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Reed beds receiving industrial sludge containing nitroaromatic compounds: Effects of outgoing water and bed material extracts in the umu-c genotoxicity assay, DR-CALUX assay and on early life stage development in Zebrafish (Danio rerio)
Örebro University, Department of Natural Sciences.
Örebro University, Department of Natural Sciences.
Örebro University, Department of Natural Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6217-8857
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2007 (English)In: Environmental science and pollution research international, ISSN 0944-1344, E-ISSN 1614-7499, Vol. 14, no 3, p. 202-211Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goal, Scope and Background:  Sweden has prohibited the deposition of organic waste since January, 2005. Since 1 million tons of sludge is produced every year in Sweden and the capacity for incineration does not fill the demands, other methods of sludge management have to be introduced to a larger degree. One common method in the USA and parts of Europe is the use of wetlands to treat wastewater and sewage sludge. The capacity of reed beds to affect the toxicity of a complex mixture of nitroaromatics in sludge, however, is not fully elucidated. In this study, an industrial sludge containing explosives and pharmaceutical residues was therefore treated in artificial reed beds and the change in toxicity was studied. Nitroaromatic compounds, which are the main ingredients of many pharmaceuticals and explosives, are well known to cause cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. Recently performed studies have also showed that embryos of zebrafish (Danio rerio) are sensitive to nitroaromatic compounds. Therefore, we tested the sludge passing through constructed wetlands in order to detect any changes in levels of embryotoxicity, genotoxicity and dioxin-like activity (AhR-agonists). We also compared unplanted and planted systems in order to examine the impact of the root system on the fate of the toxicants. Methods:  An industrial sludge containing a complex mixture of nitroaromatics was added daily to small-scale constructed wetlands (vertical flow), both unplanted and planted with Phragmites australis. Sludge with an average dry weight of 1.25%, was added with an average hydraulic loading rate of 1.2 L/day. Outgoing water was collected daily and stored at −20°C. The artificial wetland sediment was Soxhlet extracted, followed by clean-up with multi-layer silica, or extracted by ultrasonic treatment, yielding one organic extract and one water extract of the same sample. Genotoxicity of the extracts was measured according to the ISO protocol for the umu-C genotoxicity assay (ISO/TC 147/SC 5/WG9 N8), using Salmonella typhimurium TA1535/pSK1002 as test organism. Embryotoxicity and teratogenicity were studied using the fish egg assay with zebrafish (Danio rerio) and the dioxin-like activity was measured using the DR-CALUX assay. Chemical analyses of nitroaromatic compounds were performed using Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME) and GC-MS. Results:  Organic extracts of the bed material showed toxic potential in all three toxicity tests after two years of sludge loading. There was a difference between the planted and the unplanted beds, where the toxicity of organic extracts overall was higher in the bed material from the planted beds. The higher toxicity of the planted beds could have been caused by the higher levels of total carbon in the planted beds, which binds organic toxicants, and by enrichment caused by lower volumes of outgoing water from the planted beds. Discussion:  Developmental disorders were observed in zebrafish exposed directly in contact to bed material from unplanted beds, but not in fish exposed to bed material from planted beds. Hatching rates were slightly lower in zebrafish exposed to outgoing water from unplanted beds than in embryos exposed to outgoing water from planted beds. Genotoxicity in the outgoing water was below detection limit for both planted and unplanted beds. Most of the added toxicants via the sludge were unaccounted for in the outgoing water, suggesting that the beds had toxicant removal potential, although the mechanisms behind this remain unknown. Conclusions:  During the experimental period, the beds received a sludge volume (dry weight) of around three times their own volume. In spite of this, the toxicity in the bed material was lower than in the sludge. Thus, the beds were probably able to actually decrease the toxicity of the added, sludge-associated toxicants. When testing the acetone extracts of the bed material, the planted bed showed a higher toxicity than the unplanted beds in all three toxicity tests. The toxicity of water extracts from the unplanted beds, detected by the fish egg assay, were higher than the water extracts from the planted beds. No genotoxicity was detected in outgoing water from either planted or unplanted beds. All this together indicates that the planted reed beds retained semi-lipophilic acetone-soluble toxic compounds from the sludge better than the unplanted beds, which tended to leak out more of the water soluble toxic compounds in the outgoing water. The compounds identified by SPME/GC in the outgoing water were not in sufficient concentrations to have caused induction in the genotoxicity test. Recommendations and Perspectives:  This study has pointed out the benefits of using constructed wetlands receiving an industrial sludge containing a complex mixture of nitroaromatics to reduce toxicity in the outgoing water. The water from planted, constructed wetlands could therefore be directed to a recipient without further cleaning. The bed material should be investigated over a longer period of time in order to evaluate potential accumulation and leakage prior to proper usage or storage. The plants should be investigated in order to examine uptake and possible release when the plant biomass is degraded.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berlin: Springer , 2007. Vol. 14, no 3, p. 202-211
Keywords [en]
Animals, Biodegradation; Environmental, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, Industrial Waste, Mutagenicity Tests, Nitrogen Compounds/chemistry/metabolism/*toxicity, Ovum/drug effects/growth & development, Plants/metabolism, Salmonella typhimurium/drug effects/genetics, Sewage/*chemistry, Sweden, Water Movements, Water Pollutants; Chemical/chemistry/metabolism/*toxicity, Water Purification, Wetlands, Zebrafish/*embryology
National Category
Environmental Sciences Natural Sciences Environmental Sciences
Research subject
miljökemi
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-4719DOI: 10.1065/espr2006.11.360PubMedID: 17561780OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-4719DiVA, id: diva2:139018
Available from: 2008-11-12 Created: 2008-11-12 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Gustavsson, LillemorJönsson, Sofievan Bavel, BertEngwall, Magnus

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