Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineering


Poster Number: ENE-01

Authors: Zachary Curtis, Shu-Guang Li, Hua-Sheng Liao, Hassan Abbas

Title:  General Groundwater Flow Processes Underlying Michigan Fens - A Multi-Scale Data-Driven Modeling Study


Abstract: Fens are groundwater-dependent ecosystems that provide critical habitats to many rare plant and animal species, resulting in the investment of substantial resources for their protection. Our recent process-based modeling of the underlying groundwater systems at a few different sites demonstrates that fens receive groundwater from multiple groundwater source areas, including distant regional groundwater recharge areas. In this study, we applied data-driven groundwater modeling of a large, contiguous region of Lower Michigan with 150 fen occurrences to generalize the groundwater processes important to these critical habits. In particular, groundwater source areas were investigated by developing and applying steady-state mean groundwater flow models at different spatial scales (basin-wide, regional, sub regional, and local). The approach directly filters, processes, and analyzes water well records and surface water elevations to estimate groundwater flow using a non-stationary kriging spatial interpolation technique. Major findings include: (1) most fens are located around or at the foot of several large groundwater “mounds” occurring across the intersection of major watersheds; (2) groundwater flow patterns in the regional source water areas are complex and most fens are recharged from multiple sources; (3) conversion of surface water to groundwater that ultimately discharges to a nearby fen – a “cascading connection” - is a robust delivery mechanism; and (4) the contributing groundwater source areas (groundwatersheds) of fens are much larger than their surface water catchments. These findings highlight that fens are key “nodes” in a complex, highly interconnected groundwater system that supports many ecosystems and groundwater resources of Lower Michigan. Because of this connectivity and the fact that groundwater mounds are critical regional source water areas for aquifer systems, fens, and other groundwater-dependent ecosystems, a few “smart” actions in key locations could yield high ecological returns.


Poster Number: ENE-02

Authors: Hien T. T. Dang, Volodymyr V. Tarabara

Title:  Kinetics of Bacteriophage MS2 Deposition onto Polyelectrolyte-coated Surfaces


Abstract: Kinetics of bacteriophage MS2 deposition onto polyelectrolyte-coated surfaces

Hien T. T. Dang, Volodymyr V. Tarabara

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824 USA

Adhesion to surfaces plays an important role in determining pathogen transport and fate in the environment. Countertops, hospital walls, hair and skin are examples of surfaces of particular interest. While bacterial adhesion is relatively well understood, less is known about interactions of viruses with surfaces of different charges, hydrophobicities and morphologies. In this study, the attachment of bacteriophage MS2 onto negatively and positively-charged polyelectrolyte-coated surfaces were studied by using quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D). Each surface coating was designed by assembling a polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) via alternate deposition of the negatively-charged poly(styrene-4-sulfonate) (PSS) and positively-charged poly(dimethyl diallyl ammonium chloride) (PDADMAC) on a QCM-D sensor. The PEM deposition solutions were of eiter high or low ionic strength (100 mM and 10 mM NaCl background electrolyte, respectively) yielding the total of four different coating types. The surface charge of the PEMs ranged from -7.5 mV to 27.5 mV. Each of the four designed surfaces was tested in two QCM-D experiments wherein MS2 was deposited on the surface from either a high ionic strength solution (100 mM NaCl) or a low ionic strength solution (10 mM NaCl). MS2 deposition onto the negative surface was more significant from the high ionic strength solution. This is consistent with the hypothesis that electrostatic repulsion controls the MS2-surface interaction. Predictions by the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory corroborated the hypothesis. MS2 deposition onto the positive surfaces, however, was less favorable from 10 mM NaCl than from 100 mM NaCl background electrolyte, in disagreement with the hypothesis and the DLVO theory. The extended DLVO (XDLVO) was then employed to account for hydrophobic interactions. XDLVO theory showed that the hydrophobic interaction between MS2 and the positively-charged surface was significant but still failed to explain the experimental results. The discrepancy was attributed to differences in the coating morphologies as witnessed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) images of the surfaces under wet conditions. The AFM showed that when the PEMs immerged in a higher ionic strength solutions are characterized by significantly higher roughness, which may explain the more favorable adhesion of MS2 in 100 mM NaCl background electrolyte. The preliminary results obtained in this study will be used to design surfaces that resist virus adhesion. Specialty polymeric coatings and paints with a modified formulation should help reduce human exposure to viruses.


This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Education and Research program (grant IIA-1243433)

Poster Number: ENE-03

Authors: Farshid Felfelani, Yadu N. Pokhrel

Title:  Impacts of Irrigation on Terrestrial Water Storage Variations in the Community Land Model: A Case Study of Overexploited Aquifers in the US


Abstract: This study uses the Community Land Model (CLM) to examine the impacts of irrigation on the variations of terrestrial water storage (TWS) in the High Plains and Central Valley aquifers in the US. The Community Land Model (CLM), a state-of-the-art land surface model (LSM), simulates the land hydrology by solving the water and energy balances at the land surface. CLM has been recently enhanced by incorporating human impacts modules with crop and irrigation representation. In this study, we use the latest version of CLM to conduct two sets of simulations with and without irrigation and crop modules (hereafter IRRIG and CNTRL simulations respectively). The results from the IRRIG and CNTRL simulations are compared to assess the impacts of irrigation on total TWS with emphasis on the changes in soil moisture (SM) content. Further, two simulations are compared to the observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to evaluate whether the incorporation of crop and irrigation modules adds any improvements in model results at regional scale. It is found that the irrigation extensively alters the spatio-temporal patterns of SM content over highly irrigated areas. Our results underscore the need to further improve the representation of irrigation and crop in hydrological models to more realistically capture the spatial and temporal variability in TWS.




Poster Number: ENE-04

Authors: Shardula Gawankar, Imen Zaabar, Nizar Lajnef

Title:  Remote Detection and Characterization of Field Aging of Asphalt Pavement


Abstract: The oxidation of asphalt is the primary cause of binder hardening in pavements, which in turn leads to various forms of pavement failures. Oxidation is one of the principal factors responsible for the aging phenomena. When asphalt is exposed to oxygen, a slow autoxidation occurs. As binders oxidize, carbonyl groups are formed increasing the polarity of their host compounds and making them much more likely to associate with other polar compounds. As they form these associations, they create less soluble asphaltenes materials. This composition change, results in orders-of-magnitude increases in both the asphalt's viscous and elastic properties. This results in a material that increases its stress greatly with deformation and simultaneously cannot relieve the stress by flow, leading to a pavement that is very brittle and susceptible to fatigue and thermal cracking. Current techniques do not allow for the detection of asphalt aging levels in the field. Most of the experimental techniques are limited to laboratory settings, thus leading to erroneous simulation predictions compared to actual observed degradation levels in the field. The objective of this project is a proof-of-concept for a sensing system that is easy to install and implementable in the field. The process is based on the inclusion of chemical compounds into the material. These engineered compounds also contain fluorescent elements which exhibit a varying fluorescence emission spectrum depending on concentration levels of oxygen. Then, these engineered materials were aged and tested in the lab using Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy. Preliminary results showed that the fluorescence intensity decreased with an increase in asphalt aging.


This work was supported in part by US Department of Transportation University Center for Highway Pavement Preservation




Poster Number: ENE-05

Authors: Charifa A. Hejase, Jia Wei Chew, Anthony G. Fane, Volodymyr V. Tarabara

Title:  Deoiling Saline Emulsions by Porous Membranes: A Direct Visualization Study


Abstract: Large volumes of oily wastewaters are produced in various industrial operations by petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, and food processing industries. If not properly treated, these wastewater streams can pose significant environmental risks. Membrane filtration is the most cost-effective technology capable of removing oil droplets smaller than 10 microns, often a prerequisite for meeting environmental regulations. However, membrane fouling by oil has been a disadvantage limiting the broader acceptance of this technology. In this study, we investigated the impacts of emulsion salinity and membrane’s surface chemistry on oil droplet behavior during crossflow filtration. Direct Observation Through the Membrane (DOTM) technique was employed to visualize the droplets in real time on the surface of three optically transparent membranes: ultrafiltration membrane (Anopore; = 0.02 micron) and two nanofiltration membranes (Anopore coated with polyelectrolyte multilayer films) with opposite surface charges. Visualization by DOTM was complemented by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) experiments to gain quantitative understanding of oil droplets deposition on various surfaces. Hexadecane-in-water emulsions (0.1% v/v) were prepared and stabilized by sodium dodecyl sulfate (0.1 mM) in the presence of sodium chloride (8.5 mM or 103 mM or 171 mM). Emulsions were characterized in terms of interfacial tension and droplet size distribution. The results indicate that membrane fouling by emulsified oil is governed by interfacial tension, electrostatic droplet-membrane interaction, membrane’s wettability by oil, and salinity of the dispersed phase. Membrane fouling by oil can be mitigated by promoting droplet coalescence where oil droplets reach a critical size and then are swept off the membrane surface by the crossflow shear.


This work was supported in part by Environmental Science Policy Program (ESPP) doctoral fellowship; Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE)




Poster Number: ENE-06

Authors: Dipti Kamath, Stephen Christy, Kelsey Goss, Annick Anctil

Title:  Environmental Benefits of Second Use of EV Batteries for Fast Charging: A Life Cycle Assessment Approach


Abstract: With a gradual increase in the number of Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the road today, a similar trend is seen in the use of Lithium Ion Batteries (LIBs) for these EVs. However, LIBs are only considered suitable for vehicle application up to a capacity fade of 20%. Once such a capacity fade occurs, these LIBs are discarded, leading to a significant problem in waste management. However, even with this capacity fade, these End-of-Life (EOL) LIBs can be considered useful for other applications, especially stationary applications. This work aims at evaluating the second life potential and environmental benefits of EOL LIBs for a particular photovoltaic (PV) application. The premise is that the remaining capacity of the EV battery after its in-vehicle life phase may offer the perfect complement to the intermittent renewable energy source at low cost and high net environmental benefit. The application involves using the EOL batteries as an Energy Storage System (ESS) for high rate charging of an EV. This scenario would consider a grid connected PV system for charging the ESS and high rate discharge from the ESS to charge an EV. The secondary battery lifetime capacity and performance over time is simulated through various models. The environmental benefits of the second life usage was compared to recycling processes using life cycle assessment (LCA) and focused on greenhouse gases emissions and energy demand.


This work was supported in part by Ford Motor Company (Project: Potential for second life battery in PV systems)



Poster Number: ENE-07

Authors: Yogendra Kanitkar, Robert Stedtfeld, Paul Hatzinger, Syed Hashsham, Alison Cupples

Title:  The Application of Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) for Rapid Detection of vcrA and tceA in Groundwater Samples


Abstract: A number of quantitative PCR (qPCR) protocols to enumerate Dehalococcoides spp. reductive dehalogenase (RDase) genes, such as vcrA, tceA and bvcA, are available. However, there can be significant costs associated with both approaches (e.g. a thermal cycler for qPCR can be $20K). In this study, we developed an alternative method to qPCR for the detection of RDase genes. The approach involves loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and requires only low-cost laboratory equipment. In addition, the analysis time and cost per sample are lower than currently used methods. The method was tested with groundwater samples from 35 monitoring wells at five different sites. Finally, optimization experiments were then carried out to eliminate false positives caused because of carryover-aerosolized quantification by incorporating a Uracil N-Glycolase protocol widely used with qPCR. To establish that LAMP was comparable to qPCR for DNA extracted from groundwater, the first stage of the research involved a comparison of LAMP to qPCR for tceA and vcrA using a real time thermal cycler. Following this, experiments were conducted to optimize the sample concentration approach, so that the DNA extraction step could be removed. Finally, optimization experiments were carried out by completely replacing deoxythymidine triphosphate (dTTP) with deoxyuridine triphosphate (dUTP) to establish the amount of UNG needed to eliminate false positives while maintaining a minimum acceptable detection limit of 10^5 vcrA gene copies/reaction. A final method was developed which only requires low cost equipment (bench top centrifuge and a water-bath) for RDase detection.  When qPCR and LAMP were compared using DNA extracted from groundwater, the results of both methods were almost identical (R^2=0.991) over a range of approximately 10^4 to 1010 gene copies/L for tceA and 10^5 to 10^10 gene copies/L for vcrA. Although amplification from cell templates resulted in lower values compared to DNA extracts, a strong correlation was obtained between the two sets of data. The final approach (using LAMP/SYBR green and a waterbath) to detect RDase genes, without DNA extraction or a thermal cycler, was successful to 1.8 X 10^5 gene copies per L for vcrA and 1.3 X 10^5 gene copies per L for tceA. Both values are below the threshold recommended for effective in situ dechlorination.


This work was supported in part by Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)

Poster Number: ENE-08

Authors: Eunsang Lee, Cameron Jacob Andrews, Annick Anctil

Title:  Methodology to Evaluate the Impact of Fine Chemicals Manufacturing: An Example from Organic Photovoltaic Materials


Abstract: Fine chemicals are complex, single, and pure chemical substances for certain applications. There is a challenge in their production since they are produced in plants producing many other chemicals and require multistep processes. In this work, we use metal phthalocyanine (M-Pc) as a case study of applying sustainability methodology. M-Pcs are common electron donors and fullerenes are used as electron acceptors in organic photovoltaic. M-Pcs synthesis release polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) when chlorinated benzenes are used as a reaction media. For solar applications, high purity is required for high efficiency, but the purification process is energy intensive. Our sustainability methodology combines environmental, health and economic impact combining life cycle assessment (LCA) and green chemistry metrics to identify significant contributor and reduce the impact of fine chemicals synthesis. LCA is used to assess cumulative environmental, health, and cost impacts from cradle to gate. Since LCA is time intensive, green chemistry metrics is used to supplement LCA. Chloroaluminum phthalocyanine (ClAlPc) was synthesized using various precursors and solvents under heating mantle and microwave. Material flows were recorded, and by-products were identified to calculate life cycle toxicity. Preliminary data indicates that the alternative reaction media, 2,4-dichlorianisole, requires toxic chemicals in its upstream process and consequently results in higher health impact than the conventional reaction media. These results highlight the importance of the life cycle assessment approach that can effectively identify unintended consequences from the prior chemical process. The methodology can also be applied to other fine chemicals, and results from fullerene purification will be presented.


This work was supported in part by A green chemistry approach to organic and transparent photovoltaic material synthesis and device fabrication (NSF-1511098)




Poster Number: ENE-09

Authors: Xiaoyan Li, Selett Allen, Alyssa Rose, Rebecca Lahr

Title:  Low Cost Drinking Water Analysis using the “Coffee Ring” Effect


Abstract: Low cost drinking water analysis using the “coffee ring” effect

Abstract: As water infrastructure ages and public funds to monitor tap water decrease, new methods for household testing that are fast, cost-efficient, user-friendly, low tech, and reliable will become increasingly valuable. A new water analysis method is currently under development to harness the separation of solutes from aqueous solutions via the “coffee ring” effect. The coffee ring effect is the phenomenon by which water droplets leave distinguishable “fingerprint” residue patterns after water evaporates, where residues display ring-like deposits of solute particles separated by size and solubility along the perimeter of the residue (Wong, Chen et al. 2011) (Deegan, Bakajin et al. 1997). Paired with chemical analysis, the coffee ring effect has previously been used to quantify cyanotoxin contamination in surface water (Halvorson and Vikesland 2011) and evaluate signs of ocular damage in human tear fluid (Filik and Stone 2008). These detection protocols have relied upon chemical analysis (Raman spectroscopy) to quantify one species in the sample at a time. Photographs of the residue patterns themselves have not previously been used to document overall water composition.




Poster Number: ENE-10

Authors: Camille McCall, Mariya Munir, Terance Marsh, Irene Xagoraraki

Title:  Comparative Study of Sequence Aligners for Detecting Antibiotic Resistance on a Metagenomic Scale


Abstract: In this study, we aim to compare the results of two sequence aligners, BWA-MEM and Bowtie2, when aligning bacterial DNA against two nucleotide antibiotic resistant gene reference databases, CARD and ARG-ANNOT. We used high-throughput sequencing paired with alignment algorithms to obtain annotated results of resistant genes in wastewater samples extracted directly after the disinfection process of two sewage treatment facilities. In general, BWA-MEM mapped with greater base coverage and sequencing depth when aligned against the larger reference genome, CARD, while alignment results against the smaller reference genome, ARG-ANNOT, were more comparable between sequence aligners. Alignment with BWA-MEM and Bowtie2 suggests the presence of macrolide, elfamycin, sulfonamide, beta-lactam, and aminoglycoside resistance in both samples. To our knowledge, this is the first study to suggest elfamycin resistance in wastewater samples using metagenomic analysis. Results indicate that when operating under the aligner’s default conditions, the size of the reference database may influence the potential for mapping in both Bowtie2 and BWA-MEM alignments. To our understanding, this is the first study to provide sequence alignment results of real, whole-genome bacterial DNA mapped against two different size nucleotide antibiotic resistant gene references using Bowtie2 and BWA-MEM.




Poster Number: ENE-11

Authors: Joyce Mujunga Nakyazze, Huiyun Wu, Evan O’Brien, Noah Kiwanuka, John Kaneene, Irene Xagoraraki

Title:  Waterborne Viruses in Southwest Kampala, Uganda


Abstract: The prevalence of waterborne viral diseases is still a major problem in developing countries like Uganda. However, little is known of the viral pathogens that cause disease. This research was conducted to study waterborne viruses; Adenoviruses, Rotaviruses, Enteroviruses and Hepatitis A viruses in the southwest region of Kampala, Uganda. Fifteen samples were collected from five sampling locations that include: Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) both influent and effluent, Nakivubo channel (upstream and downstream of the WWTP) and Nakivubo swamp. Virus samples were collected with electropositive cartridges. Viruses were recovered by elution using beef extract, DNA and RNA extraction followed. DNA viruses were quantified using quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction method and RNA viruses were detected by Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction method. The concentration of the viruses varied between Log 1.7- 7.8 copies/L. Rotavirus concentrations varied between Log 1.7 – 4.3 copies/L, with WWTP effluent rotavirus concentration varying greatly compared to those at other sampling locations. For Hepatitis A, the maximum concentration (Log 4.1 copies/L) was observed at the channel after WWTP. The channel before WWTP had more consistent Enterovirus concentration (range 0.4) compared to other locations. Adenovirus concentrations were relatively high, Log 5.1 – 7.1 copies/L at all the sampling locations. Human exposure to such pathogens through consumption of contaminated water and food can be harmful. This data is paramount for estimating the risk from exposure to microorganisms.


This work was supported in part by Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering MSU-internal; College of Veterinary Medicine, MSU- external; MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, MSU-external




Poster Number: ENE-12

Authors: Evan O'Brien, Joyce Nakyazze, Huiyun Wu, Noah Kiwanuka, John Kaneene, Irene Xagoraraki

Title:  Viral Diversity of Wastewater in Kampala, Uganda


Abstract: Viral diversity of wastewater influent from a wastewater treatment utility in Uganda was explored using metagenomic analyses on a preliminary sample in preparation for a full-scale project. Samples were collected from the influent of the Bugolobi Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kampala, Uganda. Samples were processed to concentrate viral particles and sequenced using an Illumina platform. Sequencing files were then analyzed to assess viral diversity of these samples. Sequence were aligned to the NCBI reference genome of viral sequences using the BWA-MEM aligner. Results show high coverage of several human waterborne viruses, including enteroviruses, rotaviruses, and hepatitis viruses. Low levels of genome coverage were observed for other human viruses, including influenza, polyomavirus, papillomavirus, herpesvirus, and astrovirus, as well as low levels of coverage for certain endemic viruses such as Chikungunya virus, Dengue virus, hantavirus, and Nipah virus. Numerous animal and plant viruses also showed high coverage in the sequencing sample. These results indicate the ability of next-generation sequencing to offer a full viral diversity profile of an environmental sample for the detection and characterization of human viruses present in the environment. Future work will analyze samples from multiple locations to better assess the ability of metagenomic analyses to detect hazardous viruses in the environment and the impact of wastewater effluent discharge on the viral diversity of surface waters.




Poster Number: ENE-13

Authors: Han Qiu, Jie Niu, Mantha S. Phanikumar

Title:  Modeling Nitrogen Fate and Transport in Agricultural Basins in the Great Lakes Region Using a Process-based Hydrologic Model


Abstract: Nitrogen loading and transport in river basins are closely related to several environmental issues such as eutrophication. In this work, we describe an operator-splitting-based approach for multi-component reactive transport modeling of nitrogen fate and transport in agricultural basins in the Great Lakes region. This work provides a watershed-scale framework of nitrogen transport and reactions originating from multiple sources with interactions between the domains of soil, groundwater, overland and river networks. User-defined reaction modules make it possible to manipulate individual processes, evaluate the impacts of point sources, and to understand the evolving roles of nitrogen species in different domains. The modeling framework was tested on agricultural watersheds such as the Kalamazoo River watershed (5,200 km2) in Michigan. Our results are expected to aid in the management of water resources, and in evaluating the impacts of agricultural activities.




Poster Number: ENE-14

Authors: Vidhya Ramalingam, Alison M. Cupples

Title:  The Development of Enrichment Cultures Capable of Anaerobic Biodegradation of the Groundwater Contaminant 1,4-Dioxane


Abstract: The solvent stabilizer 1,4-dioxane is a common groundwater contaminant especially at contaminated sites where it was used as a stabilizer for the chlorinated solvents. It is a possible human carcinogen and exposure leads to liver, kidney and nervous system damage. Further, this chemical is highly hydrophilic and mobile, which makes groundwater remediation particularly challenging. To date, 1,4-dioxane biodegradation has only been observed under aerobic conditions. However, aerobic biodegradation may not be useful at sites that use reductive dechlorination for remediation, since the site will have reducing conditions. Therefore, the primary objective of this work is to develop anaerobic cultures capable of 1,4-dioxane biodegradation under iron reducing, sulfate reducing, nitrate reducing and methanogenic conditions. Experiments, thus far, have involved the development of enrichment cultures using four agricultural soils. The experimental set up involved triplicates and controls for each reducing condition and for each soil. A method was developed to analyze 1,4-dioxane in these samples using a gas chromatograph flame ionization detector (GC-FID). Data will be collected over the next few months to determine if significant removal has occurred in the samples compared to the controls. Future plans for enrichment cultures illustrating 1,4-dioxane biodegradation include high throughput sequencing to identify the dominant microorganisms in these cultures.


This work was supported in part by SERDP (Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program)




Poster Number: ENE-15

Authors: Hang Shi, Irene Xagoraraki, Kristin N. Parent, Merlin L. Bruening, Volodymyr V. Tarabara

Title:  Recovery of Human Adenovirus 40 from Tap and Surface Water by Crossflow ultrafiltration


Abstract: Prevention of waterborne disease outbreaks relies on the efficient detection of pathogens in drinking and recreational water. Development of sample concentration technology that ensures fast and high recovery of pathogens from aquatic samples is crucial for reliable detection. This study examines the recovery of enteric adenovirus HAdV 40 by crossflow ultrafiltration from several water matrices (deionized water, tap water and surface water) and interprets recovery data by elucidating the physicochemical mechanisms that control virus adhesion on surfaces. Membranes were either blocked by calf serum (CS) or coated with a polyelectrolyte multilayer (PEM) to minimize virus adsorption on the membrane surface. In accordance with predictions from the extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek theory, pre-elution recovery of HAdV 40, from deionized water was higher with the PEM-coated membranes (r_pre^PEM= 74.8 ± 9.7%) than with CS-blocked membranes (r_pre^CS=54.1 ± 6.2%). With either membrane type, the total virus recovery after elution was high in both deionized water (r_post^PEM= 99.5 ± 6.6%; r_post^CS= 98.8 ± 7.7%) and tap water (r_post^PEM = 89 ± 15% and r_post^CS= 93.7 ± 6.9%). The nearly 100% recoveries suggest that sodium polyphosphate and tween 80 in the eluent effectively disrupt electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions between the virus and the membrane. For surface water, addition of ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid to the eluent greatly improves the elution efficacy (r_post^PEM= 88.6 ± 4.3%; r_post^CS= 87.0 ± 6.9%) even when organic carbon concentration in the water is high (9.4 ± 0.1 mg/L), possibly by eliminating cation bridging between viruses and particles in the feed water matrix or the fouling layer on the membrane surface. This suggests that the eluent composition is the most important factor for achieving high virus recovery for complex water matrices.


This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Education and Research program under grant IIA-1243433




Poster Number: ENE-16

Authors: Jean-Rene Thelusmond, Alison Cupples, Timothy Strathmann

Title:  Biological Transformation of Two Common Pharmaceuticals in Agricultural Soils and Identification of the Responsible Microorganisms


Abstract: Pharmaceuticals and personal (PPCPs) care products are being released into the environment because of their poor elimination during the wastewater treatment process. The release of such contaminants into the environment will probably continue as wastewater effluents and biosolids are being increasingly utilized to irrigate and amend farms. The presence of PPCPs in the soils is concerning due to the risk of the underlying groundwater contamination and the uptake into plants. To abate the risks posed by these contaminants, their removal from the soils is quite warranted. The use of the soil microbial communities can be a safe and inexpensive way of removal. This study elucidates the biodegradability of diclofenac (DCF) and carbamazepine (CBZ) in agricultural soils. The experimental procedure consisted in establishing laboratory microcosms with agricultural soils and adding 50 ng/g of DCF or CBZ. The pharmaceuticals were extracted periodically using a modified QuECHERS followed by solid phase extraction and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. DNA was also extracted from all the samples except the abiotic controls. High throughput sequencing was performed on the extracted DNA prior to processing the output through Mothur, PICRUSt and STAMP. The initial results demonstrate that DCF is readily degradable under aerobic conditions with DCF exhibiting 55%, 80.5%, 100%, and 98.1% decrease in soils A, B, C, and D, respectively, on day 3. On day 7, over 99% of the added drug was biotransformed in all the soils. Data on CBZ degradation are still being collected. The microorganisms responsible for the removal of DCF and CBZ are still under investigation.


This work was supported in part by USDA


Poster Number: ENE-17

Authors: Xiaoyu Wang, Simon Davies, Susan Masten

Title:  Energy Cost Analysis of Catalytic Ceramic Membrane Ozonation Filtration System


Abstract: Membrane fouling is one of the main factors that limiting the application and increaseing the operational costs of membrane technologies. It can be reduced through shear stress generated by cross-flow at the membrane surface. Moreover, previous work has shown that presence of ozone can reduce membrane fouling. In this work the effect of ozonation and cross-flow on membrane fouling on ceramic membranes was studied. The effect of ozone dosage on membrane fouling was studied in both cross-flow and dead-end configurations. The performance of a manganese oxide coated membrane was compared with that of uncoated titanium oxide membrane. Membrane fouling decreased with increasing ozone dosages in the manganese oxide coated catalytic membrane, although increasing the dosage beyond 10-15 μg/s yielded limited improvement.




Poster Number: ENE-18

Authors: Chelsea Weiskerger, Richard Whitman, Mantha Phanikumar

Title:  Anatomy of “Wicked” Problem: Approaching Long-term Recreational Water Quality Trends with Multiple Causal Hypotheses


Abstract: With the prevalence of “wicked” problems in natural sciences – problems that are complex and poorly understood, such as climate change, environmental justice, etc. – it is vital that researchers approach these issues with multiple hypotheses regarding their causes. But wicked problems are not limited to worldwide problems; these types of issues arise in regional and local contexts as well. An example is an observed mid- to long-term decrease in E. coli contamination of recreational waters on Lake Michigan. Researchers contend that there are four main hypotheses that could explain these decreases: municipal changes to sewer and wastewater management, bird harassment at beaches, climatic changes including prevailing winds and temperature alterations, and effects of invasive, filter-feeding mussels. Hypotheses are systematically analyzed, in terms of feasibility, spatial and temporal scale matching, and statistical correlation with E. coli trends. While all four hypotheses have merit, after the analyses, researchers are left with one, “most likely” explanation for the mid- to long-term decreases in E. coli. The most probable explanation involves an increase in water clarity and light inactivation of bacteria due to filter feeding. This highlights the importance of thinking about all potential causes of environmental phenomena prior to drawing causal conclusions when studying “wicked” environmental problems.




Poster Number: ENE-19

Authors: Maggie Williams, Robert Stedtfeld, Tiffany Stedtfeld, James Tiedje, Syed Hashsham

Title:  Influence of Dioxin Exposure on the Communication between the Host Immune Response and Gut Microbiome through Ileal microRNAs


Abstract: The gut microbiome is thought to have co-evolved with the host to perform essential functions including immune system modulation, resulting in a complex and dynamic symbiotic relationship. As small, non-coding molecules, micoRNAs regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by targeting the 3’ untranslated region on mRNAs, thereby blocking protein synthesis and degradation of mRNAs. Differential expression of microRNAs is observed in the gut when certain gut members are present. More recently it has been shown that the host may be regulating its own gut microbiome through microRNAs, which are taken up by bacteria and associate with DNA. Exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) can cause disruption of the immune system which can be modulated by the microbiome and microRNAs. In this study, we hypothesized that microRNAs involved in these immune responses would have altered expression following TCDD dosing.Mouse treatment groups of mono-associated (SFB), di-associated (Clostridia and B. fragilis), tri-associated (SFB, Clostridia and B. fragilis), and germ-free, were dosed with 30 µg/kg of TCDD. Ileum tissue samples were collected and microRNA expression levels were characterized using nCounter. MicroRNA expression results were compared with mRNA expression results to provide insight into gene expression regulation.The influence of association (colonized vs. germ-free; vehicle only) was more significant than the influence of TCDD exposure with 36 differentially expressed microRNAs of which the most differentially expressed microRNAs were present in the SFB mono-colonized group (n=24). A total of 3 microRNAs were differentially expressed when comparing B. fragilis colonized to germ-free mice and 9 microRNAs were significant when comparing the SFB co-colonized group to germ-free. The influence of dioxin on ileal microRNA expression was determined by comparing the TCDD-treated to vehicle controls within each associated group. The most differentially expressed microRNAs (log2FC > |0.59|, adjusted p value < 0.05 after ANOVA screening) were in the SFB mono colonized group (n=27), the majority of which were downregulated (n=16). Based on potential gene targets of these microRNAs, pathways affected by TCDD included inflammatory responses, which is a known response to TCDD. These findings reflect the comprehensive effort necessary to understand the complex relationship between the gut microbiome, environmental contaminants, and host.


This work was supported in part by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Basic Research Program (NIEHS SBRP P42ES04911) with contributions from Project 1, 4, 5, and Core B




Poster Number: ENE-20

Authors: Huiyun Wu, Amira Oun, Thomas Voice, David Long, Irene Xagoraraki

Title:  First Flush Evaluation of Bacterial Indicators in Red Cedar River, MI


Abstract: First flush refers to the initial surface runoff of a hydrological event. It raises significant issues due to its high concentration of contaminants. Studies of first flush phenomena have been primarily focused on chemicals. The objective of the study is to evaluate first flush phenomena for microbial contaminants during the periods of spring snowmelt and summer storms. Samples were collected in Red Cedar River in Michigan and were analyzed for three fecal contamination indicators: E.coli, Bovine-associated bacteroides (BoBac) gene marker, and Human-associated bacteroides (HuBac) gene marker. E.coli and BoBac showed flush effect in the summer rainfall events, E.coli showed first flush effect in spring snowmelt events. The occurrence of first flush phenomena of fecal indicators in both summer rainfall events (2013) and spring snowmelt (2014) in the Red Cedar River confirmed the watershed was under a high risk of microbial contamination. A surface water runoff management and watershed protection plan for Red Cider River watershed should be considered to control human and animal pollution.