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Determination of the effects of single chemicals and complex mixes (sewages, residues,…) on receptors of the aquatic and terrestrial compartments

This service allows the ecotoxicological evaluation (effects) of pure substances and complex mixtures with unknown composition, including emerging contaminants, on representative organisms of the different aquatic and terrestrial trophic levels. The tests are conducted following international standardized methods and others of new development.

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The ecotoxicology group can determine the ecotoxicological effects of pure substances and complex samples of unknown composition in both terrestrial and aquatic organisms.

This service is aimed at public or private entities that wish to determine the environmental hazards of a sample. It will allow you to determine the degree of compliance with environmental regulations of your toxic waste, spills, sewage effluents, etc. or obtain additional, external and independent information on the sub-products. It is especially interesting in the case of complex samples of unknown composition, and when an ecotoxicological evaluation is necessary before decisions or any other action, including the recovery of waste are made.

Methodology: we use single-species tests standardized by recognized international organizations, and multi-species tests (higher level assay). In addition, we design and conduct new bioassays to evaluate the effects of specific substances or mixtures with specific properties when additional information is required.

Facilities: climatic chambers are available for the cultivation of the different biological species and for the performance of the tests under controlled temperature and photoperiod. As well as laboratories specially equipped to work independently with terrestrial and aquatic samples and cell cultures as an alternative method to animal testing.

We also carry out environmental risk assessments for chemical products under different exposure scenarios and offer scientific-technical advice related to the performance of bioassays.

We participate in the teaching of courses and seminars focused on ecotoxicology and environmental risk assessment for postgraduate students, companies, etc.


​The ecotoxicology group conducts the following test according to the OECD Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals

  • Terrestrial Plant Test: Seedling Emergence and Seedling Growth Test (OECD 208)
  • Acute Toxicity Tests (OECD 207) and Earthworm Reproduction Test (OECD 222) in Earthworm (Eisenia andrei)
  • Soil Microorganisms: Nitrogen Transformation Test (OECD 216) and Carbon Transformation Test (OECD 217)
  • Acute Immobilisation Test (OECD 235), Sediment-Water Toxicity Using Spiked sediment (OCDE 218), Spiked Water (OECD 219) and Life-Cycle Toxicity Test (OECD 233) with chironomid (Chironomus riparius)
  • Lymnaea stagnalis Reproduction Test (OECD 243)
  • Acute Immobilisation Test (OECD 202) and Reproduction Test (OECD 211) with Daphnia magna.
  • Aquatic plant (Lemna minor). Growth Inhibition Test (OECD 221)
  • Freshwater Alga and Cyanobacteria, Growth Inhibition Test (OECD 201)
  • Amphibian Metamorphosis Assay (OECD 231) and the Larval Amphibian Growth and Development Assay (LAGDA) (OECD 241) with Xenopus laevis
  • Fish, Short-term Toxicity Test on Embryo and Sac-Fry Stages (OECD 212), Fish, Juvenile Growth Test (OECD 215) andy Fish, Early-life Stage Toxicity Test (OECD 210) with fish medaka (Oryzias latipes)

Other methodologies:

  • Early-life Stages (cocoons, hatchlings and juvenile) test with earthworms (Eisenia andrei).
  • Two generations test with the earthworm Eisenia andrei.
  • Biomarkers assays related to oxidative stress and cellular injury on plants and earthworms.
  • Enzymatic assays linked to the activity of soil microorganisms
  • Cytotoxicity and genotoxicity tests with fish cell cultures
  • Multispecies Soil Systems (MS·3)

Frequent questions

Are the bioassays performed using Good Laboratory Practices (GLPs)?

No. we conduct the tests closely following the OECD guidelines for testing chemicals, but we have no GLP accreditation. Although we offer this service, our goal is focused on environmental research more than on the diagnosis of samples. However, if you need, we can advise you and indicate accredited laboratories or companies.

Is it possible to assess the ecotoxicity of a sample with unknown composition or with multi-components?

Yes, in these cases the test is adapted to carry out the evaluation. Furthermore, the degree of "acceptable hazard" of the sample can be determined based on ecotoxicological criteria.

Can be the ecotoxicological evaluation applied to specific sites?

Yes, it is possible to determine the environmental hazard of specific areas associated with urban, industrial, agricultural activities, etc., as well as soil or river sections affected by spills or accidents.

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