VU Analytical and Environmental Chemists combine forces for identification of toxicants in water
Researchers from the Division of BioMolecular Analysis and the Institute for Environmental Studies of the VU University Amsterdam obtained a grant to develop an innovative platform for High-throughput Effect Directed Analysis.
Jeroen Kool and Marja Lamoree together with Corine Houtman (The Water Laboratory, Haarlem), Timo Hamers, Wilfried Niessen and Jacob de Boer obtained a grant (~650.000 euro) from the Dutch technology foundation STW. The project is directed at the development of a rapid and sensitive platform for high-resolution identification of toxic compounds in the aquatic environment.
At this moment, identification of toxic compounds is done by effect-directed analysis (EDA): complex environmental samples showing toxic activity are fractionated with liquid chromatography into a limited number of fractions. Each fraction is tested for toxic activity in a bioassay. Ultimately, the “hot fractions” are analyzed with mass spectrometry to identify the responsible compounds. Such EDA studies often fail to identify the responsible toxic compounds, and are too labor-intensive to be suitable for routine monitoring.
This project will improve fractionation methods and further develop bioassays in such a way that EDA can be performed automatically and in very small volumes. The smaller fractions will contain less compounds and therefore, chemical identification will be better feasible. This will make EDA easier, cheaper and faster. The new platform will provide water laboratories with a tool to monitor water quality more efficiently and to take more specific measures for water quality improvement.
The project will be performed at the VU (BioMolecular Analysis group and the Institute for Environmental Studies) in close cooperation with end-users from the water sector, which is emphasized by the secondment of the two PhD students and implementation of the platform at end-user laboratories.