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The water flea – one of the tools in Mistra SafeChem

Can the little water flea be of help in developing a screening tool for ecotoxicological testing of chemicals? That is investigated by Amira Perez and her colleagues in a Mistra SafeChem PhD project.

Water flea
Water flea. Photo: Dieter Ebert (Creative Commons)

It is estimated that 86 million tonnes of environmentally hazardous chemicals are produced in Europe every year. This volume of potentially harmful chemicals makes traditional assessments using live organisms too costly and time-consuming.

To address these challenges, toxicogenomic, high-throughput and high content screening (HCS) methods have started to evolve. Image-based HCS is relatively new and consists, in its basic form, of a biological sample (cells, tissue, or whole organism), which is processed to extract a visible readout (commonly by fluorescent dyes, molecular probes, antibodies or induced expression of fluorescent proteins) by automated microscopy and then analysed and quantified by image analysis.

Photo of Amira Perez
Amira Perez. Photo: Private

Amira Perez, a biologist at Stockholm University with a master’s degree in integrated water management, is part of a PhD project in Mistra SafeChem. The aim is to develop image-based HCS as a tool to estimate the hazard properties of chemicals.

Read full article on Mistra SafeChem web.