Guarienti, M., Cardozo, S.M., Borgese, L., Lira, G.R., Depero, L.E., Bontempi, E., Presta, M. (2016) COSMOS-rice technology abrogates the biotoxic effects of municipal solid waste incinerator residues. Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987). 214:713-721.
Fly ashes generated by municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) are classified as hazardous waste and usually landfilled. For the sustainable reuse of these materials is necessary to reduce the resulting impact on human health and environment. The COSMOS-rice technology has been recently proposed for the treatment of fly ashes mixed with rice husk ash, to obtain a low-cost composite material with significant performances. Here, aquatic biotoxicity assays, including daphnidae and zebrafish embryo-based tests, were used to assess the biosafety efficacy of this technology. Exposure to lixiviated MSWI fly ash caused dose-dependent biotoxic effects on daphnidae and zebrafish embryos with alterations of embryonic development, teratogenous defects and apoptotic events. On the contrary, no biotoxic effects were observed in daphnidae and zebrafish embryos exposed to lixiviated COSMOS-rice material. Accordingly, whole-mount in situ hybridization analysis of the expression of various tissue-specific genes in zebrafish embryos provided genetic evidence about the ability of COSMOS-rice stabilization process to minimize the biotoxic effects of MSWI fly ash. These results demonstrate at the biological level that the newly developed COSMOS-rice technology is an efficient and cost-effective method to process MSWI fly ash, producing a biologically safe and reusable material.