Research

The following are a sampling of the project’s on-going in the Halden lab.


Urban Metabolism Assessment Informed by Sewage Epidemiology

Sewage epidemiology is an exciting new methodology enabling the economical and reliable acquisition of near-real time data on the consumption, behavior and health of urban populations. This innovative tool aids in assessing the metabolism of cities (urban metabolism). It relies on the fact that urban wastewater (raw sewage) essentially represents a pooled sample of urine, feces and gray water from a large population of known size, where the concentration or mass of compounds of interest detectable is proportional to the amount of these substances consumed, metabolized or produced in the city (sewershed). Similar to a patient’s visit at a doctor’s office, analysis of urine and feces in wastewater can yield important information on the health status of urban populations and the sustainability of behaviors and consumption ongoing in the urban environment. Our team at Arizona State University applies sewage epidemiology to: (i) identify and track unsustainable chemical mass flows in human populations, (ii) to assess ongoing exposures and toxic body burdens of mass-produced chemicals in the U.S. society, (iii) determine chemical inventories and inform the design of greener chemicals, (iv) evaluate population health status, and (v) evaluate the sustainability of U.S. cities.

Representative Publications:

  • Venkatesan A. and R. U. Halden. 2014. Wastewater Treatment Plants as Chemical Observatories to Forecast Ecological and Human Health Risks of Manmade Chemicals. Nature PG Scientific Reports, 4: 3731 | DOI: 10.1038/srep03731. www.nature.com/srep/2014/140116/srep03731/full/srep03731.html

  • Venkatesan, A.K., Done, H.Y., Halden. R.U. 2014. U.S. National Sewage Sludge Repository at Arizona State University — a new resource and research tool for environmental scientists, engineers, and epidemiologists. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. doi:10.​1007/​s11356-014-2961-1



National Sewage Sludge Repository (NSSR)

The NSSR at the Center for Environmental Security, part of the Human Health Repository (H2O) at ASU, is a unique resource, representing the largest archive of municipal sewage sludge specimens in the U.S. if not in the world. The repository contains several hundred sludge samples from more than 200 U.S. wastewater treatment facilities. These samples are a statistically representative sample of the more than 16,000 wastewater treatment facilities operating in the U.S., covering 160+ U.S. cities and more than 32 million people, equivalent to greater than 10% of the U.S. population. Among the samples in the repository are the split samples of sludges collected by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2001 and 2006/2007 as part of two federal nationwide sewage sludge surveys. Currently we are working towards adding additional new samples of wastewater influent, effluent and sludges as part of the larger Human Health Observatory (H2O) maintained in our facilities. We use these samples to study urban metabolism, environmental sustainability and to create nationwide inventories of chemical and biological contaminants that are of concern to environmental and human health. Researchers and parties interested in using this resource are encouraged to contact Dr. Rolf Halden (halden@asu.edu).

Representative Publications:

  • McClellan K, Halden. R. U. 2010. Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in archived US biosolids from the 2001 EPA national sewage sludge survey. Water Res. 44:658-668

  • Venkatesan, A.K., Done, H.Y., Halden. R.U. 2014. U.S. National Sewage Sludge Repository at Arizona State University — a new resource and research tool for environmental scientists, engineers, and epidemiologists. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. doi:10.​1007/​s11356-014-2961-1

  • Venkatesan A. and R. U. Halden. 2014. Wastewater Treatment Plants as Chemical Observatories to Forecast Ecological and Human Health Risks of Manmade Chemicals. Nature PG Scientific Reports, 4: 3731 | DOI: 10.1038/srep03731. www.nature.com/srep/2014/140116/srep03731/full/srep03731.html


Bioremediation of Environmental Contaminants

We are conducting research and also are supporting full-scale field deployments of bioremediation strategies for the removal of toxic pollutants from impacted soil and groundwater environments. This work includes the development of novel diagnostic devices for groundwater monitoring and remedial design.

Representative Publications:

  • Miller, T. R., M. P. Franklin, and R. U. Halden. 2007. Bacterial Community Analysis of Shallow Groundwater Undergoing Sequential Anaerobic and Aerobic Chloroethene Biotransformation. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 60(2):299-311.
  • Halden, R. U. 2004. Method and apparatus for environmental monitoring and bioprospecting. PCT International Patent Application No. WO 2004/081530.

 


Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) in the Environment

We are determining the fate of PPCPs in the environment, beginning with a characterization of sources such as wastewater treatment plants and ending with the characterization of the human body burden and biomarkers of exposure.

Representative Publications:

  • Chalew, T. and R. U. Halden. 2009. Environmental Exposure of Aquatic and Terrestrial Biota to Triclosan and Triclocarban. J. Am. Water Res. Assoc. 45(1):4-13.
  • Heidler, J. and R. U. Halden. 2008. Meta-analysis of Mass Balances for Monitoring Chemical Fate during Wastewater Treatment. Environ. Sci. Technol. Published July 22 online ahead of print. HTML or PDF.

Environmental Proteomics

We are developing and applying proteomics techniques for the detection and characterization of microorganisms providing ecological services or posing public health threats. Instrumentation utilized includes liquid chromatography coupled to robotic spotters for matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (LC-MALDI) analysis, and electro spray ionization (ESI) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Our laboratory features triple quadrupole and time-of-flight (TOF/TOF) mass analyzers.

Representative Publications:

  • Colquhoun, D. R., Schwab, K. J., Cole, R. N., and R. U. Halden. 2006. Detection of Norovirus Capsid Protein in Authentic Standards and in Stool Extract by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization and Nanospray Mass Spectrometry. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 72(4):2749-2755.
  • Halden, R. U., D. R. Colquhoun, and E. S. Wisniewski. 2005. Identification and Phenotypic Characterization of Sphingomonas wittichii Strain RW1 by Peptide Mass Fingerprinting using Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization - Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 71(5):2442-2451.

Health Effects of Human Exposure to Toxic Pollutants

We are studying the extent of human exposure to toxic pollutants and their associated health effects by examining biological specimens from adults and children.

Representative Publications:

  • Colquhoun, D. R., L. R. Goldman, R. N. Cole, M. Gucek, M. Mansharamani, F. R. Witter, B. J. Apelberg, and R. U. Halden. 2009. Global Screening of Human Cord Blood Proteomes for Biomarkers of Toxic Exposure and Effect. Environ. Health Perspect. (In Press).
  • Apelberg, B. J., F. R. Witter, J. B. Herbstman, A. M. Calafat, R. U. Halden, L. L. Needham, and L. R. Goldman. 2007. Cord Serum Concentrations of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in Relation to Weight and Size at Birth. Environ. Health Perspect. 115(11):1670-1676.

Renewable Energy from Biological Systems

We are developing diagnostic assays for monitoring photosynthetic biomass production and biomass conversion to hydrocarbons and electricity.

Representative Publications:

  • Rittmann, B. E., R. Krajmalnik-Brown, and R. U. Halden. 2008. Pre-genomic, Genomic and Post-genomic Study of Microbial Communities Involved in Bioenergy. Nature Microbiology Review 6(8):604-612.