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Susanna Mieck


Centre for Organismal Studies

Abteilung Tierphysiologie / Entwicklungsbiologie

Im Neuenheimer Feld 504

Phone: +49-(0)6221/54-5629

Fax:: +49-(0)6221/54-6162

e-Mail: mieck@stud.uni-heidelberg.de






Dissertation title:

Investigation of the Ecotoxicological Impact of Food Additives and Pharmaceuticals in the Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Short description:

In order to protect the drinking water and to improve water quality of rivers, enormous efforts have been made over the last decades. The water quality has significantly improved through reduction of nitrogen and phosphor emissions. However, the status of the aquatic biodiversity still decreases in many aquatic environments. This could have different reasons, especially the entry of so called micropollutants in the aquatic environment are of interest. Micropollutants such as pharmaceutical, food additives and nanoparticle or microplastics arrive in great quantities in the aquatic environment due to high consumption. For example artificial sweeteners (Acesulfam, Sucralose), as well as the pharmaceutical metformin are detected in surface- and even drinking water with increasing quantity. These substances are naturally quite persistent and are poorly metabolised in humans, thus excreted unchanged into the environment. Since the effects of both artificial sweeteners and pharmaceuticals remain largely unknown, the Eff-Net project (Effect Network in Water Research) will attempt to develop a multi-scale network for the identification and evaluation of biological hazards posed by micropollutants (e.g. artificial sweeteners).

Therefore, the aim of the planned doctoral thesis is to analyse potential effects upon fishes caused by artificial sweeteners and pharmaceuticals manipulating the glucose metabolism. For the determination of toxicology and teratogenic data of the aforementioned parent substance and their metabolites (identified through environmental analysis), the zebrafish (Danio rerio) serves as model organism, although studies will be conducted exclusively with zebrafish embryos, if possible. With a novel examination system it is intended to analyse changes in behaviour and cognitive capabilities of embryos, additionally. Since there is almost no research data about the influence of artificial sweeteners and mentioned pharmaceuticals in fishes, the planned dissertation is a fundamental research. Furthermore, the mentioned substances are found in the environment at an increasing rate, resulting in an applied, highly topical aspect, too.