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Junior research group New-Approach-Method-(NAM)-based assessment of mixture toxicity

The junior research group conducts research on mixture toxicity using New Approach Methodologies (NAMs).

Consumers are exposed to mixtures of pesticide residues when consuming a variety of foods. In addition, there are food contaminants and additives. Farmers apply one or more plant protection products, which in turn consist of pesticide active substances and co-formulants. The junior research group focuses on substance interaction at realistic exposure concentrations. In doing so, we aim to identify combinations of substances that may lead to an increased health risk for consumers or farmers and to conduct a health risk assessment of these mixtures.

To this end, the junior research group applies NAMs. These are novel toxicological methods, which avoid animal testing, are robust, and allow for high test throughput. In most cases, several methods are combined to achieve high human relevance.

Initially, a large data set of substances, e.g. all co-formulants in pesticides, will be evaluated using in silico, i.e. computer-based, methods. In combination with known application quantities, toxicologically relevant substances with a high exposure potential will be prioritised. These substances and their combinations can then be studied in more detail for toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic interactions, taking into account realistic exposure profiles. If these interactions may affect health risk assessment, toxicological threshold values for mixtures will be derived and extrapolated using physiologically-based toxicokinetic (PBTK) modelling.

By comparing exposure and extrapolated toxicological threshold values, the risk of mixtures can thus be realistically assessed.


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