Influence of the humification process on the properties of peat humic acids
Comparative and complex characterisation of peat humic acids (HAs) isolated from peat profiles of different origin in Latvia was conducted. Elemental and functional analysis of the isolated HAs was made and their acidity and molecular weight were estimated. Spectral characterisation included UV-Vis, IR, electron spin resonance and fluorescence spectra. Structural characterisation of HAs was by both 1H and13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectra. Properties of HAs isolated from the Latvian peat were compared with HA from other sources (soil, water, coal and synthetic humic substances). Major properties of peat HAs depended on their origin, indicating the importance of humification processes. HAs isolated from peat of more recent origin were more similar to soil Has, while there was a greater degree of humification in part from older sources.
Arsenic contamination of waters is a global problem; therefore, new approaches for its removal are needed. Peat, peat modified with iron compounds, iron humates and polymeric cation exchangers modified with iron were prepared and tested for sorption of arsenic compounds in comparison with weakly basic anionites. The highest sorption capacity was observed when peat sorbents modified with iron compounds were used. Sorption of different arsenic speciation forms onto iron-modified peat sorbents was investigated as a function of pH and temperature. It was established that sorption capacity increases with a rise in temperature, and the calculation of sorption process thermodynamic parameters indicates the spontaneity of sorption process and its endothermic nature.
Gasification is the process converting solid fuels as coal and organic plant matter, or biomass into combustible gas, called syngas. Gasification is a thermal conversion process using carbonaceous fuel, and it differs substantially from other thermal processes such as incineration or pyrolysis. The process can be used with virtually any carbonaceous fuel. It is an endothermic thermal conversion process, with partial oxidation being the dominant feature. Gasification converts various feedstock including waste to a syngas. Instead of producing only heat and electricity, synthesis gas produced by gasification may be transformed into commercial products with higher value as transport fuels, fertilizers, chemicals and even to substitute natural gas. Thermo-chemical conversion of biomass and solid municipal waste is developing as a tool to promote the idea of energy system without fossil fuels to a reality. In municipal solid waste management, gasification does not compete with recycling, moreover it enhances recycling programs. Pre-processing and after-processing must increase the amount of recyclables in the circular economy. Additionally, end of life plastics can serve as an energy feedstock for gasification as otherwise it cannot be sorted out and recycled. There is great potential for application of gasification technology within the biomass waste and solid waste management sector. Industrial self-consumption in the mode of combined heat and power can contribute to sustainable economic development within a circular economy.
The sea ice regime is considered to be a sensitive indicator of climate change. This study investigates long-term changes in the ice regimes of the Gulf of Riga along the coast of Latvia in comparison with those of inland waters. The ice regime of the studied region indicates the impact of climate change related to increasing air and sea water temperatures. Ice cover duration on both the sea and inland waters has decreased during recent decades. In addition, long-term records on ice break in the studied region exhibit a pattern of periodic changes in the intensity of ice regime, while trends of the sea ice regime are not consistent between periods of time. Alternating mild and severe winters also occur. The ice regime was shown to be strongly influenced by large-scale atmospheric circulation processes over the North Atlantic, as indicated by close correlation with the North Atlantic Oscillation index.
Humic substances are able to reduce the surface tension of their solutions and thus can act as surface-active substances in the natural environment, which may have industrial application. The ability to influence the surface tension of humic acid solutions depends on the origin of the humic acids. The objective of this study was comparison of the ability of humic acids of different origin (soil, water, peat, lignite etc.) to influence the surface tension of their solutions, and identification of the structural characteristics of peat humic acids that determine their surfactant properties. Industrially produced humic materials demonstrated no or insignificant impact on the surface tension of their solutions. However, humic acids isolated from peat had significant impact of the surface tension of their solutions, acting as weak surfactants. The surface tension of humic acid solutions decreased with increasing concentration, and depended on solution pH. Using a well-characterised bog profile, the ability to influence the surface tension of peat humic acids was shown to depend on age and humification degree. With increase of the humification degree and age, molecular complexity of humic acids and their ability to influence surface tension decreased; but nevertheless, the impact of the biological precursor (peat-forming bryophytes and plants) could be identified.
Approaches for Management of Chemical Substances: Challenges and Solutions
This article analyses the development of approaches for management of chemical substances in the frame of current reform of chemicals policy at the European Union level with regard to implementation of REACH Regulation No. 1907/2006. REACH is considered as an integrated approach to the control of the production, import and use of chemicals in the European Union, especially of those chemical substances with the most hazardous properties. The new approach covers both the strengths of old and new chemical policies, also requires revision of existing understandings about chemical production, import and use: responsibilities of all involved actors, the chemicals supply chain, and information flow within chemicals supply chain.
Wavelet analysis of the Baltic region river runoff longh-term trends and fluctuations
The study of changes in river discharge and flood regime can provide important information on climate change and its impacts. Wavelet analysis offers new possibilities to study changes of river discharge patterns in regard to periodical processes on a background of climate change. In this study wavelet analysis was used to study long-term changes of river discharge in the Baltic region. Periodic oscillations of discharge intensity, and low- and high-water flow years are common for the major rivers in the Eastern Baltic region. Main frequencies of river discharge were estimated to be 14, 28, 37 years for the studied rivers. Wavelet analysis allowed to identify similarities between the river discharge regime, and thus, the factors influencing it. Years of maximal and minimal discharges for major rivers were identified and the impact of large-scale atmospheric circulation processes on the river discharge was studied.
Dissolved organic matter concentration changes in river waters of Latvia
Amounts of natural organic matter in surface waters reflect the character and intensity of biological processes in water bodies, human impact and depend on the physico-geographical environment and land-use in the catchments. Thus, analysis of the concentrations and loadings of organic substances to adjacent water bodies can be used to indicate environmental change and human impacts. This study revealed significant increasing trends of total organic carbon (TOC) and water colour in most of the studied Latvian rivers during the last decade. However, over longer time periods, there have been pronounced oscillations of TOC concentrations, stressing the importance of long-term changes of river discharge. On a yearly basis, there was a positive correlation between parameters of organic matter concentration and discharge in all selected rivers. The impact of discharge on concentrations of organic matter can be masked by other factors, such as changes in precipitation, biological processes, soil types and land-use.
Present study investigated the possible transfer of metals in the food chain (from soil to edible plants). The experiment was done with lettuce Lactuca sativa grown in different types of soil contaminated with copper (Cu2+) in various concentrations, with or without addition of humic substances. The highest content of copper was detected in lettuce samples grown in soils with lower levels of organic matter, thus indicating the importance of soil organics in metal transfer routes and accumulation rates in plants. It was found that copper accumulation in lettuce grown in contaminated soils can be significantly reduced by the addition of humic substances.