CIRCE - earChIng for EmeRging Contaminants in Sub-Arctic rivErs Title: SearChIng for EmeRging Contaminants in Sub-Arctic rivErs
Acronym: CIRCE
Principal Investigator ISP: Angelina Lo Giudice
Leading Institution: Institute of Polar Sciences (CNR-ISP)
Funding: INTER-ACT
Period of activity: 2021 - 2023

Even though the polar zones are seen and perceived as isolated and uncontaminated areas, it is now known that unfortunately they are also affected by different forms of contamination and are equally involved in all the ecological processes that occur in other environments. Rather, the climatic changes affecting the cold environments have led the Arctic area at unprecedented warming rate, so that all insights on infectious diseases and their diffusion are becoming paramount. Indeed, climatic factors could have direct and indirect impact on disease transmission phenomena, by affecting pathogen survival and food- and waterborne diseases distribution. With respect to chemical contamination, a number of emerging contaminants have engendered significant scientific concern, such as pharmaceutical products and micro(nano)plastics. To date, scarce information is available about their occurrence, the possible biodegradation routes, the bioaccumulation processes, and the short-term and long-term effects in the Arctic. In particular, plastics could serve as a carrier for other pollutants adsorbed and/or entrapped on their surfaces. M(n)Ps also constitute a novel and underexplored type of substrate for microbial colonization and transportation, including pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes.

CIRCE poses as its main scope the investigation on the biological and chemical contamination levels in subarctic rivers. Main objectives are: 1) Environmental quality determination through check of selected parameters in water and sediments: nutrient, POM, DOM analyses; presence of bacterial pathogens (fecal-indicator bacteria, including Viable but Non-Culturable –VBNC- fraction), antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses; 2) Evaluation of the occurrence of bacterial pathogens and viruses in marine model organisms (i.e. fish, mussels) as potential carriers of infections for humans through the food chain; 3) Assessing the occurrence of pollutants [i.e. hydrocarbons, PPs, pesticides, M(n)P] in the biotic and abiotic matrices; 4) Definition of possible correlations between chemical and biological contamination.
Sampling will be carried out in Summer 2022 along the Teno River (Finland) with the logistic support of the KEVO SUBARCTIC RESEARCH STATION.

Project Partners
• University of Pisa
• Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Messina

ministero Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale
L'Italia e l’Artico
L’Italia e l’Antartide

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