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See detailThe Next Frontier of Environmental Unknowns: Substances of Unknown or Variable Composition, Complex Reaction Products, or Biological Materials (UVCBs)
Lai, Adelene UL; Clark, Alex; Escher, Beate et al

in Environmental Science and Technology (2022)

Substances of unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products, or biological materials (UVCBs) are over 70 000 “complex” chemical mixtures produced and used at significant levels worldwide. Due ... [more ▼]

Substances of unknown or variable composition, complex reaction products, or biological materials (UVCBs) are over 70 000 “complex” chemical mixtures produced and used at significant levels worldwide. Due to their unknown or variable composition, applying chemical assessments originally developed for individual compounds to UVCBs is challenging, which impedes sound management of these substances. Across the analytical sciences, toxicology, cheminformatics, and regulatory practice, new approaches addressing specific aspects of UVCB assessment are being developed, albeit in a fragmented manner. This review attempts to convey the “big picture” of the state of the art in dealing with UVCBs by holistically examining UVCB characterization and chemical identity representation, as well as hazard, exposure, and risk assessment. Overall, information gaps on chemical identities underpin the fundamental challenges concerning UVCBs, and better reporting and substance characterization efforts are needed to support subsequent chemical assessments. To this end, an information level scheme for improved UVCB data collection and management within databases is proposed. The development of UVCB testing shows early progress, in line with three main methods: whole substance, known constituents, and fraction profiling. For toxicity assessment, one option is a whole-mixture testing approach. If the identities of (many) constituents are known, grouping, read across, and mixture toxicity modeling represent complementary approaches to overcome data gaps in toxicity assessment. This review highlights continued needs for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure proper assessment and sound management of UVCBs. [less ▲]

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See detailNon-target screening reveals time trends of polar micropollutants in a riverbank filtration system
Albergamo, Vittorio; Schollée, Jennifer E.; Schymanski, Emma UL et al

in Environmental Science and Technology (2019), 53(13), 7584-7594

The historic emissions of polar micropollutants in a natural drinking water source were investigated by nontarget screening with high-resolution mass spectrometry and open cheminformatics tools. The study ... [more ▼]

The historic emissions of polar micropollutants in a natural drinking water source were investigated by nontarget screening with high-resolution mass spectrometry and open cheminformatics tools. The study area consisted of a riverbank filtration transect fed by the river Lek, a branch of the lower Rhine, and exhibiting up to 60-year travel time. More than 18,000 profiles were detected. Hierarchical clustering revealed that 43% of the 15 most populated clusters were characterized by intensity trends with maxima in the 1990s, reflecting intensified human activities, wastewater treatment plant upgrades and regulation in the Rhine riparian countries. Tentative structure annotation was performed using automated in silico fragmentation. Candidate structures retrieved from ChemSpider were scored based on the fit of the in silico fragments to the experimental tandem mass spectra, similarity to openly accessible accurate mass spectra, associated metadata, and presence in a suspect list. Sixty-seven unique structures (72 over both ionization modes) were tentatively identified, 25 of which were confirmed and included contaminants so far unknown to occur in bank filtrate or in natural waters at all, such as tetramethylsulfamide. This study demonstrates that many classes of hydrophilic organics enter riverbank filtration systems, persisting and migrating for decades if biogeochemical conditions are stable. [less ▲]

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See detailMechanisms of Persistence of the Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria Nitrosomonas to the Biocide Free Nitrous Acid.
Laloo, Andrew E.; Wei, Justin; Wang, Dongbo et al

in Environmental Science and Technology (2018), 52(9), 5386-5397

Free nitrous acid (FNA) exerts a broad range of antimicrobial effects on bacteria, although susceptibility varies considerably among microorganisms. Among nitrifiers found in activated sludge of ... [more ▼]

Free nitrous acid (FNA) exerts a broad range of antimicrobial effects on bacteria, although susceptibility varies considerably among microorganisms. Among nitrifiers found in activated sludge of wastewater treatment processes (WWTPs), nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) are more susceptible to FNA compared to ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). This selective inhibition of NOB over AOB in WWTPs bypasses nitrate production and improves the efficiency and costs of the nitrogen removal process in both the activated sludge and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (Anammox) system. However, the molecular mechanisms governing this atypical tolerance of AOB to FNA have yet to be understood. Herein we investigate the varying effects of the antimicrobial FNA on activated sludge containing AOB and NOB using an integrated metagenomics and label-free quantitative sequential windowed acquisition of all theoretical fragment ion mass spectra (SWATH-MS) metaproteomic approach. The Nitrosomonas genus of AOB, on exposure to FNA, maintains internal homeostasis by upregulating a number of known oxidative stress enzymes, such as pteridine reductase and dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase. Denitrifying enzymes were upregulated on exposure to FNA, suggesting the detoxification of nitrite to nitric oxide. Interestingly, proteins involved in stress response mechanisms, such as DNA and protein repair enzymes, phage prevention proteins, and iron transport proteins, were upregulated on exposure to FNA. In addition enzymes involved in energy generation were also upregulated on exposure to FNA. The total proteins specifically derived from the NOB genus Nitrobacter was low and, as such, did not allow for the elucidation of the response mechanism to FNA exposure. These findings give us an understanding of the adaptive mechanisms of tolerance within the AOB Nitrosomonas to the biocidal agent FNA. [less ▲]

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See detailExploring the Potential of a Global Emerging Contaminant Early Warning Network through the Use of Retrospective Suspect Screening with High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry.
Alygizakis, Nikiforos A.; Samanipour, Saer; Hollender, Juliane et al

in Environmental Science and Technology (2018), 52(9), 5135-5144

A key challenge in the environmental and exposure sciences is to establish experimental evidence of the role of chemical exposure in human and environmental systems. High resolution and accurate tandem ... [more ▼]

A key challenge in the environmental and exposure sciences is to establish experimental evidence of the role of chemical exposure in human and environmental systems. High resolution and accurate tandem mass spectrometry (HRMS) is increasingly being used for the analysis of environmental samples. One lauded benefit of HRMS is the possibility to retrospectively process data for (previously omitted) compounds that has led to the archiving of HRMS data. Archived HRMS data affords the possibility of exploiting historical data to rapidly and effectively establish the temporal and spatial occurrence of newly identified contaminants through retrospective suspect screening. We propose to establish a global emerging contaminant early warning network to rapidly assess the spatial and temporal distribution of contaminants of emerging concern in environmental samples through performing retrospective analysis on HRMS data. The effectiveness of such a network is demonstrated through a pilot study, where eight reference laboratories with available archived HRMS data retrospectively screened data acquired from aqueous environmental samples collected in 14 countries on 3 different continents. The widespread spatial occurrence of several surfactants (e.g., polyethylene glycols ( PEGs ) and C12AEO-PEGs ), transformation products of selected drugs (e.g., gabapentin-lactam, metoprolol-acid, carbamazepine-10-hydroxy, omeprazole-4-hydroxy-sulfide, and 2-benzothiazole-sulfonic-acid), and industrial chemicals (3-nitrobenzenesulfonate and bisphenol-S) was revealed. Obtaining identifications of increased reliability through retrospective suspect screening is challenging, and recommendations for dealing with issues such as broad chromatographic peaks, data acquisition, and sensitivity are provided. [less ▲]

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