Satellite Events

This workshop will introduce envipath.org, an internationally unique resource for storing and predicting microbial biotransformation pathways of organic contaminants in different environments including soil, sediment, activated sludge and pure and enrichment cultures. Key elements of the enviPath database are biotransformation pathways, reactions, transformation products, and biotransformation reaction rules. It currently contains three major data packages with over 700 contaminant pathways altogether.

In the first part of the workshop, theory sessions will introduce the scope and general structure of enviPath, introduce the data packages available in enviPath and explain the algorithms underlying the training and execution of the pathway prediction component of enviPath. These theory inputs will be complemented by hands-on exercises on entering your own data package into enviPath and on producing and extracting own predicted biotransformation pathways for contaminants of interest to you. In the second part of the workshop, a selection of invited speakers will explain how they use enviPath in their research and/or teaching. Finally, the day will be rounded of by short inputs in recent ongoing developments of enviPath, e.g., half-life prediction, automated rule generation, and linking transformation reactions to genes/enzymes.

Dramatic environmental changes are currently occurring in the Arctic in an unprecedented pace. Both marine and terrestrial environments are affected due to the observed comprehensive changes in the cryosphere of the North. These reported changes are expected to have considerable consequences for environmental systems as well as for the local human populations. Mainly the rapid reduction of the Arctic cryosphere (ice-associated systems) will have consequences for biological systems as well as infrastructures and local societies. A variety of indicators illustrate the environmental stress of environmental and climate changes in the Arctic. This includes foraging behavior of top predators, significant changes in the food webs, invasion of new species and changes in the seasonal migration patterns of species. Also, the indigenous people of the Arctic are strongly affected. Thus, traditional hunting routines were abandoned because of changing migration patterns of marine mammals. Along the Arctic coastlines, many communities plan to abandon their locations and move inland due to extensive erosion problems. Furthermore, hygiene issues and water shortage reduce the living quality in many communities.

At the other hand, the declining sea ice and cryosphere provides new opportunity for access to fossil resources, mineral mining, and shipping routes. The circum-Arctic nations are therefore looking towards the North for economic opportunities as well as fearing environmental changes. During the seminar, Arctic experts will discuss the major challenges and interlinkages for the environmental protection, local communities, and economic opportunities. The potential for conflicting priorities will be highlighted and discussed based on case studies. Potential solutions, and future research priorities with respect to the appropriate sustainable response will be elucidated.

NVP’s recent strategic vision on challenges in Arctic environments and societies will be discussed.

For details see:  The “Global Arctic

Microplastics (MPs) are increasingly and almost ubiquitously present in the environment, where they may pose a risk to corresponding ecosystems and, in the longer run, even remain as prominent markers of the anthropocene. Assessing their exposure requires reliable and quantitative analytical methods at mostly trace concentrations. However, widely established quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures in analytical chemistry are not yet regularly and fully implemented in MP analysis. Moreover, due to the different nature of particulate in comparison with elemental or molecular analytes, these measures may need adaption or even expansion when applied to MP analysis.

In this Satellite event, we will present and discuss a series of concepts, examples and recommendations how to translate and implement established QA/QC tools into MP analysis of complex matrices. These include among others the selection and use of different surrogate standards (e.g. coloured, isotope-labelled, fluorescent or metal doped) along different steps of the analytical chain to account for, e.g., extraction, pyrolysis or imaging efficiency, the development and use of controls such as fresh and aged MP standards and spiked reference materials, as well as inter-laboratory comparisons and ring trials. Whenever possible, one should resort to complementary analytical approaches based in orthogonal instrumentation and detection principles, and determine concentrations based on both on number and mass concentration, and in combination with size distribution. Figures of merits of any validated analytical method include method detection limits, blank levels, (linear) concentration ranges, repeatability and reproducibility, recoveries, matrix effects, etc. Their determination and reporting should (even) more regularly become good analytical practise among analytical chemists investigating MP in complex matrices.

The above aspects will first be presented with input presentations by distinct experts in the field, followed by a moderated discussion with the speakers and the audience. The overall aim of this satellite is to raise awareness about the importance QA/QC in MP analysis, and to provide a conceptual toolbox to facilitate its implementation in our future research.