The aim of the present project is to develop cost-effective methodology for the assessment of ecotoxicological hazard arising from chronic exposure of aquatic organisms to sublethal concentrations of endocrine-disrupting chemicals or chemical mixtures. To achieve this objective, the project does not invent new assays or new endpoints, but it will identify what modifications of elements from existing tests on developmental or reproductive toxicity, combined with elements from existing in vitro screening assays or biomarkers of endocrine toxicity, could form a practical battery for prospective testing of the population-level effects of endocrine disruptors.
Current ecotoxicological test methodology can not delineate the contribution of endocrine disruptors to observed adverse effects on development and reproduction of organisms. The present project goes significantly beyond that state-of-the-art
- by investigating the predictability of endocrine-disrupting effects: The ability of inexpensive short-term assays and endpoints for predicting the lasting, chronic effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals will be assessed by comparative evaluation of in vitro screening tests, suborganismic biomarkers, short-term in vivo tests, and multigeneration in vivo tests.
- by investigating transgeneration effects of endocrine disruptors and different sensitivities of specific life stages: The project examines these questions that are of particular importance for the population level, by performing a series of life stage tests, chronic one generation tests and chronic multigeneration tests.
- by investigating the extrapolation problem: The specifity of endocrine systems both in terms of function and species differences is critical with respect to the extrapolation of test results. The project addresses this problem by concentrating on the steroid hormone system that is involved in the regulation of development and reproduction across all animal phyla, and by comparing the responses of seven species of invertebrates and vertebrates.
The experiments are performed with a set of reference chemicals (diethylstil-bestrol, Bisphenol A, PCBs or phthalates) and mixtures of these compounds.
The comparative evaluation of the experimental results will reveal what type of information can be obtained from the various approaches, to what degree short-term tests can substitute for chronic tests, and by what simple and cost-effective modifications of current test procedures adequate assessment of the ecotoxicological effects of endocrine disruptors will be possible. The groups cooperating in this proposal have long-lasting experience in the development and implementation of ecotoxicity tests, and, therefore, are convinced of their ability to sucessfully fulfill the ambitious aim of the project.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
14558 Bergholz - Rehbrücke
CF1 3TL Cardiff