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Environmental chemistry articles from across Nature Portfolio

Environmental chemistry is the study of chemical processes that occur in water, air, terrestrial and living environments, and the effects of human activity on them. It includes topics such as astrochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, environmental modelling, geochemistry, marine chemistry and pollution remediation.

Related Subjects

  • Astrochemistry
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Geochemistry
  • Marine chemistry
  • Pollution remediation

Latest Research and Reviews

research paper on environmental chemistry

Effect of solution ions on the charge and performance of nanofiltration membranes

  • Rebecca S. Roth
  • Liat Birnhack
  • Razi Epsztein

research paper on environmental chemistry

Lithium inventory tracking as a non-destructive battery evaluation and monitoring method

Capacity is often used to evaluate and monitor battery state and health. Now, lithium inventory transactions can be accurately tracked at the electrode–electrolyte interface to improve battery performance and reliability.

  • Yulun Zhang
  • Boryann Liaw

research paper on environmental chemistry

The initial stages of cement hydration at the molecular level

Despite being crucial for elucidating the cement hydration mechanism, the initial hydration stage is poorly understood. Here, authors uncover the unbiased Ca dissolution pathway during the initial hydration of calcium silicates via atomistic simulations and reveal a key Ca ligand structure.

  • Chongchong Qi
  • Hegoi Manzano

research paper on environmental chemistry

Optimization of simultaneous adsorption of nickel, copper, cadmium and zinc from sulfuric solutions using weakly acidic resins

  • Somayeh Kolbadinejad
  • Ahad Ghaemi

research paper on environmental chemistry

Grave-to-cradle photothermal upcycling of waste polyesters over spent LiCoO 2

The increasing production of lithium-ion batteries and plastics presents significant challenges to resource sustainability and ecosystem integrity. This study highlights the utilization of spent lithium cobalt oxide cathodes as photothermal catalysts to transform various waste polyesters into valuable monomers.

  • Xiangxi Lou
  • Penglei Yan
  • Jinxing Chen

research paper on environmental chemistry

Exploiting sulfonated covalent organic frameworks to fabricate long-lasting stability and chlorine-resistant thin-film nanocomposite nanofiltration membrane

  • Wenqiao Meng
  • Kaisong Zhang


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Cosmic recipe book updated.

research paper on environmental chemistry

Particulate matter sampling to assess air pollution

Lisbett Materano highlights how urban dust samples can be used to identify environmental and health risks from air pollution.

  • Lisbett Susana Materano-Escalona

Long-term, sustainable solutions to radioactive waste management

Nuclear power plays a pivotal role in ensuring a scalable, affordable, and reliable low-carbon electricity supply. Along with other low-carbon energy technologies, nuclear energy is essential for reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, addressing climate change and air pollution, and achieving a sustainable economy. Whilst significant progress has been made in reducing the volume of final radioactive waste, its management remains one of the most important challenges when considering the continued use and expansion of nuclear energy. This recently published collection highlights the latest technological and scientific advances aimed to improve the safe, long-term, and sustainable management of wastes produced from nuclear power generation.

  • Kristina Kvashnina
  • Francis Claret
  • Tiankai Yao

research paper on environmental chemistry

Plastic pollution amplified by a warming climate

Climate change and plastic pollution are interconnected global challenges. Rising temperatures and moisture alter plastic characteristics, contributing to waste, microplastic generation, and release of hazardous substances. Urgent attention is essential to comprehend and address these climate-driven effects and their consequences.

  • Xin-Feng Wei
  • Mikael S. Hedenqvist

research paper on environmental chemistry

Filtration made green and easy

Whether on a hike, in a remote disaster zone or in your own home, access to clean water is critical. Filtration of freshwater to remove ultrafine particles like micro/nanoplastics, pathogens or other toxic components is unfortunately usually quite expensive, unportable and environmentally unfriendly.

  • Markus J. Buehler

research paper on environmental chemistry

Compact inverse Compton scattering sources to characterize and map radionuclides

Hao Ding outlines the use of compact inverse Compton scattering sources to study the characteristics of radionuclides that can damage the environment.

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research paper on environmental chemistry

Royal Society of Chemistry

2019 Best Papers published in the Environmental Science journals of the Royal Society of Chemistry

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In 2019, the Royal Society of Chemistry published 180, 196 and 293 papers in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts , Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology , and Environmental Science: Nano , respectively. These papers covered a wide range of topics in environmental science, from biogeochemical cycling to water reuse to nanomaterial toxicity. And, yes, we also published papers on the topic of the environmental fate, behavior, and inactivation of viruses. 1–10 We are extremely grateful that so many authors have chosen our journals as outlets for publishing their research and are equally delighted at the high quality of the papers that we have had the privilege to publish.

Our Associate Editors, Editorial Boards, and Advisory Boards were enlisted to nominate and select the best papers from 2019. From this list, the three Editors-in-Chief selected an overall best paper from the entire Environmental Science portfolio. It is our pleasure to present the winners of the Best Papers in 2019 to you, our readers.

Overall Best Paper

In this paper, Johansson et al. examine sea spray aerosol as a potential transport vehicle for perfluoroalkyl carboxylic and sulfonic acids. The surfactant properties of these compounds are well known and, in fact, key to many of the technical applications for which they are used. The fact that these compounds are enriched at the air–water interface makes enrichment in sea spray aerosols seem reasonable. Johansson et al. systematically tested various perfluoroalkyl acids enrichment in aerosols under conditions relevant to sea spray formation, finding that longer chain lengths lead to higher aerosol enrichment factors. They augmented their experimental work with a global model, which further bolstered the conclusion that global transport of perfluoroalkyl acids by sea spray aerosol is and will continue to be an important process in determining the global distribution of these compounds.

Journal Best Papers

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts

First Runner-up Best Paper: Yamakawa, Takami, Takeda, Kato, Kajii, Emerging investigator series: investigation of mercury emission sources using Hg isotopic compositions of atmospheric mercury at the Cape Hedo Atmosphere and Aerosol Monitoring Station (CHAAMS), Japan , Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts , 2019, 21 , 809–818, DOI: 10.1039/C8EM00590G .

Second Runner-up Best Paper: Avery, Waring, DeCarlo, Seasonal variation in aerosol composition and concentration upon transport from the outdoor to indoor environment , Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts , 2019, 21 , 528–547, DOI: 10.1039/C8EM00471D .

Best Review Article: Cousins, Ng, Wang, Scheringer, Why is high persistence alone a major cause of concern? Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts , 2019, 21 , 781–792, DOI: 10.1039/C8EM00515J .

Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology

First Runner-up Best Paper: Yang, Lin, Tse, Dong, Yu, Hoffmann, Membrane-separated electrochemical latrine wastewater treatment , Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 51–59, DOI: 10.1039/C8EW00698A .

Second Runner-up Best Paper: Genter, Marks, Clair-Caliot, Mugume, Johnston, Bain, Julian, Evaluation of the novel substrate RUG™ for the detection of Escherichia coli in water from temperate (Zurich, Switzerland) and tropical (Bushenyi, Uganda) field sites , Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1082–1091, DOI: 10.1039/C9EW00138G .

Best Review Article: Okoffo, O’Brien, O’Brien, Tscharke, Thomas, Wastewater treatment plants as a source of plastics in the environment: a review of occurrence, methods for identification, quantification and fate , Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1908–1931, DOI: 10.1039/C9EW00428A .

Environmental Science: Nano

First Runner-up Best Paper: Janković, Plata, Engineered nanomaterials in the context of global element cycles , Environ. Sci.: Nano , 2019, 6 , 2697–2711, DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00322C .

Second Runner-up Best Paper: González-Pleiter, Tamayo-Belda, Pulido-Reyes, Amariei, Leganés, Rosal, Fernández-Piñas, Secondary nanoplastics released from a biodegradable microplastic severely impact freshwater environments , Environ. Sci.: Nano , 2019, 6 , 1382–1392, DOI: 10.1039/C8EN01427B .

Best Review Article: Lv, Christie, Zhang, Uptake, translocation, and transformation of metal-based nanoparticles in plants: recent advances and methodological challenges , Environ. Sci.: Nano , 2019, 6 , 41–59, DOI: 10.1039/C8EN00645H .

Congratulations to the authors of these papers and a hearty thanks to all of our authors. As one can clearly see from the papers listed above, environmental science is a global effort and we are thrilled to have contributions from around the world. In these challenging times, we are proud to publish research that is not only great science, but also relevant to the health of the environment and the public. Finally, we also wish to extend our thanks to our community of editors, reviewers, and readers. We look forward to another outstanding year of Environmental Science , reading the work generated not just from our offices at home, but also from back in our laboratories and the field.

Kris McNeill, Editor-in-Chief

Paige Novak, Editor-in-Chief

Peter Vikesland, Editor-in-Chief

  • A. B Boehm, Risk-based water quality thresholds for coliphages in surface waters: effect of temperature and contamination aging, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts , 2019, 21 , 2031–2041,   10.1039/C9EM00376B .
  • L. Cai, C. Liu, G. Fan, C Liu and X. Sun, Preventing viral disease by ZnONPs through directly deactivating TMV and activating plant immunity in Nicotiana benthamiana , Environ. Sci.: Nano , 2019, 6 , 3653–3669,   10.1039/C9EN00850K .
  • L. W. Gassie, J. D. Englehardt, N. E. Brinkman, J. Garland and M. K. Perera, Ozone-UV net-zero water wash station for remote emergency response healthcare units: design, operation, and results, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1971–1984,   10.1039/C9EW00126C .
  • L. M. Hornstra, T. Rodrigues da Silva, B. Blankert, L. Heijnen, E. Beerendonk, E. R. Cornelissen and G. Medema, Monitoring the integrity of reverse osmosis membranes using novel indigenous freshwater viruses and bacteriophages, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1535–1544,   10.1039/C9EW00318E .
  • A. H. Hassaballah, J. Nyitrai, C. H. Hart, N. Dai and L. M. Sassoubre, A pilot-scale study of peracetic acid and ultraviolet light for wastewater disinfection, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1453–1463,   10.1039/C9EW00341J .
  • W. Khan, J.-Y. Nam, H. Woo, H. Ryu, S. Kim, S. K. Maeng and H.-C. Kim, A proof of concept study for wastewater reuse using bioelectrochemical processes combined with complementary post-treatment technologies, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1489–1498,   10.1039/C9EW00358D .
  • J. Heffron, B. McDermid and B. K. Mayer, Bacteriophage inactivation as a function of ferrous iron oxidation, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 1309–1317,   10.1039/C9EW00190E .
  • S. Torii, T. Hashimoto, A. T. Do, H. Furumai and H. Katayama, Impact of repeated pressurization on virus removal by reverse osmosis membranes for household water treatment, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 910–919,   10.1039/C8EW00944A .
  • J. Miao, H.-J. Jiang, Z.-W. Yang, D.-y. Shi, D. Yang, Z.-Q. Shen, J. Yin, Z.-G. Qiu, H.-R. Wang, J.-W. Li and M. Jin, Assessment of an electropositive granule media filter for concentrating viruses from large volumes of coastal water, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. , 2019, 5 , 325–333,   10.1039/C8EW00699G .
  • K. L. Nelson, A. B. Boehm, R. J. Davies-Colley, M. C. Dodd, T. Kohn, K. G. Linden, Y. Liu, P. A. Maraccini, K. McNeill, W. A. Mitch, T. H. Nguyen, K. M. Parker, R. A. Rodriguez, L. M. Sassoubre, A. I. Silverman, K. R. Wigginton and R. G. Zepp, Sunlight mediated inactivation of health relevant microorganisms in water: a review of mechanisms and modeling approaches, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts , 2018, 20 , 1089–1122,   10.1039/C8EM00047F .

Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemistry publishes papers reporting chemistry that enhances our understanding of the natural and engineered environment (including indoor and outdoor air, water, soil, sediments, and biota). Read more about the journal

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These articles are the latest published in the journal. Environmental Chemistry has moved to a continuous publication model. More information is available on our Continuous Publication page .

En23116 distribution, speciation, mobility and ecological risk of potentially toxic elements in dust and pm 2.5 from abandoned mining areas.


Environmental context.  Dust is a heterogeneous material deposited on the ground surface and is a source and sink for potentially toxic elements (PTEs) originating from the air and soil. Tracking the distribution and effects of PTEs in an abandoned mining area is critical as few studies have quantified the speciation and bioavailability of PTEs contained in dust and PM 2.5 . In this paper, we track the distribution of PTEs in an abandoned mining area, quantifying the mobility of PTEs using the speciation of PTEs in dust and PM 2.5 and quantitatively assess the environmental and ecological risks of PTE in a mining area.

EN23116 Abstract  |  EN23116 Full Text  |  EN23116 PDF (2.5 MB)

EN23093 Natural cobalt–manganese oxide nanoparticles: speciation, detection and implications for cobalt cycling


Environmental context.   Cobalt is a technologically critical element due to its uses in the green energy transition, but its cycling is poorly constrained in surface environments. We determined the form of cobalt in naturally enriched soils and found that it is commonly associated with manganese as mixed oxide nanoparticles. These findings demonstrate that the behaviour of critical elements such as cobalt in the environment is in part governed at the nanoscale. (Photograph by O. P. Missen, 11 July 2022.)

EN23093 Abstract  |  EN23093 Full Text  |  EN23093 PDF (4.2 MB)  |  EN23093 Supplementary Material (233 KB)   Open Access Article

EN23114 Effects of arsenite and dimethylarsenic on the growth and health of hydroponically grown commercial Doongara rice


Environmental context.  Arsenic’s effect on rice plant health is a critical environmental issue. This study reveals that rice plants absorb inorganic arsenic and dimethylarsenic differently, with dimethylarsenic posing a greater threat to rice plant health. These findings contribute to our understanding of arsenic toxicity in plants, highlighting the need for further research into detoxification strategies for dimethylarsenic.

EN23114 Abstract  |  EN23114 Full Text  |  EN23114 PDF (1.6 MB)   Open Access Article

EN23037 Effect of wetting and drying processes on ultramafic and mafic tailing minerals amended with topsoil


Environmental context.  Mine tailings are a mixture of fine materials obtained after crushing, processing and extracting the valuable minerals from ore. Ultramafic and mafic mine tailings have the potential to mineralise carbon, offering a solution to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the mining sector. The study revealed that the effects of wetting and drying ultramafic and mafic mine tailings under atmospheric conditions have the potential for carbon sequestration and acid mine drainage.

EN23037 Abstract  |  EN23037 Full Text  |  EN23037 PDF (1.4 MB)  |  EN23037 Supplementary Material (1.6 MB)   Open Access Article

EN23112 Occurrence, spatial distribution, risk assessment, and management of environmental estrogens in surface waters of the Taihu basin


Environmental context.  Environmental estrogens can disrupt the normal functioning of endocrine systems, and their occurrence in drinking water sources could cause potential health risk. We investigated concentrations of four estrogens in the lakes from the Taihu Basin, and found that BPA and EE2 were elevated in some sites. However, concentrations of all four environmental estrogens were below the national standards, and caused no health threat to local population.

EN23112 Abstract  |  EN23112 Full Text  |  EN23112 PDF (2.8 MB)  |  EN23112 Supplementary Material (579 KB)

EN23013 Molecular composition and the impact of fuel moisture content on fresh primary organic aerosol emissions during laboratory combustion of ponderosa pine needles


Environmental context.  Wildland fire smoke and its impacts on air quality and human health are increasing globally. However, uncertainties in organic emissions from these fires hinder our understanding of downwind atmospheric photochemical processes driving the formation of hazardous air pollutants. In this study, we investigated the impact of fuel moisture content on organic species emission during the combustion of ponderosa pine needles, an important fuel source in the western United States.

EN23013 Abstract  |  EN23013 Full Text  |  EN23013 PDF (2.9 MB)  |  EN23013 Supplementary Material (226 KB)

EN23021_CO Corrigendum to : Nickel and copper complexation by natural dissolved organic matter – titration of two contrasting lake waters and comparison of measured and modelled free metal ion concentrations

EN23021_CO Full Text  |  EN23021_CO PDF (668 KB)

EN23078 Can polymeric surface modification and sulfidation of nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI) improve arsenic-contaminated agricultural soil restoration via ex situ magnet-assisted soil washing?


Environmental context.  Arsenic (As) contamination in agricultural soil threatens safe agricultural production. Therefore, an ex situ magnet-assisted soil washing, using different types of nanoscale zerovalent iron was tested as a remediation option in soil restoration. Uncoated nanoparticles was the best tested option, with As removal at 45.5% and the nanoparticles were reusable up to four times.

EN23078 Abstract  |  EN23078 Full Text  |  EN23078 PDF (6.8 MB)  |  EN23078 Supplementary Material (1.1 MB)

EN23077 Photolysis characteristics and influencing factors of adenosine 5′-monophosphate in seawater


Environmental context  Organophosphorus (OP) is bioavailable to phytoplankton with photolysis can play an important role in the process. The photolysis behaviour of an OP (adenosine 5′-monophosphate, AMP) in seawater was investigated, and AMP can release inorganic phosphate under environmentally relevant light conditions, indicating OP photodegradation might be important in the phosphorus biogeochemical cycle. The results are helpful to further understand the bioavailability and cycle of OP in marine environment.

EN23077 Abstract  |  EN23077 Full Text  |  EN23077 PDF (1.1 MB)

EN23090 Characterisation of organic carbon distribution and turnover by stable carbon isotopes in major types of soils in China


Environmental context  Soil carbon sequestration plays an important role in achieving the goal of carbon neutrality. We studied the characteristics of organic carbon distribution and sequestration by stable carbon isotopes in nine types of soils in China and found that macro-aggregates possessed more organic carbon with a low degree of decomposition, while the overall direction of organic carbon transfer between aggregates was from macro-aggregates through micro-aggregates to the grain-size fractions of chalky clay. These results provide a foundation for understanding soil carbon sequestration in China’s cultivated lands.

EN23090 Abstract  |  EN23090 Full Text  |  EN23090 PDF (5.1 MB)  |  EN23090 Supplementary Material (549 KB)

EN23092 Response surface optimised photocatalytic degradation and quantitation of repurposed COVID-19 antibiotic pollutants in wastewaters; towards greenness and whiteness perspectives


Environmental context.  The consumption of repurposed antibiotics increased due to the management of COVID-19, which in turn led to their increased presence in wastewater and potential environmental effects. This change has created a greater need for their analysis and treatment in different environmental water. This work presents a safe, low-cost method for analysing and treating water samples to ensure their suitability for human and animal use.

EN23092 Abstract  |  EN23092 Full Text  |  EN23092 PDF (3.6 MB)  |  EN23092 Supplementary Material (911 KB)   Open Access Article

EN23021 Nickel and copper complexation by natural dissolved organic matter – titration of two contrasting lake waters and comparison of measured and modelled free metal ion concentrations


Environmental context.  Natural dissolved organic matter strongly influences the biogeochemistry and bioavailability of trace metals in natural waters. Chemical equilibrium models are often used to predict the relative importance of the free metal cation, a recognised indicator of the metal’s bioavailability. Here we show how the nature of the organic matter varies between two lakes, affecting the measured speciation of copper and nickel, a result that challenges existing chemical equilibrium models.

This article belongs to the collection Dedication to Prof. Edward Tipping.

EN23021 Abstract  |  EN23021 Full Text  |  EN23021 PDF (1.9 MB)  |  EN23021 Corrigendum (886 KB)  |  EN23021 Supplementary Material (530 KB)

EN23033 Robust calculus for biotransformation in wastewater generalised across thousands of chemicals and conditions


Environmental context.  Decades of research tried to understand the inherent complexity of biodegradation of contaminants. We describe calculus of biodegradation driven by bioavailability, redox, geometry and acclimation (adaptation) of microbiota. We tested predictions for thousands of contaminants across wastewater treatment plants, explaining up to 70% of the variance in observations. This competes with more intensive methods, and enables more efficient monitoring, experimentation and data interpretation.

EN23033 Abstract  |  EN23033 Full Text  |  EN23033 PDF (4.4 MB)  |  EN23033 Supplementary Material (1.2 MB)

EN23075 A comparison of characterisation and modelling approaches to predict dissolved metal concentrations in soils


Environmental context.  It is useful to know the concentration of ‘labile’, or chemically active, metal in soils because it can be used to predict metal solubility and environmental impact. Several methods for extracting the labile metal from soils have been proposed, and here we have tested two of these to see how well the resulting data can be used to model metal solubility. Such mixed approaches can be applied to different soil types with the potential to model metal solubility over large areas.

EN23075 Abstract  |  EN23075 Full Text  |  EN23075 PDF (2.8 MB)  |  EN23075 Supplementary Material (738 KB)   Open Access Article

EN23029 Evaluation of reaction between SO 2 and CH 2 OO in MCM mechanism against smog chamber data from ethylene ozonolysis


Environmental context.  The process of ethylene ozonolysis is an essential source of CH 2 OO radicals, and the latter is an important oxidant for the atmospheric pollutant SO 2 . The accuracy of a widely used atmospheric chemistry model (Master Chemical Mechanism, MCM) in quantifying SO 2 oxidation has not been evaluated. In this study, this accuracy was evaluated, and optimal parameters underpinned by data from smog chamber experiments.

EN23029 Abstract  |  EN23029 Full Text  |  EN23029 PDF (1.8 MB)

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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Size evolution of eu(iii)-fulvic acid complexes with ph, metal, and fulvic acid concentrations: implications for modelling of metal-humic substances interactions.


The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads in the last 60 days from papers published on the CSIRO PUBLISHING website within the last 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Effect of wetting and drying processes on ultramafic and mafic tailing minerals amended with topsoil, a review of inorganic contaminants in australian marine mammals, birds and turtles.


Natural cobalt–manganese oxide nanoparticles: speciation, detection and implications for cobalt cycling

A comparison of characterisation and modelling approaches to predict dissolved metal concentrations in soils, iron dissolution and speciation from combustion particles under environmentally relevant conditions.


Response surface optimised photocatalytic degradation and quantitation of repurposed COVID-19 antibiotic pollutants in wastewaters; towards greenness and whiteness perspectives

Determination of inorganic as, dma and mma in marine and terrestrial tissue samples: a consensus extraction approach.


Effects of arsenite and dimethylarsenic on the growth and health of hydroponically grown commercial Doongara rice

Selenium speciation and characteristics of selenium-enriched crops in guiyang seleniferous soil, southwestern china.


Molecular composition and the impact of fuel moisture content on fresh primary organic aerosol emissions during laboratory combustion of ponderosa pine needles

Cellular uptake and biotransformation of arsenate by freshwater phytoplankton under salinity gradient revealed by single-cell icp-ms and ct-hg-aas.


Rare earth elements binding humic acids: NICA–Donnan modelling


Exploration of changes in the chemical composition of sedimentary organic matter and the underlying processes during biodegradation through advanced analytical techniques


Nickel and copper complexation by natural dissolved organic matter – titration of two contrasting lake waters and comparison of measured and modelled free metal ion concentrations

Occurrence, spatial distribution, risk assessment, and management of environmental estrogens in surface waters of the taihu basin, characterisation of organic carbon distribution and turnover by stable carbon isotopes in major types of soils in china, ammonia emissions from nitrogen fertilised agricultural soils: controlling factors and solutions for emission reduction.


Speciation analysis of iodine in seaweed: optimisation of extraction procedure and chromatographic separation


Can polymeric surface modification and sulfidation of nanoscale zerovalent iron (NZVI) improve arsenic-contaminated agricultural soil restoration via ex situ magnet-assisted soil washing?

Validation of a calibration model able to estimate the concentration of pesticides in an alpine stream through passive sampling (pocis) monitoring.


Article collections

Dedication to prof. edward tipping, element biogeochemistry and human health, organosulfates in the atmosphere, environmental chemistry showcase 2014–2015, environmental chemistry – highlights from 2012.

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  • Open access
  • Published: 01 April 2020

A golden period for environmental soil chemistry

  • Donald L. Sparks 1  

Geochemical Transactions volume  21 , Article number:  5 ( 2020 ) Cite this article

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In many respects, the field of environmental soil chemistry has never been more important than today. Many of the critical environmental issues we face globally are linked to the changing climate, which is having profound impacts on the chemistry of soils. We have a poor understanding of how climate impacts not only chemical, but also physical, biological, and mineralogical properties and processes of soils. Figure  1 shows some of the major impacts of climate change on soils and water. Soils, globally, are under immense stress due to erosion, nutrient imbalances, salinization, desertification, pollution and acidification [ 1 ]. Our very best soils are being lost to development. In short, the fate of our soils and human security are inextricably linked [ 2 ]. The population of the world stands at 7.5 billion. It is expected to rise to 9–9.5 billion by 2050 and perhaps to 11 billion by 2100. Megacities are sprouting up in many areas, particularly in Asia. These are cities of more than 10 million people. Much of the population growth is occurring in urban areas, in particular coastal regions. For example, more than 50% of the U.S. population lives in coastal areas. The latter areas are very susceptible to increased flooding and sea level rise.

figure 1

Climate change impacts on soils

With the impacts of climate and environmental change, there is incredible pressure to ensure an adequate food supply, especially for the most vulnerable regions, e.g., those in Africa. The production of enough food is dependent on adequate water, productive land, and in general healthy soils. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [ 3 ] found that a half billion people live in locations that are seeing increased desertification and soils are being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than they are forming. Climate change will exacerbate these threats even more due to flooding, droughts, storms and other extreme weather events, further affecting the food supply. The report also notes that presently more than 10 percent of the world’s population is undernourished which could enhance cross-border migration and a quarter of humanity faces significant water crises.

Water quantity is particularly problematic with the increasing high temperatures and drought that we are seeing in areas such as the Western U.S., Africa, and many other parts of the world. Of the total water on Planet Earth, 96.5% is in oceans, bays, and glaciers. Groundwater, which is a major source of drinking water, comprises only 1.69% of the total water, and of this, only 0.76% is fresh water [ 4 ]. In a recent article in the New York Times [ 5 ], it was noted that 17 countries are under severe water stress. In addition to issues related to water scarcity, there are major challenges globally with water quality, related to excess nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) derived from organic wastes and inorganic fertilizers. In areas of high animal production, excess N and P in soils enter water bodies, causing hypoxia, resulting in algal blooms, fish kills and further impacts on tourism and even human health. Emerging organic contaminants such as antibiotics, hormones, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and others and their impact on drinking water, are also of great concern, particularly as populations increase. All of these contaminants impact human health and our economic vitality.

Carbon dioxide levels have been increasing at an alarming rate, particularly over the last few decades. Prior to the industrial revolution, CO 2 levels were about 280 ppm. By 2019 they had risen above 410 ppm, levels that last occurred 3 million years ago. Human activities are estimated to have caused an approximately 1.0 ℃ rise in global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a probable range of 0.8–1.2 ℃, and are likely to reach 1.5 ℃ between 2030 and 2052 if global warming continues at the present rate [ 6 ] (Fig.  2 ). The last several years have been the warmest on record. Many scientists have called this geological period in history the Anthropocene as conclusive scientific evidence shows that humans are having a major impact on Planet Earth. As Aldo Leopold so insightfully noted in 1933, “The reaction of land to occupancy determines the nature and duration of human civilization”.

figure 2

Global temperature change with time

The increases in greenhouse emissions and rising temperatures have resulted in melting glaciers, less snow cover, diminishing sea ice, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and increasing atmospheric water vapor. Extreme events such as intense rainfall, heat waves, and forest fires, and droughts are becoming more frequent [ 7 ]. In terms of sea level rise, the global sea level has risen 0.18–0.20 m since 1900, with about half (0.08 m) of the rise occurring since 1993. The increasing sea level has resulted in more frequent flooding in coastal areas. Global average sea levels will continue to rise with model projections of a rise of 0.26–0.77 m by 2100 if global warming of 1.5 ℃ occurs [ 6 ]. The most vulnerable areas in the continental U.S. are along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Subsidence, or land that is sinking, is compounding the problem, e.g., along the Mid-Atlantic Coast of the U.S. With increases in sea levels and flooding, there is increasing salinization of land and groundwater. Additionally, there are 2500 sites along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts that are contaminated with metals, metalloids, and organic chemicals in areas that are heavily populated [ 8 ] (Fig.  3 ). It is not known how flooding and sea level rise, with its attendant salinity, will impact cycling of the contaminants and human health.

figure 3

Contaminated sites in the U.S. which are subject to flooding

There is great concern about the impacts of rising temperatures on melting of permafrost soils. Permafrost soils sequester 1035 petagrams (Pg) of carbon (C) [ 9 ] in the top 3 m of soil, which represents about 70% of the current estimate for global soil C storage in the top 3 m (1500 Pg C) [ 10 ]. Research has already shown high labile C fractions released from permafrost soils that are thawing [ 11 , 12 , 13 ]. Plaza et al. [ 14 ], by quantifying C related to fixed ash content, measured soil C pool changes over a period of 5 years in warmed and ambient tundra ecosystems in Alaska. They found a 5.4% loss of C/year. They attributed much of the loss to lateral hydrological export. In a recent paper, Hemingway et al. [ 15 ] found that tightly mineral bound OC persists for millennia. It is critical to understand the role of warming in release of C, particularly C that is complexed with soil minerals such as iron oxides, which are major components for sequestering soil carbon [ 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 ].

Major decadal research thrusts in environmental soil chemistry

In view of the above environmental challenges, it seems clear that the major research frontiers in environmental soil chemistry over the next 5–10 years will be heavily focused on the impacts of climate change on various soil chemical and mineralogical reactions and processes. Progress in these and other areas will result in large part due to rapid advances in analytical tools, data science, and modeling capabilities. As Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner once said, “Progress (in science) depends on the interplay of techniques, discoveries, and ideas, probably in that order of importance [ 21 ].

Some of the major research thrusts and needs include:

Effects of sea level rise, salt water intrusion, and flooding on cycling of inorganic and organic contaminants such as metal (loid)s and nutrients

Fate and transport of antibiotics, hormones, PFAS and other emerging contaminants

Effects of warming of permafrost soils on carbon complexation with and release from soil minerals and emission of greenhouse gases

Modeling that integrates spatial and temporal scales

Advances in field-based spectroscopic techniques

Development and deployment of real-time sensors

Real-time investigations of soil chemical reactivity at the molecular scale

Coupled physical, chemical, and biological process studies

Mechanisms of mineral/microbe interactions

Advances in understanding light element chemistry, e.g., Al, B, Ca, and S in soils using new tender and soft X-ray techniques

Challenges and opportunities in environmental soil chemistry research

While there are so many exciting opportunities in the next decade in environmental soil chemistry research, there are still outstanding challenges now and in the future. One of the hallmarks of some of the most pioneering research in the field has been fundamental basic research. Soil chemists in the past were able to focus on a few areas for multiple periods such that they could “dig deeply” into the topic and become leading experts. This was made possible due to a continuity in funding for multiple periods. Over the past decade or more, institutional funding has decreased along with funding from federal agencies and the private sector. Additionally, the focus areas of research that funders support also change frequently which causes scientists to shift on a frequent basis from one topic to another. Thus, it is difficult to work in a particular area for an extended period of time and be viewed as an expert. Such shifting in focus could deleteriously impact the long-term reputation of a scientist. My thoughts on the critical need for basic, fundamental research and taking a deep dive into a particular area are best summed up by Albert Einstein, who stated, “I have little patience with scientists who take a board of wood, look for its thinnest part, and drill a great number of holes where drilling is easy”. There has also been a tendency for funding agencies to create large team science programs where multiple investigators, often from different institutions, pursue research on an interdisciplinary project. There is no question that many of the big challenges and opportunities in environmental soil chemistry research require an interdisciplinary approach. While soil chemists must focus on a few areas in depth at the fundamental level, they should take advantage of the exciting research opportunities that cross academic disciplines. However, the downside for individual scientists who pursue primarily large interdisciplinary science projects, especially early career scientists, is that their individual research products, i.e., refereed papers, often are not given the degree of credit that would result from publications that included only them and their students/postdocs. The overall significant research impacts from large team science recently was questioned. In a recent paper by Wu et al. [ 22 ], more than 64 million papers, patents and software products over a period of 1954–2014 were examined. The results showed that small teams of scientists tended to produce impactful results and ideas while large teams developed existing ideas.

The environmental challenges we face are daunting. However, with challenges there are opportunities. The advances in analytical tools and cyberinfrastructure offer exciting opportunities for soil chemists to tackle and help solve some of the most pressing issues facing humankind. In short, the future of environmental soil chemistry is indeed bright.

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I am deeply indebted to Young-Shin Jun, Washington University in St. Louis, Mengqiang Zhu, University of Wyoming, and Derek Peak, University of Saskatchewan, who served as editors of this Special Issue, and who invited me to contribute a feature article, and to all of the authors for their outstanding contributions.

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Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology: in greater demand than ever

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Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology have been losing support, resources, and recognition at universities for many years. What are the possible causes of this process? A first problem may be that the need for research and teaching in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology is no longer seen because chemical pollution problems are considered as largely solved. Second, environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology may be seen as fields dominated by routine work and where there are not many interesting research questions left. A third part of the problem may be that other environmental impacts such as climate change are given higher priority than chemical pollution problems. Here, several cases are presented that illustrate the great demand for innovative research and teaching in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology. It is crucial that environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are rooted in academic science and are provided with sufficient equipment, resources, and prospects for development.

Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology under pressure

The publication of Silent Spring in 1962 [ 1 ] made the problem of chemical pollution broadly visible and initiated a political and scientific development that has shaped environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology as we know them. Since 1962, a lot of progress has been made, many important insights have been gained, and new methods have been developed. The objective of this paper is not to provide a critical review of the development over the last decades, but to analyze the current situation, the standing of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology in the academic system with a focus on Germany and Switzerland. The result from this analysis is that the relevance and reputation of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology in the academic system have been decreasing for years and also today, in 2016, the prospects are not good.

It is not for the first time that this concern is raised. In 2008, A. Schäffer, M. Roß-Nickoll, H.T. Ratte, and H. Hollert, all at RWTH Aachen, initiated UFOH, an association of university institutes active in environmental research and teaching. The goal of UFOH was to analyze both the status quo of chemical-related environmental research at universities and the prospects for its future development. In 2009, the members of this group stated [ 2 ]:

“Although qualified young environmental scientists are in great demand by industry and authorities, the number of university chairs in this field is steadily and disproportionately declining. Also, the financial support for research projects has been significantly shortened, unlike in other research areas, such as biotechnology or nanotechnology. (…) We are more than concerned that, in the future, both research and education will severely suffer with the ongoing budget reductions in environmental sciences at universities.”

Since then, this trend has been exacerbated. Recent examples from Switzerland include the following: after many years of successful and important work in the field of environmental organic trace analysis, the analytical chemistry group at EMPA has been reshaped and given a different focus; at the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences of ETH Zurich, the Safety & Environmental Technology Group, where I have worked for 20 years, will be closed down in 2018 without a continuation; and, in 2015, the Swiss Society for Food Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry dropped the “Environmental” from its name and is now called Swiss Society for Food Chemistry [ 3 ].

Discussions with journalists and science writers seem to echo the lack of interest in chemicals, environment, and health. “Chemicals” as a topic is seen as too abstract and unwieldy; in science writing for newspapers and magazines, chemicals are frequently presented as an—important—element of other topics such as climate change or bee decline, but it is not often that chemicals as such are the main topic of a report.

Among industry, government authorities, and universities, industry appears to retain the importance of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology. Obviously, this is because there is an immediate need for well-trained scientific and technical experts who work on the characterization and assessment of chemicals as an essential contribution to the registration of chemical products. In government authorities, the situation is mixed. In chemical-related units, the importance of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology is fully acknowledged, but in other units, chemical-related work is often seen as a routine process in a highly regulated and clearly structured field without any open questions. In the universities, the situation is most difficult because here environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are often seen as rather traditional or even outdated fields and priority is given to other, apparently more innovative, and more timely topics.

What are the root causes of the reservations, skepticism, and lack of support that environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology meet within universities? Three possible explanations are as follows:

environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are no longer needed because chemical-related problems have been solved to a large extent (“no need”);

environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are no longer vital and productive as academic subjects because they do not offer any interesting and novel research questions (“boring”); and

environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology may be relevant and interesting, but other environmental problems such as climate change are more pressing and need to be given priority.

Why environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are in great demand

The examples presented below are two cases related to my own field of research, but there are many more cases that could be used to demonstrate the high demand for research and higher education in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology.

Example 1: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

The case of PCBs is particularly important and revealing because it concerns a subject that may be considered boring and outdated because so much research has been done on PCBs in the last decades. PCBs became a paradigmatic case of environmental contaminants when the paper by Jensen et al. [ 4 ], “DDT and PCB in marine animals from Swedish waters”, was published in Nature . But have the problems related to PCBs been solved? In 2016, almost 50 years later, Jepson and Law [ 5 ], in a paper in Science , call for more research into PCBs:

“In East Greenland polar bears, blubber PCBs increased unexpectedly between 2010 and 2013, resulting in PCB concentrations that were as high in 2013 as in 1983. (…) Future research should investigate pathways of PCB contamination of the marine environment.”

The problems caused by PCBs have not yet been solved. Surprisingly, even today, substantial PCB emissions take place [ 6 ], and, at the same time, it is not sufficiently clear what the sources of these emissions are. Government authorities assumed for more than 20 years that there were no relevant PCB emissions left after new production of PCBs had been banned in the 1980s in many countries, but this was not true. However, it took several years before our group at ETH Zurich was able to obtain funding for compiling an updated and more comprehensive PCB emission inventory for Switzerland (this project is currently ongoing).

Beyond the case of PCBs, the lesson learned from this example is that using highly persistent chemicals in numerous applications and products implies that research in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology will be necessary for many decades. Importantly, also under REACH, many highly persistent chemicals have been registered and will be on the market for many years to come.

Example 2: Incremental substitution and chemical property data under REACH

Under REACH, the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, hosts a database that contains the various types of data submitted with the chemicals’ registration dossiers. The list of chemicals registered up to now and the chemical property data of these chemicals as they are presented in the ECHA database [ 7 ] highlight two problems that define important research needs for environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology:

The chemicals registered under REACH include many former “existing chemicals” that are structurally (very) similar to acknowledged POPs (persistent organic pollutants) or PBT chemicals (chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic). Accordingly, these “emerging chemicals” share hazardous properties such as high persistence and bioaccumulation potential with the structurally related POPs and PBT chemicals. Examples are brominated aromatic substances placed on the market as replacements of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs used as flame retardants; one replacement is decabromodiphenyl ethane, see below) and a large group of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) placed on the market as replacements of the so-called long-chain PFASs such as PFOA or PFOS that were used, among others, in impregnating agents. These are cases of incremental substitution or regrettable substitution . Environmental chemists and ecotoxicologists need to use their extensive knowledge on legacy POPs and PBT substances in order to demonstrate, as quickly as possible, the environmental and health hazards associated with these “new” chemical products. Otherwise, the problems associated with the hazardous chemicals that have been banned (here: PBDEs, long-chain PFASs) will occur again and will then be perpetuated for many years and decades [ 8 ].

An unknown, but probably high number of these former existing chemicals that are placed on the market now as replacements of hazardous substances are still very poorly characterized. This is obvious from the data contained in the ECHA database, and the database suffers from a serious problem of insufficient data quality. A striking example is the brominated flame retardant DBDPE (CAS no. 84852-53-9), which has been registered with a very high volume of 10,000–100,000 t/year. For the octanol–water partition coefficient (log K ow ) of this substance, the database shows a value of log K ow  = 3.55, which is too low by several log units, which is caused by a measurement error. The actual log K ow of DBDPE is on the order of log K ow  = 11 [ 9 ]. This is an extreme case, but there are many more substances in the database for which erroneous data have been submitted in the registration dossiers. A systematic chemical and toxicological assessment of these data is urgently needed, but the methods and procedures for that are not yet in place. This complex evaluation of a vast amount of data requires substantial experience in physical chemistry, environmental chemistry, toxicology, and ecotoxicology.

Conclusions on the demand for environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology

There is a serious misconception that needs to be rectified, namely that a problem has been solved as soon as it is covered by legislation. A regulation entering into force, such as REACH or the Water Framework Directive or the Stockholm Convention on POPs, does not indicate that the job has been done and that no more work will be needed. On the contrary, it marks the beginning of a period of increased demand for work: when a regulation is in place, this implies an obligation to establish the empirical basis that will make it possible to effectively implement and enforce the regulation. This means that empirical findings and data need to be generated, in-depth investigations to be carried out, and the state-of-affairs to be documented, often in considerable detail. Importantly, this goes beyond the routine work, but also includes long-term tasks such as the development of methods for sampling and data generation, methods for data interpretation, and transfer of all these methods to users in authorities and contract laboratories. All these elements will then form the empirical and conceptual foundations that need to be in place for a meaningful implementation of the legislation and, subsequently, its effectiveness evaluation. The problem of data availability and data quality under REACH is a case in point.

The two examples presented above demonstrate that the demand for research in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology is caused by unresolved old problems such as the emissions and environmental and health impacts of PCBs, but also by many new issues such as the incremental substitution of hazardous chemicals under REACH or the monitoring of POPs that is a long-term obligation under the Stockholm Convention. For example, Wöhrnschimmel et al. [ 10 ] have shown that many more years of data generation will be needed before the effectiveness of the Stockholm Convention can be assessed. One would expect that the wide range of important and complex tasks for environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology would have helped to firmly establish these fields at universities. However, this is not the case and the ongoing cut-back on positions and resources for environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology is short-sighted and irresponsible. The underlying reasons for this situation may be manifold; to some extent, it could simply be lack of awareness and/or preferences for other, more “modern”, topics among the decision makers in universities. Another reason may be that environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are perceived as fields of applied research without “true” academic relevance in comparison to well-established fields such as organic chemistry or booming areas such as material sciences.

Academic standing of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology

To evaluate the academic productivity of a field of research, two questions can be asked: (i) are new methods that are genuine to the field developed on the basis of ongoing research, i.e., is improving the methods, techniques, and tools a component of active and ongoing research in the field? (ii) Are the problems and questions investigated in the field continuously refined and are new questions and research objectives derived from the insights gained?

A closer inspection of our fields shows that both requirements are fulfilled for environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology. Obviously, there have been extraordinary improvements of analytical methods, but also a multitude of environmental factors that govern the environmental fate of chemicals, the many impacts of anthropogenic chemicals on environmental and human health, and the emission sources of many types of chemicals released to the environment are increasingly better understood, mechanistically characterized, and assembled as the elements of a big picture. However, as scientists in these fields, we have to point out the productivity of our research more explicitly. These discussions need to reach the decision makers in academic institutions.

What is to be done?

First, a real danger to environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology is that they may be perceived (and presented) as fields where lists of routine tasks are worked down. If this happens, it will eliminate environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology as academic subjects. To confront this danger, the great demand for research and teaching in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology and their academic productivity need to be pointed out explicitly in discussions in university committees tasked with priority setting—when positions, curricula, equipment, laboratory space, and financial resources are to be assigned and overall research priorities are to be determined.

Second, in addition to applied research and practical work, environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology have always had a strong component of basic research. Basic research is an essential part of these fields, and practical applications of methods and tools by authorities and industry are only possible because there is basic research that develops these methods and contributes to the scoping of problems and identifying relevant questions and tasks. Therefore, environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology need to be rooted in academic science, along with sufficient equipment, resources, and prospects for development. Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology investigate a complex set of societally relevant issues, and there are many open and pressing problems related to the use of chemicals that have not been solved. As long as so many chemicals are present in so many technical applications and consumer products—which is considered a desirable aspect of modern societies—environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology are absolutely essential as the fields that help identify and understand the risks associated with the ever increasing use of chemicals.

Third, the environmental and health impacts of chemical pollution are not less important than other environmental impacts. Chemical pollution is one of the several globally relevant impacts as pointed out by Rockström et al. [ 11 ], who have identified nine impacts of global importance, ranging from climate change to chemical pollution, and they emphasize that these impacts do not act independently, but often reinforce one another. Recently, Rockström [ 12 ] stated:

“Among these nine there are three that have kind of come out as being the fundamental endgame of how all the planetary boundaries operate, and the number one is biodiversity. (…) The second fundamental boundary is climate change. (…) And the third of the big three is what we call “novel entities”. The totally man-made boundary. It has nothing to do with anything that the planet has ever experienced before, and it is our invention of chemicals, compounds, that are alien to nature like persistent organic pollutants (…).”

The call for a strong environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology could not be clearer.

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Langman and Kapur have proposed that toxicology is multidisciplinary and developed into three specialized branches: environmental, clinical, and forensic ( Langman and Kapur, 2006 ). This context seems anthropocentric, and environmental toxicology was initially concerned primarily with environmental exposure from chemicals in the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the food we eat. In this definition, some of the work in environmental chemistry would feed into a component of environmental toxicology. Clinical toxicology was focused on potential adverse effects of chemicals that are intentionally administered for therapeutic purposes. Forensic toxicology is looking into the medicolegal aspects of chemicals and poisons and understanding what has happened.

A simple yet very effective definition is that “toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of chemical, biological, or physical agents on living organisms” ( Radenkova, 2008 ). This definition has a great advantage where it is not by itself anthropocentric and encompasses all living organisms and pretty much any form of agents that could potentially have negative biological impacts—thus going beyond the testing of the impact of a single chemical. Toxicology could then be divided into the toxicology of human health and environmental toxicology, encompassing all the organisms, entities, and systems that the environment is hosting. One must emphasize that in many ways, the toxicology of humans is easier to handle as it is focused on a single species and, for the most part, at the level of the individual, whereas environmental toxicology looks at the full breadth of biological organisms and must also consider ecotoxicological and ecological implications that move beyond the impacts on individuals and must integrate populational impacts ( Belden, 2020 ).

We tend to have higher concerns for human health than environmental health, and we devote much more resources to protecting the former over the latter. However, the processes and research are similar in terms of what is needed to understand how toxicants affect the homo sapiens species relative to how toxicity would be expressed in some of the more than 6,000 recognized mammal species (considering many that are now extinct) ( Burgin et al., 2018 ). Research needs to integrate greater complexity, such as mixtures of contaminants and how climate change may alter biological responses to exposures, and we must evaluate the impacts on different organisms, microbial processes, their interactions, or even on the integrity and balance of ecological systems.

Ecotoxicology, environmental toxicology, and environmental chemistry are intertwined

The concept of ecotoxicology has evolved from an early concept of the study of exposure pathways, uptake, and effects of chemicals on organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems ( Connell et al., 1999 ). Vasseur et al. proposed an interesting storyline for the evolution of the concept of ecotoxicology ( Vasseur et al., 2021 ), with the initial use of the term “ecotoxicology” attributed to Jouany (1971) and phrased as “the study of the influence of nuisances on the relationship between an individual [species] and his [its] environment could simply be termed ecotoxicology” with “nuisances” defined as “harmful and inimical factors induced by humans” (translated from French) ( Vasseur et al., 2021 ).

This was paraphrased as “toxicology in an ecological perspective,” aiming to study the deleterious effects of chemical, physical, and biological agents on living organisms and the interrelations within communities and their interaction with the environment ( Vasseur et al., 2021 ). This vision is similar to Hodgson’s definition: “ Environmental toxicology is concerned with the movement of toxicants and their metabolites and degradation products in the environment and in food chains and with the effect of such contaminants on individuals and, especially, populations” ( Hodgson and Hodgson, 2004 ).

Leblanc has further defined environmental toxicology as the study of the fate and effects of chemicals in the environment (encompassing both naturally found chemicals (venoms or natural toxins) and those of anthropogenic origin) ( Leblanc and Hodgson, 2004 ). He also divided environmental toxicology into environmental health toxicology and ecotoxicology . Environmental health toxicology focuses on the adverse effects of environmental chemicals on human health, while ecotoxicology involves the study of the adverse effects of toxicants on a myriad of organisms that compose ecosystems, ranging from microorganisms to top predators ( Leblanc and Hodgson, 2004 ).

Early vocabulary for environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology could be considered synonymous or closely related, but they have a distinct difference from “toxicology,” which solely focuses on human health, while environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology deal with the effects on the environment and all of the species and ecosystems that could be impacted.

Moriarty mentioned that “ecotoxicology is concerned ultimately with the effects of pollutants on populations not individuals. Sublethal effects, and changes to the environment, can have a greater impact on population size than does acute toxicity” ( Moriarty, 1988 ), thus hinting at a more ecologically oriented definition of ecotoxicology. Chapman further emphasized that ecotoxicology stems from “ecological toxicology” and integrates ecology and toxicology. As such, it should be inspired from ecological risk assessment ( Chapman, 2002 ). He further emphasized that ecotoxicology’s “objective is to understand and predict effects of chemicals on natural communities under realistic exposure conditions” ( Chapman, 2002 ). Much of toxicological research work is focused on testing specific chemicals individually, while multiple contaminants are generally simultaneously present in the environment. Furthermore, critical ecological impacts are not always linked to exposure to a single toxic chemical as they are related to habitat loss, introduced species, nutrient enrichment, and global climate change ( Chapman, 2002 ).

Environmental impacts are multifaceted and difficult to assess in simple metrics. The tendency to recalculate everything in equivalence of tons of carbon dioxide is a good example of the weakness, albeit this is useful to compare the potential warming impacts of releases of methane relative to carbon dioxide or other gases. Using carbon dioxide equivalence is hardly appropriate to assess the endocrine disruption potential of pharmaceuticals, the problems caused by tons of plastic pieces affecting marine fauna, and the various toxicological effects caused by emerging contaminants in the environment. Ecotoxicology should be viewed as the portion of environmental toxicology that takes a holistic perspective to look at potential impacts, with special considerations to ecological impacts and disruptions of ecosystems, and “ecotoxicology” should not be focused on single-species testing of single toxicants (albeit such testing is certainly useful, they should be viewed as environmental toxicology work, not specifically ecotoxicological).

For a long time, toxicology focused on human health, with environmental toxicology work being segregated into other venues and endeavors. Nevertheless, this is evolving, and many of the impacts on human health can be traced back to a broader environmental issue having effects on other species or environmental processes. We must recognize that the environment as a whole, including humans, is a complex multi-component system and that Homo sapiens is but one of the many species that need to be protected.

One Health offers a holistic perspective

This is where the “ One Health ” approach, which recognizes that “the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment are closely linked and interdependent,” shows that it is somewhat futile to deal separately with problems related to human health or to environmental health and that ultimately, all biological organisms are somewhat interdependent and interconnected ( Larsson et al., 2023 ). There is a plethora of definitions, but this version was proposed by the One Health High-Level Expert Panel ( WHO, 2023 ) from a quadripartite initiative of international agencies that adopted it: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The current definition is as follows:

“One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems. It recognizes that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and interdependent. The approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines, and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy, and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.”

This highlights that even from an anthropocentric point of view, we should put a lot of research efforts and corrective actions focused on the environment as it has significant impacts on humans and their health (however, we should not forget that the environment fully deserves to be protected for itself).

Moving forward for environmental toxicology research

Toxicology research must better integrate the One Health approach and realize that humans, farm animals, and wildlife are interconnected and further dependent on invisible microbiological organisms and complex ecosystem interactions. Albeit specific studies need a clear focus, the complexity, interdependence, and potential transferability of results must be considered when designing new experiments. This type of research also needs better recognition and better support by granting agencies—environmental toxicology and even more so “One Health” projects are, by definition, multidisciplinary and are often at the uncomfortable interface of sections, divisions, and sectors and, as a result, often more difficult to evaluate and fund through usual granting programs. In addition to being multidisciplinary and at the crossroads of different disciplines, it is also at the interface of fundamental and applied research and too often left aside—if the data are needed for regulatory agencies, granting agencies will be reluctant to fund the research, and if the data are deemed research-oriented, regulatory agencies then would want research granting agencies to fund it. One would think that being at the interface would prove easier to get the research funded, but in reality, it is often more difficult.

There should be more funding and professional support dedicated specifically to aid interdisciplinary research at the interface of disciplines and that focus on One Health—we need work that combines concepts and expertise in toxicology and chemistry to connect seemingly traditionally disparate research topics and draw conclusions on broader environmental and human health concerns and integrating risk assessment.

Funds for environmental toxicology research should be increased to better match the efforts dedicated toward human health because our lack of understanding of other environmental issues, whether from contamination or management problems, will ultimately come back to haunt the health of human populations. We must rethink how we design environmental research and make sure that toxicological work, whether focused on humans or other biological organisms, integrates the “One Health” approach and the complexity of the interactions among biological organisms and a very wide range of processes, whether microbial, biochemical, within the environment, or through an organism’s internal metabolic pathways, ecological interactions, and many others.

We must do a better job to assess the toxicological impacts of the combinations of chemical toxicants—both in developing better testing systems and better accounting for potential interactions and finding ways to integrate toxicant interactions into environmental quality guidelines. It will be even more complicated to model or account for interactions of chemical toxicity with other “non-chemical” challenges (pathogens, invasive species, global warming, eutrophication, rising sea levels, shorter snow/ice cover, loss of habitat, etc.).

Even privately funded toxicological research is problematic as companies are reluctant to publish or release information that could potentially reduce the competitiveness of the products they commercialize. Even when they do release some information, the capacity to selectively pick and choose what they release and what information they retain greatly reduces the trust we can give to such partial results ( Sauvé, 2019 ). Health and environmental agencies should refuse to use any data that are not peer-reviewed and not available for outside experts to use and criticize. Companies seeking approbation for new chemicals (or legacy products seeking reapproval or derogatory measures) should provide data based on impartial work that must be peer-reviewed and publicly available (this research could still be funded by private interest but at arm’s length and without any say on how the studies are designed, how the results are interpreted, and whether or not the data should be published).

Finally, we must further improve how we perform toxicological testing, integrate more chronic exposure and nonlethal effects, and further develop our tools to test for endocrine disruption; there is certainly a lot of work left on how to best correlate environmental concentrations, chemical speciation, body burdens, and actual toxicological effects.

Author contributions

SS: writing–original draft, writing–review and editing, and conceptualization.

The author(s) declare that no financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors, and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Chapman, P. M. (2002). Integrating toxicology and ecology: putting the “eco” into ecotoxicology. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 44 (1), 7–15. doi:10.1016/s0025-326x(01)00253-3

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Hodgson, E. (2004). “Introduction to toxicology,” in A textbook of modern toxicology . Editor E. Hodgson (Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley-Interscience ), 3–12.

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Langman, L. J., and Kapur, B. M. (2006). Toxicology: then and now. Clin. Biochem. 39 (5), 498–510. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2006.03.004

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Sauvé, S. (2019). Pesticide research must stay transparent and independent. Conversat.

Sauvé, S., Barbeau, B., Bouchard, M. F., Verner, M.-A., and Liu, J. (2023). How should we interpret the new water quality regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances? ACS ES&T Water 3 (9), 2810–2815. doi:10.1021/acsestwater.3c00217

Vasseur, P., Masfaraud, J.-F., and Blaise, C. (2021). Ecotoxicology, revisiting its pioneers. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 28 (4), 3852–3857. doi:10.1007/s11356-020-11236-7

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Keywords: environmental toxicology, ecotoxicology, One Health, definitions, research funding, environmental chemistry

Citation: Sauvé S (2024) Toxicology, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, and One Health: definitions and paths for future research. Front. Environ. Sci. 12:1303705. doi: 10.3389/fenvs.2024.1303705

Received: 28 September 2023; Accepted: 02 February 2024; Published: 19 March 2024.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2024 Sauvé. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Sébastien Sauvé, [email protected] a

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Waste Water Treatment and Reuse in the Mediterranean Region

  • © 2011
  • Damià Barceló 0 ,
  • Mira Petrovic 1

, Department of Environmental Chemistry, IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona, Spain

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Part of the book series: The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry (HEC, volume 14)

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Table of contents(12 chapters)

Front matter, technologies for advanced wastewater treatment in the mediterranean region.

  • Sixto Malato, Isabel Oller, Pilar Fernández-Ibáñez, Maria Fuerhacker

Innovative Wastewater Treatments and Reuse Technologies Adapted to Southern Mediterranean Countries

  • Redouane Choukr-Allah

Overview of New Practices in the Reclaimed Water Reuses in the Mediterranean Countries

  • Faycel Chenini

Treatment and Reuse of Sludge

  • Maria Fuerhacker, Tadele Measho Haile

Constraints of Application of Wastewater Treatment and Reuse in Mediterranean Partner Countries

  • Eleftheria Kampa, Redouane Choukr-Allah, Mohamed Tawfic Ahmed, Maria Fürhacker

Life Cycle Analysis in Wastewater: A Sustainability Perspective

  • Mohamed Tawfic Ahmed

Overview of Wastewater Management Practices in the Mediterranean Region

  • O. R. Zimmo, N. Imseih

Reuse of Wastewater in Mediterranean Region, Egyptian Experience

  • Naglaa Mohamed Loutfy

Evaluation of the Three Decades of Treated Wastewater Reuse in Tunisia

Wastewater management overview in the occupied palestinian territory.

  • S. Samhan, R. Al-Sa’ed, K. Assaf, K. Friese, M. Afferden, R. Muller et al.

Wastewater Reuse in the Mediterranean Area of Catalonia, Spain: Case Study of Reuse of Tertiary Effluent from a Wastewater Treatment Plant at el Prat de Llobregat (Barcelona)

  • Sandra Pérez, Marianne Köck, Lei Tong, Antoni Ginebreda, Rebeca López-Serna, Cristina Postigo et al.

Problems and Needs of Sustainable Water Management in the Mediterranean Area: Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Damià Barceló, Mira Petrovic, Jaume Alemany

Back Matter

  • Mediterranean region
  • management of water resources
  • reuse of reclaimed water
  • waste water treatment
  • water industry and water technology
  • water quality and water pollution

Water scarcity and the need for ecological sustainability have led to the introduction of treated waste water as an additional water resource in the national water resource management plans of Mediterranean countries. Summarizing the results generated within the European Union-funded project INNOVA-MED, this volume highlights the following topics:

  •  Application of innovative technologies and practices for waste water treatment and reuse adapted to the Mediterranean region
  • Constraints on the application of advanced treatments and reuse of reclaimed water and sludge
  • Problems and requirements of sustainable water management in the Mediterranean area

The book includes several examples of Mediterranean countries, such as Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Palestine and Spain, and presents their practical experiences in the application of innovative processes and practices for waste water treatment and reuse.

Damià Barceló, Mira Petrovic

Book Title : Waste Water Treatment and Reuse in the Mediterranean Region

Editors : Damià Barceló, Mira Petrovic

Series Title : The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry


Publisher : Springer Berlin, Heidelberg

eBook Packages : Earth and Environmental Science , Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

Copyright Information : Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Hardcover ISBN : 978-3-642-18280-8 Published: 06 January 2011

Softcover ISBN : 978-3-642-26660-7 Published: 27 February 2013

eBook ISBN : 978-3-642-18281-5 Published: 06 January 2011

Series ISSN : 1867-979X

Series E-ISSN : 1616-864X

Edition Number : 1

Number of Pages : XIV, 314

Topics : Environmental Chemistry , Water Industry/Water Technologies , Waste Water Technology / Water Pollution Control / Water Management / Aquatic Pollution , Geochemistry , Environmental Management , Sustainable Development

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hUMNs of Chemistry #13

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Gwen Bailey 

Sher/her Assistant Professor

Tell us about your journey to the University of Minnesota.

I became fascinated with synthetic chemistry as an intern at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (now Arbutus Biopharm) in Burnaby, BC. It struck me as so powerful that humans could manipulate matter in order to make and break bonds and create compounds with new chemical compositions and properties. Later in third-year inorganic chemistry class, I became fascinated with the chemistry of metals, and the rest of my career has been devoted to pursuing this passion. Like many others in my discipline, I was motivated by the desire to learn and develop new knowledge by carrying out experimental research. I was also passionate about sustainability and soon realized that I could use my knowledge of inorganic chemistry to contribute to more sustainable synthesis and energy solutions. My excitement for this topic is what drove me to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Ottawa (fun fact: Canada's only officially bilingual institution!) and then a postdoc at Caltech. 

We would love to hear more about your research! What do you hope to accomplish with this work? What is the real-world impact for the average person?

Our research is focused on development of atomically precise nanocluster systems that mimic the structure and reactivity of heterogeneous electrocatalysts. By preparing these discrete compounds and evaluating them in solution environments, we can precisely pinpoint important mechanistic information including the site of substrate binding, delocalization of charge, and the dynamic reconfiguration of bonds that leads to substrate turnover. Our cluster systems not only capture the capabilities of heterogeneous electrocatalysts in a discrete model but they go one step beyond these capabilities in that they have a high density of active sites and are precisely tunable in their steric environment and electronic structure according to well-defined structure-property relationships. Overall, we hope to develop new approaches to catalysis using our atomically precise nanocluster systems and ultimately contribute solutions to solve climate change, for example by developing methods for synthesizing commodity chemicals on large scale using abundant feedstocks (like CO2) and renewable electricity. 

What courses do you teach? What can students expect to get out of your course?

I teach advanced inorganic chemistry classes (CHEM 4745/8745 and 4715/8715) and introductory general chemistry (CHEM 1061). I love talking to students and drawing them into deep conversations about the properties and study of matter! I believe that education is accessible to anyone with a good work ethic and growth mindset, and my teaching style reflects this philosophy. Activities in my classes are split between short, interactive lectures and small-group activities where students go deep with the material through problem-solving and discussion. Students in my classes can expect to be challenged intellectually and ultimately rewarded with new ways of thinking about challenging scientific concepts. 

What do you hope to contribute to the chemistry community at the University?

Beyond the science, I hope to reflect that chemistry is something that is accessible and practicable for all, and that teamwork and mentorship are integral to the practice. Also, I hope to provide opportunities for students to grow their personal, interpersonal, and scientific abilities through the practice of science and through participation in conferences and other programming. 

What do you do outside of the classroom/lab/office for fun?

I am pretty much obsessed with training my body for better health and longevity. I have enjoyed reading books such as "Outlive" by Peter Attia that have focused my efforts in these areas. My current exercise program includes regular zone 2 training (cycling/walking), interval training, strength training, and (mostly for fun) bouldering. 

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John Beumer

Senior Designer, Center for Sustainable Polymers

Please give a brief description of your role within the UMN Chemistry department.

I am the Senior Designer for the Center For Sustainable Polymers. My day-to-day tasks include creating artwork for publication, managing the website, and leading our monthly research meetings. 

Before coming to the University of Minnesota I was a design consultant for Pentair and Bright Health in the Twin Cities. In addition, I spent a fair amount of time in the nonprofit world leading marketing and communications efforts. 

What’s your favorite piece of chemistry/science pop culture media? Why do you love it?

I remember visiting the Bell Museum for a CSP Annual Meeting years ago and we got to see closeup images of the Mars surface in their Planetarium. It is so special to live in a time when we get to see images from another planet. And I am equally excited to see what the Mars Perseverance rover returns to us in 2033.

Where is your favorite spot in the Twin Cities?

The Prospect Park Water Tower is a favorite spot. It is currently in the process of renovation but my guess is that they will have limited access to the tower again in a couple of years. It is a great place to get a birds eye view of Minneapolis. 

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Emily Robinson

She/her Graduate Student, Buhlmann Group

I am a Minnesotan, born and raised! I went to college and got my chemistry degree at the University of Minnesota Morris, which is part of the U system but out in the middle of western Minnesota, in 2020. I also studied for a semester at the University of Limerick in Ireland for a semester studying chemical nanotechnology. I applied for graduate school all over the US but UMN was one of the few schools felt I could thrive in. I loved the atmosphere and people I met.

We would love to hear more about your research interests! What do you hope to accomplish with this work? What is the real-world impact for the average person?

I work on the development of ion-selective electrodes. Ion detection is vital for medical analysis, environmental monitoring, and industrial applications. think of ions such as chloride and potassium, for medical purposes such as to assess kidney function, and nitrate and arsenate, common environmental pollutants. While there is equipment that can detect there ions, many of them are costly, require complex instrumentation with trained professionals, and are not time-efficient. Ion-selective electrodes (ISEs) are my are an great alternative, they have high selectivity, sensitivity, and versatility. They also overcome the limits that many other instruments have, being relatively small, easy to handle, and give fast response times. These factors are critical for point of care, for rapid test results, and for deployable, wearable, and implantable devices. For these applications, sensors not only need to be dependable for short periods but for days or even years. That is why I have pushed the boundaries of ISE systems to develop exceedingly stable sensing and reference electrodes that can be used to meet the needs of the medical, environmental, and industrial fields today.

Are you involved in any student groups? What inspired you to get involved?

I am currently the co-president for the Joint Safety Team! I have always been a big proponent of lab safety culture and when the opportunity came up, I thought why not? I have been able to work with other lab safety teams throughout the US and we recently submitted a paper on LSO programs as well as were accepted to host a symposium at ACS fall on lab safety culture. Lab safety is something that affects everyone, whether it be on big or small scales, and I am very happy to have been able to be a part of that here.

We keep a garden on our patio that I (try to) help take care of and I am always down for an easy hike in the fall.

Black Coffee & Waffle Bar

Tell us about who makes up your household (including pets).

Our household is myself, my partner Zach who does cancer research at UMN, and our adorable grey tuxedo cat Beatrice

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    In 2019, the Royal Society of Chemistry published 180, 196 and 293 papers in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, and Environmental Science: Nano, respectively. These papers covered a wide range of topics in environmental science, from biogeochemical cycling to water reuse to ...

  4. (PDF) Environmental Chemistry

    Environmental Chemistry. In this chapter we present the main types of useful chemical substances, contaminants, pollutants, and wastes, and give an overview of their key undesirable effects upon ...

  5. Earth, Space, and Environmental Chemistry

    Earth, Space and Environmental Chemistry. Environmental chemistry is big news and goes further than our own climate and the human impact on it. Get the big picture with ACS Earth and Space Chemistry - providing quality inter-disciplinary research across analytical, experimental, and theoretical chemistry in order to answer novel questions about the chemistry of the universe, from earth-based ...

  6. Sustainable Chemistry for the Environment

    Sustainable Chemistry for the Environment (SCENV) is a new peer-reviewed, gold open access (OA) journal and upon acceptance all articles are permanently and freely available. SCENV publishes original papers, short communications and perspectives, and review articles in all areas of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering for a safer and cleaner environment.

  7. Green Chemistry: A Framework for a Sustainable Future

    ACS Sustainable Chemistry& Engineering is a world leader in publishing groundbreaking research that addresses the challenges of sustainability, advancing the principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering with global reach and impact. Key coverage includes catalysis with emerging feedstocks and synthetic methods for preparing materials and chemicals in a sustainable way to help bring ...

  8. Home

    Environmental Chemistry Letters covers the interfaces of geology, chemistry, physics and biology. Articles published here are of high importance to the study of natural and engineered environments. The journal publishes original and review articles of outstanding significance on such topics as the characterization of natural and affected environments; behavior, prevention, treatment and ...


    Environmental Chemistry publishes papers reporting chemistry that enhances our understanding of the natural and engineered environment (including indoor and outdoor air, water, soil, sediments, and biota). Read more about the journal. Editor-in-Chief: Jamie Lead Publishing Model: Hybrid. Open Access options available.

  10. PDF The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry

    mental Chemistry in 1980 and became the founding Editor-in-Chief. At that time, environmental chemistry was an emerging field, aiming at a complete description of the Earth's environment, encompassing the physical, chemical, biological, and geological transformations of chemical substances occurring on a local as well as a global scale.

  11. Frontiers in Environmental Chemistry

    Future Perspectives on Electrochemical Carbon Sequestration. Samuel Perry. Saiful Arifin Shafiee. Isaacs Mauricio. Stephen McCord. 618 views. Investigates the analysis, prevention, treatment and control of anthropogenic and natural pollutants across all environmental matrices - air, water, soil, and sediment - using cutting-edge chemical...

  12. Frontiers

    This Grand Challenge covers all specialty sections of Frontiers in Environmental Chemistry. By gathering this research into one, open-access journal, we aim to grow with a focus on the excellence of science. We want to bring together researchers, encourage collaboration and create an accessible platform for all environmental chemists.

  13. Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology

    Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology publishes studies that examine the environmental chemistry (distribution, dynamics and fate) of pollutants, the biologic and toxic effects of man-made chemical pollutants on ecotoxicological animal models and plants. Studies of emerging environmental chemicals and novel methods for the analysis of ...

  14. Role of Chemistry in Earth's Climate

    A. R. Ravishankara is an atmospheric chemist. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, in physical chemistry. After one year of postdoctoral work at University of Maryland, where he entered the field of atmospheric chemistry, he moved to Georgia Institute of Technology for 8 years and then to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 30 years.

  15. A golden period for environmental soil chemistry

    In a recent paper, Hemingway et al. found that tightly mineral bound OC persists for millennia. It is critical to understand the role of warming in release of C, ... There is no question that many of the big challenges and opportunities in environmental soil chemistry research require an interdisciplinary approach. While soil chemists must ...

  16. Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology: in greater demand than ever

    Environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology have been losing support, resources, and recognition at universities for many years. What are the possible causes of this process? A first problem may be that the need for research and teaching in environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology is no longer seen because chemical pollution problems are considered as largely solved.

  17. Toxicology, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology, and One Health

    The definitions of toxicology, environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry, environmental risk, and ecotoxicology are closely related and sometimes used as synonyms, whereas One Health is a more recent, complementary concept. This contribution examines the origins of the usages of these terms, explores their interchangeability (whether appropriate or not), and proposes some paths to ...

  18. Environmental Research

    A Multidisciplinary Journal of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. Environmental Research is a multi-disciplinary journal publishing high quality and novel information about anthropogenic issues of global relevance and applicability in a wide range of environmental disciplines, and …. View full aims & scope. $3550. Article publishing charge.

  19. PDF The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry

    mental Chemistry in 1980 and became the founding Editor-in-Chief. At that time, environmental chemistry was an emerging field, aiming at a complete description of the Earth's environment, encompassing the physical, chemical, biological, and geological transformations of chemical substances occurring on a local as well as a global scale.

  20. Environmental Chemistry of Water Quality Monitoring

    This study involved environmental aquatic chemistry research and the assessment of the geochemical processes of metal speciation in an arctic lake in the metallurgical waste zone and other areas where natural processes prevail. Consecutive and parallel membrane filtration methods were used to compare the results of water analysis in Imandra Lake.


    This paper provides an overview of aplicability 12 principles and future trends of Green Chemistry. Green or Sustainable Chemistry is a term that refers to the creation of chemical products and ...

  22. Environmental Chemistry in the Undergraduate Curriculum

    the environment and chemistry helps to educate students about local, regional or global issues. A growing focus on sustainability on campuses calls for innovations in environmental chemistry education. These innovations can be in the form of new laboratory experiments, in-depth research projects, or community-centered activities.

  23. Biosensors

    Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) are porous crystals that have high designability and great potential in designing, encapsulating, and immobilizing nanozymes. COF nanozymes have also attracted extensive attention in analyte sensing and detection because of their abundant active sites, high enzyme-carrying capacity, and significantly improved stability. In this paper, we classify COF ...

  24. hUMNs of Chemistry #13

    Gwen Bailey Sher/herAssistant ProfessorTell us about your journey to the University of Minnesota.I became fascinated with synthetic chemistry as an intern at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (now Arbutus Biopharm) in Burnaby, BC. It struck me as so powerful that humans could manipulate matter in order to make and break bonds and create compounds with new chemical compositions and properties. Later in ...