Gene J Zheng

City University of Hong Kong, Chiu-lung, Kowloon City, Hong Kong

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Publications (44)132.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We analyzed 68 green and blue mussels collected from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and the USA during 2003 and 2007, to elucidate the occurrence and widespread distributions of emerging pollutants, synthetic musks and benzotriazole UV stabilizers (BUVSs) in Asia-Pacific coastal waters. Synthetic musks and BUVSs were detected in mussels from all countries, suggesting their ubiquitous contamination and widespread distribution. High concentrations of musks and BUVSs were detected in mussels from Japan and Korea, where the levels were comparable or greater than those of PCBs, DDTs and PBDEs. Significant correlations were found between the concentrations of HHCB and AHTN, and also between the concentrations of UV-327 and UV-328, which suggest similar sources and compositions of these compounds in commercial and industrial products. To our knowledge, this is the first study of large-scale monitoring of synthetic musks and BUVSs in Asia-Pacific coastal waters.
    Marine pollution bulletin 08/2012; 64(10):2211-8. · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Surface and core sediments collected from six fish farms in Hong Kong and from reference sites were investigated for the enrichment and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Moderately high SigmaPAH16 levels (123-947 ng g(-1), mean: 450 ng g(-1)) were found in the surface aquaculture sediments. In comparison with the sediments from the reference sites, the average enrichment percentage of total organic carbon (TOC) and PAHs in surface sediments were 21.4 and 43.8%, respectively, and in the core sediments, 24.6 and 73.7%, respectively. Mathematical source apportionment analyses (i.e. isomer ratios, hierarchical cluster analysis, principal components analysis with multiple linear regression analysis) suggested a higher percentage of petrogenic sources in aquaculture sediments. The fish feeds might be the main source of the enriched PAHs in the aquaculture sediments. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing that PAHs in aquaculture sediments could be attributed to human aquaculture activities.
    Environmental Pollution 10/2010; 158(10):3298-308. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To characterize the bioaccumulation and historical trends of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in Deep Bay, an important water body between Hong Kong and main land China with a Ramsar mangrove wetland (Maipo), marine organisms and core sediments were collected to determine their PBDEs concentrations. Sediment core dating was accomplished using the (210)Pb method. PBDEs concentrations in fish ranged from 0.17 to 4.16 ng g(-1) wet wt., with a mean value of 2.00 ng g(-1) wet wt. Temporal trends of the target PBDE congeners levels in core sediment generally increased from 1948 to 2003, with the highest levels in top sediment, suggesting an ongoing PBDEs input. The average sedimentation flux of PBDEs was 0.25 ng cm(-2) a(-1), and the double time of total PBDEs concentration was ca. 12.3 a. Correlations between the biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAF) of PBDEs and their corresponding octanol-water partition coefficient (K(ow)) were discussed.
    Marine environmental research 08/2010; 70(2):219-26. · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lysosomal integrity in mussels is widely used as a biomarker in coastal environments to demonstrate exposure to trace organic pollutants. However, few studies have determined the long-term influences of seasonal variations on the bioaccumulation of trace organics and subsequently altered response of lysosomal integrity in mussels. This study aimed to test three null hypotheses that (1) bioaccumulations of total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (SigmaPAH) and (2) total polychlorinated biphenyl (SigmaPCB), and (3) lysosomal integrity as indicated by Neutral Red retention time (NRRT) in haemocytes, in the green-lipped mussel Perna viridis were not seasonally dependent. The tissue concentrations of SigmaPAH and SigmaPCB and haemocytic NRRT were determined in P. viridis in a metropolitan harbour, subtropical Hong Kong during the wet and dry seasons from 2004 to 2007. Additional information on temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and total ammonia nitrogen in seawater, and sediment levels of SigmaPAH and SigmaPCB, were extracted from published data and re-analyzed. Our results accepted all null hypotheses, based on the minimal seasonal influences of seawater temperature and salinity on all studied parameters, in which no significant differences between the wet and dry seasons were detected. The seasonal effect was likely outweighed by the greatly improved water quality and pollution abatement noted inside the harbour, with a gradual shift in mussel PAHs from a pyrolytic origin to a petrogenic origin. Spatially, the site east of the harbour was relatively unpolluted. The single use of NRRT in P. viridis explained 25% of the total variation of the integrated pollution patterns in seawater, sediments and mussels. The present study suggested that the dynamic change of trace organics could be reflected by the response on lysosomal integrity in P. viridis, which was recommended as a routine screening biomarker in monitoring of harbour water quality across seasons.
    Science of The Total Environment 02/2010; 408(6):1458-65. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Muscle concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in rabbitfish Siganus oramin collected from Victoria Harbour and its vicinity, Hong Kong from 2004 to 2007. Spatially, relatively higher levels of [summation operator]PAH (1.05-4.26 microg g(-1)) and [summation operator]PCB (45.1-76.9 ng g(-1)) were determined in the central and western sites inside the harbour. Temporally, upward trend of [summation operator]PAH, accompanied with a proportion shift from high molecular weight to low molecular weight PAHs, was detected during the three-year study period, suggesting a heavier marine traffic in Victoria Harbour and its western region. However, human health risk assessment based on five individual PAHs indicated that PAHs in fish muscles posed minimal health risk through consumption. In contrast, a downward trend of [summation operator]PCB was registered as the open use of PCBs has been banned. Despite this, the level of [summation operator]PCB in fish muscles still posed a health risk on the local people who have a high fish consumption rate. While seasonal influences on [summation operator]PAH/[summation operator]PCB accumulation in S. oramin seemed to be negligible, our findings in S. oramin were in line with the established PAH and PCB levels in sediments and/or mussels from the harbour, suggesting S. oramin can be used as a model fish species for monitoring PAHs and PCBs in the region.
    Science of The Total Environment 05/2009; 407(14):4327-32. · 3.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the presence and fate of 16 antibiotics belonging to seven groups (beta-lactams, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, trimethoprim and amphenicols) in effluents of sewage plants and receiving waters in Hong Kong. Cefalexin, amoxicillin, ofloxacin and erythromycin-H(2)O were ubiquitous in sea water throughout Victoria Harbour, indicating continuous discharge to the environment. This is one of the few studies reporting the frequent occurrence of cefalexin and amoxicillin in sewage effluents and sea water (170-5070 and 64-1670 ng/L in sewage; 6.1-493 and 0.64-76 ng/L in sea water, respectively). Mass flows from seven sewage plants discharged an estimated total of 14.4 kg/day to the Harbour. Typhoon shelters also appeared to play an important role as sources of antibiotics, as evidenced by elevated concentrations within their boundaries. Mass balance estimations suggested significant quantities of antibiotics are discharged to the Harbour without passage through treatment plants.
    Marine pollution bulletin 04/2009; 58(7):1052-62. · 2.63 Impact Factor
  • Marine pollution bulletin 02/2009; 58(4):615-20. · 2.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Surface sediments from remote lakes and coastal areas from Ny-Alesund, Svalbard, Norwegian Arctic were analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). Relatively high levels of PAHs were encountered from several lakes from Ny-Alesund, which were within the range of levels reported for European high mountain lakes and some urban/industrialized areas in the world, pointing to the role of remote Arctic lakes as potential reservoir of semi-volatile organic compounds. Specific patterns of PBDEs were observed, showing higher concentrations of lower brominated compounds such as BDE-7, 17 and 28. Estimated surface sediment fluxes of PAHs in Ny-Alesund remote lakes were similar to those observed for some European high mountain lakes. The current PAH levels in sediments from three lakes exceeded Canadian sediment quality guidelines, suggesting the presence of possible risks for aquatic organisms and the need for further studies.
    Environmental Pollution 02/2009; 157(4):1342-51. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Marine Pollution Bulletin 07/2008; 56(9):1663-7. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This review represents an assessment of the pollution status of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) in China (the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan). During the past decades, seven PCDD/Fs pollution hotspots have been found: (a). Ya-er Lake, Hubei Province, with 'total PCDD/Fs' level reaching 177,427 pg g(-1) (dry weight) in lake sediments; (b). Chinese Schistosomiasis affected areas of Jiangxi Province with 33,660 pg g(-1) in soil; (c). e-waste recycling area of Yangtze River Delta, with 2726 pg g(-1) in paddy soil; (d). e-waste recycling area of Guiyu (eastern part of Guangdong Province), with 967,500 pg g(-1) in mixture of burnt residue and soil (the highest level among all hotspots); (e). Pearl River Delta with 2630 pg g(-1) in coastal sediment. (f). Kwun Tong, Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong with 10,999 pg g(-1) in coastal sediment; and (g). southern Taiwan with 606,000 pg g(-1) in soil near the vicinity of a pentachlorophenol manufacturing factory. The main sources of PCDD/Fs in China were formed from impurities during the production of polychlorophenol, hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated biphenyls, organic chlorinated pesticide and triclosan. In addition, sources of PCDD/Fs included municipal waste incineration, mineral fuel usage, open burning of electronic waste and crop residues, industrial waste discharge and vehicle exhaust emission. Due to potential human health risks from long-term exposure to PCDD/Fs at these hotspots, body loadings of these contaminants should be monitored.
    Environment International 05/2008; 34(7):1050-61. · 6.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fifty fish samples were collected from the Pearl River estuary (PRE) and Daya Bay, South China and were analyzed for DDTs, HCHs, chlordanes and polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Except the high concentrations of DDT observed in fishes, the concentrations of HCHs, chlordanes and PBDEs were low when compared to other regions. BDE-47 was the predominant PBDE congener and the BDE-209 concentrations were relatively low, despite its high concentration in surface sediments. The absence of significant increase of DDT, HCH, chlordane and PBDE concentrations towards higher delta15N values, as well as the lack of a significant correlation (p<0.1) between log concentrations (lipid normalized) and delta15N, may indicate a weak biomagnification of these chemicals in the food webs. Good agreement was observed between their concentrations and lipid contents of the organisms. Bioconcentration was suggested to be responsible for the accumulation of OCPs and PBDEs in the lower trophic organisms in the studied subtropical waters.
    Environmental Pollution 04/2008; 152(3):604-11. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Biomarkers are generally applied to detect pollution in environmental monitoring. Such biological responses should accurately reflect the stress over time in a quantitative manner. As such, the initial and maximum responses induced by stress, as well as adaptation and recovery of these biomarkers, need to be fully understood or else erroneous false-negative or false-positive may be arrived. However, most of the biomarker studies only provided information on initially induced responses under different concentrations of toxicants, while biological adaptation and recovery were poorly known. In this study, the time required for induction, adaptation and recovery of lysosomal integrity in green-lipped mussel Perna viridis upon exposure to benzo[a]pyrene was investigated over a period of 62 days. Maximum induction occurred on day 6 when lysosomal integrity was significantly reduced by 51%, and no further change or adaptation was detected thereafter. When mussels were depurated in clean seawater after 18 days of exposure to benzo[a]pyrene, a gradual recovery was observed, with lysosomal integrity returning to its background level and showing a complete recovery after 20 days of depuration. Lysosomal integrity was significantly correlated with the body burden concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene and condition index of the mussels. The relatively fast induction (6 days) and recovery (20 days) without apparent adaptation suggested that lysosomal integrity in P. viridis can serve as a good biomarker in biomonitoring, as its response is not likely to generate both false-negative and false-positive results.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 02/2008; 57(6-12):467-72. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to test its ability as a bioaccumulator, the deposit feeding clam Asaphis deflorata, collected from a clean coastal area in Hong Kong (Ding Chau, Ma On Shan), was exposed to field-collected sediments representing a gradient of contamination. Sediments were collected from four sites, namely Shek O in the southeast of Hong Kong Island, Ap Lei Chau in Aberdeen district, Tai Kok Tsui in the Mong Kok waterfront, and To Kwa Wan near Kowloon City pier. Shek O was the cleanest and To Kwa Wan was the most polluted site. Replicate 30L fiberglass tanks containing equal numbers of organisms were maintained for 28 days, with equal quantities of sediment and filtered seawater. Prior to this the animals were depurated for 10 days in clean sediment. During the 28-day holding period, sampling of both sediment and clams was performed on days 0, 10 and 28, along with condition index measurements. Concentrations of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs in sediments showed that Shek O was the cleanest of the sites, followed by Ap Lei Chau, Tai Kok Tsui and To Kwa Wan. There were marked differences among the sites, especially in PAH concentrations, with To Kwa Wan showing extremely high sediment concentrations. Following exposure, the biota concentrations of various organochlorine pesticides and PCBs suggested that there was sediment concentration-dependent accumulation by A. deflorata on day 10 of the experiment. However, there was no significant increase on day 28 for any of the compounds tested. Contaminant concentrations in clams feeding on Shek O sediments were minimal and almost the same on all sampling days, indicating the presence of only baseline contaminant concentrations. The condition indices (CI) of the clams on various sampling days showed that the animals were relatively more stable in sediment from Shek O. There were some deaths in all the test tanks (including those containing Shek O sediments). In addition, clams appeared to bury faster in the cleaner Shek O sediment and remained buried, unlike those in the sediment from the other locations, where some remained predominantly on the surface. Nevertheless, despite not completely burying, the clams in other test sediments still exhibited sediment concentration-dependent tissue accumulation. The results of the investigation indicate the possibility of developing a standard test protocol for bioaccumulation by sediment dwelling invertebrates, for practical use in Hong Kong, using A. deflorata.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 02/2008; 57(6-12):672-80. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have indicated the occurrence of a wide range of trace organic contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in the Hong Kong environment. These contaminants are potentially harmful to ecological systems, particularly in coastal areas. In this study, two sediment cores (4m) were collected from southern waters of Hong Kong in 2004 to study the historical trends, distribution patterns, and potential sources of trace organic contaminants. DDTs (p,p'-DDT, o,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDD, o,p'-DDD and p,p'-DDE), hexachlorohexanes (HCHs) (alpha and gamma), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and PCBs were detected in the samples, whereas other target compounds were all below detection limits. Many OCPs have not been produced or used for many years due to toxicological or environmental concerns and PCB use is prohibited in Hong Kong. However, some compounds were still detectable in recent years, and were found to be widely distributed in the environment, likely because of pollutant inputs from the highly industrialized Pearl River Delta region. These results provide important information on current and historical contamination in Hong Kong, and help to reconstruct the pollution history of these trace organic pollutants in Hong Kong coastal waters.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 02/2008; 57(6-12):758-66. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mussel samples were used in this study to measure the levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and organochlorines (OCs) in the coastal waters of Asian countries like Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. PBDEs were detected in all the samples analyzed, and the concentrations ranged from 0.66 to 440 ng/g lipid wt. Apparently higher concentrations of PBDEs were found in mussels from the coastal waters of Korea, Hong Kong, China, and the Philippines, which suggests that significant sources of these chemicals exist in and around this region. With regard to the composition of PBDE congeners, BDE-47, BDE-99, and BDE-100 were the dominant congeners in most of the samples. Among the OCs analyzed, concentrations of DDTs were the highest followed by PCBs > CHLs > HCHs > HCB. Total concentrations of DDTs, PCBs, CHLs, and HCHs in mussel samples ranged from 21 to 58 000, 3.8 to 2000, 0.93 to 900, and 0.90 to 230 ng/g lipid wt., respectively. High levels of DDTs were found in mussels from Hong Kong, Vietnam, and China; PCBs were found in Japan, Hong Kong, and industrialized/urbanized locations in Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India; CHLs were found in Japan and Hong Kong; HCHs were found in India and China. These countries seem to play a role as probable emission sources of corresponding contaminants in Asia and, in turn, may influence their global distribution.
    Environmental Science and Technology 07/2007; 41(13):4580-6. · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The marine ecosystem of the Pearl River Delta, located on the southern coast of China, has been heavily exploited following the rapid economic growth that has occurred since the 1980s. This investigation aimed to elucidate trace organic contamination in marine biota inhabiting the Pearl River Delta area. Biota samples, including green-lipped mussels (Perna viridis), oysters (Crassostrea rivularis) and shrimp (Penaeus orientalis) were sampled from 16 stations fringing the Estuary. Elevated concentrations (on a dry weight basis) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (27.8-1041.0 ng/g), petroleum hydrocarbons (1.7-2345.4 microg/g), polychlorinated biphenyls (2.1-108.8 ng/g), DDTs (1.9-79.0 ng/g), and hexachlorocyclohexanes (n.d.-38.4 ng/g) were recorded. A human health risk assessment was conducted to estimate the risk to local residents associated with the consumption of biota collected from the Pearl River Estuary. The results indicated that PCBs were at levels that may cause deleterious health effects in populations that consume large amounts of seafood. However, it would be instructive to establish health criteria for trace organic contaminants that are specific to the local populations, in order to derive a more accurate and relevant health risk assessment.
    Marine Pollution Bulletin 01/2007; 52(12):1682-94. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The geographical distribution of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) was investigated through analysis of muscle tissue of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) collected from offshore waters of Asia-Pacific region (Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Seychelles, Brazil, Japan Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, Indian Ocean and North Pacific Ocean). HBCD was detected in almost all samples analyzed (<0.1 to 45 ng/g lipid weight basis), indicating widespread presence of this compound in the marine environment. Elevated concentrations of HBCD were found in skipjack tuna from areas around Japan, which have the larger modern industrial/urban societies, and implicated these areas as primary regional sources. All three individual HBCD isomers (alpha-, gamma- and beta-HBCD) were detected in almost all samples; the percentage contribution of the alpha-isomer to total HBCD increased with increasing latitude. The estimated empirical 1/2 distance for alpha-HBCD was 8500 km, which is one of the highest atmospheric transportability among various halogenated persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
    Environmental Pollution 12/2006; 144(1):238-47. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As active ingredients of anti-fouling paints that are widely used on ship hulls, organotin compounds, in particular tributyltin (TBT), are well-known endocrine disruptors causing sex changes in marine organisms and widespread in coastal waters and sediments worldwide. In this study, a comprehensive ecological risk assessment (ERA) of organotins was conducted in Hong Kong waters through determining the imposex status, sex ratio and tissue burdens of these compounds in the neogastropods, Thais clavigera and Thais luteostoma collected from 29 coastal sites. We also investigated the historical trend of organotin effects on these gastropods, and performed a probabilistic ERA based on tissue burden of TBT in the animals. Our results demonstrated that imposex indices were positively correlated with the body burden of organotins in the gastropods. Across all sites, the sex ratio (female:male) decreased significantly with increasing imposex levels or tissue burden of organotins, implying that such pollutants can result in a male-biased population, potentially leading to local extinction in extreme cases. Based on the ERA, 5.4% of all populations of T. clavigera are at risk due to exposure to TBT; the risks include growth inhibition, impairment of immune functions and reduced fitness. Seriously impacted areas included Aberdeen, Repulse Bay, Butterfly Beach, Mui Wo and Ha Mei Wan. A comparison with historical data revealed that there had been some improvement in the areas with low marine traffic, and distant from the major harbour/port. This could partly be due to the restriction on the use of TBT on small vessels (<25m in length) since 1992. Nevertheless, the organotin contamination still remains severe in areas with high marine traffic or adjacent to large harbours/ports. In particular, the situation in the northeastern waters of Hong Kong has been getting worst since 1996 that is probably associated with the rapid development of the cargo container port at Yantian in China.
    Chemosphere 11/2006; 65(6):922-38. · 3.14 Impact Factor
  • Marine Pollution Bulletin 11/2006; 52(10):1299-304. · 2.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
132.42 Total Impact Points


  • 1998–2012
    • City University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Biology and Chemistry
      Chiu-lung, Kowloon City, Hong Kong
  • 2006–2010
    • Hong Kong Baptist University
      • Department of Biology
      Kowloon, Hong Kong
    • National Water Research Institute
      Fountain Valley, California, United States
    • Indonesian Institute of Sciences
      Batavia, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
  • 1999–2008
    • The University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2004–2007
    • Ehime University
      • Center for Marine Environmental Studies (CMES)
      Matsuyama-shi, Ehime, Japan