Toxicity of Oestrogen Mimics

Project Title: Assessment of the toxicity of oestrogen mimicking compounds in a range of municipal and industrial sludges using cell culture and classical bioassays

Student: Ericka Murray

Supervisor: John Gault

Funding Body: Higher Education Authority



A research study is proposed, to examine the existence and toxicity of oestrogen mimicking compounds in a range of municipal and industrial sludges. A number of studies in the literature have identified this group of compounds as being of significant concern in sludges.

Sludges will be assessed using a range of cell culture and classical bioassays. At Institute of Technology, Sligo, Cell Culture Laboratory, the E-SCREEN cell proliferation assay and the YES, recombitant yeast assay, as well as other cell culture assays, will be carried out. At the Shannon Toxicity Laboratory of Enterprise Ireland, the Rainbow Trout Vitellogenin test will be carried out, as well as one other appropriate classical bioassay.

This project will involve method development (as well as data analysis and new findings), as toxicity tests require a significant degree of sensitivity checking and other validations. An important advantage of this type of testing is that toxicity methods can be used to elicit much more subtle data on synergies and antagonisms than is possible using physical or chemical tests.

The project involves direct collaboration with the Shannon Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory, a division of Enterprise Ireland. This is the state environmental toxicology laboratory. It has extensive resources in the field. The post-graduate student will be located in the SATL for a period of six months.