ENFOCAR: Innovative approach for the detection of cytotoxic and reprotoxic substances in reclaimed and drinking water

Cristina Postigo Rebollo holds a degree in Environmental Sciences (Autonomous University of Madrid, 2001) and a master’s degree in “Environmental Applied Geosciences” (Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany, 2006). In 2006, she joined the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA) of the CSIC to do her doctoral thesis in the field of environmental analytical chemistry. In 2011, she received her PhD from the University of Barcelona (extraordinary doctorate award). Her post-doctoral stage included two years (2012-2014) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a Marie Curie researcher. As part of this grant, she returned to IDAEA, where she continued as a Beatriu de Pinós researcher (2015-2017), and currently, since 1 September 2018, as a ComFuturo researcher developing her project “Innovative approach for the detection of cytotoxic and reprotoxic substances in reclaimed and drinking water“.

Project Summary

Reclaimed wastewater is a valuable water resource. However, in order to promote its use, as well as the social acceptance of this practice, it is necessary to guarantee its safety from a health point of view.

As part of the regeneration process, the water is disinfected to eliminate pathogenic organisms (bacteria and viruses that cause infectious diseases). During this process, disinfection by-products (DBPs) are generated. These chemical compounds, and in particular those that contain halogen elements in their structure (chlorine, bromine or iodine) can be toxic, causing negative reproductive, developmental, and even carcinogenic effects.

These types of compounds have been extensively researched in drinking water (e.g., chlorinated water). However, their formation can vary substantially in reclaimed wastewater, as it contains very different dissolved organic matter.

This project aims to develop a novel approach to detect and identify the most relevant toxic substances in reclaimed water in order to minimise their presence in it. For this purpose, DBPs formed at the outlet of wastewater reclamation plants currently in operation will be studied using an analytical approach that integrates chemical and toxicological information. (effect-directed analysis: EDA). The aim is to develop a tool to evaluate the toxic effects of the sampled waters and their different fractions with a model of human placenta cells (JEG-3) and to characterise the DBPs in them, with the ultimate goal of identifying the compounds responsible for the observed toxicity. Advanced analytical techniques based on high resolution mass spectrometry will be used for chemical characterisation. The tool, once validated, will also be applied to drinking water.

Application: The objective of this project is to develop a methodology to detect toxic substances that are generated during water disinfection, either in the wastewater regeneration process or in the drinking water treatment process, in order to minimise their presence. In particular, the knowledge generated about reclaimed wastewater will help to extend its use with health guarantees and to promote social acceptance of this process.

Scientific production derived from ComFuturo ENFOCAR Project


Scientific articles  

 

  • C. Postigo; A. Andersson; M. Harir; D. Bastviken; M. Gonsior; P. Schmitt-Kopplin; P.Gago-Ferrero; L. Ahrens; L. Ahrens; K. Wiberg (2021). Unraveling the chemodiversity of halogenated disinfection by-products formed during drinking water treatment using target and non-target screening tools, JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALSDOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.123681

 

  • C. Postigo; P. Emiliano; F. Valero (2020). High throughput and reliable determination of 13 haloacetic acids and dalapon in water and evaluation of control strategies. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: WATER RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY. DOI:10.1039/d0ew00296h

 

  • C. Postigo; B. Zonja (2019). Iodinated disinfection byproducts: formation and concerns. CURRENT OPINION IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND HEALTH. DOI:10.1016/j.coesh.2018.08.006

 

Works presented at conferences

 

  • J. Mestres-Martinez, E. Perez-Albaladejo, C. Porte, C. Postigo. Evaluation of reprotoxic effects in the model cell line JEG-3 by means of an LC-MS/MS based aproach. SETAC SciCon, the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting. Poster. Online virtual meeting (https://scicon.setac.org/). 3/05/2020-7/05/2020

 

  • C. Postigo; A. Andersson; M. Harir; D. Bastviken; M. Gonsior; P. Schmitt-Kopplin; P.Gago-Ferrero; L. Ahrens; L. Ahrens; K. Wiberg. Mass spectrometry-based approaches to characterize chemodiversity of chlor(am)inated water SETAC SciCon, the SETAC Europe 30th Annual Meeting. Poster. Online virtual meeting (https://scicon.setac.org/). 3/05/2020-7/05/2020

 

  • C. Postigo; A. Andersson; M. Harir; D. Bastviken; M. Gonsior; P. Schmitt-Kopplin; P.Gago-Ferrero; L. Ahrens; L. Ahrens; K. Wiberg. Characterization of natural organic matter and disinfection by-products formed after chemical disinfection of water. CEST 2019, 16th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology. Poster. Rhodes, Greece. 4/09/2019 – 7/09/2019

 

  • M.C. Aznar-Luque; E. Perez-Albaladejo; C. Porte; C. PostigoENFOCAR: An approach to minimize exposure to toxic pollutants of disinfected water. 11th World Congress of EWRA on Water Resources and Environment (EWRA- 2019). Oral presentation. Madrid, Spain. 25/06/2019 – 29/06/2019

 

  • C. Aznar-Luque; E. Perez-Albaladejo; C. Porte; C. PostigoDisinfection byproducts in reclaimed water: integration of high-resolution mass spectrometry and in vitro toxicity assays data to characterize toxic DBPs. 17th International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment (ICCE-2019). Oral Presentation. Thessaloniki, Greece. 16/06/2019 – 20/06/2019

 

  • C. Postigo; A. Andersson; M. Harir; D. Bastviken; M. Gonsior; P. Schmitt- Kopplin; P. Gago-Ferrero; L. Ahrens; L. Ahrens; K. Wiberg. Application of mass spectrometry-based approaches to characterize changes in water composition after chlor(am)ination. 17th International Conference on Chemistry and the Environment (ICCE-2019). Poster. Thessaloniki, Greece. 16/06/2019 – 20/06/2019

 

  • M.C. Aznar-Luque; E. Perez-Albaladejo; C. Porte; C. PostigoMass spectrometry in combination with in vitro bioassays: a tool for minimizing the exposure to toxic disinfection byproducts. SETAC Europe 29th Anual Meeting: One Environment. One Health. Sustainable societies. Poster. Helsinki, Finland. 26/05/2019 – 30/05/2019

 

  • C. Postigo; A. Andersson; M. Harir; D. Bastviken; M. Gonsior; P. Schmitt-Kopplin; P. Gago-Ferrero; L. Ahrens; L. Ahrens; K. Wiberg. Mass spectrometry-based analytical approaches to evaluate disinfection byproducts in chemically-disinfected water products SETAC Europe 29th Anual Meeting: One Environment. One Health. Sustainable societies. Poster. Helsinki, Finland. 26/05/2019 – 30/05/2019.