This course aims to introduce students with the process of biomonitoring that uses analysis of biological responses of the environment in order to reveal and measure changes caused by anthropogenic impact (i.e. pollution). Obtained information will then be used for control and environmental risk assessment. Given course explains what biological effect monitoring means, why it is necessary, how it is conducted and how are its results interpreted. Besides, it gives the classification and overview of biomarkers (mostly on cellular and molecular level) and describes those that are currently in use in the projects of biomonitoring in the world as well as in Croatia.
1. to acquire knowledge about biological methods for diagnosing disturbances in the ecosystems caused by chemical (as well as physical and biological) pollution,
2. to understand the methodology of evaluation of negative impact of pollution on the living world and selection of appropriate biological methods for biomonitoring.
3. to understand the process of environmental risk assessment and the role of biological measurements in it
1. Review of major classes of pollutants (PAHs, PCBs, metals, pesticides, dioxines...) and their mechanisms of toxicity, basis of toxicity testing, toxicity, sublethal and lethal effects, toxicity evaluation, dose effect, acute and chronic toxicity, LC50,LD50, aditive, sinergistic and antagonistic effect, hormesis
2. Causal relationship of changes caused by the anthropogenic impact i.e. pollution on different levels of biological organisation (from molecular and cellular level over the level of the organism and to the level of populations, communities and ecosystems). Importance of an early detection of changes caused by pollution. Biological analysis for discovery of such changes and environmental risk assessment. Definition of biomarker. Genotoxicity disease syndrome.
3. Changes at the population level: mortality, birth rate, age structure, sex ratio, abundance,
4. Effects of pollutansts on the communities and ecosystems: functional and structural or taxonomic approach, qualitative and quantitative research (diversity indices, biotic indices...), bioindicator species, biodiversity decrease and key species concept.
5. Changes at the level of the organism: growth and development, condition indices, organosomatic indices, fluctuating asymmetry, scope for growth and stress on stress methods, histopathological changes,.
6. Changes caused by toxicants on the molecular and cellular level: immunological methods, differential and total blood cell counts and their phagocytic activity..,
7. Histochemical and citochemical methods: lysosomal membrane destabilization measurements (Neutral red retention, ß-N-acetilheksozaminidases), changes in the size and contents of the lysosomes, lipofuscin the age pigment.
8. Induction of the stress proteins (heat shock proteins, metalothioneins), inhibition of delta aminolevulinic acid dehidratases (lead), acetilcholinesterase (indicator of presence of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides), plasma vitelogenin concentration (indicator of endocrine modulators), glutathione as biomarker,
9. Measuring the activity of Phase I enzymes (Cyt P450, mixed function oxigenases) and Phase II enzymes (f. ex. Glutathione S transferase),
10. Measurements of the multixenobiotic resistance activity,
11. Indicators of the oxidative stress: antioxidative enzymes, lipid peroxidation etc.,
12. Measurements of the DNA damage: comet and micronuclei tests, alkaline elution of DNA, DNA adducts, structural and numerical chromosomal abberations, sister chromatide exchange, biomarkers recommended by the international organizations (ICES, MEDPOL, AMAP, OSPAR..)
14. Overview and the methodology of certain bioassays: Bacterial bioassays (Microtox, Mutatox, Ames test, Umu test etc.), yeast cells (yeast toxicity test, yeast estrogen and androgen screen), protozans, phytoplankton (growth inhibition of the green algae), zooplankton, (Daphnia test etc.), higher plants (Lemna test and Allium test),
15. Environmental risk assessment: defining the problem, analyses and risk evaluation).
Practical work will be held according to course contents (syllabus).
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- Environmental toxicity testing (2005) Thompson KC, Wadhia K, Loibner AP (Eds.) Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
- Principles of ecotoxicology 2nd ed. (2001) Walker CH, Hopkin SP, Sibly RM, Peakall DB, Taylor & Francis