ESR11 Daniel B. Garcia Jorgensen – University of Copenhagen

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ESR11 Daniel B. Garcia Jorgensen

Project: Natural toxin fate and leaching from soils

Principal supervisor: Prof. Hans Chr. B. Hansen

Intro to project:

In the history of environmental pollution research most attention has been paid to pollutants of human origin such as PCBs, DDT, dioxins, PAHs, drugs, etc. While these human pollutants have caught much public attention, some recent research has indicated that natural toxins might pose a risk for human health. Natural toxins in America have been suggested to represent 99.99% of all pesticides present in the human diet. The hazard of natural toxins depends on factors such as toxicity, load and fate in the environment. Plants are the source of natural toxins, they may be released continuously and in higher amounts, but the release from plants to soils is poorly or not quantified One example is bracken fern, a widely distributed species throughout the world. It produces different toxins, but ptaquiloside is the most studied as it is present in high concentrations and it presents carcinogenic properties.

The overall objective of this Ph.D. project is to develop a model that is able to predict the fate of natural toxin in the unsaturated zone at pedon-scale. Two different toxins will be assessed, ptaquiloside and one crop-related toxin still to be decided. Monitoring programs for the two different toxins will be developed, with the purpose of calibrating and validating the models. After validation, models will be used for assessing the fate of natural toxins on different locations throughout Europe. Moreover, future scenarios will be performed to assess the effect of Climate Change on leaching of natural toxins.