-method and correlates (R = 0.72, n = 100) with intact cell concentration. Microbial ATP concentration measured using the ATP-filtration method and the ATP-direct method were comparable. Microbial ATP measured along the treatment train of a full-scale seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant decreased from 530 in the raw seawater to 10 ng-ATP/L after pre-treatment and to 0.5 ng-ATP/L in the SWRO permeate. The method was also applied to monitor bacterial growth potential (BGP) across the pre-treatment train of a (pilot) seawater desalination plant, where the removal of BGP through the media filtration and ultrafiltration was 44% and 7%, respectively.
Chemical mobility of crystalline and amorphous SiO2 plays a fundamental role in several geochemical and biological processes, with silicate minerals being the most abundant components of the Earth's crust. Although the oldest evidences of life on Earth are fossilized in microcrystalline silica deposits, little is known about the functional role that bacteria can exert on silica mobility at non-thermal and neutral pH conditions. Here, a microbial influence on silica mobilization event occurring in the Earth's largest orthoquartzite cave is described. Transition from the pristine orthoquartzite to amorphous silica opaline precipitates in the form of stromatolite-like structures is documented through mineralogical, microscopic and geochemical analyses showing an increase of metals and other bioessential elements accompanied by permineralized bacterial cells and ultrastructures. Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene describes the bacterial diversity characterizing the consecutive amorphization steps to provide clues on the biogeochemical factors playing a role in the silica solubilization and precipitation processes. These results show that both quartz weathering and silica mobility are affected by chemotrophic bacterial communities, providing insights for the understanding of the silica cycle in the subsurface.
Aragon Solorio, Bruno Jose Luis; Houborg, Rasmus; Tu, Kevin; Fisher, Joshua B.; McCabe, Matthew(Remote Sensing, MDPI AG, 2018-11-23)[Article]
Remote sensing based estimation of evapotranspiration (ET) provides a direct accounting of the crop water use. However, the use of satellite data has generally required that a compromise between spatial and temporal resolution is made, i.e., one could obtain low spatial resolution data regularly, or high spatial resolution occasionally. As a consequence, this spatiotemporal trade-off has tended to limit the impact of remote sensing for precision agricultural applications. With the recent emergence of constellations of small CubeSat-based satellite systems, these constraints are rapidly being removed, such that daily 3 m resolution optical data are now a reality for earth observation. Such advances provide an opportunity to develop new earth system monitoring and assessment tools. In this manuscript we evaluate the capacity of CubeSats to advance the estimation of ET via application of the Priestley-Taylor Jet Propulsion Laboratory (PT-JPL) retrieval model. To take advantage of the high-spatiotemporal resolution afforded by these systems, we have integrated a CubeSat derived leaf area index as a forcing variable into PT-JPL, as well as modified key biophysical model parameters. We evaluate model performance over an irrigated farmland in Saudi Arabia using observations from an eddy covariance tower. Crop water use retrievals were also compared against measured irrigation from an in-line flow meter installed within a center-pivot system. To leverage the high spatial resolution of the CubeSat imagery, PT-JPL retrievals were integrated over the source area of the eddy covariance footprint, to allow an equivalent intercomparison. Apart from offering new precision agricultural insights into farm operations and management, the 3 m resolution ET retrievals were shown to explain 86% of the observed variability and provide a relative RMSE of 32.9% for irrigated maize, comparable to previously reported satellite-based retrievals. An observed underestimation was diagnosed as a possible misrepresentation of the local surface moisture status, highlighting the challenge of high-resolution modeling applications for precision agriculture and informing future research directions.
Aljassim, Nada I.; Mantilla Calderon, David; Scarascia, Giantommaso; Hong, Pei-Ying(Environmental Science & Technology, American Chemical Society (ACS), 2018-11-20)[Article]
Bacteriophages active against a New Delhi metallo beta lactamase (NDM)-positive E. coli PI-7 were isolated from municipal wastewater and tested for their lytic effect against the bacterial host. Bacteriophages were highly specific to E. coli PI-7 when tested for host-range. After determining host-specificity, bacteriophages were tested for their ability to sensitize E. coli PI-7 to solar irradiation. Solar irradiation coupled with bacteriophages successfully reduced the length of the lag-phase for E. coli PI-7 from 4 h to 2 h in buffer solution. The reduction of lag-phase length was also observed in filtered wastewater effluent and chlorinated effluent. Previously, we found through gene expression analysis that cell wall, oxidative stress, and DNA repair functions played a large role in protecting E. coli PI-7 against solar damage. Here, gene expression analysis of bacteriophage-supplemented solar-irradiated E. coli PI-7 revealed downregulation of cell wall functions. Downregulation of functions implicated in scavenging and detoxifying reactive oxygen species, as well as DNA repair genes, was also observed in bacteriophage-supplemented solar-irradiated E. coli PI-7. Moreover, solar irradiation activates recA, which can induce lytic activity of bacteriophages. Overall, the combined treatment led to gene responses that appeared to make E. coli PI-7 more susceptible to solar disinfection and bacteriophage infection. Our findings suggest that bacteriophages show good potential to be used as a biocontrol tool to complement solar irradiation in mitigating the persistence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in reuse waters.
Kim, Lan Hee; Nava-Ocampo,, Maria; van Loosdrecht, Mark C.M.; Kruithof, Joop C.; Vrouwenvelder, Johannes S.(DESALINATION AND WATER TREATMENT, Desalination Publications, 2018-10-28)[Article]
The growing demand for fresh water has resulted in increasing use of reverse osmosis (RO) membrane systems for seawater desalination. A major operational problem of RO membrane filtration systems is biofouling – biomass growth causing an unacceptable membrane performance decline. Biofouling reduces the produced water quantity and quality and increases costs. The need for fouling remediation is mainly derived from destructive trial-and-error research with practical membrane modules. Therefore, a clear need existed for the development of a small-sized membrane fouling simulator (MFS) for systematic, low-cost studies. Since the introduction of the MFS in 2006, many articles have appeared which are evaluated in this review. The review describes (i) the location of biofouling in full-scale installations, (ii) development of MFS, (iii) characterization, reproducibility and representativeness of fouling development in the MFS, (iv) applications such as assessing the impact of anti-scalant or biocide dosage, phosphate limitation, feed spacer geometry and linear flow velocity and (v) early warning for biofouling. MFS studies have increased the understanding of biofouling and enabled improved practical membrane performance such as selection of dosed chemicals and feed spacer design. Future MFS studies are anticipated to enable the development of advanced biofouling control strategies.
Cheng, Tuoyuan; Harrou, Fouzi; Sun, Ying; Leiknes, TorOve(IEEE Sensors Journal, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2018-10-16)[Article]
Monitoring inflow measurements of water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) is essential to promptly detect abnormalities and helpful in the decision making of the operators to better optimize, take corrective actions, and maintain downstream processes. In this paper, we introduced a flexible and reliable monitoring soft sensor approach to detect and identify abnormal influent measurements of WRRFs to enhance their efficiency and safety. The proposed data-driven soft sensor approach merges the desirable characteristics of principal component analysis (PCA) with k-nearest neighbor (KNN) scheme. PCA performed effective dimension reduction and revealed interrelationships between inflow measurements, while KNN distances demonstrated superior detection capacity, robustness to underlying data distribution, and efficiency in handling high-dimensional dataset. Furthermore, nonparametric thresholds derived from kernel density estimation further enhanced detection results of PCA-KNN approach when compared with parametric counterparts. Moreover, the radial visualization plot is innovatively employed for fault analysis and diagnosis in combination with PCA and delineated interpretable visualization of anomalies and detector performances. The effectiveness of these soft sensor schemes is evaluated by using real data from a coastal municipal WRRF located in Saudi Arabia. Also, we compared the proposed soft sensor scheme with the conventional PCA-based approaches, including standard prediction error, Hotelling’s T2, and joint univariate methods. Results demonstrate that this soft sensor-based monitoring approach outperforms conventional PCA-based methods.
Sanawar, Huma; Pinel, I.; Farhat, Nadia; Bucs, Szilard; Zlopasa, J.; Kruithof, J.C.; Witkamp, Geert Jan; van Loosdrecht, Mark C.M.; Vrouwenvelder, Johannes S.(Water Research X, Elsevier BV, 2018-10-15)[Article]
Chemical cleaning is routinely performed in reverse osmosis (RO) plants for the regeneration of RO membranes that suffer from biofouling problems. The potential of urea as a chaotropic agent to enhance the solubilization of biofilm proteins has been reported briefly in the literature. In this paper the efficiency of urea cleaning for RO membrane systems has been compared to conventionally applied acid/alkali treatment. Preliminary assessment confirmed that urea did not damage the RO polyamide membranes and that the membrane cleaning efficiency increased with increasing concentrations of urea and temperature. Accelerated biofilm formation was carried out in membrane fouling simulators which were subsequently cleaned with (i) 0.01M sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and 0.1M hydrochloric acid (HCl) (typically applied in industry), (ii) urea (CO(NH2)2) and hydrochloric acid, or (iii) urea only (1340 g/Lwater). The pressure drop over the flow channel was used to evaluate the efficiency of the applied chemical cleanings. Biomass removal was evaluated by measuring chemical oxygen demand (COD), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), protein, and carbohydrate content from the membrane and spacer surfaces after cleaning. In addition to protein and carbohydrate quantification of the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), fluorescence excitation−emission matrix (FEEM) spectroscopy was used to distinguish the difference in organic matter of the remaining biomass to assess biofilm solubilization efficacy of the different cleaning agents. Results indicated that two-stage CO(NH2)2/HCl cleaning was as effective as cleaning with NaOH/HCl in terms of restoring the feed channel pressure drop (>70% pressure drop decrease). One-stage cleaning with urea only was not as effective indicating the importance of the second-stage low pH acid cleaning in weakening the biofilm matrix. All three chemical cleaning protocols were equally effective in reducing the concentration of predominant EPS components protein and carbohydrate (>50% reduction in concentrations). However, urea-based cleaning strategies were more effective in solubilizing protein-like matter and tyrosine-containing proteins. Furthermore, ATP measurements showed that biomass inactivation was up to two-fold greater after treatment with urea-based chemical cleanings compared to the conventional acid/alkali treatment. The applicability of urea as an alternative, economical, eco-friendly and effective chemical cleaning agent for the control of biological fouling was successfully demonstrated.
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