The proposed project aims at a rational development of scientifically based ecotoxicological effects assessment methodology as required for refinement of water quality objectives in EC countries.
The combined utilization of novel cell culture technology with conventional whole animal experiments represents an innovative approach in establishing markers for the early diagnosis of exposure and sublethal effect. The proposal can achieve this task because it assembles a unique group of European experts in cell culture technology and whole animal physiology.
The proposed programme has been targetted at freshwater organisms, particularly fish and amphibia. A comparison between these evolutionary related animal groups with clearly different life history will illustrate fundamental processes of toxicant action as well as the value of cellular markers for diagnosis of pollutant exposure and effect.
The design of the work programme integrates a cell-to-organism approach - establishing diagnostic markers in studies with isolated cells and asking whether these markers still work in the intact animal - with an organism-to-cell approach - using animals exposed to low levels of toxicants and asking whether the diagnostic markers are expressed in their cells:
- Mechanisms and characteristics of chemical action will be studied in isolated cells (alternative models) that are targets of toxicant uptake, metabolism or effect (skin, gills, gut, liver, muscle, spermatogonia, leucocytes, macrophages).
- The ecotoxicological implications of accumulation and effect of chemicals will be assessed by
(a) differentiation between protective (tolerance) and pathologic (disease) processess, and by
(b) validating the in vitro findings in in vivo studies, usi both field sampling (agricultural areas, Elbe floodplains) and laboratory experiments.
Cells and organisms will be exposed to single chemicals and to mixtures. A set of four reference chemicals has been selected including substances of low water solubility or reducing surface tension: nonoxynol, 2,4-dichlorophenol, pentachlorophenol, copper.
Basic research on identification of suitable cellular markers will be accompanied by pre-competitive research on the potential development of these markers into routine diagnostic tools for environmental testing and monitoring.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
AB9 2TN Aberdeen
752 36 Uppsala