“Systematic use of contaminant data from apex predators and their prey in chemicals management”

The AIM of LIFE APEX is to improve the systematic use of chemical monitoring data from apex predators and prey for protecting human health and the environment.

LIFE APEX project brings together providers of specimens [Environmental Specimen Banks –ESBs-, Natural History Museums –NHMs- and other scientific collections], regulators and analytical laboratories for the provision and analysis of apex predators and prey samples for chemical monitoring regulatory applications.

Three-tiered approach
Tier 1: Wide-scope screening  -> Occurrence of emerging contaminants in Apex Predators and Prey samples through target and non-target screening (NTS) analyses.
Tier 2: Time trend analyses -> Fine-tuned analyses for top target and non-target substances in time series (specimens of Apex Predators and Prey from 1996-2019).
Tier 3: Replication with R&T partners -> Samples from different European countries (wider European picture of occurrence of contaminants in AP&P).


1. To demonstrate four novel, regulatory applications of chemical monitoring data from apex predators and prey, specifically:
2. To support and sustain regulatory take-up of these applications, specifically:
3. To replicate and transfer LIFE APEX approaches and methods with partners across Europe.
4. To disseminate and communicate the LIFE APEX approaches and methods and in particular optimize uptake by regulators and industry.

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pHION – Analytics and Modelling within the UBA project “Sauer ist nicht immer lusting- Effekte des pH auf die Toxixitat und Bioakkumulation ionischer Stoffe”

The aim of the project is to minimize the stated uncertainties in the toxicity assessment of ionizable chemicals. Based on a literature review and generation of experimental data on the pH dependence of bioconcentration factors (BCF) and toxicity of selected ionizable chemicals, general principles for acids as well as for bases will be determined. Final goal is to use novel modeling approaches, to ensure that future toxicity assessments of chemicals at different pH levels can be made, even if toxicity data are only available for one pH.

“A&M in PHION” involves modelling of the toxicity of ionizable compounds on the basis of literature data (QSTR). It also includes the analysis of water and biota samples from Danio rerio fish embryo toxicity tests (conducted by Tubingen University and UBA, Berlin) and from tests on Lemna and Daphnia (acute and subchronic conducted by UBA, Berlin), for the parent compounds as well as the detection and the identification of metabolites and transformation products of the compounds under investigation. Suspect and non-target screening workflows will be carried out in order to identify the biotranformation products of the studied compounds.

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“Monitoring of Asopos River Basin waters – Assessment of contamination and investigation of possible sources of pollution”

The aim of the project was the assessment of Asopos river Basin water quality, through the investigation of inorganic and organic chemicals. An in-depth contamination survey was carried out based on the profiling of WFD 2013/39/EC priority substances and the screening of emerging contaminants in different environmental compartments, following wide-scope target, suspect and non-target methodologies. The sampling campaign included the collection of a) river water samples and sediments from Asopos, b) groundwater samples from 6 municipalities of the basin area and c) drinking water of Mavrosouvala sources and its water network.

The sampling campaign was conducted from November 2018 to November 2019. In total 148 samples were collected during the seasonal campaigns. For the river water and sediments, two sampling points (R1 and R2), one close to industrial and agricultural activities, and one at the estuaries of the river were selected. Two portable autosamplers were used for collecting 24-h composite volume proportional river samples. The sampling campaign provided trend information for daily (sampling for 30 consecutive days) and seasonal trends (7 consecutive days in the beginning of every season). In total 102 river water samples were collected..

Moreover, sediment samples were collected, during every seasonal campaign. For the ground water samples, 12 sampling points were selected covering the area of Asopos river basin under the jurisdiction of the Region of Attica, whereas three sampling campaigns were conducted for collecting drinking water samples from 10 sampling points

Several analytical methods and novel techniques were applying for the analysis of the samples. Target, suspect and non-target screening approaches were followed for the detection of priority pollutants and emerging contaminants, while advanced software and sophisticated tools were used for results’ extraction, detection of trends and data mining. Moreover, the risk of the identified emerging contaminants on the aquatic environment was evaluated following the EU risk assessment guidelines.

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“EMBLAS-Plus (Improving Environmental Monitoring in the Black Sea – Special Measures)”

The Emblas-Plus project builds on the results of the previous EMBLAS and EMBLAS-II projects to improve protection of the Black Sea environment through further technical assistance focused on marine data collection and local small-scale actions targeted at reduction of pollution by marine litter, public awareness raising and education.

The main aim of the project is to help improve the protection of the Black Sea environment.
The specific objectives are to:

  • Improve availability and sharing of marine environmental data from the national and joint regional monitoring programmes aligned with the MSFD and WFD principles and the Black Sea Integrated monitoring and Assessment Programme (BSIMAP);
  • Support joint actions to reduce river and marine litter in the Black Sea basin;
  • Raise awareness on the key environmental issues and increase public involvement in the protection of the Black Sea.

EYDAP project

For four reservoirs of drinking water of EYDAP (Evinos, Mornos, Marathonas, Yliki) we perform extended monitoring of emerging contaminants in the water samples. It is achieved by taking full advantage of complimentary chromatographic techniques coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry. Wide-scope target screening is performed by in-house databases consisting of 3,000 emerging contaminants, suspect screening is performed using Norman’s SUSDAT database that consists of 40,000 compounds and finally non-target, for the identification of unknown unknowns. The scope of this project is to indicate potential sources of emerging, less studied contaminants.

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NTS-EXPOSURE «The innovative wastewater-based epidemiology approach with the advances of high resolution mass spectrometry as a complementary biomonitoring tool for assessing the health status of a population»

In this project, an innovative approach, called Wastewater Based Epidemiology (WBE), is proposed as an alternative “biomonitoring tool” for the retrieval of epidemiological information from wastewater through the analysis of specific human urinary metabolites (biomarkers). The main objective is to develop non-target screening analytical methods based on HRMS coupled to liquid and gas chromatography that can detect new wastewater biomarkers and assess the collective consumption or exposure to toxicants. This project can establish and implement an integrated chemical analytical-epidemiological approach for
the acquirement of crucial information and inform authorities and public health organizations on community health status.

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