Original release date: June 21, 2017
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Bacteriophages are an attractive alternative to fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), particularly as surrogates of enteric virus fate and transport due to their closer morphological and biological properties compared to FIB. Based on a meta-analysis of published data, we summarize concentrations of coliphages (F+ and somatic), Bacteroides spp. and enterococci bacteriophages (phages) in human waste, non-human waste, fresh and marine waters as well as removal through wastewater treatment processes. We also provide comparisons with FIB and enteric viruses whenever possible. Lastly, we examine fate and transport characteristics in the environment and provide an overview of the methods available for detection and enumeration of bacteriophages. In summary, concentrations of FIB bacteriophages in various sources were consistently lower than FIB, but more reflective of infectious enteric virus levels. Our investigation supports use of bacteriophages as viral surrogates especially for wastewater treatment processes, while additional research is needed to clarify their utility as indicators of viral fate and transport in the ambient water.
A standardized method is required when national studies on virus occurrence in environmental and drinking waters utilize multiple analytical laboratories. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Method 1615 was developed with the goal of providing such a standard for measuring Enterovirus and Norovirus in these waters. Virus is concentrated from water using an electropositive filter, eluted from the filter surface with beef extract, and then concentrated further using organic flocculation. Herein we present the protocol from Method 1615 for filter elution, secondary concentration, and measurement of total culturable viruses. A portion of the concentrated eluate from each sample is inoculated onto ten replicate flasks of Buffalo Green Monkey kidney cells. The number of flasks demonstrating cytopathic effects is used to quantify the most probable number (MPN) of infectious units per liter. The method uses a number of quality controls to increase data quality and to reduce interlaboratory and intralaboratory variation. Laboratories must meet defined performance standards. Method 1615 was evaluated by examining virus recovery from reagent-grade and ground waters seeded with Sabin poliovirus type 3. Mean poliovirus recoveries with the total culturable assay were 111% in reagent grade water and 58% in groundwaters.
Net-zero water (NZW) systems, or water management systems achieving high recycling rates and low residuals generation so as to avoid water import and export, can also conserve energy used to heat and convey water, while economically restoring local eco-hydrology. However, design and operating experience are extremely limited. The objective of this paper is to present the results of the second phase of operation of an advanced oxidation-based NZW pilot system designed, constructed, and operated for a period of two years, serving an occupied four-person apartment. System water was monitored, either continuously or thrice daily, for routine water quality parameters, minerals, and MicroTox® in-vitro toxicity, and intermittently for somatic and male-specific coliphage, adenovirus, Cryptosporidium, Giardia, emerging organic constituents (non-quantitative), and the Florida drinking water standards. All 115 drinking water standards with the exception of bromate were met in this phase. Neither virus nor protozoa were detected in the treated water, with the exception of measurement of adenovirus genome copies attributed to accumulation of inactive genetic material in hydraulic dead zones. Chemical oxygen demand was mineralized to 90% in treatment. Total dissolved solids were maintained at ∼500 mg/L at steady state, partially through aerated aluminum electrocoagulation. Bromate accumulation is projected to be controlled by aluminum electrocoagulation with separate disposal of backwash water. Further development of such systems and their automated/remote process control systems is recommended.
By Office of Corporate Communications June 21, 2017 The United States Mint produces and sells commemorative coins to the public to honor American people, places, events, and institutions. The Mint has been producing commemorative coins since 1892, but authorization of…
This presentation describes EPA efforts to collect, model, and measure publically available consumer product data for use in exposure assessment. The development of the ORD Chemicals and Products database will be described, as will machine-learning based models for predicting chemical function. Finally, the talk describes new mass spectrometry-based methods for measuring chemicals in formulation and articles.
High throughput toxicity testing (HTT) holds the promise of providing data for tens of thousands of chemicals that currently have no data due to the cost and time required for animal testing. Interpretation of these results require information linking the perturbations seen in vitro with adverse outcomes in vivo and requires knowledge of how estimated exposure to the chemicals compare to the in vitro concentrations that show an effect. This abstract discusses how Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs) can be used to link HTT with adverse outcomes of regulatory significance and how Aggregate Exposure Pathways (AEPs) can connect concentrations of environment stressors at a source with an expected target site concentration designed to provide exposure estimates that are comparable to concentrations identified in HTT.
The community multiscale air quality (CMAQ) model of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is one of the most widely used air quality model worldwide; it is employed for both research and regulatory applications at major universities and government agencies for improving understanding of the formation and transport of air pollutants. It is noted, however, that air quality issues and climate change assessments need to be addressed globally recognizing the linkages and interactions between meteorology and atmospheric chemistry across a wide range of scales. Therefore, an effort is currently underway to develop the next generation air quality modeling system (NGAQM) that will be based on a global integrated meteorology and chemistry system. The model for prediction across scales-atmosphere (MPAS-A), a global fully compressible non-hydrostatic model with seamlessly refined centroidal Voronoi grids, has been chosen as the meteorological driver of this modeling system. The initial step of adapting MPAS-A for the NGAQM was to implement and test the physics parameterizations and options that are preferred for retrospective air quality simulations (see the work presented by R. Gilliam, R. Bullock, and J. Herwehe at this workshop). The next step, presented herein, would be to link the chemistry from CMAQ to MPAS-A to build a prototype for the NGAQM. Furthermore, the techniques to harmonize transport processes between CMAQ and MPAS-A, methodologies to connect the chemistry module with MPAS-A, and computational issues such as parallelism and I/O structure are being addressed.
For the first time in 99 years, a total solar eclipse will occur across the entire continental United States, and NASA is preparing to share this experience of a lifetime on Aug. 21.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals from media professionals to visit Greenland and report on scientific research in the Arctic supported by NSF’s Office of Polar Programs.
Competitive proposals must include the following:
• A documented ability to reach the widest possible U.S. audience across a variety of platforms (broadcast, print, web and social media).
• A solid field plan that indicates how the outlet will clearly and …
More at https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242312&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click
This is an NSF News item.
Agencies release list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies
Ecological assessments of aquatic ecosystems depend on the ability to compare current conditions against some expectation of how they could be in the absence of significant human disturbance. The concept of a ‘‘reference condition’’ is often used to describe the standard or benchmark against which current condition is compared. If assessments are to be conducted consistently, then a common understanding of the definitions and complications of reference condition is necessary. A 2006 paper (Stoddard et al., 2006, Ecological Applications 16:1267-1276) made an early attempt at codifying the reference condition concept; in this presentation we will revisit the points raised in that paper (and others) and examine how our thinking has changed in a little over 10 years.Among the issues to be discussed: (1) the “moving target” created when reference site data are used to set thresholds in large scale assessments; (2) natural vs. human disturbance and their effects on reference site distributions; (3) circularity and the use of biological data to assist in reference site identification; (4) using site-scale (in-stream or in-lake) measurements vs. landscape-level human activity to identify reference conditions.
Abstract: The global methane (CH4) budget is becoming an increasingly important component for managing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. This relevance, due to a shorter atmospheric lifetime and a stronger warming potential than carbon dioxide, is challenged by the still unexplained changes of atmospheric CH4 over the past decade. Emissions and concentrations of CH4 are continuing to increase, making CH4 the second most important human-induced greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Two major…
Abstract: The Geostationary Ocean Colour Imager (GOCI) instrument, on Koreas Communications, Oceans, and Meteorological Satellite (COMS), can produce a spectral artefact arising from the motion of clouds the cloud is spatially shifted and the amount of shift varies by spectral band. The length of time it takes to acquire all eight GOCI bands for a given slot (portion of a scene) is sucient to require that cloud motion be taken into account to fully mask or correct the eects of clouds in all bands. Inte…
Abstract: The Operational Land Imager (OLI) onboard Landsat-8 is generating high-quality aquatic science products, the most critical of which is the remote sensing reflectance (Rrs), defined as the ratio of water-leaving radiance to the total downwelling irradiance just above water. The quality of the Rrs products has not, however, been extensively assessed. This manuscript provides a comprehensive evaluation of Level-1B, i.e., top of atmosphere reflectance, and Rrs products available from OLI imagery …
Agencies issue host state loan-to-deposit ratios
By: Scott Gottlieb, M.D. Too many patients are being priced out of the medicines they need. While FDA doesn’t have a direct role in drug pricing, we can take steps to help address this problem by facilitating increased competition in … Continue reading →
Abstract: Studies of the nitrogen cycle in the ocean generally assume that the distribution of the marine diazotroph, Trichodesmium, is restricted to warm, tropical, and subtropical oligotrophic waters. Here we show evidence that Trichodesmium are widely distributed in the North Atlantic. We report an approximately vefold increase during the 1980s and 1990s in Trichodesmium presence near the British Isles with respect to the average over the last 50 years. A potential explanation is an increase in the …
The reproductive tract is a complex, integrated organ system with diverse embryology and unique sensitivity to prenatal environmental exposures that disrupt morphoregulatory processes and endocrine signaling. U.S. EPA’s in vitro high-throughput screening (HTS) database (ToxCastDB) was used to profile the bioactivity of 54 chemicals with male developmental consequences across ~800 molecular and cellular features. The in vitro bioactivity on molecular targets could be condensed into 156 gene annotations in a bipartite network. These results highlighted the role of estrogen and androgen signaling pathways in male reproductive tract development, and importantly, broadened the list of molecular targets to include GPCRs, cytochrome-P450s, vascular remodeling proteins, and retinoic acid signaling. A multicellular agent-based model was used to simulate the complex interactions between morphoregulatory, endocrine, and environmental influences during genital tubercle (GT) development. Spatially dynamic signals (e.g., SHH, FGF10, and androgen) were implemented in the model to address differential adhesion, cell motility, proliferation, and apoptosis. Under control of androgen signaling, urethral tube closure was an emergent feature of the model that was linked to gender-specific rates of ventral mesenchymal proliferation and urethral plate endodermal apoptosis. A systemic parameter sweep was used to examine the sensitivity of crosstalk between genetic deficiency and environmental disruption pathways. The in silico impact of subtle variations in SHH and FGF10 activity (simulating individual variability) with respect to dose-dependent androgen receptor insufficiency was modeled in a simulated population. Hypospadias could occur at 70% SHH and 70% FGF10 sufficiency with merely a 5% reduction in AR sufficiency. In conclusion, multiscale systems modeling provides a means to simulate population-level responses to reveal critical thresholds in teratogenesis for complex interactions between genetic (e.g., FGF10 polymorphism), environmental (e.g., androgen receptor disruption), and lifestyle (e.g., cholesterol deficiency for SHH) factors.
Abstract: Analysis of phase I specimens produced as part of the 3D printing in zero G technology demonstration mission exhibited some differences in structure and performance for specimens printed onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and specimens produced on the ground with the same printer prior to its launch. This study uses the engineering test unit for the printer, identical to the unit on ISS, to conduct a ground-based investigation of the impact of the distance between the extruder tip …