From waste to resource: Training young researchers on developing innovative, circular solutions for wastewater treatment sludge - INCLUE

DC10: Investigating residual embryotoxicity of micropollutants and degradation products

Project title: Investigating residual embryotoxicity of micropollutants and degradation products (WP3)

Host Institution: INRAE

Country: France

Supervisor : D. du Pasquier, D. Patureau (PhD promoter) ; Co-supervisors : Raf Dewil (KU LEUVEN), M. de Kreuk (TU Delft)

Objectives: To assess embryotoxicity and environmental impact of treated sludges, digestates, and char-based materials in the context of agricultural land use. To link toxicity with the presence of specific classes of molecules.

DC10 will assess embryotoxicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the INCLUE sludges and digestates, and use this to evaluate the efficacy of the treatments to depollute the sludge. DC10 will employ bioassays, and in vivo bioanalytical assessment at the whole organism level, using fish and amphibian embryos (e.g., Medaka). DC10 will identify the most efficient treatment for toxicity removal and provide guidance to optimize the individual treatments towards toxicity decrease. DC10 will identify the chemicals acting as drivers of embryonic or endocrine toxicity in sludges, using Effect Directed Analysis, which is based on the fractionation of the samples followed by the identification of positive fractions using bioassays.

Expected Results: Bioassays developed for monitoring ecotoxicity, by creating knowledge on (i) the chemicals as drivers of sludge ecotoxicity, (ii) the effectiveness of the INCLUE sludge treatment methods towards depollution of sludge.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): Gaia Doctoral School, University of Montpellier (FR)

Planned secondments:

  • KU Leuven (Sup.: R. Dewil): M12-15 (4 months): Training in high-resolution analysis of micropollutants in sludge matrices, optimisation of sample preparation.
  • TU Delft (Sup.: M. de Kreuk): M29-32 (4 months): Insights in the kinetics of thermal pre-treatment and formation of transformation products.

Candidate requirements:
  • You hold a master in toxicology, ecotoxicology, biotechnology, endocrinology or a related field.
  • You are very keen to join the R&D team of the first private laboratory dedicated to the assessment of endocrine disruptors.
  • You are motivated to use and promote NAMs (New Approach Methodologies) using embryos of aquatic organisms (fish and frogs) in an ecotoxicological context.
  • You are well-organized and have good communication skills.
  • You speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated person, ready to participate in personal training, international travel and public awareness activities.