Matching Items (38)
Disinfection byproducts are the result of reactions between natural organic matter (NOM) and a disinfectant. The formation and speciation of DBP formation is largely dependent on the disinfectant used and the natural organic matter (NOM) concentration and composition. This study examined the use of photocatalysis with titanium dioxide for the oxidation and removal of DBP precursors (NOM) and the inhibition of DBP formation. Water sources were collected from various points in the treatment process, treated with photocatalysis, and chlorinated to analyze the implications on total trihalomethane (TTHM) and the five haloacetic acids (HAA5) formations. The three sub-objectives for this study included: the comparison of enhanced and standard coagulation to photocatalysis for the removal of DBP precursors; the analysis of photocatalysis and characterization of organic matter using size exclusion chromatography and fluorescence spectroscopy and excitation-emission matrices; and the analysis of photocatalysis before GAC filtration. There were consistencies in the trends for each objective including reduced DBP precursors, measured as dissolved organic carbon DOC concentration and UV absorbance at 254 nm. Both of these parameters decreased with increased photocatalytic treatment and could be due in part to the adsorption to as well as the oxidation of NOM on the TiO2 surface. This resulted in lower THM and HAA concentrations at Medium and High photocatalytic treatment levels. However, at No UV exposure and Low photocatalytic treatment levels where oxidation reactions were inherently incomplete, there was an increase in THM and HAA formation potential, in most cases being significantly greater than those found in the raw water or Control samples. The size exclusion chromatography (SEC) results suggest that photocatalysis preferentially degrades the higher molecular mass fraction of NOM releasing lower molecular mass (LMM) compounds that have not been completely oxidized. The molecular weight distributions could explain the THM and HAA formation potentials that decreased at the No UV exposure samples but increased at Low photocatalytic treatment levels. The use of photocatalysis before GAC adsorption appears to increase bed life of the contactors; however, higher photocatalytic treatment levels have been shown to completely mineralize NOM and would therefore not require additional GAC adsorption after photocatalysis.
Bacteroides have been suggested as alternative indicators of fecal pollution since they are highly abundant in feces and are thought to have limited potential to grow in environment. However, recent literature suggests that Bacteroides can potentially survive within water distribution systems. The first objective of this study was therefore to investigate the validity of Bacteroides as a fecal indicator for drinking water through laboratory experiments and field studies. Experiments were performed using a laboratory scale PVC model water distribution system that was spiked with 109 Bacteroides. Samples were collected over the following four and analyzed by culture and molecular-based techniques. Second, field studies were performed by collecting water meters from two large chlorinated water distribution systems in central Arizona. Upon removal for repair by city personnel, meters were collected and biofilms samples were gathered within two hours. The biofilms were then analyzed using culture and molecular-based assays. The results from these studies support the hypothesis that Bacteroides DNA may be found in water distribution systems despite the difficulty of cultivating these bacterial cells. These experiments present the importance of considering biofilm interactions with fecal indicator bacteria when performing molecular assays on environmental samples, as biofilms may provide protection from high oxygen concentrations and grazing protozoa in bulk water that limit the persistence Bacteroides in the environment. Although the significance of biofilm interactions with surface or recreational waters may be small, they are likely important when considering drinking water delivered through distribution systems. The second objective of this study was to investigate alternative detection methodologies for the fecal indicator Bacteroides. In particular, this study focused on using a simplified protocol of Nucleic Acid Sequence Based Amplification (NASBA) and Thermophilic Helicase-Dependent Amplification (tHDA) to amplify the highly conserved 16s rRNA gene in the genomic DNA of fecal indicator Bacteroides. The results of this study show that the simplified NASBA procedure was not able to amplify the target, while continuous problems with tHDA exposed the methods lack of reliability. These results suggest higher reliability in the isothermal amplification methods needs to be achieved before application to environmental samples.
Nanotechnology is a scientific field that has recently expanded due to its applications in pharmaceutical and personal care products, industry and agriculture. As result of this unprecedented growth, nanoparticles (NPs) have become a significant environmental contaminant, with potential to impact various forms of life in environment. Metal nanoparticles (mNPs) exhibit unique properties such as increased chemical reactivity due to high specific surface area to volume ratios. Bacteria play a major role in many natural and engineered biogeochemical reactions in wastewater treatment plants and other environmental compartments. I have evaluated the laboratory isolates of E. coli, Bacillus, Alcaligenes, Pseudomonas; wastewater isolates of E. coli and Bacillus; and pathogenic isolate of E. coli for their response to 50 & 100 nm sized Cu nanoparticles (CuNPs). Bactericidal tests, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses, and probable toxicity pathways assays were performed. The results indicate that under continuous mixing conditions, CuNPs are effective in inactivation of the selected bacterial isolates. In general, exposure to CuNPs resulted in 4 to >6 log reduction in bacterial population within 2 hours. Based on the GR, LDH and MTT assays, bacterial cells showed different toxicity elicitation pathways after exposure to CuNPs. Therefore, it can be concluded that the laboratory isolates are good candidates for predicting the behavior of environmental isolates exposed to CuNPs. Also, high inactivation values recorded in this study suggest that the presence of CuNPs in different environmental compartments may have an impact on pollutants attenuation and wastewater biological treatment processes. These results point towards the need for an in depth investigation of the impact of NPs on the biological processes; and long-term effect of high load of NPs on the stability of aquatic and terrestrial ecologies.
Since its first report in 1976, many outbreaks of Legionella have been reported in the world. These outbreaks are a public health concern because of legionellosis, which cause Pontiac fever and Legionnaires disease. Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia responsible for the majority of the illness in the reported outbreaks. This study consists of an extensive literature review and experimental work on the aerosolization of Legionella and a bacterial surrogate under laboratory conditions. The literature review summarizes Legionella characteristics, legionellosis, potential sources of Legionella, disease outbreaks, collection and detection methodologies, environmental conditions for growth and survival of Legionella, Gaussian plume dispersion modeling, and recommendations for reducing potential Legionella outbreaks. The aerosolization and airborne dispersion of Legionella and E. coli was conducted separately inside of a closed environment. First, the bacterial cells were sprayed inside of an airtight box and then samples were collected using a microbial air sampler to measure the number of bacterial cells aerosolized and transported in air. Furthermore, a Gaussian plume dispersion model was used to estimate the dispersion under the experimental conditions and parameters. The concentration of Legionella was estimated for a person inhaling the air at three different distances away from the spray. The concentration of Legionella at distances of 0.1 km, 1 km, and 10 km away from the source was predicted to be 1.7x10-1, 2.2x10-3, and 2.6x10-5 CFU/m3, respectively.
Granular activated carbon (GAC) filters are final polishing step in the drinking water treatment systems for removal of dissolved organic carbon fractions. Generally filters are colonized by bacterial communities and their activity reduces biodegradable solutes allowing partial regeneration of GAC's adsorptive capacity. When the bacteria pass into the filtrate due to increased growth, microbiological quality of drinking water is compromised and regrowth in the distribution system occurs. Bacteria attached to carbon particles as biofilms or in conjugation with other bacteria were observed to be highly resistant to post filtration microbial mitigation techniques. Some of these bacteria were identified as pathogenic.
This study focuses on one such pathogen Legionella pneumophila which is resistant to environmental stressors and treatment conditions. It is also responsible for Legionnaires' disease outbreak through drinking water thus attracting attention of regulatory agencies. The work assessed the attachment and colonization of Legionella and heterotrophic bacteria in lab scale GAC media column filters. Quantification of Legionella and HPC in the influent, effluent, column's biofilms and on the GAC particles was performed over time using fluorescent microscopy and culture based techniques.
The results indicated gradual increase in the colonization of the GAC particles with HPC bacteria. Initially high number of Legionella cells were detected in the column effluent and were not detected on GAC suggesting low attachment of the cells to the particles potentially due to lack of any previous biofilms. With the initial colonization of the filter media by other bacteria the number of Legionella cells on the GAC particles and biofilms also increased. Presence of Legionella was confirmed in all the samples collected from the columns spiked with Legionella. Significant increase in the Legionella was observed in column's inner surface biofilm (0.25 logs up to 0.52 logs) and on GAC particles (0.42 logs up to 0.63 logs) after 2 months. Legionella and HPC attached to column's biofilm were higher than that on GAC particles indicating the strong association with biofilms. The bacterial concentration slowly increased in the effluent. This may be due to column's wall effect decreasing filter efficiency, possible exhaustion of GAC capacity over time and potential bacterial growth.
This dissertation studies the larger issue of antibiotic resistance with respect to how antibiotics are being introduced into the environment, focusing on two major anthropogenic pathways: animal husbandry for human consumption, and the recycling of wastewater and municipal sludge generated during conventional biological sewage treatment.
For animal production on land (agriculture) antibiotics are often used for growth enhancement and increased feed efficiency. For animal production in water (aquaculture) antibiotics are often used as a prophylactic. I found that the same antibiotics are being used in both industries and that the same strains of human pathogens have also been isolated from both sources, expressing identical resistance mechanisms. In U.S. seafood, five out of 47 antibiotics screened for were detected at levels of 0.3 to 7.7 ng/g fresh weight. Although compliant with FDA regulations, the risk for resistance still exists, as even low antibiotic concentrations have been shown to exert selective pressure on bacteria.
Similarly low concentrations of antibiotics were found in U.S. biosolids at levels of 0.6 to 19.1 ng/g dry weight. Of the five antibiotics detected, two have never been reported before in biosolids. Three have never been reported before in U.S. biosolids. Using the raw numbers obtained from antibiotic screenings in biosolids, I assessed the impact of employing four different LC-MS/MS methods, concluding that analysts should experimentally determine the most appropriate quantitation method based on the analyte targeted, matrix investigated, and research goals pursued. Preferred quantitation approaches included the isotope dilution method with use of an analogous standard and, although time and resource demanding, the method of standard addition.
In conclusion, antibiotics introduced into the environment via agriculture, aquaculture, and wastewater recycling pose a combination of chemical and biological threats. Aside from exerting outright chemical toxicity to non-target organisms, antibiotic residues can promote the development of multi-drug resistance in human pathogens. Public health protection approaches to stem the risks posed by animal husbandry may include reserving drugs for exclusive, human use, decreasing their usage altogether, improving reporting efforts, reevaluating existing regulations on agricultural and aquacultural antibiotic usage, and improved risk assessment for biosolids application on land.
The purpose of this study was to determine the applicability of fluorescent microspheres as a surrogate to measure the removal of Cryptosporidium oocysts through the coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, and filtration steps of conventional water treatment. In order to maintain accuracy and applicability, a local water treatment facility was chosen as the system to model. The city of Chandler Arizona utilizes conventional treatment methodologies to remove pathogens from municipal drinking water and thus the water, coagulant, polymer, and doses concentrations were sourced directly from the plant. Jar testing was performed on four combinations of coagulant, polymer, and fluorescent microsphere to determine if the log removal was similar to that of Cryptosporidium oocysts.
Complications with the material properties of the microspheres arose during testing that ultimately yielded unfavorable but conclusive results. Log removal of microspheres did not increase with added coagulant in the predicted manner, though the beads were seen aggregating, the low density of the particles made the sedimentation step inefficient. This result can be explained by the low density of the microspheres as well as the potential presence of residual coagulant present in the system. Given the unfavorable properties of the beads, they do not appear to be a suitable candidate for the surrogacy of Cryptosporidium oocysts in conventional drinking water treatment. The beads in their current state are not an adequate surrogate; however, future testing has been outlined to modify the experiment in such a way that the microspheres should behave like oocysts in terms of physical transportation.
The need for rapid, specific and sensitive assays that provide a detection of bacterial indicators are important for monitoring water quality. Rapid detection using biosensor is a novel approach for microbiological testing applications. Besides, validation of rapid methods is an obstacle in adoption of such new bio-sensing technologies. In this study, the strategy developed is based on using the compound 4-methylumbelliferyl glucuronide (MUG), which is hydrolyzed rapidly by the action of E. coli β-D-glucuronidase (GUD) enzyme to yield a fluorogenic product that can be quantified and directly related to the number of E. coli cells present in water samples. The detection time required for the biosensor response ranged from 30 to 120 minutes, depending on the number of bacteria. The specificity of the MUG based biosensor platform assay for the detection of E. coli was examined by pure cultures of non-target bacterial genera and also non-target substrates. GUD activity was found to be specific for E. coli and no such enzymatic activity was detected in other species. Moreover, the sensitivity of rapid enzymatic assays was investigated and repeatedly determined to be less than 10 E. coli cells per reaction vial concentrated from 100 mL of water samples. The applicability of the method was tested by performing fluorescence assays under pure and mixed bacterial flora in environmental samples. In addition, the procedural QA/QC for routine monitoring of drinking water samples have been validated by comparing the performance of the biosensor platform for the detection of E. coli and culture-based standard techniques such as Membrane Filtration (MF). The results of this study indicated that the fluorescence signals generated in samples using specific substrate molecules can be utilized to develop a bio-sensing platform for the detection of E. coli in drinking water. The procedural QA/QC of the biosensor will provide both industry and regulatory authorities a useful tool for near real-time monitoring of E. coli in drinking water samples. Furthermore, this system can be applied independently or in conjunction with other methods as a part of an array of biochemical assays in order to reliably detect E. coli in water.
Quagga Mussels (Dreissena bugensis) are an invasive species of mollusk that have established themselves within the Colorado River system of Arizona since 2007. However, despite close proximity and frequent travel by recreational boaters between reservoirs, they have not yet infested the Salt River or Verde River systems. Laboratory experimentation was done to test the survival rate of adult D. bugensis specimens in waters collected from Bartlett Lake (Verde River), Saguaro Lake (Salt River), and Salt River Project (SRP) canals (Salt River/Verde River/Colorado River blend) as well as Central Arizona Project (CAP) canals with the addition of turbidity to simulate high runoff storm events. Under each condition, adult survival for a time period of 21 days exceeded 98%, ruling out water chemistry or turbidity as a factor. Spawning was investigated using mussels collected from Lake Pleasant in August 2015. In 4 trials of serotonin dosage between 0.5 – 1.0 mMol, spawning was not successful. Calanoid copepod predation was also investigated by field sampling at Lake Pleasant, Saguaro Lake, and Bartlett Lake during September 2015. Calanoid copepods were identified in Lake Pleasant at a density of 104.22 individuals per cubic meter at a depth of 2 meters and 9.75 individuals per cubic meter at the surface. Calanoid copepods were not found in Bartlett Lake or Saguaro Lake, ruling out copepod predation as a factor. Finally, dissolved oxygen and temperature trends were analyzed in each reservoir. While temperature profiles are similar throughout the year, seasonal drops in dissolved oxygen below survivable concentrations for D. bugensis has been observed in both Saguaro Lake and Bartlett Lake but not Lake Pleasant, representing the most plausible explanation for no observed infestation.
Since its first report in 1976, many outbreaks linked to Legionella have been reported in the world. These outbreaks are a public health concern because of legionellosis, which is found in two forms, Pontiac fever and Legionnaires disease. Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia responsible for the majority of the illness in the reported outbreaks of legionellosis. This study consists of an extensive literature review and experimental work on the aerosolization and UV inactivation of E.coli and Legionella under laboratory conditions. The literature review summarizes Legionella general information, occurrence, environmental conditions for its survival, transmission to human, collection and detection methodologies and Legionella disinfection in air and during water treatment processes.
E. coli was used as an surrogate for Legionella in experimentation due to their similar bacterial properties such as size, gram-negative rod-shaped, un-encapsulated and non-spore-forming bacterial cells. The accessibility and non-pathogenicity of E. coli also served as factors for the substitution.
Three methods of bacterial aerosolization were examined, these included an electric spray gun, an air spray gun and a hand-held spray bottle. A set of experiments were performed to examine E. coli aerosolization and transport in the aerosolization chamber (an air tight box) placed in a Biological Safety Cabinet. Spiked sample was sprayed through the opening from one side of the aerosolization chamber using the selected aerosolization methods. The air sampler was placed at the other side to collect 100 L air sample from the aerosolization chamber. A Tryptic Soy Agar plate was placed inside the air sampler to collect and subsequently culture E. coli cells from air. Results showed that the air spray gun has the best capability of aerosolizing bacteria cells under all the conditions examined in this study compared to the other two spray methods. In this study, we provide a practical and efficient method of bacterial aerosolization technique for microbial dispersion in air. The suggested method can be used in future research for microbial dispersion and transmission studies.
A set of experiments were performed to examine UV inactivation of E. coli and Legionella cells in air. Spiked samples were sprayed through the opening from one side of the aerosolization chamber using the air spray gun. A UV-C germicidal lamp inside the Biological Safety Cabinet was turned on after each spray. The air samples were collected as previously described. The application of UV-C for the inactivation of bacterial cells resulted in removing aerosolized E. coli and Legionella cells in air. A 1 log reduction was achieved with 5 seconds UV exposure time while 10 seconds UV exposure resulted in a 2 log bacterial reduction for both bacteria. This study shows the applicability of UV inactivation of pathogenic bacterial cells in air by short UV exposure time. This method may be applicable for the inactivation of Legionella in air ducts by installing germicidal UV lamps for protecting susceptible populations in certain indoor settings such as nursing homes or other community rooms.