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  • Author or Editor: M. Akram x
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Abstract  

Due to the significance of industrial waste water pollution, which creates severe health hazards in humans, this study concentrates over the reduction and determination of the amounts of toxic metals/pollution parameters in the effluents leached from different processes of the textile industry. The concentrations of metal ions were measured by using neutron activation analysis (NAA) technique. The values of toxic metals such as As (49.1 ± 1.8 mg/L), Cu (42.7 ± 1.5 mg/L), Ni (41.1 ± 3.3 mg/L), Mn (51.1 ± 0.7 mg/L), Sb (1.89 ± 0.04 mg/L), Se (0.41 ± 0.01 mg/L), Co (7.5 ± 0.3 mg/L), Cr (8.5 ± 0.5 mg/L) and Cd (1.21 ± 0.08 mg/L) were found very high in crude textile’s effluents as compared to their standard recommended limits. The immense variation observed among the injurious pollutants of the effluents i.e. pH, temperature, electrical conductivity, turbidity, biological oxygen demands, chemical oxygen demands, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, total solids etc. The toxic metals and injurious pollutants in the unprocessed effluents have been reduced in the post filtration effluents up to 98% and 96% respectively with the help of an ultra-filtration membrane therapy unit.

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Abstract  

The industrial pollution is exponentially growing in the developing countries due to the discharge of untreated effluents from the industries in the open atmosphere. This may cause severe health hazards in the general public. To reduce this effect, it is essential to remove the toxic and heavy metals from the effluents before their disposal into the biosphere. In this context, samples of the effluents were collected from the textile/yarn, ceramics and pulp/paper industries and the concentrations of the toxic metal ions were determined using neutron activation analysis (NAA) technique. The observed concentration values of the As, Cr and Fe ions, in the unprocessed industrial effluents, were 4.91 ± 0.8, 9.67 ± 0.7 and 9.71 ± 0.8 mg/L, respectively which was well above the standard recommended limits (i.e. 1.0, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/L, respectively). In order to remove the toxic metal ions from the effluents, the samples were treated with pea nut husk fence. After this treatment, 91.5% arsenic, 81.9% chromium and 66.5% iron metal ions were successfully removed from the effluents. Then the treated effluents contained concerned toxic metal ions concentrations within the permissible limits as recommended by the national environmental quality standards (NEQS).

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Abstract  

The indiscriminate discharge of untreated industrial effluents and solid wastes into the open environment poses a serious threat to the ecosystem. Gujranwala is an industrial city of Pakistan wherein a large number of different industries are situated and majority of them are not equipped with proper recycling or effluent treatment plants. Unfortunately, untreated industrial effluents are locally used for the irrigation purposes which may result in higher concentrations of toxic metals in the crops and vegetables. Therefore, prime objective of the present study was to determine concentrations of toxic metals in the polluted soils, vegetables and crops grown in the vicinity of industrial areas using neutron activation analysis technique. The results obtained showed higher values of toxic metals in the studied samples. The observed highest concentration of As (0.94 ± 0.06) in spinach, Br (69 ± 9) in turnip, Co (0.83 ± 0.01) in millet, Cr (51.7 ± 4.2) in wheat, Mn (76.2 ± 7.3) in tomato, Sb (0.5 ± 0.06) in rice, Cl (31698 ± 3921) and Se (3.4 ± 0.4) in carrot. These values are higher than those reported in the literature.

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Application of salt stress (100 mM) through root growing medium caused a considerable decrease in plant fresh and dry biomass, maximum quantum yield (F v/F m), chlorophyll contents, leaf water potential, and leaf Ca, K, P and N concentrations of two maize cultivars (Apex 836 and DK 5783). However, salt-induced increase was observed in leaf osmolality (LO), proline, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), malondialdehyde (MDA), Na+ concentration and activities of enzymatic antioxidants, such as catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Of five humic acid (HA) levels used under non-stress and stress conditions in an initial experiment, 100 mg L−1 was chosen for subsequent studies. Exogenous application of humic acid (HA) at the rate of 100 mM as a foliar or pre-sowing seed treatment significantly increased the plant biomass, F v/F m, chlorophyll pigments and proline contents, while it considerably reduced the leaf water potential, H2O2 and MDA contents as well as the activities of all the afore-mentioned enzymatic antioxidants. Of both modes of exogenous treatment, foliar spray was better in improving plant biomass, chlorophyll contents, LO, leaf Na+ as well as the accumulation of all nutrients measured, however, in contrast, seed pre-treatment was more effective in altering leaf proline, H2O2 and MDA contents. Of both maize cultivars, cv. DK 5783 excelled in plant biomass, chlorophyll contents and leaf N, Ca and K concentrations as well as in the activities of all three antioxidant enzymes, whereas cv. Apex 836 was superior in leaf Na+ and P concentrations, H2O2 and MDA contents. Cv. DK 5783 was comparatively better in salt tolerance as compared to cv. Apex 836. Overall, exogenous application of HA was effective in improving salinity tolerance of maize plants which can be attributed to HA-induced increase in plant biomass, chlorophyll contents, mineral nutrients and activities of key antioxidant enzymes.

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Abstract  

The consumption of salad vegetables grown in industrial areas may create adverse affects on human health by causing serious diseases and impairment of the vital organs of human body. To determine the concentrations of toxic metals such as, As, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Sb and Se in salad vegetables namely tomato, cabbage, turnip, radish, carrot, onion, salad leaves, beet and cucumber, the samples were collected within the vicinity of industrial areas of Faisalabad and Gujranwala regions. After processing, the samples were analyzed using neutron activation analysis (NAA) technique. The highest concentrations were observed for arsenic (2.3 ± 0.02 μg/g) in radish, manganese (16 ± 1.3 μg/g) in salad leaves, selenium (0.2 ± 0.02 μg/g) in cabbage and antimony (0.08 ± 0.001 μg/g) in salad leaves respectively which were also higher than those recommended by the National Environmental Quality Control (NEQC) standards and World Health Organization (WHO). Moreover, the amounts of injurious arsenic (2.3 μg/g) and selenium (0.4 μg/g) in all salad vegetables according to standard values of NEQS are two to four times higher (1.0 and 0.1 μg/g), respectively.

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Rice germplasm comprising wild species, low land and upland genotypes and 7 progenies of their inter-specific hybrids were tested under water levels of field capacity (100% moisture) and 75, 50 and 25% of field capacity. The objectives were to identify i) most water stress tolerant genotype, ii) characters associated with that genotype and iii) its ability to contribute water deficiency tolerance to lowland rice varieties. Experiment was conducted in potted soil with Randomized Complete Block two-factor factorial design and three replications. Different growth parameters were studied at tillering stage. Within an entry, reduction due to water level was significant in all the parameters. The interaction between various water levels and rice entries was also highly significant. We observed six parameters (shoot length, root length, shoot and root dry weight, number of tillers and leaf area) that were comparatively less affected in some of the progenies such as WAB-56-50 (shoot dry weight and root length), WAB-56-104 (root dry weight and tillers), WAB-272-H3 (leaf area) and WAB-272-H2 (shoot length) when tested under water level which is only 25% of the field capacity. This indicated that using these progenies as donor; water deficiency tolerance in lowland rice cultivars can be improved.

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Abstract  

Trace amounts of boron present as impurity in steel can be accurately determined by measuring the α-yield in10B (n,α)7Li reaction, since this reaction has a very high cross section for thermal and epithermal neutrons while natural boron contains significant isotopic abundance of10B. The α-particles produced during10B (n,α)7Li nuclear reactions can be detected by solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTDs) and the boron content and its distribution can be determined in a sample. The technique involves the simultaneous irradiation of unknown and known samples with thermal neutrons and recording the reaction products in SSNTDs as α-tracks. The α-tracks in the detectors are counted with the aid of an optical microscope after chemical etching. Boron concentration and distribution in the unknown sample is determined by counting and comparing the track density with that of standard sample of known boron concentration. The technique of SSNTDs has been applied by us to determine the distribution of trace amount of boron in commercial alloy steel using LR-115, CA80-15, CN-85 and CR-39 detectors. All these detectors pose various problems during reactor irradiation and etching. However, CR-39 has been found to be suitable for determining the magnitude and distribution of boron in steel. A brief description of the method and the optimum irradiation and etching conditions of various detectors for α-track revelation along with results for the estimation of boron in alloy steel are described in this paper.

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Abstract  

Neutron induced radiography has been applied to the determination of boron concentrations in drinking water, collected from natural springs of Reshian and Muzaffarabad areas of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, using CR-39 etched track detectors. The technique is based upon the simultaneous irradiation with thermal neutrons of a sample of unknown concentration and a standard of known boron concentration, fixed on a track detector. The subsequent counting of alpha and 7Li tracks in the detector resulting from the 10B(n,)7Li nuclear reaction is done after chemical etching. Boron concentration in the sample is determined by comparing 7Li and alpha-particle track density with that of a standard of known boron concentration. Boron concentrations in drinking water samples from Muzaffarabad and Reshian area of Azad Kashmir have been found to vary from (0.054±0.001) mg/l to (0.250±0.004) mg/l with an average of (0.16±0.002) mg/l. The observed concentration of boron in drinking water has been found to be less than the provisional Maximum Acceptable Concentration level (0.4 mg//l) of WHO. The drinking water from the reported area has been found to be within safe limits as far as boron related health hazards are concerned.

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This study was aimed at evaluating the efficacy of different mineral separation procedures to validate the EN1788 (2001) European Union standard protocol for better identification of irradiated fish and shellfish. The silicate minerals were isolated with physical density separation method from two types of non-irradiated freeze-dried fish and shellfish that included Pacific saury (Cololabis saira), mackerel (Scomber japonicus), shrimp (Penaeidae metapenaeus), and mussel (Mytilus coruscus). Radiation-specific thermoluminescence (TL) peaks (glow curve 1) were observed between 150–250 °C. The peaks are typical for the irradiated food; despite the samples being not irradiated. Apparently it showed that the isolated minerals were contaminated with organic materials such as bone, etc. Acid-hydrolysis digestion was employed to remove the possible contaminants. The minerals obtained through alternative pre-treatment showed no TL curves in radiation specific temperature range. Moreover, acid hydrolysis extraction resulted in producing higher mineral yields and lower background luminescence. Results were also confirmed by calculating TL ratios (glow curve 1/glow curve 2) to confirm the irradiation history of samples. Furthermore, different time and temperature treatments on TL intensity of irradiated standard quartz (SiO2) minerals showed that the acid-hydrolysis can be adjusted to 50 °C and 3 h for better luminescence determinations.

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