Some xenobiotic compounds present in industrial sewage sludges, industrial effluents and waterways have proven or suspected estrogenic and therefore can cause alterations in the endocrine function of fish and other organisms. Such alterations have been observed in major European watersheds. Endocrine disruption seems to correlate to high vitellogenin levels in male fish and thus a vitellogenin-based ELISA assay is likely to give an adequate prediction of endocrine disruptor activity in environmental systems.
PRENDISENSOR focuses on the extension of existing knowledge on endocrine disruptors and their detection methodologies in order to understand their behavior and to predict their environmental impact, specifically:
- To adapt an existing model description for the behavior of organic pollutants in soils, so that it adequately describes and predicts the "bio"-availability of endocrine disruptors in soils and their presence in run-off. The model uses soil characteristics and (bio)chemical properties of the target compounds as input parameters.
- To obtain field lysimeter and laboratory data, which quantify and mechanistically describe endocrine disruptor sorption, biodegradation and transport processes in soils from different European climate zones. Data are used to validate the adapted model.
- To develop a biosensor, based on increased vitellogenin levels in fish, a biomarker for the presence of endocrine disruptors. To optimize the use of vitellogenin ELISA assays to screen environmental samples for the presence of estrogenic compounds.
- To develop a river basin model to predict potential pollution of surface waters by sludge amended soils, which together with measured vitellogenin ELISA data will enable risk assessment for endocrine disruptors in a river basin.
PRENDISENSOR brings together partners from four different EU countries, all having proven experience on one ore more of the scientific skills required to accomplish the project objectives:
- Proven expertise and experience in biogeochemical modeling of the fate of (organic) chemicals in the soil/water environment.
- Experience in the use of field lysimeters for pollutant transport studies
- Experience in the study of mobilization/immobilization mechanisms relating to organic pollutants in soils, focusing on pollutant/humic matter interactions.
- Experience in the development and use of biomarkers and biosensors like ELISA-assays.
Results will be made available by the publication of scientific articles and a specific international workshop is foreseen to discuss project achievements. Standardization (ISO standards) of procedures, developed and optimized under PRENDISENSOR is envisaged.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
9750 AC Haren