At the 14th conference, Chemical safety for all: substances of concern, which took place in Kranj on 1 December 2022, project leaders Prof. dr. Esther Heath and Dr. Urška Blaznik (NIJZ, project partner) presented a work entitled Chemicals and food of concern
L7-4422 - UPTAKE
UPTAKE - Agricultural reuse of wastewater and sewage sludge: Uptake and distribution of contaminants of emerging concern in tomato plant as a model, 1.10.2022-30.9.2025, Ester Heath
Chemicals and food of concern
UPTAKE “kick-off” meeting
Uptake Kick-off meeting took place on October 10, 2022. Here you can find the presentations and minutes.
The use of treated wastewater (TWW) as irrigation water and treated solids (TS) as a soil amendment in agriculture is in line with circular economy targets of Water Resource and Recovery Facilities (formally Wastewater Treatment Plants). It offers a solution for meeting irrigation requirements in regions suffering from water scarcity and the problem of sewage sludge disposal. However, the use of TWW and TS is problematic since they could contain contaminants of concern (CEC), which can accumulate in soil and plants, enter the food chain, and pose a risk to animals (feed) and humans (food). Regulation on the agricultural use of TWW in the EU was amended in 2020. Besides listing minimum quality requirements for some traditional organic, solids and bacteriological parameters, it states the key elements of a risk assessment associated with reusing TWW such as emerging contaminants, e.g., pharmaceuticals, pesticides, disinfection by-products and microplastics. However, it fails to specify which compounds to monitor. In contrast, regulations covering soil amendment with biosolids originates from 1986 and addresses only standard parameters. Many experts now believe it is just a question of time before the EU regularly recognises the need to monitor selected CECs in TWW and TS intended for agriculture. A further step is assessing the risks of using TWW and TS, which involves understanding complex interactions and physical/biological processes involved in plant uptake, making assessing the long-term impact of exposure to CECs from TWW and TS amended crops challenging. To date, studies on plant uptake of CEC have focused mainly on pesticides and legacy compounds or have been limited to selected pharmaceuticals in simplified experimental conditions. At the same time, limited data exist concerning endocrine-disrupting compounds such as bisphenols and micro/nano plastics.
The UPTAKE project aims to address these knowledge gaps by studying the uptake of 30 CEC with diverse physicochemical properties (broad Kow) and micro/nanoplastics and under different growing regimes, including field conditions. The contaminants will be assessed in different environments (water, sludge, soil, plant tissues). The study will include hydroponic and soil-water systems (pots) experiments using TWW and biosolids with and without added CECs and field studies using lysimeters (with and without added CECs). Potable water and peat substrate will be used as control. We will apply target (30 CEC) and non-target analysis to assess the uptake and risk associated with CECs and their residues (metabolites/transformation products). Also, the effects of microplastic deriving from TS and TWW on soil in a pot and lysimeter experiment will be studied, and independent hydroponic experiments studying the uptake of nanoplastics will be performed for the first time. The research will focus on tomatoes as a model plant. In addition to experiments, a model will be developed and tuned to experimental data, which can then be used to predict plant uptake of other contaminants. Machine learning methods are expected to help identify the most influential and nonlinear relationships between physicochemical parameters of contaminants and their accumulation in soil or plant tissues. The data will estimate the potential health risk associated with human exposure to hazards present in the tomato fruit.
Performing this work will require a multidisciplinary effort; for this reason, UPTAKE, led by the Jožef Stefan Institute, will build a team of five leading national academic institutions, seven European and International academic institutions and seven co-financing partners proving the importance of research. UPTAKE also has the full support of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia.
Keywords: circular economy, reuse, wastewater, treated sludge, water resource and recovery facility, wastewater treatment plant, contaminant of emerging concern, micro/nanoplastics, element, tomato, uptake, distribution
POLJUDNI POVZETEK PROJEKTNE NALOGE (SLO)
Za oceno tveganja, ki je posledica uporabe prečiščene odpadne vode za namakanje in stabiliziranega odpadnega blata za gnojenje, je potrebno poznati privzem mikropolutantov kot so novodobna organska onesnaževala (Contaminants of emerging concern, CEC) v rastline. V okviru projektne naloge bomo preučevali privzem izbranih organskih onesnažil v testno rastlino (paradižnik Solanum lycopersicum L.) v hidroponskih (gojeno v prečiščeni vodi) in lončnih poskusih (gnojeno z odpadnim blatom) ter lizimetrih (zalivano s prečiščeno vodo). Z vzorčenjem in analizo različnih rastlinskih tkiv (korenine, listi, stebla, plodovi) bo UPTAKE pridobil informacije o porazdelitvi in kopičenju teh spojin ter vpliv na kakovost plodov in oceno tveganja za zdravje ljudi, ki ga predstavlja ta alternativna kmetijska praksa.
Izmenjava informacij in znanja med znanstveniki in končnimi uporabniki bo vodila k boljšemu poznavanju in boljši kmetijski praksi, kar bo posledično prispevalo k zmanjševanju pomanjkanja vode, izboljšanemu upravljanju vodnih virov, zmanjšanju potrebe po črpanju podzemne vode in povečanju regionalne (kmetijske blaginje). Pomembnost projekta za gospodarstvo in družbo pa potrjuje tudi izjemno visok delež sofinanciranja, z rezultati projektne naloge pa bomo prispevali tudi k oblikovanju trenutno precej ohlapne evropske zakonodaje.
Ključne besede: krožno gospodarstvo, ponovna uporaba, odpadna voda, odpadno blato, čistilne naprave, naprave za obnovo vode in virov, prioritetna organska onesnažila, mikro/nano plastika, elementi, rastlina, paradižnik, privzem, porazdelitev
• WP 1: PROJECT MANAGEMENT
• WP 2: (BIO)ANALYTICAL ISSUES
• WP 3: EXPERIMENTAL ISSUES
• WP 4: EFFECTS OF WASTEWATER/TREATED SLUDGE ON FRUIT QUALITY ATTRIBUTES
• WP 5: MODELLING CEC PLANT UPTAKE
• WP 6: RISK ASSESSMENT
• WP 7: DISSEMINATION
PROJECT FUNDED BY
PROJECT CO-FINANCED BY (in alphabetical order):
JP Centralna čistilna naprava Domžale-Kamnik, d.o.o., Domžale
Komunalno stanovanjska družba d.o.o., Ajdovščina
Komunala Kranj, javno podjetje, d.o.o., Kranj
Komunala javno podjetje, d.o.o., Murska sobota,
Komunala Novo mesto, d.o.o., javno podjetje, Novo mesto
Komunalno podjetje Velenje, d.o.o., Velenje
Mestna občina Krško, Krško
RESEARCH PROJECT PARTNERS
Jožef Stefan Institute, Department of Environmental Scences (O2)
Jožef Stefan Institute, Department of Systems and Control (E2)
Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana (UL-BF)
Faculty for Health Sciences, University of Ljubljana (UL-ZF)
Faculty of Civil Engineering, University of Ljubljana (UL-FGG)
National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ)