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Final Activity Report Summary - AQUACOLL (Colloids in the natural aquatic environment : impacts on pathogens and pollutant fate and behaviour)

This project (AQUACOLL) was focussed on the structure and effects of natural colloids, which are the materials naturally present in soils and waters with a size between 1 nm and 1 ?m. Natural colloids are extremely important in pollutant transport and bioavailability and pathogen transport in natural aquatic and terrestrial systems. AQUACOLL has also focussed on this area and is composed of five sub-projects which are:

Sub-objective 1 Development of an in-situ probe to quantify trace metal speciation and toxicity.
Sub-objective 2 Physico-chemical interactions between colloids and microorganisms.
Sub-objective 3 Uptake of colloids and colloid-bound pollutants by biofilms.
Sub-objective 4 Atmospheric deposition of colloids (nanoparticles) to waters.
Sub-objective 5 The analysis of colloidal structure and metal binding of small (< 50 nm) aquatic colloids.

The project as a whole and each sub-project has been highly successful. Each sub project has trained at least one Fellow to a PhD, has made a significant contribution to training another 2 Fellows to obtain their PhDs and has also trained another 3 fellows for shorter time periods at PhD level. All Fellows had extensive research and related training e.g. transferable skills, communication etc., within the EU and elsewhere and the majority of Fellows have found immediate employment in research, industry or with government using the skills and knowledge developed in AQUACOLL. The training aspect of AQUACOLL is viewed as a complete success.

The research area of natural colloids is one of huge importance but which is poorly understood and is incorporated into EU policy and regulation to only a small extent because of this lack of knowledge. The field is even more topical than when AQUACOLL started because of the development of a new area of research in the environmental health effects of manufactured nanoparticles. Natural colloids both impact strongly on the fate and behaviour of nanoparticles and our better developed knowledge of natural colloids helps to frame the important questions in terms of the environment and nanoparticles.

AQUACOLL has addressed these concerns directly and produced significant further development in this area. Success can be judged by the production of a fully operable new in-situ sensor as a development from Diffusion Gradients in Thin-films (DGT), which is called microDGT, the publication of a number of peer-reviewed papers in international journals and a large number of oral and poster presentations at international conferences. Selected journal article published are from the project are given below. A large number of other papers are published, in press, in preparation or submitted.

Reported by

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom
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