CHEEC Seed Grants: FY 2013

Point-of-use electrocatalytic filters for reduction of persistent contaminants from drinking water
Investigators: D. Cwiertny, D. Shuai, R. Valentine, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa

Enhanced CNS exposure to glyphosate following inhalation resulting from olfactory uptake
Investigators:  M. Donovan, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Iowa; H. Lehmler, P. O’Shaughnessy, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa

Effects of PCBs on adipocytes and the development of metabolic syndrome
Investigator: A.J. Klingelhutz, Department of Microbiology, The University of Iowa

Predicting the transport and fate of emerging contaminants using multi-tracer characterization of reactive pathways
Investigator: A. Ward, Department of Geoscience, The University of Iowa; D. Cwiertny, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa; D. Kolpin, U.S. Geological Survey  

 


Point-of-use electrocatalytic filters for reduction of persistent contaminants from drinking water
Investigators: D. Cwiertny, D. Shuai, R. Valentine, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa 
Although regulated by the USEPA for the risk they pose to human health, nitrate and disinfection byproducts are pervasive contaminants often encountered in drinking water. Traditional approaches have proven inadequate for their removal; this project will develop a promising, point-of-use (POU) electrocatalytic filtration unit targeting these pollutants. With the potential for high pollutant removal efficiency and self-cleaning ability, this research will demonstrate the feasibility and sustainability of this technology. Specific tasks include synthesis and characterization of nanofiber supported metal catalysts exhibiting systematically varied physicochemical properties, assessing electrocatalytic filter performance when exposed to various water chemistries, and a preliminary environmental impact assessment addressing the cost and sustainability of this innovative technology. This work represents the first step in the development of a low-cost, POU water treatment device with the potential to lower health risks associated with drinking water sources compromised by persistent pollutant classes.

Enhanced CNS exposure to glyphosate following inhalation resulting from olfactory uptake
Investigator: M. Donovan, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics; The University of Iowa; H. Lehmler, P. O’Shaughnessy, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa
While glyphosate, the ingredient present in the widely used RoundUp® family of herbicides, has an excellent safety profile following topical and oral exposure, it presents a potential CNS exposure risk if it is able to access the olfactory transfer pathways within the nasal mucosa. These pathways afford the opportunity for molecules to access the brain without needing to cross the blood-brain barrier. This pilot study will evaluate whether glyphosate and several commercial glyphosate herbicide formulations are able to permeate through the olfactory mucosa into the olfactory bulb and nearby brain regions following direct nasal instillation and aerosol exposure. Preliminary results will provide initial quantitative evidence regarding the risk of CNS glyphosate exposure following nasal inhalation and will support further investigations to evaluate the exposure risk along with identifying methods to limit inhalation exposure to herbicide applicators or those in close proximity to spraying operations.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Publication:  Xu J, Li G, Wang Z, Si L, He S, Cai J, Huang J, Donovan MD. The role of L-type amino acid transporters in the uptake of glyphosate across mammalian epithelial tissues. Chemosphere 2016 145:487-494

Effects of PCBs on adipocytes and the development of metabolic syndrome 
Investigator: A.J. Klingelhutz, Department of Microbiology, The University of Iowa
Recent epidemiological studies indicate that exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of disorders that includes obesity, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. PCBs accumulate in adipocytes, which are known to play a key role in the genesis of metabolic syndrome. Recently generated extended lifespan human pre-adipocytes will provide a unique opportunity to assess the short and long term effects of PCBs on adipocyte biology. These cells will be used to test the hypothesis that exposure of adipocytes to PCBs causes long-term effects on gene expression to alter adipocyte differentiation and function. This study will lead to further understanding of how PCBs cause metabolic syndrome, may provide useful biomarkers for assessment of disease risk, and could point to new targets for therapy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Publication:   Gadupudi G, Gourronc FA, Ludewig G, Robertson LW, Klingelhutz AJ. PCB126 inhibits adipogenesis of human preadipocytes. Toxicol In Vitro  2015 29(1):132-141.

Predicting the transport and fate of emerging contaminants using multi-tracer characterization of reactive pathways 
Investigators: A. Ward, Department of Geoscience, The University of Iowa; D. Cwiertny, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa; D. Kolpin, U.S. Geological Survey  
Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs, unregulated compounds including pharmaceuticals and personal care products) are ubiquitous in environmental and drinking waters, posing potential risks to human and ecosystem health. This proof-of-concept study will characterize the transport and fate of CECs in a stream reach using a suite of tracers with well-characterized, complementary reactivities. Specific research tasks include quantifying reaction pathways within the environmental system, laboratory experiments linking tracer and CEC reaction rates, and numerical modeling to predict transport and fate of CECs. The overall goal of this research is to quantify reaction pathways in the environment and successfully predict the transport and fate of CECs. A major outcome will be a mechanistic understanding of transport and fate processes that can be applied to any CEC in the system; this will enable prediction of the spatial extent and temporal persistence of CECs in streams.

Publication:  Ward AS, Cwiertny DM, Kolodziej EP, Brehm CC. Coupled reversion and stream-hyporheic exchange processes increase environmental persistence of trenbolone metabolites. Nature Communications. 2015; 6.doi:10.1038/ncomms8067.