Benchmarking organic micropollutants in wastewater, recycled water and drinking water with in vitro bioassays

Escher, Beate I., Allinson, Mayumi, Altenburger, Rolf, Bain, Peter A., Balaguer, Patrick, Busch, Wibke, Crago, Jordan, Denslow, Nancy D., Dopp, Elke, Hilscherova, Klara, Humpage, Andrew R., Kumar, Anu, Grimaldi, Marina, Jayasinghe, B. Sumith, Jarosova, Barbora, Jia, Ai, Makarov, Sergei, Maruya, Keith A., Medvedev, Alex, Mehinto, Alvine C., Mendez, Jamie E., Poulsen, Anita, Prochazka, Erik, Richard, Jessica, Schifferli, Andrea, Schlenk, Danie, Scholz, Stefan, Shiraishi, Fujio, Snyder, Shane, Su, Guanyong, Tang, Janet Y. M., van der Burg, Bart, van der Linden, Sander C., Werner, Inge, Westerheide, Sandy D., Wong, Chris K. C., Yang, Min, Yeung, Bonnie H. Y., Zhang, Xiaowei and Leusch, Frederic D. L. (2014) Benchmarking organic micropollutants in wastewater, recycled water and drinking water with in vitro bioassays. Environmental Science and Technology, 48 3: 1940-1956. doi:10.1021/es403899t

Author Escher, Beate I.
Allinson, Mayumi
Altenburger, Rolf
Bain, Peter A.
Balaguer, Patrick
Busch, Wibke
Crago, Jordan
Denslow, Nancy D.
Dopp, Elke
Hilscherova, Klara
Humpage, Andrew R.
Kumar, Anu
Grimaldi, Marina
Jayasinghe, B. Sumith
Jarosova, Barbora
Jia, Ai
Makarov, Sergei
Maruya, Keith A.
Medvedev, Alex
Mehinto, Alvine C.
Mendez, Jamie E.
Poulsen, Anita
Prochazka, Erik
Richard, Jessica
Schifferli, Andrea
Schlenk, Danie
Scholz, Stefan
Shiraishi, Fujio
Snyder, Shane
Su, Guanyong
Tang, Janet Y. M.
van der Burg, Bart
van der Linden, Sander C.
Werner, Inge
Westerheide, Sandy D.
Wong, Chris K. C.
Yang, Min
Yeung, Bonnie H. Y.
Zhang, Xiaowei
Leusch, Frederic D. L.
Title Benchmarking organic micropollutants in wastewater, recycled water and drinking water with in vitro bioassays
Journal name Environmental Science and Technology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0013-936X
Publication date 2014-02-04
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1021/es403899t
Open Access Status
Volume 48
Issue 3
Start page 1940
End page 1956
Total pages 17
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Chemical Society
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Thousands of organic micropollutants and their transformation products occur in water. Although often present at low concentrations, individual compounds contribute to mixture effects. Cell-based bioassays that target health-relevant biological endpoints may therefore complement chemical analysis for water quality assessment. The objective of this study was to evaluate cell-based bioassays for their suitability to benchmark water quality and to assess efficacy of water treatment processes. The selected bioassays cover relevant steps in the toxicity pathways including induction of xenobiotic metabolism, specific and reactive modes of toxic action, activation of adaptive stress response pathways and system responses. Twenty laboratories applied 103 unique in vitro bioassays to a common set of 10 water samples collected in Australia, including wastewater treatment plant effluent, two types of recycled water (reverse osmosis and ozonation/activated carbon filtration), stormwater, surface water, and drinking water. Sixty-five bioassays (63%) showed positive results in at least one sample, typically in wastewater treatment plant effluent, and only five (5%) were positive in the control (ultrapure water). Each water type had a characteristic bioanalytical profile with particular groups of toxicity pathways either consistently responsive or not responsive across test systems. The most responsive health-relevant endpoints were related to xenobiotic metabolism (pregnane X and aryl hydrocarbon receptors), hormone-mediated modes of action (mainly related to the estrogen, glucocorticoid, and antiandrogen activities), reactive modes of action (genotoxicity) and adaptive stress response pathway (oxidative stress response). This study has demonstrated that selected cell-based bioassays are suitable to benchmark water quality and it is recommended to use a purpose-tailored panel of bioassays for routine monitoring.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology Publications
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