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Summer school

Project name
Impact of pollutants on cell morphology
Prof. RNDr. Dalibor Štys, CSc.
Description of the activities of the project
  • Across Europe, the quality of water resources has improved significantly over the last 25 years as a result of the massive construction of wastewater treatment plants. However, people annually produce a variety of new substances with different uses such as pesticides, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, drugs and their derivatives. The usual path for most of them ends in the aquatic environment. Many of these substances can have a negative effect not only for aquatic organisms. Some of these substances can be degraded in wastewater treatment plants or by aquatic organisms, but others do not decompose and enter the bodies of plants, animals and humans with water. The rapid development of new environmental analysis technologies and the lowering of detection limits for organic pollutants makes it possible to monitor the presence of many of these substances even at very low concentrations, which was not possible before. Although these are not deadly poisons, we are not yet able to estimate the effects of their action or long-term accumulation in the environment. Environmental contamination by this type of pollutants has become a serious problem in all developed countries, therefore monitoring the amount of these substances in the aquatic environment and studying their effect on organisms is a key issue. The traditional methods used to detect hazardous pollution in drinking water treatment plants are based on the evaluation of changes in fish behaviour (usually mortality). Nevertheless, this method encounters ethical problems, limited relevance for human, large time and financial demands. For that reasons, there is an effort to find and use alternative methods and procedures for toxicity assessment, especially in vitro tissue culture experiments.
  • The tissue culture laboratory uses time-lapse microcinematography as the basic method for assessing the effect of the pollutants on the cell population. The result is a record of dynamic processes, which is subjected to qualitative and quantitative image analysis.
  • The new project focuses on the possibility of early warning measurement using the spectral analysis in the microscope. The new method of analysis of the microscope image which shows the intracellular structures allows to assess the differences between the cells immediately after application of a chemical. This is potentially faster method than the microcinematography. The goal is to evaluate this new possibility.
  • Project participants will be able to assess the effect of pollutant on cell cultures based on the evaluation of changes in cell spectral parameters.
  • Number of students - 1-2
  • high school students students - NO
  • university students - YES

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