RESEARCH AREAS


Our research comprises: Analysis of trace-level persistent and new emerging contaminants in environmental samples (sediment, air, water, biological tissues); fate and cycling of organic contaminants in the environment (bioaccumulation, transformation, biodegradation, photodegradation,…) and simulating these processes in the laboratory; determination of transformation products formed during water treatment and environmental breakdown processes; biomonitoring; analysis of specific biomarkers and determination of their source in the environment by using stable isotopes.

 


FEATURED PROJECTS


 
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NEREUS: Pharmaceutical and personal care product residues in the environment: Occurrence, sources, treatments and effects


In response to the escalating problem of water shortage, treated wastewater is nowadays widely reused, and is generally considered as a reliable alternative water source for irrigation and replenishment among other applications. The ever-increasing shortage of water, the increasing needs for food security of the expanding world population, the increasing demand for irrigation water both in respect to good quality and quantity, renders the reuse a 'sine qua non' condition. Currently, sustainable and safe urban water cycles have a high priority on the policy agenda of many EU Member States and elsewhere. The overall benefit of this COST Action is that it will consolidate the existing scattered data related to reuse, and address the open challenges associated with it. It will provide the platform for a systematic consolidation of data and standardization of methods for assessing emerging hazards associated with reuse.

Pharmaceutical and personal care product residues in the environment: Occurrence, sources, treatments and effects

 

The major goal of this project is to provide information on the occurrence of pharmaceutical personal care product (PPCP) residues in the environment and to evaluate their potential threat to an ecosystem’s wellbeing and consequently to human health. To accomplish this goal we are developing ultra-trace level analytical methods to quantify PPCP residues (parent compounds, metabolites – if applicable, and environmental transformation products) in different matrices. Sophisticated spectrometric techniques are being applied to evaluate their occurrence, sources and pathways and characterise those processes that govern their fate. Finally their adverse effects in the environment will be assessed.


CYTOTHREAT: Fate and effects of cytostatic pharmaceuticals in the environment and identification of biomarkers for an improved risk assessment on environmental exposure


CytoThreat addressed the need to assess the risks of pharmaceuticals released in the environment, focusing on cytostatic drugs because they are highly hazardous compounds due to their genotoxic properties which may cause unexpected long term effects. The occurrence, distribution and fate of selected widely used cytostatics in different aquatic matrices, their acute and chronic toxicity and impact on the stability of the genetic material in a variety of aquatic organisms representing different trophic levels was addressed to provide data sets necessary for scientifically based risk assessment.


Development of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers and their application in environmental and bio-analysis


The project aims to investigate the occurrence and fate of pharmaceutical residues, defined as parent compounds, metabolites and transformation products (TPs). Since the quantitative analysis of pharmaceuticals in complex matrices is limited to a group of predetermined analytes, TPs are often overlooked, and as they occur in trace levels, the analytical method sensitivity is often insufficient to detect them. This project will overcome these limitations by using novel Molecularly Imprinted sorbents for Solid Phase Extraction (MISPE sorbents) to improve determination of pharmaceutical residues in complex matrices. Fundamentally, the cross-selectivity provided by MISPE sorbents will be exploited for extraction of structurally related compounds, specifically pharmaceutical residues, which goes beyond what is possible using the state-of-the-art analytical methods.


 


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS



                   KOSJEK, Tina, PERKO, Silva, ŽIGON, Dušan, HEATH, Ester. Fluorouracil in the environment : analysis, occurrence, degradation and transformation. Journal of chromatography. A, ISSN 0021-9673, 2013, vol. 1290, str. 62-72, doi: 10.1016
    ZUPANC, Mojca, KOSJEK, Tina, PETKOVŠEK, Martin, DULAR, Matevž, KOMPARE, Boris, ŠIROK, Brane, BLAŽEKA, Željko, HEATH, Ester. Removal of pharmaceuticals from wastewater by biological processes, hydrodynamic cavitation and UV treatment. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, ISSN 1350-4177, 2013, vol. 20, no. 4, str. 1104-1112, doi: 10.1016/
    ČESEN, Marjeta, KOSJEK, Tina, LAIMOU-GERANIOU, Maria, KOMPARE, Boris, ŠIROK, Brane, LAMBROPOLOU, Dimitra, HEATH, Ester. Occurrence of cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide in aqueous environment and their removal by biological and abiotic wastewater treatment processes. Science of the total environment, ISSN 0048-9697, 2015, vol. 527/528, str. 465-473, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.109.
    KOSJEK, Tina, PERKO, Silva, ZUPANC, Mojca, ZANOŠKI HREN, M., LANDEKA DRAGIČEVIĆ, T., ŽIGON, Dušan, HEATH, Ester, KOMPARE, Boris. Environmental occurrence, fate and transformation of benzodiazepines in water treatment. Water research, 2012, vol. 46, issue 2, 355-368, doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2011.10.056.
    KOSJEK, Tina, PERKO, Silva, HEATH, Ester, KRALJ, Bogdan, ŽIGON, Dušan. Application of complementary mass spectrometric techniques to the identification of ketoprofen phototransformation products. Journal of mass spectrometry, ISSN 1076-5174, 2011, vol. 46, no. 4, str. 391-401, doi: 10.1002/jms.1906.
    DONNER, Erica, KOSJEK, Tina, QUALMANN, Signe, KUSK, Kresten Ole, HEATH, Ester, REVITT, D. Michael, LEDIN, Anna, ANDERSEN, Henrik Rasmus. Ecotoxicity of carbamazepine and its UV photolysis transformation products. Science of the total environment, ISSN 0048-9697, 2012, vol. 443, str. 870-876, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.11.059.
      More publications

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