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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Biochemical fingerprint techniques as versatile tools for the risk assessment of chemicals in terrestrial invertebrates


- Development of biochemical fingerprint techniques (biomarkers) for assessing the exposure and effects of chemicals on soil-living invertebrates.
- Establishment of specific relationships between the biomarker response and adverse effects at the population level of soil-living invertebrates.

Biomarkers, such as stress proteins, metal-binding proteins or esterases, act as integrators of exposure to environmental contaminants. They have the potential to bridge the enormous gap between chemical analyses of contamination and the impairment of physiological reactions of organisms which may lead to effects at the population and ecosystems levels. The biomarker approach is directly related to the bioavailability of a specific chemical compound or class of compounds, and may be used as a sensitive early warning of chemical stress before sublethal effects, such as inhibition of growth or reproduction, become apparent. Even combined effects of various chemical compounds and unexpected toxicants may be integrated in the biomarker response.
The BIOPRINT project will characterise and quantify the induction of heat shock proteins (HSP) in gastropods, isopods and collembola, the induction of metallothioneins and of other metal-binding proteins in isopods, collembola and gastropods, and the induction/inhibition of esterases in oligochaetes, isopods and collembola as reaction on sub-lethal exposure of copper and dimethoate. Other metals (Cd, Zn, Pb) may be used as further test chemicals. Also novel biomarkers, e.g. on the basis of relationships between metabolic dysfunction and sub-lethal effects will be developed.
The biomarkers reaction will be correlated to sensitive sub-lethal effects, such as growth and reproduction, and the potential applicability of the biomarker approach in the field will be investigated.
The BIOPRINT project is closely related to the SECOFASE project (Contract EV5V-CT92-0218) which is developing, improving and standardizing a test system for assessing sublethal effects of chemicals on the fauna in soil ecosystems.

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10,Binnenhaven 10

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