ESR8 Jawameer Hama – University of Copenhagen

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NaToxAq > PhD Projects > ESR8 Jawameer Hama

ESR8 Jawameer Hama

Project: Quantification of crop produced natural toxins in groundwater

Principal supervisor: Dr. Bjarne W. Strobel

Intro to project:

Many plants synthesize a various of compounds as a defense mechanism, these compounds can be toxic. These compounds are among secondary metabolites. In alkaloids class, Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids (PA) are basic nitrogenous compounds in which the nitrogen is usually contained within a heterocyclic ring system. They are known to be toxic to human and livestock, due to their potential to undergo metabolic activation. It is assumed that 3 % of flowering plants are able to form PAs and they are mainly found in the angiosperm families of Fabaceae (genus Crotalaria), Asteraceae (genus Senecioneae and Eupatorieae) and several genera of Boraginaceae.  These species are distributed throughout most of Europe and other parts world wide.

Owing to the difference between the number of PA described in the literature and the number of PAs available as standards, the determination of PA content and thus the assessment are difficult. Therefore, High-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC–MS) will be optimized to quantify the PAs. The mode of ionization and then fragmentation through precursor experiments using tandem mass spectrometry applications (MS–MS) are the key points, to recover the lack of the standard.

Also the fate of natural toxins will be explained. Using different analytical tools the mechanism of leaching and leached natural toxin in the groundwater will be analysed.

The PhD project is a part of the European Training Network NaToxAq. The network aims to provide and expand the information about natural toxic substances in aquatic environments. In the network, this PhD project ‘’Quantification of crop produced natural toxins in groundwater’’ is aimed to explain the presence and occurrence of natural toxins in vegetation and cropland areas and the possibility of transferring the natural toxins into environment, water and specifically into groundwater, in different regions of Europe. The result of the project will be merged with other NaToxAq projects to built the main NaToxAq report.