Interactions among the Chemicals, Environment and Biological Systems

and their Consequences on the Global, Regional and Local Scales

Basic Objective


Basic objective of the research plan is a complex approach to the research of interactions among chemical compounds present in environmental compartments and their biological effects: study of the fate of mainly persistent chemical compounds in the environment, their effects on the environment and living organisms including human.

Fate in this concept consists of a summary of transport (from their input in the environment, transport within the environmental compartment, where they are discharged, transport among compartments, and long-range transport in the environment) and transformation processes (abiotic and biotic transformations). It also includes study of distribution equilibriums, properties determining their environmental behaviour, study of the transformation processes, and their products.

This complex approach is a part of long-term research activities of the RECETOX centre. It is based on exploration of the causality between chemical (presence of chemical compounds in the environment) and biological (mechanisms of effects on the living organisms) part of the problem of chemical contamination of the environment.

This goal requires interdisciplinary team of collaborating specialists from number of natural sciences, and it is very demanding on equipment and financial sources.

While currently progressive natural science disciplines study basic chemical and biological processes on atomic and molecular level (such as structural chemistry, molecular biology etc.), the more complicated naturally existing components (such as atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, real ecosystems etc.) are still studied very little, and there is not sufficient understanding of their structure and function.

Contamination of all environmental components caused by different human activities belongs among very important problems of current society, and the whole planet. This contamination has not only global consequences (such as global warming or increased levels of UV radiation in atmosphere) but direct negative and/or long-lasting (chronic) negative effects on living organisms were also shown. It is often difficult to distinguish to which extension the processes in atmosphere are consequences of anthropogenic activities, and to which extension they are results of natural processes of the system development.

The research plan focuses on acquirement of new scientific information, and experimental data concerned with the problem of chemical contamination of the environment with persistent, toxic compounds (persistent, organic pollutants, heavy metals, organometallic compounds). It is necessary to distinguish this contamination from natural migration of the compounds in atmosphere, biosphere and exosphere, and also to study interactions of these compounds within environmental spheres.

The basic objective of the research plan is a characterization of the fate and negative effects of chemical compounds in real ecosystems by cooperation of several scientific disciplines studying:

  1. chemical compounds in the environment - their fate, transport, and transformation; distribution in one, and among several compartments; their determination in different abiotic and biotic environmental components;
  2. abiotic processes in the environment - differentiation and migration of the compounds in the atmosphere and geosphere - geology, geochemistry, paleontology and climatology;
  3. effects of chemical compounds on living organisms - biochemical toxicology, genotoxicology, ecotoxicology, ecological epidemiology;
  4. ecologic and human risks - quantification of existing risks from the knowledge of several disciplines.

Project realization will proceed at three, mutually interconnected levels::

  • Experimental (laboratory) study
  • Study of the processes under real ecosystem conditions
  • Risk analyses, critical analyses of information sources, development of information tools

Management and presentation of the research plan results will be realized at a few levels:

  • Regular seminars and consultations within groups - at least once in every two weeks
  • Regular seminars among groups of the Fundamental study objectives - at least once in every two months
  • Regular presentation workshops of the research plan - once in every half year
  • Regular consultations of the heads of the RPP - once a month
  • Regular consultations of the heads of the FSO and the research plan coordinator - once in every three months
  • Presentation of the research plan results - conferences and workshops organized by the individual investigating groups
  • Public presentations (conferences and workshops) focused on the research plan results for wider expert public
  • Publications in professional press
  • Web site of the research plan at server RECETOX

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