Items 1-20 of 597

    • Journal Article

      Tight bounds on missing late veneer in early Archean peridotite from triple oxygen isotopes 

      Peters, S.T.M.; Fischer, M.B.; Pack, A.; Szilas, K.; Appel, P.W.U.; Münker, C.; Dallai, L.; Marien, C.S.
      Geochemical Perspectives Letters 2021; 18 p.27-31
      Oxygen isotopes provide a unique possibility to study Earth’s late accretion phase from a lithophile element perspective, because most carbonaceous chondrites – meteorites that likely resemble the composition of the terrestrial late veneer – have markedly different Δ′17O values than the silicate Earth. Ultramafic rocks in the early Archean assemblage of southwest Greenland have not incorporated the full amount of late accreted materials, and therefore possibly record the Δ′17O of the mantle before late accretion. We measured 17O/16O and 18O/16O ratios of olivine from these ultramafic rocks and compared them with olivine from post-Archean mantle peridotite. A missing late veneer component was not resolved. The missing component from the early Archean mantle is therefore restricted to ≤0.12 % of Earth’s mass (M⊕) for most carbonaceous chondrite-like materials, unless the missing component resembles CI chondrites – the only carbonaceous chondrites with Δ′17O values similar to those of the silicate Earth. If the early Archean mantle had incorporated 60 % late veneer, the overall late accreted mass would be restricted to ≤0.3 % M⊕ for most types of carbonaceous chondrites, with a more massive late veneer only possible for CI-like chondrites.
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    • Journal Article

      Kanchan Arsenic Filters and the Future of Fe0-Based Filtration Systems for Single Household Drinking Water Supply 

      Huang, Zhe; Cao, Viet; Nya, Esther Laurentine; Gwenzi, Willis; Noubactep, Chicgoua
      Processes 2021; 9(1)
      Biological and chemical contamination of natural water bodies is a global health risk for more than one billion people, mostly living in low-income countries. Innovative, affordable, and efficient decentralized solutions for safe drinking water supply are urgently needed. Metallic iron (Fe0)-based filtration systems have been described as such an appropriate solution. This communication focuses on the Kanchan arsenic filter (KAF), presented in the early 2000s and widely assessed during the past decade. The KAF contains iron nails as the Fe0 source and is primarily designed to remove As from polluted tube well waters. Recent independent works assessing their performance have all reported on a high degree of variability in efficiency depending mostly on the following factors: (1) the current operating conditions, (2) the design, and (3) the groundwater chemistry. This communication shows that the major problems of the KAF are two-fold: (1) a design mistake as the Fe0 units disturb the operation and functionality of the biosand filter, and (2) the use of poorly characterized iron nails of unknown reactivity. This assertion is supported by the evidence that the very successful community filter designed by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay works with iron nails and has been efficient for many years. Replacing iron nails by more reactive Fe0 materials (e.g., iron fillings and steel wool) should be tested in a new generation KAF. It is concluded that a methodological or systematic approach in introducing and monitoring the efficiency of KAF should be used to test and disseminate the next generation KAF worldwide. Moreover, better characterization of the Fe0 materials including their intrinsic reactivity is required.
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    • Journal Article

      Mantle modularity underlies the plasticity of the molluscan shell: supporting data from Cepaea nemoralis 

      Jackson, Daniel J.
      Frontiers in Genetics 2021; 12
      Molluscs have evolved the capacity to fabricate a wide variety of shells over their 540+ million-year history. While modern sequencing and proteomic technologies continue to expand the catalog of molluscan shell-forming proteins, a complete functional understanding of how any mollusc constructs its shell remains an ambitious goal. This lack of understanding also constrains our understanding of how evolution has generated a plethora of molluscan shell morphologies. Taking advantage of a previous expression atlas for shell-forming genes in Lymnaea stagnalis, I have characterized the spatial expression patterns of seven shell-forming genes in the terrestrial gastropod Cepaea nemoralis, with the aim of comparing and contrasting their expression patterns between the two species. Four of these genes were selected from a previous proteomic screen of the C. nemoralis shell, two were targeted by bioinformatics criteria designed to identify likely shell-forming gene products, and the final one was a clear homolog of a peroxidase sequence in the L. stagnalis dataset. While the spatial expression patterns of all seven C. nemoralis genes could be recognized as falling into distinct zones within the mantle tissue similar to those established in L. stagnalis, some zones have apparently been modified. These similarities and differences hint at a modularity to the molluscan mantle that may provide a mechanistic explanation as to how evolution has efficiently generated a diversity of molluscan shells.
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    • Journal Article

      The evolution of hemocyanin genes in Tectipleura: a multitude of conserved introns in highly diverse gastropods 

      Schäfer, Gabriela G.; Pedrini-Martha, Veronika; Jackson, Daniel J.; Dallinger, Reinhard; Lieb, Bernhard
      BMC Ecology and Evolution. 2021 Mar 04;21(1):36
      Background Hemocyanin is the oxygen transporter of most molluscs. Since the oxygen affinity of hemocyanin is strongly temperature-dependent, this essential protein needs to be well-adapted to the environment. In Tectipleura, a very diverse group of gastropods with > 27,000 species living in all kinds of habitats, several hemocyanin genes have already been analyzed. Multiple independent duplications of this gene have been identified and may represent potential adaptations to different environments and lifestyles. The aim of this study is to further explore the evolution of these genes by analyzing their exon–intron architectures. Results We have reconstructed the gene architectures of ten hemocyanin genes from four Tectipleura species: Aplysia californica, Lymnaea stagnalis, Cornu aspersum and Helix pomatia. Their hemocyanin genes each contain 53 introns, significantly more than in the hemocyanin genes of Cephalopoda (9–11), Vetigastropoda (15) and Caenogastropoda (28–33). The gene structures of Tectipleura hemocyanins are identical in terms of intron number and location, with the exception of one out of two hemocyanin genes of L. stagnalis that comprises one additional intron. We found that gene structures that differ between molluscan lineages most probably evolved more recently through independent intron gains. Conclusions The strict conservation of the large number of introns in Tectipleura hemocyanin genes over 200 million years suggests the influence of a selective pressure on this gene structure. While we could not identify conserved sequence motifs within these introns, it may be simply the great number of introns that offers increased possibilities of gene regulation relative to hemocyanin genes with less introns and thus may have facilitated habitat shifts and speciation events. This hypothesis is supported by the relatively high number of introns within the hemocyanin genes of Pomacea canaliculata that has evolved independently of the Tectipleura. Pomacea canaliculata belongs to the Caenogastropoda, the sister group of Heterobranchia (that encompass Tectipleura) which is also very diverse and comprises species living in different habitats. Our findings provide a hint to some of the molecular mechanisms that may have supported the spectacular radiation of one of Metazoa’s most species rich groups.
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    • Journal Article

      In-depth studies on the modifying effects of natural ageing on the chemical structure of European spruce (Picea abies) and silver fir (Abies alba) woods 

      Ghavidel, Amir; Scheglov, Anna; Karius, Volker; Mai, Carsten; Tarmian, Asghar; Vioel, Wolfgang; Vasilache, Viorica; Sandu, Ion
      Journal of Wood Science 2020; 66(1) p.1-11: Art. 77
      Abstract Wood is usually stable under relatively dry conditions but may still undergo slow deterioration. The type of deterioration and how these processes affect the wood are important questions that need consideration if old wooden structures are to be studied and properly preserved. The aim of this paper is to establish the main structural and morphological differences between new and naturally aged European spruce (~ 150–200 years) and silver fir wood (~ 150 years). Naturally aged European spruce (a) was sourced from an outdoor part of a building constructed in the seventeenth century and naturally aged European spruce (b) were obtained from a furniture item located in a historical building from the eighteenth century. The principal age-induced changes in fir are the degradation of C–O and C=O groups in hemicellulose, according to the FTIR analysis. Degradation of cellulose and hemicelluloses was observed for spruce, with a greater effect seen in the indoor aged sample. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) showed that after aging C–C/C–H peaks were smaller in the spruce and fir samples, while C–O and O–C–O peaks were larger. The crystallinity index (CrI) obtained by X-ray diffraction showed that due to weathering the CrI of naturally aged spruce (a) increased compared to the new wood. The CrI of the aged spruce (b) and aged fir was lower than in the new woods. The ratios for the spruce sample, which aged indoors, were higher than those for the one aged outdoors. According to the observations made in this study, hemicellulose and cellulose are easily degraded under environmental conditions.
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    • Journal Article

      Validating the Efficiency of the FeS$_2$ Method for Elucidating the Mechanisms of Contaminant Removal Using Fe$_0$/H$_2$O Systems 

      Xiao, Minhui; Cui, Xuesong; Hu, Rui; Gwenzi, Willis; Noubactep, Chicgoua
      Processes 2020; 8(9) p.1-16: Art. 1162
      There is growing interest in using pyrite minerals (FeS$_2$) to enhance the efficiency of metallic iron (Fe$^0$) for water treatment (Fe$^0$/H$_2$O systems). This approach contradicts the thermodynamic predicting suppression of FeS$_2$ oxidation by Fe$^0$ addition. Available results are rooted in time series correlations between aqueous and solid phases based on data collected under various operational conditions. Herein, the methylene blue method (MB method) is used to clarify the controversy. The MB method exploits the differential adsorptive affinity of MB onto sand and sand coated with iron corrosion products to assess the extent of Fe$^0$ corrosion in Fe$^0$/H$_2$O systems. The effects of the addition of various amounts of FeS$_2$ to a Fe$^0$/sand mixture (FeS$_2$ method) on MB discoloration were characterized in parallel quiescent batch experiments for up to 71 d (pH$_0$ = 6.8). Pristine and aged FeS$_2$ specimens were used. Parallel experiments with methyl orange (MO) and reactive red 120 (RR120) enabled a better discussion of the achieved results. The results clearly showed that FeS$_2$ induces a pH shift and delays Fe precipitation and sand coating. Pristine FeS$_2$ induced a pH shift to values lower than 4.5, but no quantitative MB discoloration occurred after 45 d. Aged FeS$_2$ could not significantly shift the pH value (final pH ≥ 6.4) but improved the MB discoloration. The used systematic sequence of experiments demonstrated that adsorption and coprecipitation are the fundamental mechanisms of contaminant removal in Fe$^0$/H$_2$O systems. This research has clarified the reason why a FeS$_2$ addition enhances the efficiency of Fe$^0$ environmental remediation.
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    • Journal Article

      Metagenome-Assembled Genome Sequences from an Anoxygenic Photosynthetic Consortium Involved in Sulfur Cycling 

      Winkler, Lucia; Münker, Marc F.; Brunotte, Susanne; Rohlmann, Lina; Diez Alfageme, Alvaro; Poehlein, Anja; Hoppert, Michael; Reitner, Joachim; Nacke, Heiko
      Microbiology Resource Announcements 2020; 9(40) p.1-3: Art. e00819-20
      We sequenced the metagenome of an anoxygenic photosynthetic consortium originating from pond water and reconstructed four metagenome-assembled genomes. These genomes include Desulfocapsa, Paludibacter, Lamprocystis, and Rhodocyclaceae representatives and indicate the presence of genes for dissimilatory sulfate reduction and oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds.
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    • Journal Article

      Extreme Climate Event and Its Impact on Landscape Resilience in Gobi Region of Mongolia 

      Vova, Oyudari; Kappas, Martin; Renchin, Tsolmon; Fassnacht, Steven R.
      Remote Sensing 2020; 12(18) p.1-21: Art. 2881
      The dzud, a specific type of climate disaster in Mongolia, is responsible for serious environmental and economic damage. It is characterized by heavy snowfall and severe winter conditions, causing mass livestock deaths that occur through the following spring. These events substantially limit socioeconomic development in Mongolia. In this research, we conducted an analysis of several dzud events (2000, 2001, 2002, and 2010) to understand the spatial and temporal variability of vegetation conditions in the Gobi region of Mongolia. The present paper also establishes how these extreme climatic events affect vegetation cover and local grazing conditions using the seasonal aridity index ($_a$AI$_Z$), time-series Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and livestock data. We also correlated $_a$AI$_Z$, NDVI, and seasonal precipitation in the varied ecosystems of the study area. The results illustrate that under certain dzud conditions, rapid regeneration of vegetation can occur. A thick snow layer acting as a water reservoir combined with high livestock losses can lead to an increase of the maximum August NDVI. The Gobi steppe areas showed the highest degree of vulnerability to climate, with a drastic decline of grassland in humid areas. Another result is that snowy winters can cause a 10 to 20-day early peak in NDVI and a following increase in vegetation growth. During a drought year with dry winter conditions, the vegetation growth phase begins later due to water deficiency, which leads to weaker vegetation growth. Livestock loss and the reduction of grazing pressure play a crucial role in vegetation recovery after extreme climatic events in Mongolia.
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    • Journal Article

      Land Cover and Forest Type Classification by Values of Vegetation Indices and Forest Structure of Tropical Lowland Forests in Central Vietnam 

      Nguyen Trong, Hung; Nguyen, The Dung; Kappas, Martin
      International Journal of Forestry Research 2020; 2020 p.1-18: Art. 8896310
      This paper aims to (i) optimize the application of multiple bands of satellite images for land cover classification by using random forest algorithms and (ii) assess correlations and regression of vegetation indices of a better-performed land cover classification image with vertical and horizontal structures of tropical lowland forests in Central Vietnam. In this study, we used Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 to classify seven land cover classes of which three forest types were substratified as undisturbed, low disturbed, and disturbed forests where forest inventory of 90 plots, as ground-truth, was randomly sampled to measure forest tree parameters. A total of 3226 training points were sampled on seven land cover types. The performance of Landsat-8 showed out-of-bag error of 31.6%, overall accuracy of 68%, kappa of 67.5%, while Sentinel-2 showed out-of-bag error of 14.3% and overall accuracy of 85.7% and kappa of 83%. Ten vegetation indices of the better-performed image were extracted to find out (i) the correlation and regression of horizontal and vertical structures of trees and (ii) assess the variation values between ground-truthing plots and training sample plots in three forest types. The result of the t test on vegetation indices showed that six out of ten vegetation indices were significant at p<0.05. Seven vegetation indices had a correlation with the horizontal structure, but four vegetation indices, namely, Enhanced Vegetation Index, Perpendicular Vegetation Index, Difference Vegetation Index, and Transformed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, had better correlations r = 0.66, 0.65, 0.65, 0.63 and regression results were of R$^2$ = 0.44, 0.43, 0.43, and 0.40, respectively. The correlations of tree height were r = 0.46, 0.43, 0.43, and 0.49 and its regressions were of R$^2$ = 0.21, 0.19, 0.18, and 0.24, respectively. The results show the possibility of using random forest algorithm with Sentinel-2 in forest type classification in line with vegetation indices application.
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    • Journal Article

      Water–rock interactions in the Bruchsal geothermal system by U–Th series radionuclides 

      Kölbel, Lena; Kölbel, Thomas; Maier, Ulrich; Sauter, Martin; Schäfer, Thorsten; Wiegand, Bettina
      Geothermal Energy. 2020 Sep 08;8(1):24
      Uranium and thorium decay series disequilibria in deep geothermal brines are a result of water–rock interaction processes. The migratory behavior of radionuclides provides valuable site-specific information and can therefore be an important tool for reservoir characterization and sustainable management of geothermal sites. In this study, we present data from long-term monitoring of naturally occurring 238U, 232Th and 235U series radionuclides analyzed in brine samples collected from the Permo-Triassic sedimentary reservoir rock at the Bruchsal geothermal site (SW Germany). The results show that radionuclides of the elements radium (226Ra, 228Ra, 224Ra, 223Ra), radon (222Rn), and lead (210Pb, 212Pb) are rather soluble in brine, while isotopes of uranium (238U, 234U, 235U), thorium (232Th, 228Th, 230Th), polonium (210Po), and actinium (227Ac, 228Ac) have low solubilities and are mostly immobile. Activities of radium isotopes in the geothermal brine exceed those of their thorium progenitors (average 226Ra = 29.9 Bq kg−1, about 103 times that of its 230Th parent). Modelling the observed disequilibria allows the following conclusion on water–rock interaction processes: (1) supply from alpha-recoil depends on isotope half-life because it is limited by the rate of diffusion through microfractures causing isotopic fractionation. (2) Radium retardation due to adsorption is low (226Ra/222Rn = 1.3) resulting in adsorption–desorption rate constants in the order of 10−10 s−1 for k1 and 10−9 for k2. (3) Scavenging of 226Ra from brine can best be explained by co-precipitation with barite resulting in an observed 226Ra anomaly in the solids of the reservoir section. The precipitation rate constant amounts to ca. 3.4 × 10−8 s−1 corresponding to a mean removal time of radium from brine by mineral precipitation to approximately 1 year.
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    • Journal Article

      Estimating the Aboveground Biomass of an Evergreen Broadleaf Forest in Xuan Lien Nature Reserve, Thanh Hoa, Vietnam, Using SPOT-6 Data and the Random Forest Algorithm 

      Nguyen, The Dung; Kappas, Martin
      International Journal of Forestry Research 2020; 2020 p.1-13: Art. 4216160
      Forest biomass is an important ecological indicator for the sustainable management of forests. The aim of this study was to estimate forest aboveground biomass (AGB) by integrating SPOT-6 data with field-based measurements using the random forest (RF) algorithm. In total, 52 remote sensing variables, including spectral bands, vegetation indices, topography data, and textures, were extracted from SPOT-6 images to predict the forest AGB of Xuan Lien Nature Reserve, Vietnam. To determine the optimal predictor variables for AGB estimation, 10 different RF models were built. To evaluate these models, 10-fold cross-validation was applied. We found that a combination of spectral and vegetation indices and topography variables offer the highest prediction results ( R$^2_{\textit{adj}}$ = 0.74 and RMSE = 61.24 Mg ha$^{−1}$). Adding texture features into the predictor variables did not improve the model performance. In addition, the SPOT-6 sensor has the potential to predict forest AGB using the RF algorithm.
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    • Journal Article

      Revealing the diversity of amber source plants from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation, Brazil 

      Seyfullah, Leyla J; Roberts, Emily A; Schmidt, Alexander R; Ragazzi, Eugenio; Anderson, Ken B; Rodrigues do Nascimento, Daniel; Ferreira da Silva Filho, Wellington; Kunzmann, Lutz
      BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2020 Aug 20;20(1):107
      Abstract Background Amber has been reported from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation, as isolated clasts or within plant tissues. Undescribed cones of uncertain gymnosperm affinity have also been recovered with amber preserved in situ. Here, we provide multiple lines of evidence to determine the botanical affinity of this enigmatic, conspicuous cone type, and to better understand the diversity of amber-source plants present in the Crato Formation and beyond. Results A new taxon of amber-bearing pollen cone Araripestrobus resinosus gen. nov. et sp. nov. is described here from complete cones and characteristic disarticulated portions. The best-preserved cone portion has both in situ amber infilling the resin canals inside the preserved microsporophyll tissues and pollen of the Eucommiidites-type. This places this genus within the Erdtmanithecales, an incompletely known gymnosperm group from the Mesozoic. FTIR analysis of the in situ amber indicates a potential araucariacean conifer affinity, although affinity with cupressacean conifers cannot be definitely ruled out. Pyr-GC-MS analysis of the Araripestrobus resinosus gen. nov. et sp. nov. in situ fossil resin shows that it is a mature class Ib amber, thought to indicate affinities with araucariacean and cupressacean, but not pinaceous, conifers. This is the first confirmed occurrence of this class of amber in the Crato Formation flora and in South America, except for an archaeological sample from Laguna Guatavita, Colombia. Conclusions The combined results of the cones’ novel gross morphology and the analyses of the in situ amber and pollen clearly indicate that the new taxon of resinous gymnosperm pollen cones from the Crato Formation is affiliated with Erdtmanithecales. The cone morphology is very distinct from all known pollen cone types of this extinct plant group. We therefore assume that the plant group that produced Eucommiidites-type pollen is much more diverse in habits than previously thought. Moreover, the diversity of potential amber source plants from the Crato Formation is now expanded beyond the Araucariaceae and the Cheirolepidiaceae to include this member of the Erdtmanithecales. Despite dispersed Eucommiidites pollen being noted from the Crato Formation, this is the first time macrofossils of Erdtmanithecales have been recognized from the Early Cretaceous of South America.
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    • Journal Article

      Structure of Nanocrystalline, Partially Disordered MoS$_{2+δ}$ Derived from HRTEM—An Abundant Material for Efficient HER Catalysis 

      Ronge, Emanuel; Hildebrandt, Sonja; Grutza, Marie-Luise; Klein, Helmut; Kurz, Philipp; Jooss, Christian
      Catalysts 2020; 10(8) p.1-16: Art. 856
      Molybdenum sulfides (MoS$_x$, x > 2) are promising catalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) that show high hydrogen evolution rates and potentially represent an abundant alternative to platinum. However, a complete understanding of the structure of the most active variants is still lacking. Nanocrystalline MoS$_{2+δ}$ was prepared by a solvothermal method and immobilized on graphene. The obtained electrodes exhibit stable HER current densities of 3 mA cm$^{−2}$ at an overpotential of ~200 mV for at least 7 h. A structural analysis of the material by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) show partially disordered nanocrystals of a size between 5–10 nm. Both X-ray and electron diffraction reveal large fluctuations in lattice spacing, where the average c-axis stacking is increased and the in-plane lattice parameter is locally reduced in comparison to the layered structure of crystalline MoS$_2$. A three-dimensional structural model of MoS$_{2+δ}$ could be derived from the experiments, in which [Mo$_2$S$_{12}$]$^{2−}$ and [Mo$_3$S$_{13}$]$^{2−}$ clusters as well as disclinations represent the typical defects in the ideal MoS$_2$ structure. It is suggested that the partially disordered nanostructure leads to a high density of coordinatively modified Mo sites with lower Mo–Mo distances representing the active sites for HER catalysis, and, that these structural features are more important than the S:Mo ratio for the activity.
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    • Journal Article

      Tracing the Scientific History of Fe$^0$-Based Environmental Remediation Prior to the Advent of Permeable Reactive Barriers 

      Cao, Viet; Yang, Huichen; Ndé-Tchoupé, Arnaud Igor; Hu, Rui; Gwenzi, Willis; Noubactep, Chicgoua
      Processes 2020; 8(8) p.1-14: Art. 977
      The technology of using metallic iron (Fe$^0$) for in situ generation of iron oxides for water treatment is a very old one. The Fe$^0$ remediation technology has been re-discovered in the framework of groundwater remediation using permeable reactive barriers (PRBs). Despite its simplicity, the improvement of Fe$^0$ PRBs is fraught with difficulties regarding their operating modes. The literature dealing with Fe$^0$ remediation contains ambiguities regarding its invention and its development. The present paper examines the sequence of contributions prior to the advent of Fe$^0$ PRBs in order to clarify the seemingly complex picture. To achieve this, the current paper addresses the following questions: (i) What were the motivations of various authors in developing their respective innovations over the years?, (ii) what are the ancient achievements which can accelerate progress in knowledge for the development of Fe$^0$ PRBs?, and (iii) was Fe$^0$ really used for the removal of organic species for the first time in the 1970s? A careful examination of ancient works reveals that: (i) The wrong questions were asked during the past three decades, as Fe$^0$ was premised as a reducing agent, (ii) credit for using Fe$^0$ for water treatment belongs to no individual scientist, and (iii) credit for the use of Fe$^0$ in filtration systems for safe drinking water provision belongs to scientists from the 1850s, while credit for the use of Fe$^0$ for the removal of aqueous organic species does not belong to the pioneers of the Fe$^0$ PRB technology. However, it was these pioneers who exploited Fe$^0$ for groundwater remediation, thereby extending its potential. Complementing recent achievements with the chemistry of the Fe$^0$/H$_2$O system would facilitate the design of more sustainable Fe$^0$-remediation systems.
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    • Journal Article

      Benefits and Constraints of the Agricultural Land Acquisition for Urbanization for Household Gender Equality in Affected Rural Communes: A Case Study in Huong Thuy Town, Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam 

      Pham Thi, Nhung; Kappas, Martin; Wyss, Daniel
      Land 2020; 9(8) p.1-19: Art. 249
      The Vietnamese Government has implemented agricultural land acquisition for urbanization (ALAFU) since 2010 which has caused a high level of social-economic transition in the country. In this paper, we applied the gender and development approach to discover how ALAFU has influenced the household gender equality in affected areas in Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam. The data for this paper was mainly collected from two household group surveys, four group discussions, and six key informant interviews. Group 1 covers 50 affected households whose agricultural land was acquired for urbanization, while Group 2 consists of 50 households whose agricultural land was not taken away. The findings reveal that ALAFU has led to reduced access to agricultural land for group 1, but has contributed to an increase of economic status for women in both groups by creating non-farming job opportunities with a good income. However, most of their new jobs are still informal, contain potential risks, and the unpaid care work burden is heavy. Moreover, although the rate of women participating in household decision making has increased, the quality of participation is limited. Their participation in social activities and vocational training courses has improved insignificantly. Therefore, if the Government continues to promote ALAFU, they should take structural gender inequalities into account to achieve their sustainable development goals.
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      Designing the Next Generation of Fe$^0$-Based Filters for Decentralized Safe Drinking Water Treatment: A Conceptual Framework 

      Yang, Huichen; Hu, Rui; Ndé-Tchoupé, Arnaud Igor; Gwenzi, Willis; Ruppert, Hans; Noubactep, Chicgoua
      Processes 2020; 8(6) p.1-16: Art. 745
      The ambitious United Nations Sustainable Development Goal for 2030 to “leave no one behind” concerning safe drinking water calls for the development of universally applicable and affordable decentralized treatment systems to provide safe drinking water. Published results suggest that well-designed biological sand filters (BSFs) amended with metallic iron (Fe$^0$-BSFs) have the potential to achieve this goal. Fe$^0$-BSFs quantitatively remove pathogens and a myriad of chemical pollutants. The available data were achieved under various operating conditions. A comparison of independent research results is almost impossible, especially because the used Fe$^0$ materials are not characterized for their intrinsic reactivity. This communication summarizes the state-of-the-art knowledge on designing Fe$^0$-BSFs for households and small communities. The results show that significant research progress has been made on Fe$^0$-BSFs. However, well-designed laboratory and field experiments are required to improve the available knowledge in order to develop the next generation of adaptable and scalable designs of Fe$^0$-BSFs in only two years. Tools to alleviate the permeability loss, the preferential flow, and the use of exhausted filters are presented.
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      Quantifying forest cover at Mount Kenya: Use of Sentinel-2 for a discrimination of tropical tree composites 

      Jonas, Fierke; Martin, Kappas; Daniel, Wyss
      African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 2020; 14(6) p.159-176
      The aim of the present study is totest ESA’s Sentinel-2 (S2) satellites (S2A and S2B) for an efficient quantification of land cover (LC) and forest compositions in a tropical environment southwest of Mount Kenya. Furthermore, outcome of the research is used to validate ESA’s S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa that was produced in 2016. A decision tree that is based on significant altitudinal ranges was used to discriminatefour natural tree compositions that occur within the investigation area. In addition, the classification process was supported by Google Earthimages, and land use (LU) data that wereprovided by the local Kenyan Forest Service(KFS). Final classification products include four LC classes and five subclasses of forest (four natural forestsubclasses plus one non-natural forest class). Results of theJeffries-Matusita (JM) distance test show significant differences in spectral separability between all classes. Furthermore, the study identifies spectral signatures and significant wavelengths for a classification of all LC classes and forest subclasseswherewavelengths of SWIR and the red-edge domain show highestimportancefor the discrimination of tree compositions.Finally, considerable differences can be seen between the utilized multi-temporal classification set (total of 39 bands fromthree acquisition dates) and ESA’s S2 prototype LC 20m map of Africa 2016. A visual comparison of ESA’s prototypemapwithin the investigation area indicates an overrepresentation of tree cover areas (as confirmed in previous studies) andalso an underrepresentation of water.
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      Authigenic formation of Ca-Mg carbonates in the shallow alkaline Lake Neusiedl, Austria 

      Fussmann, Dario; von Hoyningen-Huene, Avril Jean Elisabeth; Reimer, Andreas; Schneider, Dominik; Babková, Hana; Peticzka, Robert; Maier, Andreas; Arp, Gernot; Daniel, Rolf; Meister, Patrick
      Biogeosciences 2020; 17(7) p.2085-2106
      Despite advances regarding the microbial and organic-molecular impact on nucleation, the formation of dolomite in sedimentary environments is still incompletely understood. Since 1960, apparent dolomite formation has been reported from mud sediments of the shallow, oligohaline and alkaline Lake Neusiedl, Austria. To trace potential dolomite formation or diagenetic alteration processes in its deposits, lake water samples and sediment cores were analyzed with respect to sediment composition, hydrochemistry and bacterial community composition. Sediments comprise 20 cm of homogenous mud with 60 wt % carbonate, which overlies dark-laminated consolidated mud containing 50 wt % carbonate and plant debris. Hydrochemical measurements reveal a shift from oxic lake water with pH 9.0 to anoxic sediment pore water with pH 7.5. A decrease in SO$_2^{−4}$ with a concomitant increase in ΣH$_2$S and NH$^+_4$ from 0 to 15 cm core depth indicates anaerobic heterotrophic decomposition, including sulfate reduction. The bacterial community composition reflects the zonation indicated by the pore water chemistry, with a distinct increase in fermentative taxa below 15 cm core depth. The water column is highly supersaturated with respect to (disordered) dolomite and calcite, whereas saturation indices of both minerals rapidly approach zero in the sediment. Notably, the relative proportions of different authigenic carbonate phases and their stoichiometric compositions remain constant with increasing core depth. Hence, evidence for Ca–Mg carbonate formation or ripening to dolomite is lacking within the sediment of Lake Neusiedl. As a consequence, precipitation of high-magnesium calcite (HMC) and protodolomite does not occur in association with anoxic sediment and sulfate-reducing conditions. Instead, analytical data for Lake Neusiedl suggest that authigenic HMC and protodolomite precipitate from the supersaturated, well-mixed aerobic water column. This observation supports an alternative concept to dolomite formation in anoxic sediments, comprising Ca–Mg carbonate precipitation in the water column under aerobic and alkaline conditions.
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      Characterizing the Reactivity of Metallic Iron for Water Treatment: H$_2$ Evolution in H$_2$SO$_4$ and Uranium Removal Efficiency 

      Ndé-Tchoupé, Arnaud Igor; Hu, Rui; Gwenzi, Willis; Nassi, Achille; Noubactep, Chicgoua
      Water 2020; 12(6) p.1-18: Art. 1523
      Metallic iron (Fe$^0$) has been demonstrated as an excellent material for decentralized safe drinking water provision, wastewater treatment and environmental remediation. An open issue for all these applications is the rational material selection or quality assurance. Several methods for assessing Fe$^0$ quality have been presented, but all of them are limited to characterizing its initial reactivity. The present study investigates H$_2$ evolution in an acidic solution (pH 2.0) as an alternative method, while comparing achieved results to those of uranium removal in quiescent batch experiments at neutral pH values. The unique feature of the H$_2$ evolution experiment is that quantitative H$_2$ production ceased when the pH reached a value of 3.1. A total of twelve Fe$^0$ specimens were tested. The volume of molecular H$_2$ produced by 2.0 g of each Fe$^0$ specimen in 560 mL H$_2$SO$_4$ (0.01 M) was monitored for 24 h. Additionally, the extent of U(VI) (0.084 mM) removal from an aqueous solution (20.0 mL) by 0.1 g of Fe$^0$ was characterized. All U removal experiments were performed at room temperature (22 ± 2 °C) for 14 days. Results demonstrated the difficulty of comparing Fe$^0$ specimens from different sources and confirmed that the elemental composition of Fe$^0$ is not a stand-alone determining factor for reactivity. The time-dependent changes of H$_2$ evolution in H$_2$SO$_4$ confirmed that tests in the neutral pH range just address the initial reactivity of Fe$^0$ materials. In particular, materials initially reacting very fast would experience a decrease in reactivity in the long-term, and this aspect must be incorporated in designing novel materials and sustainable remediation systems. An idea is proposed that could enable the manufacturing of intrinsically long-term efficient Fe$^0$ materials for targeted operations as a function of the geochemistry.
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    • Journal Article

      Application of Wavelet De-Noising for Travel-Time Based Hydraulic Tomography 

      Yang, Huichen; Hu, Rui; Qiu, Pengxiang; Liu, Quan; Xing, Yixuan; Tao, Ran; Ptak, Thomas
      Water 2020; 12(6) p.1-23: Art. 1533
      Travel-time based hydraulic tomography is a promising method to characterize heterogeneity of porous-fractured aquifers. However, there is inevitable noise in field-scale experimental data and many hydraulic signal travel times, which are derived from the pumping test’s first groundwater level derivative drawdown curves and are strongly influenced by noise. The required data processing is thus quite time consuming and often not accurate enough. Therefore, an effective and accurate de-noising method is required for travel time inversion data processing. In this study, a series of hydraulic tomography experiments were conducted at a porous-fractured aquifer test site in Goettingen, Germany. A numerical model was built according to the site’s field conditions and tested based on diagnostic curve analyses of the field experimental data. Gaussian white noise was then added to the model’s calculated pumping test drawdown data to simulate the real noise in the field. Afterward, different de-noising methods were applied to remove it. This study has proven the superiority of the wavelet de-noising approach compared with several other filters. A wavelet de-noising method with calibrated mother wavelet type, de-noising level, and wavelet level was then determined to obtain the most accurate travel time values. Finally, using this most suitable de-noising method, the experimental hydraulic tomography travel time values were calculated from the de-noised data. The travel time inversion based on this de-noised data has shown results consistent with previous work at the test site.
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