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Phototransformation and photonitration processes of aromatic compounds in surface waters: environmental significance and impacts on living organisms (PHOTONIT)
Start date: 12 Dec 2008, End date: 11 Dec 2009 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The Rhône river delta region and its lagoon system are located in the southern part of France, and it is a zone of great environmental importance as one of the main wintering sites for water birds in the Mediterranean area. It is also subject to a good level of environmental stress because of agricultural activities. The region is polluted by high usage of pesticides and herbicides, resulting in high concentration of aromatic and nitro-aromatic compounds (NACs). The latter are formed by photochemical reactions, are chemically stable, phytotoxic and genotoxic. Due to the significance of the Rhône delta region, it is very important to study the various photochemical pathways that are leading to the occurrence of the different pollutants in surface waters. The present study will be based, as starting point, upon the field monitoring carried out at the University of Marseille (with which the host institution is presently collaborating) on the surface water of the Rhône delta. From the time evolution data of the source compounds and their derivatives, combined with laboratory simulations of the processes involved, it will be possible to gain information concerning the relevant transformation pathways. Additionally, mutagenicity tests concerning the compounds under study will be carried out on inland water crustaceans such as the Artemia shrimps, which reproduce by parthenogenesis and, being monoclonal as a consequence, are particularly suitable for gene mapping and mutagenicity assessment. With the knowledge and experience gained during the fellowship, a similar study will be carried out within the framework of the Kolleru Lake of Andhrapradesh, India, contaminated by pesticides from the surrounding agricultural activities. The applicant will carry out this research work with Dr. M Subrahmanyam, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology at Hyderabad (India), as reintegration host."
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