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Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

Editor-in-Chief: Erin Bennett

ISSN: 0007-4861 (print version)
ISSN: 1432-0800 (electronic version)

Journal no. 128

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Virtual Issue #2: Contribution of Chinese research to the field of environmental contamination and toxicology: The most cited papers published in BECT from 2012 - 2017

Huan Zhong (a,b), Cheng Gu (a)*

(a) Nanjing University, School of Environment, State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China

(b) Environmental and Life Sciences Program (EnLS), Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

*Corresponding authors.

Cheng Gu: E-mail address: chenggu@nju.edu.cn

About this Virtual Issue 

China was recently recognized as one of the greatest contributors to science and engineering, as indicated by the numbers of published articles and other indices (Showstack, 2018). Over the last decade, China has provided increasing support for research on environmental issues. This has allowed Chinese scholars to contribute significantly to the fields of environmental science and engineering. For over 50 years, the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (BECT) has been the venue for the rapid publication of research covering air, soil, water, and food contamination. The journal is the preferred platform for Chinese researchers to report advances and discoveries in these and related fields. According to www.muchong.com/bbs (2018), one of the most well-known academic online discussion forums in China, BECT is favored by Chinese students and scholars mainly because (1) it offers a relatively rapid process of peer-review and publication, and (2) it publishes papers in a concise format. According to the Web of Science, 24% of all papers published in the BECT from 2007 to 2017 were from Chinese scholars.
A closer examination of these papers offers an insight into the recent research interests of the Chinese academic community. Among the most frequent topics were environmental contamination, toxicology, environmental processes, and method development. Specifically, 37% of the publications were related to ‘environmental contamination,’ including reports on levels of contaminants in different environmental media and an assessment of associated risks; 24% focused on ‘toxicology,’ 23% on ‘method development,’ and 16% on the ‘environmental processes of contaminants’ (e.g., the transfer, partitioning, degradation, and speciation of contaminants in the environment). A second group of topics comprised those examining specific contaminants, including organic contaminants (60% of the published papers in this group), heavy metals (28%), and others (13%, e.g., nutrient pollution). The focus on organic pollution reflects the concerns in China regarding these compounds. The focus of a third group was environmental media, i.e., water, soil/sediment, air, and food. Over half (51%) of the publications examined contamination in soils and sediments. This predominance is not surprising considering the increasing efforts by the Chinese government to remediate contaminated soils and sediments, especially after the recent national-scale survey by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) (MEP and MLR 2014). Within this third group, approximately 39% of papers investigated water pollution, which has been the focus of environmental protection measures in China in the last few decades. Unfortunately, despite the priorities of the Chinese government regarding air pollution, little attention has been paid to the topic (5%). More submissions and publications from Chinese scholars on air pollution are expected in the next 5 years.
In this Virtual Issue of BECT, we have included 22 of the most frequently cited papers, selected from papers by Chinese scholars, that were published in the BECT during the period 2012–2017. These excellent papers, together with the statistical data presented above, exemplify the recent research pursuits of Chinese scholars. By presenting these papers in the 100th anniversary volume of the BECT, we highlight the contributions of Chinese researchers to the fields of environmental contamination and toxicology.


Showstack R (2018) China catching up to United States in research and development. Earth and Space Science News (Eos), 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO091489. Published on 24 January 2018
http://www.muchong.com/bbs (2018) Assessed February 1, 2018.
Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), The People’s Republic of China (2014) Assessed February 1, 2018. http://www.mep.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201404/t20140417_270670.htm


Further Virtual Issues: 

VIRTUAL ISSUE NO 1: Oil Spill Research in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 

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For authors and editors

  • Journal Citation Reports®
    2018 Impact Factor
  • 1.650
  • Aims and Scope

    Aims and Scope


    The Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (BECT) is a peer-reviewed journal that offers rapid review and publication.  Accepted submissions will be presented as clear, concise reports of current research for a readership concerned with environmental contamination and toxicology.  Scientific quality and clarity are paramount.

    As indicated in the Instructions for Authors, articles suitable for inclusion in BECT should be brief; complete manuscripts, including title, authors/affiliations, abstract, text, figures, tables, and references, must not exceed 8 (eight) pages.  All manuscripts must be prepared and submitted in accordance with Instructions for Authors.  BECT does not have the capacity to publish Supplementary Information, so manuscripts must be complete in the submitted form.

    Research papers that present a variation, extension, or confirmation of topics that have already been extensively studied or are not considered to be of immediate interest to readers will be returned.  BECT will not accept a series of short papers on the same or closely related topics. Review articles, abstracts, and archival papers will not be accepted for publication.

    Authors of archival articles should consider submitting their manuscripts to Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.
    (http://www.springer.com/environment/ environmental+toxicology/journal/244).

    Authors of review articles should consider submitting their manuscripts to Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (http://www.springer.com/series/398).

    Experimental design and objective(s) must be clearly articulated, and the data must be analyzed and interpreted using appropriate statistical methods.  

    Manuscripts are expected to address one or more of the following themes:

    Analytical Methodology

    The editors welcome manuscripts on innovative analytical methods pertaining to chemicals of environmental interest.  It is imperative that any new technique be compared with older techniques.  Manuscripts describing methods that are simply repeats of older methods with a different substrate will be considered, but the onus will be on the author to explain innovative aspects of the method. 

    Manuscripts presenting methods for analyses for which methods have been standardized and for which copious data are available will not be considered for publication unless the new method can be demonstrated to have clear advantages associated with economy, improved performance, and/or reductions in waste or use of hazardous substances.  Descriptions of new methods, procedures, or techniques must be sufficiently detailed to permit their adoption in other laboratories. 

    All reports of new methods must characterize analytical precision and accuracy, recoveries (for extraction or pre-concentration techniques), limits of detection and quantitation, and the operating parameters used with analytical instrumentation.  Analytical methods-related manuscripts are rejected at a high rate because many of thesubmitted manuscripts do not significantly improve upon an existing method.  

    Environmental Distribution

    Environmental distribution studies document the concentrations of chemicals in environmental media.  Editors welcome submission of manuscripts reporting results of studies that demonstrate how chemicals partition between environmental media in natural and anthropogenically altered environments.    BECT will not accept manuscripts that simply document concentrations of chemicals in the environment without interpretation; e.g., the presentation of temporal monitoring data without an explanation of the findings and their potential significance.  

    Environmental Dissipation

    Investigations of this type should consider the potential fate of the studied chemical(s) in surrounding environmental media rather than reporting only dissipation measurements and discussing potential human exposure.  The focus of these studies should include characterizing spatial or temporal patterns of contamination, the transfer and fate of contaminants, and/or characterizing exposures to chemicals in various media.  

    Distribution and dissipation studies linking model outputs with empirical data (i.e., model calibration or validation) are welcome.  All papers reporting chemical concentrations must specify the QA/QC procedures, the analytical limits of detection and quantitation, and the operating parameters of analytical instrumentation.  Contemporary measurement techniques using chemical-specific separation and detection are expected.

    Exposure, Bioaccumulation, and Risk Assessment

    BECT invites the submission of papers with the objective of characterizing and quantifying chemical exposure in humans and wildlife. Papers in this theme should characterize variations in chemical concentrations in environmental media (air, water, food) and provide linkages to exposure thresholds such as tolerable daily intakes, predicted no-effect concentrations, environmental quality guidelines, or relevant toxicological information used for hazard/risk assessment.  

    Bioaccumulation studies may involve calibration of toxicokinetic parameters, model development, or empirical descriptions of chemical movement in organisms and/or food webs.  As noted for manuscripts with an environmental distribution theme, manuscripts reporting concentrations also must report QA/QC procedures, limits of detection and quantitation and the operating parameters for analytical instrumentation. 

    Toxicology Studies

    Toxicology studies uncover the mode of action and effects of chemical exposure at all levels of biological organization (i.e., molecular, biochemical, cellular, tissue, whole organism, population, community).  BECT welcomes toxicology studies using in vitro techniques, molecular techniques, toxicogenomics, tissue pathology, model organisms and non-traditional laboratory organisms.  

    Toxicology studies that are human-focused or use rodent models exclusively for human risk analysis and epidemiology should be submitted elsewhere.  Toxicology studies should involve appropriate controls (including positive controls), treatments with multiple doses or concentrations and should be interpreted using appropriate statistical methods.  Manuscripts will not be accepted if test dosages or concentrations in exposure media are not analytically confirmed.  Additionally, papers that do not report the results of studies representing environmentally realistic exposures will be rejected.

    Wildlife Toxicology

    Wildlife toxicology includes studies on the effects of environmental pollutants on populations of free-ranging and captive animals.  Where appropriate, experimental designs must be replicated, use appropriate controls or reference sites and be interpreted using the appropriate statistical analyses.  

    Unreplicated experiments will be considered only if they involve examination or the non-lethal collection of tissues or fluids for investigating cause of death or contaminant exposure/effects in threatened, endangered, or otherwise rare or difficult to sample species.  Biological end points may include biomarker responses, endocrine effects, immunotoxicity, genotoxicity or integrative effects on growth, reproduction, behavior, deformities, or mortality.  Studies on epizootics are encouraged where clear linkages between biological effects and exposure to chemical pollutants can be established.

    Microbial Studies

    BECT invites submissions of papers with the objective of characterizing the effectiveness of microorganisms to degrade and/or remediate contaminants in various environmental media.  Note that in vitro studies using a single organism isolate or multiple organism isolates to degrade environmental contaminants must be field-validated or they will not be accepted.  In addition, all papers in this area must fulfill the basic research requirements related to the above topic areas. 



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