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Spin-off projects to FRAM


1. Hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging: State of the art, prioritization, and assessment

The problem with plastic pollution is a growing environmental concern and a growing field of research. New project focuses on the risks associated with the chemicals that are in plastic packaging.

The research project “Hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging: State of the art, prioritization, and assessment” is a multi-partner collaboration running from mid-2017 to mid-2019. Countless industries use plastic packaging and recycling companies aim to recycle it. But what do we know about the chemicals that are found in this packaging? The aim of this project is to compile current scientific information regarding hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging and make it accessible to all stakeholders. A special focus is placed on human and environmental health, as well as socio-economic impact. The project will also explore substitution options for the most hazardous chemicals.

Focus of the project will be on the top 5 compounds for environmentally hazardous compounds, and the top 5 compounds that are hazardous to human health, where detailed risk assessments. In addition the socioeconomic impacts for the 5 top ranked hazardous compounds on individual business operators and for society will be estimated. And possible alternatives for the top 5 priority hazardous chemicals will be identified.

The University of Gothenburg is a partner in the project with the New York University School of Medicine, ChemSec International Chemical Secretariat, CHEM Trust, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and the project coordinator, the Food Packaging Forum. The project is funded by a grant from the charitable Swiss-based MAVA Foundation.

From the University of Gothenburg the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences (Prof. Thomas Backhaus and Dr. Bethanie Carney-Almroth) and the Centre for Environment & Sustainability (Dr. Daniel Slunge) are partners in the project that is a spin-off project to the FRAM Centre.

Read more about the project at the project website.

2. Members of FRAM have joined the team to prepare the second Global Chemical Outlook

The Global Chemical Outlook is published by the United Nations Environment Programme. Prof. Thomas Backhaus and Dr. Daniel Slunge will contribute by leading the work to prepare two thematic review papers on the topics of “Chemical risk assessment” and “Macro-economic and fiscal incentives to advance the sound management of chemicals and sustainable chemistry“. The chapters should be ready in June 2018.

The previous Global Chemical Outlook was published in 2013 and can be found here.


3. Ecological and evolutionary cost of chemical mixtures - Cope-Mix

The aim of Cope-Mix is to determine whether environmentally realistic chemical mixtures function as evolutionary drivers that cause changes in biodiversity and subsequent loss of resilience and structural and functional deterioration of pelagic plankton communities. Marine plankton communities will be used as model system as these can be kept under near-realistic conditions while providing a high diversity of test organisms.

Focus will be on three model mixtures representing contamination from shipping activities, sewage treatment plants, and one as a mixture of both in order to simulate different coastal habitats. The plankton communities will be exposed for three copepod generations which implies many more generations for the phytoplankton. Changes in community diversity will be analysed using image analysis and genotyping-by-sequencing will be used for population genetic changes. Community productivity as changes in biomass is followed over the whole experimental period and the 2nd generation of copepods will be subjected to a salinity stress test to measure changes in resilience.

The project will contribute will knowledge on the evolutionary and ecological potential of chemical mixtures at realistic concentrations to shape marine plankton communities. The results, methods and end-points will contribute to the development of a more holistic approach to ecological risk assessment of mixtures that is lacking today.

Project leader is Prof. Ingela Dahllöf and funded by Formas 2018-2020. Formas is the Swedish research council for sustainable development.


 4. SynCap - Encapsulated biocide cocktails for minimal toxicity

One of the interim objectives of this project is to investigate the combinational effects of two common classes of biocides with a large potential for synergism.

The project will also apply the above results to developing a sustainable antifouling or antimicrobial fibre material. There are two cornerstones to this technology:

  • controlled slow release of biocides from microcapsules
  • optimised synergistic combinations.


Project leader for our part is Prof. Thomas Backhaus. The project is done in close collaboration with RISE IVF and Chalmers University of Technology and Funded by FORMAS.


Page Manager: Åsa Arrhenius|Last update: 5/16/2019

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