MILAKOVIC Milena (Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, CROATIA)


First Name: Milena

Name: Milaković

Position: PhD student


Institute / University / Company: Rudjer Boskovic Institute

Research Unit: Department for Marine and Environmental Research

Address (city, state): Bijenicka 54, 10000 Zagreb

Country: Croatia

Please give 5 key-words showing your research / interest in Microbial Ecotoxicology:

ARIA ANDRES Maria (Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Heredia, COSTA RICA)


First Name: Maria de Jesus

Name: Arias Andres

Position: Researcher


Institute / University / Company: Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica

Research Unit: IRET (Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances)

Address (city, state): Heredia

Country: Costa Rica

Please give 5 key-words showing your research / interest in Microbial Ecotoxicolgy:

  • horizontal gene transfer
  • microbial ecology
  • microbial community physiology
  • flow cytometry
  • biodegradation

Main kinds of contaminant(s) of interest:

  • pesticides
  • microplastics
  • pharmaceuticals

Main kinds of microorganisms of interest:

  • bacteria
  • fungi

Main kinds of ecosystems of interest: aquatic

Do you give courses on Microbial Ecotoxicology ?: YES

If yes, please tell us more about the courses (University, course level,website,etc): I teach environmental toxicology and ecotoxicology (bachelor and master levels) and I include microbial examples.
At UNA, for the Bach. Ing. in Environmental Management and the Master degree in Env. Management.

Most relevant articles in the field of Microbial Ecotoxicology (max.5):

1. Arias-Andres, M., Rojas-Jimenez, K., & Grossart, H.-P. 2019. Collateral effects of microplastic pollution on aquatic microorganisms: An ecological perspective. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 112, 234–240. doi: 10.1016/j.trac.2018.11.041

2. Arias-Andres M, Kettner MT, Miki T, Grossart HP. 2018. Microplastics: New substrates for heterotrophic activity contribute to altering organic matter cycles in aquatic ecosystems. Sci Total Environ. 21;635:1152-1159. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.199.

3. Arias-Andres M, Klümper U, Rojas-Jimenez K, Grossart HP. 2018. Microplastic pollution increases gene exchange in aquatic ecosystems. Environ Pollut. 237:253-261. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.02.058

4. Eckert EM, Di Cesare A, Kettner MT, Arias-Andres M, Fontaneto D, Grossart HP, Corno G. 2018. Microplastics increase impact of treated wastewater on freshwater microbial community. Environ Pollut. 234:495-502. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.11.070

5. Granados-Chinchilla F, Arias-Andrés M, Rodriguez C.2013. Tetracycline and 4-epitetracycline modified the in vitro catabolic activity and structure of a sediment microbial community from a tropical tilapia farm idiosyncratically. J Environ Sci Health B. ;48(4):291-301

EcotoxicoMic Webinar: Teofana Chonova (University of Innsbruck, AUSTRIA and INRA, Thonon-les-Bains, FRANCE)

EcotoxicoMic Webinar

Wednesday, December 4, 2019  (1:30 pm, Paris Time Zone)

Webinar Registration: click here

Teofana Chonova (INRA, Thonon-les-bains, France)


Conference Title:

Pharmaceuticals in freshwater environments and their effect on microbial biofilm communities


Freshwater ecosystems are continuously impacted by anthropogenic pressure. One of the main sources of contamination are wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents. Composition, toxicity levels and impact of treated effluents (TE) on recipient aquatic ecosystems may strongly differ depending on the wastewater origin. In the last decades, hospital wastewater (HWW) received increasing attention because it contains a wider spectrum and higher concentrations of pharmaceutical compounds (PhC) compared to urban wastewater. PhC raise concerns because of their highly bioactive nature at low concentrations and chronic releases in the environment. The ability of aquatic biofilms to respond to chemical, physical and biological environmental disturbances turns them into effective biological sensors, potentially indicating PhC contamination released with TEs.

Our work aims to 1) Evaluate the transfer of PhC and microorganisms from urban and hospital wastewater to the recipient river, and 2) Examine the environmental impacts of TEs on environmental biofilm communities. To these aims, concentrations of PhC and conventional parameters were measured in urban and hospital wastewaters, their TEs and the recipient river up- and downstream from the WWTP output using composite water column samples and passive samplers. In parallel, biofilm colonization experiments were performed in the two TEs and in the recipient river to study bacterial and diatom biofilm communities using DNA metabarcoding.

PhC and nutrients exhibited higher total concentrations in HWW compared to urban wastewater. Removal efficiency was compound- and basin specific, resulting in urban and hospital TEs with different composition. Despite the high dilution in the recipient river, the release of urban and hospital TEs resulted in an increase of PhC and phosphate concentrations downstream from the WWTP output. The location-specific concentrations of pollutants led to biofilm community changes on different levels – diversity, taxonomic composition, functional traits and phylogenetic position. Several bacterial genera including pathogenic species were abundant in urban and hospital TEs. Within diatoms, TEs were dominated by motile groups with polysaprobic preferences while river sites favored oligotrophic and oligosaprobic taxa. The factors most important for diatom community changes in TEs included beta-blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics and phosphate. Transfer of bacteria and diatoms from TEs and adapted development of biofilm communities in the recipient river downstream from the WWTP output was also observed. For diatoms, 27% of the OTUs detected in the river downstream were revealed as indicator for urban or hospital TEs and were absent upstream. Biological diatom index was calculated to evaluate the ecological status of the recipient river and suggested a severe water quality decrease linked to the release of both urban and hospital TEs.

Finally, the transfer of specific compounds and microorganisms from HWW indicate a potential environmental risk. In-depth assessment of biofilm community composition using DNA metabarcoding is proposed as a promising technique to highlight the disturbing effect of PhC released with TEs in aquatic environments.

Key words:
biofilms, DNA metabarcoding, pharmaceutical compounds, POCIS, hospital wastewater, WWTP effluents, river
PhD Advisors:
Rainer Kurmayer1, Paul Illmer 2 and Agnès Bouchez3
Research Department for Limnology, Mondsee, Faculty of Biology, University of Innsbruck, Mondsee, Austria
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
UMR CARRTEL, INRA, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, Thonon-les-Bains, France

CHONOVA Teofana (INRA, Thonon-les-bains, France)


First Name: Teofana

Name: Chonova

Position: Postdoctoral researcher


Institute / University / Company: INRA

Research Unit: CARRTEL

Address (city, state): 75 bis avenue de Corzent, 74200 Thonon-les-bains

Country: France

Please give 5 key-words showing your research / interest in Microbial Ecotoxicolgy:

  • microbial community ecology
  • aquatic ecology
  • water quality assessment
  • freshwater ecosystems
  • metabarcoding

Main kinds of contaminant(s) of interest:

  • pharmaceutical compounds
  • heavy metals
  • pesticides

Main kinds of microorganisms of interest:

  • bacterial communities
  • algal communities
  • diatoms

Main kinds of ecosystems of interest:

  • freshwater ecosystems
  • rivers
  • lakes

Do you give courses on Microbial Ecotoxicology ?: NO

Most relevant articles in the field of Microbial Ecotoxicology (max.5):