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The Robert  H Smith Faculty
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Levy, Y. ; Shapira, R. H. ; Chefetz, B. ; Kurtzman, D. Modeling nitrate from land surface to wells' perforations under agricultural land: success, failure, and future scenarios in a Mediterranean case study. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 2017, 21, 3811–3825. Publisher's Version
Paltiel, O. ; Fedorova, G. ; Tadmor, G. ; Kleinstern, G. ; Maor, Y. ; Chefetz, B. Human Exposure to Wastewater-Derived Pharmaceuticals in Fresh Produce: A Randomized Controlled Trial Focusing on Carbamazepine. Environmental Science & TechnologyEnvironmental Science & Technology 2016, 50, 4476 - 4482. Publisher's Version
Fedorova, G. ; Ben Ari, J. ; Tadmor, G. ; Paltiel, O. ; Chefetz, B. Environmental exposure to pharmaceuticals: A new technique for trace analysis of carbamazepine and its metabolites in human urine. Environmental Pollution 2016, 213, 308 - 313. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Pharmaceutically active compounds are taken up and accumulate in crops irrigated with treated wastewater. This raises the concern of chronic human exposure to pharmaceuticals via food consumption. Thus, there is a need to develop a reliable technique to detect and quantify pharmaceuticals at environmentally relevant concentrations in human biological matrices, particularly urine. In this study, we focus on carbamazepine, an antiepileptic drug and recalcitrant compound that is taken up by crops—making it an excellent model compound for this study. This paper presents a new analytical technique enabling quantification of trace concentrations of carbamazepine and its metabolites in the urine of individuals who have been environmentally exposed. Sample preparation included extraction with acetonitrile followed by clean-up through mixed-mode ion-exchange cartridges and analysis using LC/MS/MS. This technique, which was validated for a wide range of concentrations (5–2000 ng L−1), exhibits low limits of quantification (3.0–7.2 ng L−1), acceptable recovery levels (70–120%), and low relative standard deviation (<20%). Unlike currently available methods for the analysis of water or treated wastewater that require large volumes (up to 1 L), the new method uses only 10 mL of urine. Moreover, relative to available methods for carbamazepine detection in the urine of individuals who are chronically treated with this drug, the limit of quantification values with our method are six orders of magnitude lower. The newly developed method has been successfully applied for the quantification of carbamazepine and its metabolites in the urine of healthy people exposed to this pharmaceutical through their diet. Our analytical protocol can provide the scientific community and stakeholders with real data for risk assessments and the design of policies ensuring safe use of wastewater for crop irrigation.
Engel, M. ; Chefetz, B. Adsorption and desorption of dissolved organic matter by carbon nanotubes: Effects of solution chemistry. Environmental Pollution 2016, 213, 90 - 98. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Increasing use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has led to their introduction into the environment where they can interact with dissolved organic matter (DOM). This study focuses on solution chemistry effects on DOM adsorption/desorption processes by single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs). Our data show that DOM adsorption is controlled by the attachment of DOM molecules to the SWCNTs, and that the initial adsorption rate is dependent on solution parameters. Adsorbed amount of DOM at high ionic strength was limited, possibly due to alterations in SWCNT bundling. Desorption of DOM performed at low pH resulted in additional DOM adsorption, whereas at high pH, adsorbed DOM amount decreased. The extent of desorption conducted at increased ionic strength was dependent on pre-adsorbed DOM concentration: low DOM loading stimulated additional adsorption of DOM, whereas high DOM loading facilitated release of adsorbed DOM. Elevated ionic strength and increased adsorbed amount of DOM reduced the oxidation temperature of the SWCNTs, suggesting that changes in the assembly of the SWCNTs had occurred. Moreover, DOM-coated SWCNTs at increased ionic strength provided fewer sites for atrazine adsorption. This study enhances our understanding of DOM–SWCNT interactions in aqueous systems influenced by rapid changes in salinity, and facilitates potential use of SWCNTs in water-purification technologies.
Paz, A. ; Tadmor, G. ; Malchi, T. ; Blotevogel, J. ; Borch, T. ; Polubesova, T. ; Chefetz, B. Fate of carbamazepine, its metabolites, and lamotrigine in soils irrigated with reclaimed wastewater: Sorption, leaching and plant uptake. Chemosphere 2016, 160, 22 - 29. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Irrigation with reclaimed wastewater may result in the ubiquitous presence of pharmaceutical compounds (PCs) and their metabolites in the agroecosystem. In this study, we focused on two highly persistent anticonvulsant drugs, lamotrigine and carbamazepine and two of its metabolites (EP-CBZ and DiOH-CBZ), aiming to elucidate their behavior in agricultural ecosystem using batch and lysimeter experiments. Sorption of the studied compounds by soils was found to be governed mainly by the soil organic matter level. Sorption affinity of compounds to soils followed the order lamotrigine > carbamazepine > EP-CBZ > DiOH-CBZ. Sorption was reversible, and no competition between sorbates in bi-solute systems was observed. The results of the lysimeter studies were in accordance with batch experiment findings, demonstrating accumulation of lamotrigine and carbamazepine in top soil layers enriched with organic matter. Detection of carbamazepine and one of its metabolites in rain-fed wheat previously irrigated with reclaimed wastewater, indicates reversibility of their sorption, resulting in their potential leaching and their availability for plant uptake. This study demonstrates the long-term implication of introduction of PCs to the agroecosystem.
Chotzen, R. A. ; Polubesova, T. ; Chefetz, B. ; Mishael, Y. G. Adsorption of soil-derived humic acid by seven clay minerals: A systematic study. Clays and Clay Minerals 2016, 64, 628-638. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Humic acid (HA)-clay complexes are well known for their contribution to soil structure and environmental processes. Despite extensive research, the mechanisms governing HA adsorption are yet to be resolved. A systematic study was conducted to characterize the adsorption of a soil-derived HA to seven clay minerals. Clay surfaces affected HA adsorption directly due to structural differences and indirectly by altering solution pH. The following order of HA removal was obtained for the clay minerals at their natural pH: illite >> palygorskite > kaolinite > sepiolite > montmorillonite = hectorite >> talc. Removal of HA (precipitation and adsorption) by kaolinite and illite was attributed to the low pH they induce, resulting in protonation of the clay and HA surfaces. In spite of the low pH, the zeta potential for HA remained negative, which promoted HA adsorption to the protonated clay surfaces by ligand exchange. Ionic strength did not affect HA adsorption to clay minerals with low zeta potentials, indicating that charge screening is not a major mechanism of HA adsorption for these minerals, and supporting the suggestion that ligand exchange is the main adsorption mechanism to pH-dependent sites. The increase in ionic strength did, however, promote HA adsorption to clay minerals with high zeta potentials. At pH 89 the order of HA affinity for clay minerals was: palygorskite > sepiolite > montmorillonite = hectorite > kaolinite > illite > talc, emphasizing strong HA interactions with the fibrous clays. This strong affinity was attributed to their large surface areas and to strong interactions with OH groups on these clay surfaces. Results indicated that HA did not enter the intracrystalline channels of the fibrous clays but suggested that their macro-fiber structure facilitates HA adsorption. The sorption of HA to kaolinite further increased in the presence of Cu2+, and the sorption of Cu2+ increased in the presence of HA, due to a number of synergistic effects. This study emphasizes the diverse effects of clay structure and solution chemistry on HA adsorption.
Engel, M. ; Chefetz, B. Removal of triazine-based pollutants from water by carbon nanotubes: Impact of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and solution chemistry. Water Research 2016, 106, 146 - 154. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Adsorption of organic pollutants by carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in the environment or removal of pollutants during water purification require deep understanding of the impacts of the presence of dissolved organic matter (DOM). DOM is an integral part of environmental systems and plays a key role affecting the behavior of organic pollutants. In this study, the effects of solution chemistry (pH and ionic strength) and the presence of DOM on the removal of atrazine and lamotrigine by single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs) was investigated. The solubility of atrazine slightly decreased (∼5%) in the presence of DOM, whereas that of lamotrigine was significantly enhanced (by up to ∼70%). Simultaneous introduction of DOM and pollutant resulted in suppression of removal of both atrazine and lamotrigine, which was attributed to DOM-pollutant competition or blockage of adsorption sites by DOM. However the decrease in removal of lamotrigine was also a result of its complexation with DOM. Pre-introduction of DOM significantly reduced pollutant adsorption by the SWCNTs, whereas introduction of DOM after the pollutant resulted in the release of adsorbed atrazine and lamotrigine from the SWCNTs. These data imply that DOM exhibits higher affinity for the adsorption sites than the triazine-based pollutants. In the absence of DOM atrazine was a more effective competitor than lamotrigine for adsorption sites in SWCNTs. However, competition between pollutants in the presence of DOM revealed lamotrigine as the better competitor. Our findings help unravel the complex DOM–organic pollutant–CNT system and will aid in CNT-implementation in water-purification technologies.