Biomonitoring: Relevance of Bioassays in Water Treatment

Life Sciences, Laboratory Technology, Fundamental Research,
  • Thursday, December 09, 2021

Human-impacted surface, ground and drinking water can contain a complex mixture of micropollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides and industrial compounds. These potentially harmful chemicals are often found at low concentrations, and targeted chemical analysis cannot detect all the hazards present in a sample. Suspect screening and non-target analysis can identify a larger number of compounds but cannot provide information about the potential toxic effects of the micropollutant mixture. To detect these potentially toxic mixtures, effect-based monitoring using bioanalytical tools (i.e., in vitro bioassays and well plate-based in vivo assays) can be applied in parallel to chemical analysis.

Bioassays can account for mixture effects that targeted chemical analysis can miss and are risk-scaled as more potent chemicals have a greater effect in the assay. Consequently, effect-based methods have been recommended to complement chemical analysis in water quality monitoring. Bioassays based on different stages of cellular toxicity pathways including induction of xenobiotic metabolism, receptor-mediated effects, adaptive stress responses and apical effects have been widely applied to evaluate the effect of different water extracts. This raises questions about which bioassays to use and how many should be applied for water quality assessment.

The aim of this presentation is to identify bioassays commonly applied to water extracts and provide guidance on assay selection and subsequent interpretation. Examples will be given for how cell-based assays have been utilized to analyze important chemicals of concern, as well as complex mixtures. Data analysis including bioanalytical equivalent concentrations (BEQ), limit of detection (LOD) and effect concentration (EC) will be described.

Register for this webinar to discover how cell-based assays can help improve water quality assessments with an emphasis on potential health effects of complex mixtures of micropollutants.


Jack Vanden Heuvel, INDIGO Biosciences

Jack Vanden Heuvel, Professor of Molecular Toxicology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Undergraduate Program Coordinator - Penn State University; CSO, INDIGO Biosciences

Dr. Jack Vanden Heuvel is a recognized expert in the field of nuclear receptor biology and toxicology with over 100 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to his role as CSO at INDIGO, Dr. Vanden Heuvel is a Professor at Penn State University where he is Program Coordinator of the undergraduate Toxicology Program, Co-Director of the Center of Excellence in Nutrigenomics, and leads an extramurally funded research program.

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Who Should Attend?

Researchers, staff scientists, directors and VPs of R&D and lab managers focused on:

  • Environmental sciences
  • Water quality
  • In vitro toxicology
  • Cell biology
  • Analytical chemistry

What You Will Learn

• Learn about complementing chemical analysis of water quality with bioanalytical tools for the detection of chemicals at low concentration and part of complex mixtures

• Discuss bioassay selection that can address cellular toxicity pathways, including receptor-mediated events, such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals

• Learn about the quantitation and interpretation of cell-based bioassays to assist in important decisions regarding water quality

Xtalks Partner


INDIGO Biosciences, Inc. is a leading provider of nuclear receptor and in vitro toxicology solutions that accelerate scientific decision-making. We supplement the world’s largest portfolio of nuclear receptor kits and services and in vitro toxicology solutions with greater results readability, reproducibility, and faster turnaround times. Our solutions, plus supportive team and reliable science and platforms, aim to reduce the time, cost, and risk associated with the discovery process.

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