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The development and facilitation of ecological responsibility


The objective of the project is to understand the factors and processes that enhance and/or inhibit the development and facilitation of ecological responsibility across Western-Europe.
The research objective is to develop reliable in vitro systems to detect mutagenicity of indirectly acting carcinogens without the use of vertebrate laboratory animals for in vivo studies or for the production of liver microsomal fractions for in vitro studies.

The following 4 complementary approaches are under study.

The use of cell lines capable of metabolising mutagens. Human hepatoma cells, human hepatocytes, Chinese hamster liver epithelial cells, Chinese hamster fibroblast (V79) genetically engineered to express different cytochrome P450 enzymes are employed as both activating systems and target cells. Chromosomal aberrations, micronuclei, sister Chromatid exchange (SCE), point mutations (HGPRT) and unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) are used as biological endpoints for evaluating the metabolising capacity of these different cells. Selected direct and indirectly acting chemicals are used to validate the system. The production of S9 fraction. Microsomal fractions are made from the above cells and used in vitro to detect the metabolising capacity of these different cell lines. S9 from primary human hepatocytes can be used as a standard for comparison of the other established cell lines. Both bacteria and mammalian cells are used as target cells, using diverse genetic endpoints. The use of plant activation systems. S2 and S9 fractions from germinating maize seedlings are used to screen pesticides in the Ames test, SOS test in bacteria. The biochemical characterization of the extracts is carried out, and compared for biological activity with extracts of other plants known to have high levels of cytochrome P450. The use of human erytrocytes and human gut flora: Human gut flora enzymatic systems are used to test direct and indirect acting mutagens. Human red blood cells and haemoglobin derived systels are studied for the activating capacities towards relevant classes of mutagens.
Working-hypotheses are formulated and "tested" through empirical analysis with regard to following themes :

i) the significance of different and conflicting orientations towards the idea of ecological responsibility;

ii) the significance of professional, geographical, educational and generational variables with regard to the definition of ecological issues;

iii) the significance of different patterns of socio-cultural organization of citizens with regard to the development of ecological responsibility and problem-solving capacities;

iv) the significance of social and institutional conflicts and dilemma for the facilitation or inhibition of ecological responsibility;

v) the contribution of different consciousness-raising programmes, including their media-organizational aspects to the development of ecological responsibility;

vi) the attitudes of citizens towards government actions in various policy-making areas such as urban, industrial, agricultural, mobility and energy planning which have an environmental component.

The project covers two European regions characterized by different cultural, social and economic conditions -the southern part of Italy and the northern part of Belgium- to allow a comparative perspective on the above mentioned topics. Special attention is paid to adolescents, young adults, midlife adults and older adults. Two different and complementary research-strategies are developed:

i) 40 in-depth interviews are organized to question a limited and stratified sample of the entire research-population ;

ii) a larger sample of 600 individuals is then addressed through two questionnaires are used to question these individuals partly by letter and partly by personal visit.

On the basis of the theoretical development and empirical analysis described above, the project intends to contribute to the better understanding of ecological responsibility in Europe.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


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3000 Louvain / Leuven

Participants (1)

Centro di Ricerca e Documentazione Febbraio 74
Via Flaminia 160
00196 Roma