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  1. Abdullah N, Fulazzaky MA, Yong EL, Yuzir A, Sallis P
    J Environ Manage, 2016 Mar 1;168:273-9.
    PMID: 26760229 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.12.015
    The treatment of high-strength organic brewery wastewater with added acetaminophen (AAP) by an anaerobic digester was investigated. An anaerobic packed-bed reactor (APBR) was operated as a continuous process with an organic loading rate of 1.5-g COD per litre per day and a hydraulic retention time of three days. The results of steady-state analysis showed that the greatest APBR performances for removing COD and TOC were as high as 98 and 93%, respectively, even though the anaerobic digestibility after adding the different AAP concentrations of 5, 10 and 15 mg L(-1) into brewery wastewater can affect the efficiency of organic matter removal. The average CH4 production decreased from 81 to 72% is counterbalanced by the increased CO2 production from 11 to 20% before and after the injection of AAP, respectively. The empirical kinetic models for substrate utilisation and CH4 production were used to predict that, under unfavourable conditions, the performance of the APBR treatment process is able to remove COD with an efficiency of only 6.8%.
  2. Pak HY, Chuah CJ, Yong EL, Snyder SA
    Sci Total Environ, 2021 Aug 01;780:146661.
    PMID: 34030308 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146661
    Land use plays a significant role in determining the spatial patterns of water quality in the Johor River Basin (JRB), Malaysia. In the recent years, there have been several occurrences of pollution in these rivers, which has generated concerns over the long-term sustainability of the water resources in the JRB. Specifically, this water resource is a shared commodity between two states, namely, Johor state of Malaysia and Singapore, a neighbouring country adjacent to Malaysia. Prior to this study, few research on the influence of land use configuration on water quality have been conducted in Johor. In addition, it is also unclear how water quality varies under different seasonality in the presence of point sources. In this study, we investigated the influence of land use and point sources from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) on the water quality in the JRB. Two statistical techniques - Multivariate Linear Regression (MLR) and Redundancy Analysis (RA) were undertaken to analyse the relationships between river water quality and land use configuration, as well as point sources from WWTPs under different seasonality. Water samples were collected from 49 sites within the JRB from March to December in 2019. Results showed that influence from WWTPs on water quality was greater during the dry season and less significant during the wet season. In particular, point source was highly positively correlated with ammoniacal‑nitrogen (NH3-N). On the other hand, land use influence was greater than point source influence during the wet season. Residential and urban land use were important predictors for nutrients and organic matter (chemical oxygen demand); and forest land use were important sinks for heavy metals but a significant source of manganese.
  3. Chen CX, Aris A, Yong EL, Noor ZZ
    Environ Sci Pollut Res Int, 2022 Jan;29(4):4787-4802.
    PMID: 34775565 DOI: 10.1007/s11356-021-17365-x
    Many advanced technologies have shown encouraging results in removing antibiotics from domestic wastewater. However, as activated sludge treatment is the most common sewage treatment system employed worldwide, improving its effect on antibiotic removal would be more desirable. Understanding the removal mechanisms, kinetics and factors that affect antibiotic removal in the activated sludge process is important as it would allow us to improve the treatment performance. Although these have been discussed in various literature covering different types of antibiotics and wastewater, a specific review on antibiotics and domestic wastewater is clearly missing. This review paper collates, discusses and analyses the removal of antibiotics from sewage in the activated sludge process along with the removal mechanisms and kinetics. The antibiotics are categorised into six classes: β-lactam, dihydrofolate reductase inhibitor, fluoroquinolone, macrolide, sulfonamides and tetracycline. Furthermore, the factors affecting the system performance with regard to antibiotic removal are examined.
  4. Sundström-Poromaa I, Thu WPP, Kramer MS, Logan S, Cauley JA, Yong EL
    Maturitas, 2020 Jul;137:50-56.
    PMID: 32498937 DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.04.003
    OBJECTIVES: To understand the extent to which risk factors for insulin resistance are mediated by body mass index (BMI), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), physical activity and performance, and the inflammatory markers interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- α, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).

    STUDY DESIGN: A wide range of socio-demographic characteristics of Chinese, Malay and Indian women attending routine gynecologic care in Singapore were prospectively collected. Physical performance was objectively measured by hand grip strength and the Short Physical Performance Battery. Percent VAT was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Fasting serum concentrations of glucose, insulin, IL-6, TNF- α, and hs-CRP were measured.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: was insulin resistance, expressed as the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).

    RESULTS: 1159 women were analyzed, mean age 56.3 (range 45-69) years, comprising women of Chinese (84.0%), Indian (10.2%), and Malay (5.7%) ethnic origins. The adjusted mean differences for obesity (0.66, 95% CI 0.32-1.00), VAT area in the highest vs lowest tertile (1.03, 95% CI 0.73-1.34), low physical performance (0.63, 95% CI 0.05-1.24), and highest vs lowest tertile of TNF- α (0.35, 95% CI 0.13-0.57) were independently associated with HOMA-IR. Women of Malay and Indian ethnicity had higher crude HOMA-IR than Chinese women. However, after adjustment for obesity, VAT, physical performance, and TNF- α, no differences in mean HOMA-IR remained, when comparing Chinese women with those of Malay ethnicity (0.27, 95% CI -0.12 to 0.66) and with those of Indian ethnicity (0.30, 95% CI -0.01 to 0.66).

    CONCLUSIONS: Insulin resistance was independently associated with obesity, high VAT, low physical performance, and high levels of TNF- α in midlife Singaporean women. These variables entirely explained the significant differences in insulin resistance between women of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity.

  5. Yong EL, Ganesan G, Kramer MS, Logan S, Lau TC, Cauley JA, et al.
    Osteoporos Int, 2019 Apr;30(4):879-886.
    PMID: 30671610 DOI: 10.1007/s00198-019-04839-5
    Despite an increase in absolute numbers, the age-standardized incidence of hip fractures in Singapore declined in the period 2000 to 2017. Among the three major ethnic groups, Chinese women had the highest fracture rates but were the only group to show a temporal decline.

    INTRODUCTION: A study published in 2001 predicted a 30-50% increase in Singapore hip fracture incidence rates over the ensuing 30 years. To test that prediction, we examined the incidence of hip fracture in Singapore from 2000 to 2017.

    METHODS: We carried out a population-based study of hip fractures among Singapore residents aged ≥ 50 years. National medical insurance claims data were used to identify admissions with a primary discharge diagnosis of hip fracture. Age-adjusted rates, based on the age distribution of the Singapore population of 2000, were analyzed separately by sex and ethnicity (Chinese, Malay, or Indian).

    RESULTS: Over the 18-year study period, 36,082 first hip fractures were recorded. Total hip fracture admissions increased from 1487 to 2729 fractures/year in the years 2000 to 2017. Despite this absolute increase, age-adjusted fracture rates declined, with an average annual change of - 4.3 (95% CI - 5.0, - 3.5) and - 1.1 (95% CI - 1.7, - 0.5) fractures/100,000/year for women and men respectively. Chinese women had 1.4- and 1.9-fold higher age-adjusted rates than Malay and Indian women: 264 (95% CI 260, 267) versus 185 (95% CI 176, 193) and 141 (95% CI 132, 150) fractures/100,000/year, respectively. Despite their higher fracture rates, Chinese women were the only ethnic group exhibiting a decline, most evident in those ≥ 85 years, in age-adjusted fracture rate of - 5.3 (95% CI - 6.0, - 4.5) fractures/100,000/year.

    CONCLUSION: Although the absolute number of fractures increased, steep drops in elderly Chinese women drove a reduction in overall age-adjusted hip fracture rates. Increases in the older population will lead to a rise in total number of hip fractures, requiring budgetary planning and new preventive strategies.

  6. Thu WPP, Logan SJS, Cauley JA, Kramer MS, Yong EL
    Arch Osteoporos, 2019 07 19;14(1):80.
    PMID: 31324992 DOI: 10.1007/s11657-019-0631-0
    Chinese Singaporean middle-aged women have significantly lower femoral neck bone mineral density and higher lumbar spine bone mineral density than Malays and Indians, after adjustment for age, body mass index, and height.

    PURPOSE: Information regarding mediators of differences in bone mineral density (BMD) among Asian ethnicities are limited. Since the majority of hip fractures are predicted to be from Asia, differences in BMD in Asian ethnicities require further exploration. We compared BMD among the Chinese, Malay, or Indian ethnicities in Singapore, aiming to identify potential mediators for the observed differences.

    METHODS: BMD of 1201 women aged 45-69 years was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. We examined the associations between ethnicity and BMD at both sites, before and after adjusting for potential mediators measured using standardized questionnaires and validated performance tests.

    RESULTS: Chinese women had significantly lower femoral neck BMD than Malay and Indian women. Of the more than 20 variables examined, age, body mass index, and height accounted for almost all the observed ethnic differences in femoral neck BMD between Chinese and Malays. However, Indian women still retained 0.047 g/cm2 (95% CI, 0.024, 0.071) higher femoral neck BMD after adjustment, suggesting that additional factors may contribute to the increased BMD in Indians. Although no crude ethnic differences in lumbar spine BMD were observed, adjusted regression model unmasked ethnic differences, wherein Chinese women had 0.061(95% CI, - 0.095, 0.026) and 0.065 (95% CI, - 0.091, 0.038) g/cm2 higher lumbar spine BMD compared to Malay and Indian women, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: BMD in middle-aged Asian women differ by ethnicity and site. Particular attention should be paid to underweight women of Chinese ethnic origin, who may be at highest risk of osteoporosis at the femoral neck and hence hip fractures.

  7. Liang Z, Shi J, Wang C, Li J, Liang D, Yong EL, et al.
    Appl Environ Microbiol, 2020 11 10;86(23).
    PMID: 32948522 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01920-20
    Pretreatment of waste-activated sludge (WAS) is an effective way to destabilize sludge floc structure and release organic matter for improving sludge digestion efficiency. Nonetheless, information on the impact of WAS pretreatment on digestion sludge microbiomes, as well as mechanistic insights into how sludge pretreatment improves digestion performance, remains elusive. In this study, a genome-centric metagenomic approach was employed to investigate the digestion sludge microbiome in four sludge digesters with different types of feeding sludge: WAS pretreated with 0.25 mol/liter alkaline/acid (APAD), WAS pretreated with 0.8 mol/liter alkaline/acid (HS-APAD), thermally pretreated WAS (thermal-AD), and fresh WAS (control-AD). We retrieved 254 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) to identify the key functional populations involved in the methanogenic digestion process. These MAGs span 28 phyla, including 69 yet-to-be-cultivated lineages, and 30 novel lineages were characterized with metabolic potential associated with hydrolysis and fermentation. Interestingly, functional populations involving carbohydrate digestion were enriched in APAD and HS-APAD, while lineages related to protein and lipid fermentation were enriched in thermal-AD, corroborating the idea that different substrates are released from alkaline/acid and thermal pretreatments. Among the major functional populations (i.e., fermenters, syntrophic acetogens, and methanogens), significant correlations between genome sizes and abundance of the fermenters were observed, particularly in APAD and HS-APAD, which had improved digestion performance.IMPORTANCE Wastewater treatment generates large amounts of waste-activated sludge (WAS), which consists mainly of recalcitrant microbial cells and particulate organic matter. Though WAS pretreatment is an effective way to release sludge organic matter for subsequent digestion, detailed information on the impact of the sludge pretreatment on the digestion sludge microbiome remains scarce. Our study provides unprecedented genome-centric metagenomic insights into how WAS pretreatments change the digestion sludge microbiomes, as well as their metabolic networks. Moreover, digestion sludge microbiomes could be a unique source for exploring microbial dark matter. These results may inform future optimization of methanogenic sludge digestion and resource recovery.
  8. Ooi TY, Yong EL, Din MFM, Rezania S, Aminudin E, Chelliapan S, et al.
    J Environ Manage, 2018 Dec 15;228:13-19.
    PMID: 30212670 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2018.09.008
    For decades, water treatment plants in Malaysia have widely employed aluminium-based coagulant for the removal of colloidal particles in surface water. This generates huge amount of by-product, known as sludge that is either reused for land applications or disposed to landfills. As sludge contains high concentration of aluminium, both can pose severe environmental issues. Therefore, this study explored the potential to recover aluminium from water treatment sludge using acid leaching process. The evaluation of aluminium recovery efficiency was conducted in two phases. The first phase used the one factor at a time (OFAT) approach to study the effects of acid concentration, solid to liquid ratio, temperature and heating time. Meanwhile, second phase emphasized on the optimization of aluminium recovery using Response Surface Methodology (RSM). OFAT results indicated that aluminium recovery increased with the rising temperature and heating time. Acid concentration and solid to liquid ratio, however, showed an initial increment followed by reduction of recovery with increasing concentration and ratio. Due to the solidification of sludge when acid concentration exceeded 4 M, this variable was fixed in the optimization study. RSM predicted that aluminium recovery can achieve 70.3% at optimal values of 4 M, 20.9%, 90 °C and 4.4 h of acid concentration, solid to liquid ratio, temperature and heating time, respectively. Experimental validation demonstrated a recovery of 68.8 ± 0.3%. The small discrepancy of 2.2 ± 0.4% between predicted and validated recovery suggests that RSM was a suitable tool in optimizing aluminium recovery conditions for water treatment sludge.
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