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  • Author: Roman Slavík x
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Screening of the Spatial Distribution of Risk Metals in Topsoil from an Industrial Complex

For the sustainable development of urban areas, it is necessary to identify if environmental pollution exists and where hot spot pollution sources lie. In this study, 280 topsoil samples were collected from an industry estate in Zlin (the Czech Republic). In these samples, the presence of toxic metal was analyzed by energy dispersed X-Ray fluorescence (ED-XRF), and statistical analysis revealed that the major anthropogenic contaminants in the topsoil were Pb, Zn and Sn. Further contaminant analysis by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) determined the maximum contents of 28558.47 mg/kg for Pb, 1132.35 mg/kg for Sn and 2865.22 mg/kg for Zn in selected topsoil samples. According to soil pollution index results, the main proportion of topsoil is contaminated, with the possible sources of contamination being traffic and a nearby municipal heating plant. This study proves that the combination of preliminary ED-XRF topsoil analysis, a multivariative statistical approach, AAS analysis and the geographical information system (GIS) is effective and together form a powerful tool for mapping topsoil contamination and conducting an environmental risk assessment.


A synthetic polymer, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP - E 1201) primarily finds applications in the pharmaceutical and food industries due to its resistance and zero toxicity to organisms. After ingestion, the substance passes through the organism unchanged. Consequently, it enters the systems of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) without decomposing biologically during the waste treatment process, nor does it attach (through sorption) to particles of activated sludge to any significant extent, therefore, it passes through the system of a WWTP, which may cause the substance to accumulate in the natural environment. For this reason the paper investigates the potential to initiate aerobic biodegradation of PVP in the presence of activated sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The following agents were selected as the initiators of the biodegradation process - co-substrates: acrylamide, N-acethylphenylalanine and 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, a substance with a similar structure to PVP monomer. The biodegradability of PVP in the presence of co-substrates was evaluated on the basis of biological oxygen demand (BOD) as determined via a MicroOxymax O2/CO2/CH4 respirometer. The total substrate concentration in the suspension equaled 400 mg·dm-3, with the ratio between PVP and the cosubstrate being 1:1, while the concentration of the dry activated sludge was 500 mg·dm-3. Even though there was no occurrence of a significant increase in the biodegradation of PVP alone in the presence of a co-substrate, acrylamide appeared to be the most effective type of co-substrate. Nevertheless, a recorded decrease in the slope of biodegradation curves over time may indicate that a process of primary decomposition was underway, which involves the production of metabolites that inhibit activated sludge microorganisms. The resulting products are not identified at this stage of experimentation.


The research deals with biodegradation of films prepared from polyvinylpyrrolidone and polylactic acid (PVP/PLA). Biodegradation of PVP/PLA films was supported by the following additives: 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, 1-octyl-2-pyrrolidone, acrylamide and N-acetyl-L-phenylalanine according to the previous study. The films were prepared by a solvent casting technique. Biodegradation was observed using the respirometric method in different environments. The films subjected to biodegradation were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. It was found that the films are substantially degraded, but not in the biological way; PVP was quickly removed in presence of water because of its easy solubility. In contrast, this fact could support biodegradation of PLA, which becomes more available for microorganisms when PVP leaves PLA matrix.