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Plant Ecotoxicology

Code: 72361
ECTS: 4.0
Lecturers in charge: prof. dr. sc. Sandra Radić Brkanac - Lectures
Lecturers: prof. dr. sc. Sandra Radić Brkanac - Seminar

prof. dr. sc. Sandra Radić Brkanac - Practicum
Take exam: Studomat
English level:


All teaching activities will be held in Croatian. However, foreign students in mixed groups will have the opportunity to attend additional office hours with the lecturer and teaching assistants in English to help master the course materials. Additionally, the lecturer will refer foreign students to the corresponding literature in English, as well as give them the possibility of taking the associated exams in English.

1. komponenta

Lecture typeTotal
Lectures 15
Practicum 30
Seminar 15
* Load is given in academic hour (1 academic hour = 45 minutes)
1.Define critical terms and concepts in ecotoxicology, critically evaluate and interpret scientific data, information and lab results
2.Describe and clearly present key aspects of fundamental toxicology and the relevancy of discipline to real world issues associated with environmental pollution
3.Describe and evaluate the biological, ecological and chemical factors affecting toxicity testing
4.Differentiate between toxicants in their effects on organisms and ecosystems
5.Explain the effects of bioaccumulation and biotransformation in plants as well as defense mechanisms of plants on pollutants
6.Describe, discuss and apply plant biotests and biomarkers of pollution in monitoring of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems; use of plants, transgenic plants and mutants in toxicity testing
7.Describe and evaluate use of plants in phytoremediation and relate phytoremediation to other remediation techniques
8.Demonstrate an understanding of legal and regulatory considerations related to protection of natural resources
9.Demonstrate an understanding of and the ability to apply the scientific method in gaining technical expertise and lab skills

This course provides developing of knowledge about principles of plant ecotoxicology and acquiring practical skills as well as application of knowledge gained to solve real-world problems in environmental pollution.
1.Introduction, definitions of Ecotoxicology. Ecotoxicology of Plants. Overview of the main types of pollutants. Environmental pollution - natural and anthropogenic sources. Photochemical smog; acid rain; greenhouse effect; ocean acidification
2.The fate of pollutants in ecosystems. Entry into surface waters, contamination of land, discharge into the atmosphere. Factors determining movement and distribution of pollutants.
3.The fate of pollutants in plants. Processes of pollutant uptake, biotransformation, accumulation, detoxication and resistance in plants. Comparison of the processes in plants and animals.
4.Mechanisms of resistance and tolerance in plants to heavy metals. Metal-binding ligands in plants - phytochelatins, metallothioneine, mechanism of action of phytochelatin synthase, cyclic chelators, ferritins, organic acids.
5.Phytoremediation - phytoextraction, phytodegradation, rhizofiltration, phytostabilization, phytovolatilization. Hyperaccumulator species.
6.Oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS)
7.Mechanisms of plant resistance to oxidative stress and role of ROS in signalling and regulation
8.Plant glutathione transferase (GST), their role in xenobiotic metabolism and regulation of GST in plants
9.Ethylene and jasmonate as regulators of cell death and resistance
10.The role of salicylic acid and nitric oxide in programmed cell death and induced resistance
11.Determination of pollutants in water or soil by physico-chemical methods. Legislative and toxicology tests in Croatia and EU.
12.Bioindicators (enzyme indicators such as peroxidases) and their role in risk assessment.
13.Plant test organisms (terrestrial and aquatic). Evaluation of pollutant-induced damage in plant cells.
14.Transgenic plants and mutants as sensors of environmental pollution toxicity and (A. thaliana, N. tabacum).
15.Use of plants in biomonitoring of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems

1. Design of experiment using plant biotests in toxicity assessment of single pollutant or their complex mixtures
2. Preparation of culture media and exposure of plant test organism to a toxicant or their complex mixtures
3. Evaluation of general toxicity, cytotoxicity and genotoxicity
4. Measurement of chlorophyll fluorescence using fluorometer (if applicable)
5. Determination of certain bioindicators of exposure and effect (damage to lipids and proteins, antioxidative enzymes, glutathione, glutathione-S-transferase, reactive oxygen species) using spectrophotometry, electrophoresis and fluorescent microscope
6. Statistical analysis and interpretation of results

1.Use of scientific literature and databases to identify information needed to understand and effectively communicate aspects of toxicology
2.Selection of theme
3.Presentation of seminar and critical evaluation of presented issue
4.Group discussion of seminars
  1. Sandermann, H. 2004. Molecular ecotoxicology of plants. Ecological Studies. Vol. 170. Springer, Berlin.
  2. Walker, C.H., Hopkin, S.P., Sibly, R.M., Peakall, D.B. 2006. Principles of Ecotoxicology. Taylor and Francis, London.
2. semester
MODUL: BIOLOŠKA ZAŠTITA OKOLIŠA - Regular study - Environmental Sciences
Consultations schedule: