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BioCell Analytica provides unique methods to detect and quantify the combined toxic effects of all hazardous compounds in environmental samples

Humans and the environment are constantly exposed to many chemical compounds, both synthetic chemicals and naturally occurring compounds. Some of these compounds may have adverse effects on human health or the ecosystem even at low concentrations.

BioCell Analytica offers effect-based methods to detect contaminants in the environment e.g., in drinking water, wastewater, surface water, sediment and soil. The great strength with our methods is that they reveal the effects of all hazardous chemicals in a sample, instead of focusing only on the concentrations of a few selected compounds, as with traditional chemical analysis.

Our bioassays detect effects from both known and unknown compounds as well as metabolites, transformation products, and cocktail effects which can occur when several compounds in a mixture interact. This analytical approach can be used to optimize water treatment and to evaluate novel treatment technologies to minimize discharges of hazardous chemicals to the environment and protect human health.

Drinking water
Drinking water is essential for human life and our health is highly dependent on access to safe drinking water. The large intake, the lifelong consumption, and the fact that we may consume drinking water from the same source during long periods in life, leads us to the conclusion that even low levels of chemical pollutants in drinking water can pose a risk to human health. BioCell Analytica’s analytical methods evaluate drinking water quality more holistically by focusing on the whole complex mixture instead of a small set of well-known chemicals. The methods can also be used to investigate the removal efficacy of chemical contaminants during drinking water production, if present in the raw water, or if harmful by-products are formed during drinking water disinfection.

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Wastewater contains many chemical contaminants, such as household chemicals and pharmaceutical residues. Conventional wastewater treatment technologies are not optimized to remove these contaminants before the treated water is discharged into the environment. Our methods can be used to study the presence of hazardous chemicals in both incoming and treated wastewater and to evaluate how efficiently these pollutants are removed in the treatment plant. Our methods have been used for studies at several of Sweden’s largest sewage treatment plants.

Environmental monitoring

Environmental monitoring of surface water is currently largely based on chemical analyses of a few environmental contaminants. However, international research has shown that up to 99% of the toxic effects detected in water samples are caused by unknown chemicals or mixture effects, which are completely overlooked when only measuring levels of known environmental pollutants. Our methods detect and quantify the total effect of chemicals, including known and unknown substances as well as mixture effects, the so-called cocktail effect.

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Evaluate new treatment technologies

The water industry is facing major new investments to replace old systems, meet an increased need, and stricter regulations to reduce the risks of chemical pollutants in recepient water. Wastewater treatment plants invest in new technical solutions to remove pharmaceutical residues and other chemical contaminants. The drinking water utilities are planning investments in chemical barriers to prevent hazardous contaminants in the raw water to reach the drinking water consumers. Our methods can be used to evaluate how efficiently new treatment technologies remove chemicals that are hazardous to health and the environment, both known and unknown substances.