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Impact of copper nanoparticles on inactivation and toxicity pathway on model bacteria

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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

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.

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2012

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Biosensor platform for rapid detection of E. coli in drinking water

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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

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.

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2015

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Antibiotics as environmental pollutants: associated public health threats and residues in animal protein and biosolids

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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

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.

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2015

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Analysis of photocatalysis for precursor removal and formation inhibition of disinfection byproducts

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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

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.

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2011

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The use of Bacteroides genetic markers to identify microbial sources in natural water

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Water quality in surface water is frequently degraded by fecal contamination from human and animal sources, imposing negative implications for recreational water use and public safety. For this reason it is critical to identify the source of fecal contamination in

Water quality in surface water is frequently degraded by fecal contamination from human and animal sources, imposing negative implications for recreational water use and public safety. For this reason it is critical to identify the source of fecal contamination in bodies of water in order to take proper corrective actions for controlling fecal pollution. Bacteroides genetic markers have been widely used to differentiate human from other sources of fecal bacteria in water. The results of this study indicate that many assays currently used to detect human-specific Bacteroides produce false positive results in the presence of freshwater fish. To further characterize Bacteroides from fish and human, the fecal samples were cultured, speciated, and identified. As a result, forty six new Bacteroides 16S rRNA gene sequences have been deposited to the NCBI database. These sequences, along with selected animal fecal sample Bacteroides, were aligned against human B. volgatus, B. fragilis, and B. dorei to identify multi-segmented variable regions within the 16S rRNA gene sequence. The collected sequences were truncated and used to construct a cladogram, showing a clear separation between human B. dorei and Bacteroides from other sources. A proposed strategy for source tracking was field tested by collecting water samples from central AZ source water and three different recreational ponds. PCR using HF134 and HF183 primer sets were performed and sequences for positive reactions were then aligned against human Bacteroides to identify the source of contamination. For the samples testing positive using the HF183 primer set (8/13), fecal contamination was determined to be from human sources. To confirm the results, PCR products were sequenced and aligned against the four variable regions and incorporated within the truncated cladogram. As expected, the sequences from water samples with human fecal contamination grouped within the human clade. As an outcome of this study, a tool box strategy for Bacteroides source identification relying on PCR amplification, variable region analysis, human-specific Bacteroides PCR assays, and subsequent truncated cladogram grouping analysis has been developed. The proposed strategy offers a new method for microbial source tracking and provides step-wise methodology essential for identifying sources of fecal pollution.

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2012

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Quantitative structure analysis relationships for predicting the fates of future contaminants in indirect potable reuse systems

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The objective of this research was to predict the persistence of potential future contaminants in indirect potable reuse systems. In order to accurately estimate the fates of future contaminants in indirect potable reuse systems, results describing persistence from EPI Suite

The objective of this research was to predict the persistence of potential future contaminants in indirect potable reuse systems. In order to accurately estimate the fates of future contaminants in indirect potable reuse systems, results describing persistence from EPI Suite were modified to include sorption and oxidation. The target future contaminants studied were the approximately 2000 pharmaceuticals currently undergoing testing by United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA). Specific organic substances such as analgesics, antibiotics, and pesticides were used to verify the predicted half-lives by comparing with reported values in the literature. During sub-surface transport, an important component of indirect potable reuse systems, the effects of sorption and oxidation are important mechanisms. These mechanisms are not considered by the quantitative structure activity relationship (QSAR) model predictions for half-lives from EPI Suite. Modifying the predictions from EPI Suite to include the effects of sorption and oxidation greatly improved the accuracy of predictions in the sub-surface environment. During validation, the error was reduced by over 50% when the predictions were modified to include sorption and oxidation. Molecular weight (MW) is an important criteria for estimating the persistence of chemicals in the sub-surface environment. EPI Suite predicts that high MW compounds are persistent since the QSAR model assumes steric hindrances will prevent transformations. Therefore, results from EPI Suite can be very misleading for high MW compounds. Persistence was affected by the total number of halogen atoms in chemicals more than the sum of N-heterocyclic aromatics in chemicals. Most contaminants (over 90%) were non-persistent in the sub-surface environment suggesting that the target future drugs do not pose a significant risk to potable reuse systems. Another important finding is that the percentage of compounds produced from the biotechnology industry is increasing rapidly and should dominate the future production of pharmaceuticals. In turn, pharmaceuticals should become less persistent in the future. An evaluation of indirect potable reuse systems that use reverse osmosis (RO) for potential rejection of the target contaminants was performed by statistical analysis. Most target compounds (over 95%) can be removed by RO based on size rejection and other removal mechanisms.

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2011

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Water quality decay and pathogen survival in drinking water distribution systems

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The deterioration of drinking-water quality within distribution systems is a serious cause for concern. Extensive water-quality deterioration often results in violations against regulatory standards and has been linked to water-borne disease outbreaks. The causes for the deterioration of

The deterioration of drinking-water quality within distribution systems is a serious cause for concern. Extensive water-quality deterioration often results in violations against regulatory standards and has been linked to water-borne disease outbreaks. The causes for the deterioration of drinking water quality inside distribution systems are not yet fully understood. Mathematical models are often used to analyze how different biological, chemical, and physical phenomena interact and cause water quality deterioration inside distribution systems. In this dissertation research I developed a mathematical model, the Expanded Comprehensive Disinfection and Water Quality (CDWQ-E) model, to track water quality changes in chloraminated water. I then applied CDWQ-E to forecast water quality deterioration trends and the ability of Naegleria fowleri (N.fowleri), a protozoan pathogen, to thrive within drinking-water distribution systems. When used to assess the efficacy of substrate limitation versus disinfection in controlling bacterial growth, CDWQ-E demonstrated that bacterial growth is more effectively controlled by lowering substrate loading into distribution systems than by adding residual disinfectants. High substrate concentrations supported extensive bacterial growth even in the presence of high levels of chloramine. Model results also showed that chloramine decay and oxidation of organic matter increase the pool of available ammonia, and thus have potential to advance nitrification within distribution systems. Without exception, trends predicted by CDWQ-E matched trends observed from experimental studies. When CDWQ-E was used to evaluate the ability N. fowleri to survive in finished drinking water, the model predicted that N. fowleri can survive for extended periods of time in distribution systems. Model results also showed that N. fowleri growth depends on the availability of high bacterial densities in the 105 CFU/mL range. Since HPC levels this high are rarely reported in bulk water, it is clear that in distribution systems biofilms are the prime reservoirs N. fowleri because of their high bacterial densities. Controlled laboratory experiments also showed that drinking water can be a source of N. fowleri, and the main reservoir appeared to be biofilms dominated by bacteria. When introduced to pipe-loops N. fowleri successfully attached to biofilms and survived for 5 months.

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2010

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Legionella-- a threat to groundwater, pathogen transport through recharge basin media columns

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This study was devised to elucidate key information concerning the potential risk posed by Legionella in reclaimed water. A series of biological experiments and a recharge basin soil column study were conducted to examine the survival, growth, and transport of

This study was devised to elucidate key information concerning the potential risk posed by Legionella in reclaimed water. A series of biological experiments and a recharge basin soil column study were conducted to examine the survival, growth, and transport of L. pneumophila through engineered reclaimed water systems. A pilot-scale, column study was set up to measure Legionella transport in the columns under Arizona recharge basin conditions. Two columns, A and B, were packed to a depth of 122 cm with a loamy sand media collected from a recharge basin in Mesa, Arizona. The grain size distribution of Column A differed from that of Column B by the removal of fines passing the #200 sieve. The different soil profiles represented by column A and B allowed for further investigation of soil attributes which influence the microbial transport mechanism. Both clear PVC columns stand at a height of 1.83 m with an inner diameter of 6.35 cm. Sampling ports were drilled into the column at the soil depths 15, 30, 60, 92, 122 cm. Both columns were acclimated with tertiary treated waste water and set to a flow rate of approximately 1.5 m/d. The columns were used to assess the transport of a bacterial indicator, E. coli, in addition to assessing the study's primary pathogen of concern, Legionella. Approximately, 〖10〗^7 to 〖10〗^9 E. coli cells or 〖10〗^6 to 〖10〗^7Legionella cells were spiked into the columns' head waters for each experiment. Periodically, samples were collected from each column's sampling ports, until a minimum of three pore volume passed through the columns.

The pilot-scale, column study produced novel results which demonstrated the mechanism for Legionella to be transported through recharge basin soil. E. coli was transported, through 122 cm of the media in under 6 hours, whereas, Legionella was transported, through the same distance, in under 30 hours. Legionella has been shown to survive in low nutrient conditions for over a year. Given the novel results of this proof of concept study, a claim can be made for the transport of Legionella into groundwater aquifers through engineering recharge basin conditions, in Central Arizona.

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2014

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Investigation into Bacteroides persistence in drinking water distribution systems and alternative methods to detect this fecal indicator

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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

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.

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2012

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Airborne dispersion and plume modeling of Legionella bacteria

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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

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.

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Date Created
2014