The article contains results concerning spectral analysis of biologic materials (blood and hair) for heavy metals content. These results helped to reveal health risk factors for workers engaged into chromium ores extraction and for nearby residents.
A circumpolar survey of heavy metals in willow ptarmigan liver and kidney revealed considerable variations in Cd content in Canada and Scandinavia. The Cd content in central Canada was comparable with that in Scandinavia and Russia, at least for kidney. However, in both liver and kidney the median for Canada as a whole was much higher than in the other countries. Some Canadian locations had exceptionally high levels, several birds having >50 mg kg(-1) in liver and >400 mg kg(-1) in kidney. In Norway, the Cd content was highest in central mountain areas in south Norway and inland locations in the two northernmost counties. Five locations in central and north Norway showed mean Cd levels in kidney above 100 mg kg(-1). It is difficult to evaluate regional differences in Sweden, but most locations had the same Cd level as moderately contaminated locations in Norway. Cd levels in Russia were comparable to moderately contaminated locations in the other countries. Due to a high intake of willow, naturally rich in Cd, direct comparison of the Cd level in willow ptarmigan from different locations cannot reveal the effects of long-range pollution. The Pb concentration in willow ptarmigan kidney and liver varied significantly in Norway and Canada, but not in Sweden and Russia. Levels in Sweden and Russia were comparable to those in Canada and low levels in Norway. The highest median value from all locations within countries was found in Norway, both in liver and kidney. The highest Pb content was found in south Norway, indicating an effect of long-range pollution in willow ptarmigan. The level in western Canada was significantly higher than in central Canada. The Hg content in liver varied significantly from one location to another in all the countries and in kidney everywhere except Sweden. In Scandinavia, there is no distinct regional pattern. Canada had a significantly higher Hg level in central than western regions in both tissues the opposite of that found for Cd and Pb. Cu and Zn showed significant variations from one location to another in liver and kidney in Canada and Norway, but only in kidney in samples from Sweden. Comparison between western and central Canada revealed a significant difference for Cu in liver, samples from central Canada having more. There are no significant differences from one country to another, but some localities in Canada seem to have higher Cu concentrations in kidney than are found in Scandinavia and Russia.
Because microalgae are known for quick biomass growth and nutrient uptake, there has been much interest in their use in research on wastewater treatment methods. While many studies have concentrated on the algal treatment of wastewaters with low to medium ammonium concentrations, there are several liquid waste streams with high ammonium concentrations that microalgae could potentially treat. The aim of this paper was to test ammonium tolerance of the indigenous algae community of Lake Mälaren and to use this mixed consortia of algae to remove nutrients from biogas digestate. Algae from Lake Mälaren were cultivated in Jaworski's Medium containing a range of ammonium concentrations and the resulting algal growth was determined. The algae were able to grow at NH4-N concentrations of up to 200 mg L(-1) after which there was significant inhibition. To test the effectiveness of the lake water algae on the treatment of biogas digestate, different pre-cultivation set-ups and biogas digestate concentrations were tested. It was determined that mixing pre-cultivated suspension algae with 25% of biogas digestate by volume, resulting in an ammonium concentration of around 300 mg L(-1), produced the highest algal growth. The algae were effective in removing 72.8±2.2% of NH4-N and 41.4±41.4% of PO4-P.
During the 20th century Idefjord was considered one of the most polluted marine areas in Scandinavia. For decades it received high discharges from paper/pulp industry, which made it anoxic and extremely polluted by heavy metals and organic contaminants. Today the fjord is close to fulfil a complete pollution-recovery cycle, which is recorded in its sediment archives. Here we report results from five sediment cores studied for TC, C/N, heavy metals and benthic foraminifera. All of the cores have laminations deposited during 1940-1980s and indicative of long-lasting anoxia; high TC and heavy metal content, poor foraminiferal faunas and lack of macrofauna. The upper part of the cores deposited since 1980s shows a gradual pollutant decrease and partial foraminiferal recovery. The majority of foraminiferal species in Idefjord are agglutinated opportunistic and stress-tolerant taxa, which to some extent tolerate hypoxia and are early colonisers of previously disturbed environments. The current study demonstrates a value of benthic foraminiferal stratigraphy as a useful tool in understanding processes driving environmental degradation and recovery of coastal ecosystems.
The dissolved metal concentrations have been assessed for Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, V, Zn, Ca, Mg, and Cd, and their complex compounds with humic substances (Me-HS complexes) in river waters of the Upper Amur basin using the inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry technique. The study shows an increase in the amount of Me-HS complexes from the southwestern steppe and forest-steppe to the northeastern mountainous taiga areas. In alkali waters of the steppe and forest-steppe areas with low concentrations of HS, the amount of Zn-HS complexes increases considerably. The observed general regularity in the distribution of metals is as follows: Fe > Cu = Zn > Cr > V > Ni > ?o = Mn > Ca > Mg > Cd. In acidic and neutral waters of the taiga rivers containing high concentrations of HS, 50% of metals are complexed with HS. Metals are arranged in the following order: Fe > Cu > Ni > Cr > V > Zn > ?o > Mn > Ca > Mg > Cd. Quantitative characteristics and a correlation matrix show that Me-HS complexes are dominant among toxic metals (Ni, Cu, Zn, Cr, Fe, and V) and account for 40-55% of total dissolved forms. This allows us to evaluate the important role of Me-HS complexes in satisfactory ecological situation in rivers of the Upper Amur basin. However, toxicity may increase in separate watercourses (Chita and Argun rivers) due to high concentrations of dissolved Zn, Cu, and Cr, which indicate local and transboundary sources of pollution.
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Anthropogenic contaminants have been a concern in the Canadian arctic for over 30 years due to relatively high concentrations of bioaccumulating and biomagnifying organochlorine contaminants (OCs) and toxic metals found in some arctic biota and humans. However, few studies have addressed the potential effects of these contaminants in Canadian arctic wildlife. Prior to 1997, biological effects data were minimal and insufficient at any level of biological organization. The present review summarizes recent studies on biological effects related to contaminant exposure, and compares new tissue concentration data to threshold effects levels. Weak relationships between cadmium, mercury and selenium burdens and health biomarkers in common eider ducks (Somateria mollissima borealis) in Nunavut were found but it was concluded that metals were not influencing the health of these birds. Black guillemots (Cepphus grylle) examined near PCB-contaminated Saglek Bay, Labrador, had enlarged livers, elevated EROD and liver lipid levels and reduced retinol (vitamin A) and retinyl palmitate levels, which correlated to PCB levels in the birds. Circulating levels of thyroid hormones in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were correlated to PCB and HO-PCB plasma concentrations, but the impact at the population level is unknown. High PCB and organochlorine pesticide concentrations were found to be strongly associated with impaired humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in polar bears, implying an increased infection risk that could impact the population. In beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas), cytochromes P450 (phase I) and conjugating (phase II) enzymes have been extensively profiled (immunochemically and catalytically) in liver, demonstrating the importance of contaminants in relation to enzyme induction, metabolism and potential contaminant bioactivation and fate. Concentrations of OCs and metals in arctic terrestrial wildlife, fish and seabirds are generally below effects thresholds, with the possible exception of PCBs in burbot (Lota lota) in some Yukon lakes, Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), glaucous and great black-backed gulls (Larus hyperboreus and L. marinus), and TEQs of dioxin-like chemicals in seabird eggs. PCB and DDT concentrations in several arctic marine mammal species exceed effects thresholds, although evidence of stress in these populations is lacking. There is little evidence that contaminants are having widespread effects on the health of Canadian arctic organisms, with the possible exception of polar bears. However, further research and better understanding of organohalogen exposure in arctic biota is needed considering factors such as tissue levels that exceed effects thresholds, exposure to "new" organohalogen contaminants of concern, contaminated regions, and climate change.
One of the serious environmental problems that society is facing today is mine tailings. These byproducts of the process of extraction of valuable elements from ores are a source of pollution and a threat to the environment. For example, mine tailings from past mining activities at Giant Mines, Yellowknife, are deposited in chambers, stopes, and tailing ponds close to the shores of The Great Slave Lake. One of the environmentally friendly approaches for removing heavy metals from these contaminated tailing is by using biosurfactants during the process of soil washing. The objective of this present study is to investigate the effect of sophorolipid (SL) concentration, the volume of washing solution per gram of medium, pH, and temperature on the efficiency of sophorolipids in removing heavy metals from mine tailings. It was found that the efficiency of the sophorolipids depends on its concentration, and is greatly affected by changes in pH, and temperature. The results of this experiment show that increasing the temperature from 15 to 23 °C, while using sophorolipids, resulted in an increase in the removal of iron, copper, and arsenic from the mine tailing specimen, from 0.25, 2.1, and 8.6 to 0.4, 3.3, and 11.7%. At the same time, increasing the temperature of deionized water (DIW) from 15 to 23 °C led to an increase in the removal of iron, copper, and arsenic from 0.03, 0.9, and 1.8 to 0.04, 1.1, and 2.1%, respectively. By increasing temperature from 23 to 35 °C, when using sophorolipids, 22% reduction in the removal of arsenic was observed. At the same time while using DI water as the washing solution, increasing temperature from 23 to 35 °C resulted in 6.2% increase in arsenic removal. The results from this present study indicate that sophorolipids are promising agents for replacing synthetic surfactants in the removal of arsenic and other heavy metals from soil and mine tailings.
During both winter and summer, Svalbard reindeer selectively feed on different types of vegetation that are not only a source of nutritional value, but also a place of heavy metal accumulation. In the present study, the content of cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, nickel, manganese, and zinc in reindeer excrement was measured. The main aims were to determine the seasonal content of several heavy metals in Svalbard reindeer faeces, and to compare their values in terms of dietary preferences during the year. Summer and winter reindeer excrement was gathered along a designated linear transect running through Bolterdalen and the vegetation described on 1 m2 plots. All of the analysed heavy metals were detected in the reindeer faeces and this fact seems to be connected with the incomplete content of these elements in an animal's tissue after forage digestion. Analysis showed differences between summer and winter excrement in terms of concentrations of cadmium, chromium, iron, and nickel, but no differences were found for the other four elements analysed (manganese, lead, zinc, and copper). However, concentrations of heavy metals in faeces are rather low in comparison with both the levels in the vegetation that may be grazed by reindeer and in reindeer tissue.
A study was undertaken to test the effects of molybdenum (Mo) and phosphorus (P) amendments on biological nitrogen (N) fixation (BNF) by boreal forest moss-associated cyanobacteria. Feather moss (Pleurozium schreberi) samples were collected on five sites, on two dates and at different roadside distances (0-100m) corresponding to an assumed gradient of reactive N deposition. Potential BNF of Mo and P amended moss samples was measured using the acetylene reduction assay. Total N, P and heavy metal concentrations of mosses collected at 0 and 100m from roadsides were also measured. Likewise, the needles from Norway spruce trees (Picea abies) at different roadside distances were collected in late summer and analyzed for total N, P and heavy metals. There was a significant increase in BNF with roadside distance on 7-of-10 individual Site×Date combinations. We found no clear evidence of an N gradient across roadside distances. Elemental analyses of feather moss and Norway spruce needle tissues suggested decreasing deposition of heavy metals (Mo-Co-Cr-Ni-V-Pb-Ag-Cu) as well as P with increasing distance from the roadside. The effects of Mo and P amendments on BNF were infrequent and inconsistent across roadside distances and across sites. One particular site, however, displayed greater concentrations of heavy metals near the roadside, as well as a steeper P fertility gradient with roadside distance, than the other sites. Here, BNF increased with roadside distance only when moss samples were amended with P. Also at this site, BNF across all roadside distances was higher when mosses were amended with both Mo and P, suggesting a co-limitation of these two nutrients in controlling BNF. In summary, our study showed a potential for car emissions to increase heavy metals and P along roadsides and underscored the putative roles of these anthropogenic pollutants on BNF in northern latitudes.
Ants accumulate heavy metals and respond to pollution with modification in species composition, community structure, altered behaviour and immunity. However, the levels of heavy metals in ants' nests and explicit individual-level responses towards heavy metals have not been revealed. We found that red wood ants Formica lugubris accumulate high and correlated values of such heavy metals as Al, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb and Zn both in ants and nest material near cobalt smelter in Finland. Relative differences in metal concentrations were higher in nests than in ants. The highest values were obtained for elements such as Co (36.6), Zn (14.9), Cd (9.7), Pb (8.5), Cu (7.4), Ni (6.4), As (4.7), Cr (2.9) and Fe (2.4) in nest material, and Co (32.7), Cd (6.3), Pb (6), Fe (2.8), Ni (2.9) and Zn (2.1) in ants. In industrial and reference areas, ants have no differences in size, but differed in dry and residual body mass. In polluted areas, F. lugubris had less melanised heads, but not thoraxes. The sensitivity of cuticular colouration in red wood ants subjected to heavy metal pollution might be related to metal-binding properties of melanins. The overall results are useful for the improvement of biomonitoring techniques using ants as indicators of industrial contamination and for further discovery of novel ecotoxicological biomarkers.