Research and projectsGrant projects

Grant projects INCHEMBIOL – Interactions among the chemicals, environment and biological systems and their consequences on the global, regional and local scales

Duration Duration: 2005–2011

The main objective of this project was 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 humans.

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-distance transport in the environment) and transformation processes (abiotic and biotic transformations). It also includes the 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 the exploration of causality between chemical (presence of chemical compounds in the environment) and biological (mechanisms of effects on the living organisms) parts of the problem of chemical contamination of the environment.

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

While currently progressive natural science disciplines study the basic chemical and biological processes on atomic and molecular levels (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 the 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); 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 proposal focused on the 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 was necessary to distinguish this contamination from a natural migration of compounds in atmosphere, biosphere and exosphere, and to study interactions of these compounds within environmental spheres.

The basic objective of the research proposal was to characterise the fate and negative effects of chemical compounds in real ecosystems by cooperation of several scientific disciplines studying:

  • 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;
  • abiotic processes in the environment – differentiation and migration of the compounds in the atmosphere and geosphere – geology, geochemistry, paleontology and climatology;
  • effects of chemical compounds on living organisms – biochemical toxicology, genotoxicology, ecotoxicology, ecological epidemiology;
  • ecological and human risks – quantification of the existing risks based on the knowledge of several disciplines.

Project realisation was carried out 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 proposal results were carried out in several 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 proposal – 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 proposal coordinator – once in every three months,
  • presentation of the research proposal results – conferences and workshops organized by the individual investigating groups,
  • public presentations (conferences and workshops) focused on the research proposal results for wider expert public,
  • publications in peer-reviewed journals,
  • website of the research proposal.

Other important information:

  • Expert guarantor: Prof. Ivan Holoubek, PhD (Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment)
  • Funding: The project has been supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (MSMT CR) within a research proposal. The project is registered with the identifier MSM0021622412.
  • Brief overview of results: you can find more detailed information on the website of the INCHEMBIOL project
INCHEMBIOL – Interactions among the chemicals, environment and biological systems and their consequences on the global, regional and local scales