Masaryk University - RECETOX

The Research Centre for Toxic compounds in the environment (REsearch CEntre for TOXic compounds in the environment, RECETOX) is an independent department at the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University.

RECETOX was established on 1 March 2010 with support from the CETOCOEN project (CZ.1.05/2.1.00/01.0001) of 2nd priority axis of the Operational Programme Research and Development for Innovation. Its long-term goal is to carry out top research and use its results to protect the environment and human health. The research focuses on the study of relationships between chemical substances, the environment and biological systems, including the monitoring of their implications at local, regional and global levels. New approaches are being developed, appropriate to the study of the distribution, transport, bioaccumulation and effects of contaminants, including an evaluation of environmental and health risks, environmental modelling, biostatistics and environmental informatics. Wide range expertise of the professional staff of the Centre allows exploring the interdisciplinary relationship between contamination of ecosystems and the health of population, biodiversity or climate change, assess local and regional impacts and develop new remediation and recovery technologies. The goal is to gain new data and knowledge and make them available for qualified decision-making at all levels. A key role is played by the education process, not only the education of university students, but also practitioners and the general public. RECETOX participates in teaching of bachelors courses, the focus of its pedagogical activities is in masters and in particular doctoral study programmes.

The RECETOX Centre enters into the project with its activities focused on the transport of atmospheric pollution in Europe. It has been involved in building the infrastructure of the Košetice observatory and developing the research programmes and expertise of the station since its establishment in 1988. It ensures integrated monitoring of persistent organic pollutants for the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the Stockholm Convention (SC) including management, evaluation and presentation of available data. This project is supported by the accredited RECETOX Research Infrastructure Trace Analytical Laboratory offering state-of-the-art equipment and experienced staff for analysing a wide range of environmental samples.

Four research programmes of the centre (Environmental Chemistry and Modelling, Organic Photochemistry and Supramolecular Chemistry, Protein Engineering, and Ecotoxicology) are supported by state-of-the-art open access research infrastructure. The Trace Analytical Laboratory offers state-of-the-art equipment and experienced personnel to analyse a wide range of environmental samples and human matrices. It implements a range of long-term national and international monitoring programmes, laboratory and field studies of the Centre, as well as providing analytical support to collaborating institutions within joint projects and contract research. It works in accordance with strict QA/QC protocols, uses validated methods and regularly participates in proficiency tests. The Global Environmental Assessment and Information System (GENASIS) is the central research unit of the Centre providing information on concentrations of substances in the environment and human tissues to the scientific community, policymakers, and the general public. The data collected from the Centre's long-term monitoring programmes are linked to data from other sources to support national and international decision-making and the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (www.genasis.cz, www.pops-gmp.org). The individual central workplaces of the research infrastructure are managed by responsible managers who, like the research programme managers, are directly responsible to the head of the Centre. The open access manager for research infrastructure is responsible for promoting and communicating with infrastructure clients. This project will involve the staff of the Environmental Chemistry and Modelling programme and the central Trace Analytical Laboratories unit.

The current research activities of the Environmental Chemistry and Modelling research programme of the RECETOX centre are relevant to this project. The research team links short-term field experiments with long-term monitoring programmes, leading to a wider understanding of the mechanisms of environmental processes affecting emissions and the fate of chemical substances in the environment and related human exposure. To study the behaviour, distribution and transport of chemical substances, exposure and associated risks, a set of mutually complementing sensitive sampling techniques and analytical methods available in the RECETOX accredited central analytical laboratories is used. The data collected serve in development of database systems, testing deterministic and stochastic models suitable for analysis of relationships, predicting environmental changes and impacts, and supporting decision-making processes.

Key activities include:

  • Long-term monitoring of POPs in the ambient air and atmospheric deposition at the Košetice observatory as a Central European background station of the EMEP network, which has been implemented for CLRTAP since 1988 and whose results are made available to the common EMEP database;
  • Passive sampling of POPs in the ambient air, carried out since 2003 at the Košetice observatory as an inter-calibration station of the international MONET and GAPS passive monitoring networks set up to support the Global Monitoring Plan (GMP) of the Stockholm Convention on POPs (www.genasis.muni.cz, www.pops-gmp.org);
  • Integrated monitoring of POPs in ambient air, atmospheric deposition, surface water, sediment, soil, moss, and lichen, carried out since 1988 for the detailed study of the fate of these compounds in the environment and data acquisition for the development and validation of models;
  • Detailed studies of POPs distribution between size-stratified atmospheric aerosols and gaseous phase of the atmosphere and the impacts of this distribution on lifespan and long-distance transport of POPs and related health risks;
  • Studies focusing on the efficiency of POPs removal from the atmosphere by dry and wet deposition processes and the use of this new knowledge in the development of new models.
 

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