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Early Environmental Safety

  • 15 April, 2024
  • Wageningen University, Toxicology
  • prof.dr.ir. N.W. van den Brink
  • A.C. van den Berg

Industrialized societies rely heavily on man-made chemical compounds. One of the important classes of chemicals is plant protection products (PPP) used in food production. The PPPs are used to control undesired pests in agriculture but have the potential to cause unintentional adverse effects in non-target species. In this project we want to understand the underlying mechanisms causing an adverse effect to minimize the probability for these unintentional adverse effects. To reach this goal, we want to identify the driving biochemical and biological traits making species susceptible.

We start by comprehending how sub-organismal events lead to organism level effects. To achieve this, we will use the quantitative adverse outcome pathway (qAOP) framework. The qAOPs quantitatively describe the relationship between key events in a biological pathway that can be affected by chemicals. The relationship between these key events is then used to identify convergence points or conserved networks across different species and across different chemical exposures, which will serve as a starting point for the development of diagnostic biomarkers.

The second step is cross-species extrapolation to predict adverse effects in potentially vulnerable species. To accomplish this, we will build on recent modelling advances utilizing organism traits associated with species sensitivity which have proven promising to predict the effect of chemical stressors on individuals.

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Nick van Sabben

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