Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

ECO42: Fate-directed toxicity testing and risk assessment of UVCBs

Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. Philipp Mayer
Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Bygningstorvet B115
2800 Kgs. Lyngby
Tel. +45 45 25 15 69


Prof. Dr. Pim Leonards, Department of Environment and Health, VU University (VU), Amsterdam, NL, pim.leonards@vu.nl
Prof. Dr. Matthew MacLeod, Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry (ACES), Stockholm University (SU), SE, matthew.macleod@aces.su.se


The objectives of this project are (1) to develop and test new approaches for fate-directed ecotoxicity assessment of UVCBs based on new combinations of analytical methods, dosing methods, fate directed fractionation, toxicity testing and models, (2) to conduct a case study on selected UVCBs and to develop a generic risk assessment strategy for UVCBs and (3) to cross fertilize and partially align the ongoing research activities related to UVCBs at three European research institutes. The short-term expected outcome is scientific and technical progress that will support fate-directed toxicity testing of UVCBs, and a case study that will illustrate a fate-directed risk assessment methodology for selected UVCBs. The long-term benefit of the project will be more scientifically informed and higher quality testing of UVCBs, and thus an improved basis for future environmental risk assessment of UVCBs.

Scientific and technical basis for the project

Fate directed toxicity testing means toxicity testing of the relevant UVCB constituents and/or the relevant mixture composition when taking modifying fate processes into account, with the overall aim to increase the environmental relevance of obtained toxicity test results. Within UVCB-FATETOX we will address this in different ways:

Sample introduction. The way a test substance is introduced into an aqueous media can be crucial for the outcome of the test. While substance introduction is already crucial and challenging for single compounds, it is even more important for complex mixtures and UVCBs. Often the WAF method is used for UVCB exposure but this approach has a number of disadvantages. It is a challenge to maintain stable water concentrations and consequently keep the composition proportional to the start conditions. Hydrophobic constituents will bioaccumulate more than less hydrophobic constituents in the test organism which will change the composition pattern in the water, and therefore depletion of specific constituents can occur. We therefore will use and evaluate a passive dosing system for the exposure control of UVCBs. In UVCB-FATETOX, we will introduce the UVCBs as WAF (dispersion, dissolution & partitioning) and compare it to passive dosing (partitioning). Modern analytical methods will then be applied to determine and visualize composition differences of the dissolved UVCB mixtures in the aqueous media. In all subsequent experiments, the sample introduction principle will be chosen very carefully based on (i) the relevant exposure scenario, (ii) high reproducibility, (iii) aiming for sufficiently constant exposure during the test and (iv) avoiding non-dissolved UVCB in the test media.

With case studies the methods developed will be applied both on the whole UVCB substance but also on discrete chemicals with structures that are representative of specific blocks (constituent approach). These studies will show the advantages and disadvantages from a technical feasibility and hazard and risk assessment point of view for UVCB assessment. These assessments include exposure modelling to predict the environmental concentration (PEC). Advanced Analytical Chemistry will be crucial in this project and we expect it to become a keystone in the future risk assessment of UVCBs. The project will include biomimetic Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME) directed at determining the baseline toxic potential and bioaccumulation potential of UVCBs, Headspace-SPME applied to biodegradation and bioaccumulation studies and GCxGC coupled to FID and MS for separating UVCBs into its individual components or at least into a very large number of generic structures (blocks). If needed also LC-MS, LCxLC-QTOFMS techniques will be applied. We will give special attention to the optimal alignment between analytical methods and the experiments. Additionally, we envisage that analytical methods in combination with models can be used to link fate and toxicity studies in situations where it is difficult or not possible to physically couple fate and toxicity studies.

Related Publications


Sühring R, Chen C, Horlitz G, McLachlan M, MacLeod M. Deriving bioconcentration factors of constituents of essential oils using in vivo benchmarked dietary exposure studies. SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting, May 2019, Helsinki, Finland.

Ngoc Trac L, Sjøholm K, Mayer P. Passive dosing and aquatic toxicity testing of complex organic mixtures – Linking toxicity to concentrations in the silicone and lipid donors. SETAC Helsinki, 30 May 2019

Ngoc Trac L, Sjøholm K, Mayer P. Passive dosing and aquatic toxicity testing of complex organic mixtures. SETAC Toronto, 5 November 2019


Mayer P, Leonards P, MacLeod M. UVCB fate-directed toxicity testing and risk assessment (UVCB-FATETOX). Cefic-LRI/CONCAWE Workshop on recent developments in science supportive to the persistence and biodegradation assessment, September 2018, Helsinki, Finland.

Sühring R, Chen C, McLachlan M, MacLeod M. Bioconcentration factoes of UVCB constituents in fish from in vivo benchmarked dietary exposure studies. ICCA-LRI & JRC Workshop 21st Century Approaches for Evaluating Biological Activity, Exposures, and Risks of Complex Substances, June 2019, Stresa, Italy.


Sühring R, Mayer P, Leonards P and M MacLeod. 2022. Fate-directed risk assessment of chemical mixtures: a case study for cedarwood essential oil. Environmental Science Processes & Impacts 24: 1133-1143.

van Mourik, L.M, E. Janssen, W. Jonker , J. Koekkoek , A. Arrahman , J. Kool, P.E.G. 2021. Leonards. Combining high resolution gas chromatographic continuous fraction collection with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy: possibilities of analyzing a whole GC chromatogram. Analytical Chemistry 93: 6158-6168.

Philipp Mayer, K Sjøholm, LN Trac, R Hammershøj & H Birch (DTU-Environment); Roxana Samson & Matt MacLeod (Stockholm University); Pim Leonards (VU Amsterdam). UVCB fate-directed toxicity testing and risk assessment, 2021.

Philipp Mayer, Karina Sjøholm, Lam Ngoc Trac & Rikke Hammershøj (DTU-Environment); Roxana Samson & Matt MacLeod (Stockholm University); Pim Leonards (VU Amsterdam). UVCB fate-directed toxicity testing and risk assessment (UVCB-FATETOX), 2021.

Mette Torsbjerg Møller, Heidi Birch, Karina Knudsmark Sjøholm, Rikke Hammershøj,Karen Jenner, Philipp Mayer. Biodegradation of an essential oil UVCB – Whole substance testing and constituent specific analytics yield biodegradation kinetics of mixture constituents, Elsevier, Chemosphere, April 2021.

Lam Ngoc Trac, Karina Knudsmark Sjo̷holm, Heidi Birch, and Philipp Mayer. Passive Dosing of Petroleum and Essential Oil UVCBs – Whole Mixture Toxicity Testing at Controlled Exposure. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2021, 55, 6150−6159.

Roxana Suhring, Chang-Er Chen, Michael S. McLachlan and Matthew MacLeod. Bioconcentration of cedarwood oil constituents in rainbow trout. Royal Society of Chemistry – Environmental, Science, Processes & Impacts (Volume 23, Number 5, May 2021, Pages 635–804).

Rikke Hammershøj, Karina K. Sjøholm, Heidi Birch, Kristian K. Brandt and Philipp Mayer. Investigating the concentration effect on biodegradation kinetics of two hydrophobic UVCB substances. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 6, 3087–3094.

Rikke Hammershøj, Karina K. Sjøholm, Heidi Birch, Kristian K. Brandt, and Philipp Mayer. Biodegradation kinetics testing of two hydrophobic UVCBs – potential for substrate toxicity supports testing at low concentrations, September 2020.

Ursula G. Sauera, Robert A. Barterb, Richard A. Beckerc, Emilio Benfenatid, Elisabet Berggrene, Bruno Hubeschf,g, Heli M. Hollnagelh, Kunifumi Inawakai, Athena M. Keenej, Philipp Mayerk, Kathleen Plotzkel, Robert Skoglundm, Océane Albert. 21st Century Approaches for Evaluating Exposures, Biological Activity, and Risks of Complex Substances: Workshop highlights. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Elsevier.

Rikke Hammershøj, a Karina K. Sjøholm, a Heidi Birch, a Kristian K. Brandt b
and Philipp Mayer. Biodegradation kinetics testing of two hydrophobic UVCBs – potential for substrate toxicity supports testing at low concentrations. Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2020, 22, 2172.

Lam Ngoc Trac, Stine Nørgaard Schmidt, Martin Holmstrup, and Philipp Mayer. Headspace Passive Dosing of Volatile Hydrophobic Organic Chemicals from a Lipid Donor -Linking Their Toxicity to Well- Defined Exposure for an Improved Risk Assessment. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2019, 53, 13468−13476.

Rikke Hammershøj, Heidi Birch, Karina K Sjøholm, and Philipp Mayer. Accelerated Passive Dosing of Hydrophobic Complex Mixtures−Controlling the Level and Composition in Aquatic Tests. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 4974−4983

Daniel Salvito,a Marc Fernandez,b Karen Jenner,c Delina Y. Lyon,d Joop de Knecht,e Philipp Mayer,f Matthew MacLeod, Karen Eisenreich,h Pim Leonards,i Romanas Cesnaitis,j Miriam León‐Paumen,k Michelle Embry,l and Sandrine E. Déglinl. Improving the Environmental Risk Assessment of Substances of Unknown or Variable Composition, Complex Reaction Products, or Biological Materials. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry—Volume 39, Number 11—pp. 2097–2108, 2020.

Timeline: April 2018 > April 2021

LRI funding: € 449 814

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