Seongjin Hong


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Molecular Characterization of Estrogen Receptor Agonists during Sewage Treatment Processes Using Effect-Directed Analysis Combined with High-Resolution Full-Scan Screening
Jiyun Gwak, Junghyun Lee, Jihyun Cha, Kim Mun-Gi, Jin Hur, Jinwoo Cho, Min Sung Kim, Kyoung‐Soon Jang, John P. Giesy, Seongjin Hong, Jong Seong Khim
Environmental Science & Technology, Volume 56, Issue 18

Endocrine-disrupting potential was evaluated during the sewage treatment process using in vitro bioassays. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-, androgen receptor (AR)-, glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-, and estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated activities were assessed over five steps of the treatment process. Bioassays of organic extracts showed that AhR, AR, and GR potencies tended to decrease through the sewage treatment process, whereas ER potencies did not significantly decrease. Bioassays on reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography fractions showed that F5 (log KOW 2.5-3.0) had great ER potencies. Full-scan screening of these fractions detected two novel ER agonists, arenobufagin and loratadine, which are used pharmaceuticals. These compounds accounted for 3.3-25% of the total ER potencies and 4% of the ER potencies in the final effluent. The well-known ER agonists, estrone and 17β-estradiol, accounted for 60 and 17% of the ER potencies in F5 of the influent and primary treatment, respectively. Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry analysis showed that various molecules were generated during the treatment process, especially CHO and CHOS (C: carbon, H: hydrogen, O: oxygen, and S: sulfur). This study documented that widely used pharmaceuticals are introduced into the aquatic environments without being removed during the sewage treatment process.


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Integrated assessment of west coast of South Korea by use of benthic bacterial community structure as determined by eDNA, concentrations of contaminants, and in vitro bioassays
Aslan Hwanhwi Lee, Jung-Hyun Lee, Seongjin Hong, Bong-Oh Kwon, Yuwei Xie, John P. Giesy, Xiaowei Zhang, Jong Seong Khim
Environment International, Volume 137

During the past few decades, contamination of sediments by persistent toxic substances (PTSs) has been observed in estuarine and coastal areas on the west coast of South Korea. The contaminants are suspected to cause toxicities in aquatic biota, but little is known about their ecological effects, particularly on benthic microbial communities. In this study, an eDNA-based assessment was applied along with classic assessments of exposure, such as chemistry and in vitro bioassays, to evaluate condition of benthic bacterial communities subjected to PTSs. Two strategies were adopted for the study. One was to conduct a comprehensive assessment in space (by comparing seawater and freshwater sites at five coastal regions) and in time (by following change over a 5-y period). Although we found that bacterial composition varied among and within years, some phyla, such as Proteobacteria (28.7%), Actinobacteria (13.1%), Firmicutes (12.7%), and Chloroflexi (12.5%) were consistently dominated across the study regions. Certain bacterial groups, such as Firmicutes and Verrucomicrobia have been linked to contamination at some sites in the study area and at specific points in time. Bacterial communities were not significantly correlated with salinity or AhR- and ER-mediated potencies, whereas concentrations of PAHs, APs, and certain metals (Cd and Hg) exhibited significant associations to the structure of bacterial communities at the phylum level. In fact, the relative abundance of microbes in the phylum Planctomycetes was significantly and negatively correlated with concentrations of PAHs and metals. Thus, the relative abundance of Planctomycetes could be used as an indicator of sedimentary contamination by PAHs and/or metals. Based on our correlation analyses, Cd and ER-mediated potencies were associated more with bacterial abundances at the class taxonomic level than were other PTSs and metals. Overall, the eDNA-based assessment was useful by augmenting more traditional measures of exposure and responses in a sediment triad approach and has potential as a more rapid screening tool.


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eDNA-based bioassessment of coastal sediments impacted by an oil spill
Yuwei Xie, Xiaowei Zhang, Jianghua Yang, Seon Jin Kim, Seongjin Hong, John P. Giesy, Un Hyuk Yim, Won Joon Shim, Yu H, Jong Seong Khim
Environmental Pollution, Volume 238

Oil spills offshore can cause long-term ecological effects on coastal marine ecosystems. Despite their important ecological roles in the cycling of energy and nutrients in food webs, effects on bacteria, protists or arthropods are often neglected. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding was applied to characterize changes in the structure of micro- and macro-biota communities of surface sediments over a 7-year period since the occurrence of Hebei Spirit oil spill on December 7, 2007. Alterations in diversities and structures of micro- and macro-biota were observed in the contaminated area where concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were greater. Successions of bacterial, protists and metazoan communities revealed long-term ecological effects of residual oil. Residual oil dominated the largest cluster of the community-environment association network. Presence of bacterial families (Aerococcaceae and Carnobacteriaceae) and the protozoan family (Platyophryidae) might have conferred sensitivity of communities to oil pollution. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial families (Anaerolinaceae, Desulfobacteraceae, Helicobacteraceae and Piscirickettsiaceae) and algal family (Araphid pennate) were resistant to adverse effects of spilt oil. The protistan family (Subulatomonas) and arthropod families (Folsomia, Sarcophagidae Opomyzoidea, and Anomura) appeared to be positively associated with residual oil pollution. eDNA metabarcoding can provide a powerful tool for assessing effects of anthropogenic pollution, such as oil spills on sediment communities and its long-term trends in coastal marine environments.