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Environmental risk assessment of emerging contaminants in Trentino rivers Logotype: Matteo Lencioni (

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RACE-TN (Environmental Risk assessment of emerging contaminants in Trentino rivers: effects on wildlife and human health) (2015-2017) is a research project funded by the Caritro Foundation of Trento (Italy) (Grant 2015 “Management and protection of the environment, territory and sustainable development “) which has as general aim the environmental risk assessment of emerging contaminants (EC) (drugs and products for personal care) in Trentino rivers. As a case study it was chosen the River Noce, in reaches located upstream and downstream of waste water treatment plants (WWTPs). The bulk of pollutants in ice-melt waters will be also considered, taking in to account the Presena tributary fed by the homonymous glacier, highly impacted (retreating, skiing). Levels of contamination will be related with the tourist presences, agricultural and flow management practices.

Aims and impact on the local socio-economic context

During the project (2015-2017) we will evaluate the danger and toxicity of emerging contaminants (EC) for the aquatic wildlife and humans, taking as target the microbial community, the macroinvertebrate communities, populations of amphibians and human cell lines. Advanced techniques will be used such as gas chromatography and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry in selected ion monitoring mode, metagenomic analysis (fingerprinting ARISA, Shotgun metagenome sequencing); Comet Assay and micronucleus test and sequencing (In Vitro Micronucleus Assay and Pol-Seq).
Among the expected results the identification of biomarkers useful in the monitoring of EC contamination, the development of a new Index Classification of EC according to the risk, the proposal of concentration limits in the aquatic environment of EC and of new guidelines for the wastewater treatment plants management. Data will enliven public debates among all stakeholders and attract the attention of pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of perfumes and products for personal care, at the base the production cycle of the EC.

The research project is divided into 6 work packages (WPs).

  • Aims of the 6 work packages

The partnership

RACE-TN is a two years-multidisciplinary project that involves experts from different disciplines (organic and inorganic chemistry, ecology of inland waters, microbiology, molecular biology, medicine) and public administrators on the issue of environmental pollution by EC. The Science Museum of Trento, Italy (MUSE) is the project leader, responsible for coordination and for three of the six work packages proposed. The other research partners of the Italian consortium are: the University of Milan Bicocca (UNIMIB), the Free University of Bolzano (UNIBZ) (only in 2016) and the CNR-Institute of Biophysics of Povo (TN) (CNR-IBF). The Provincial Health Services of Trento (APSS) is the representative institution of the local economic system (Trentino Province, Italy).


Project coordinator

Valeria Lencioni
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Work package’s Leaders

Sara Villa (WP1; WP2 partim; UNIMIB)
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Lorenzo Brusetti (WP2 partim; UNIBZ)
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Valeria Lencioni (WP3, WP6 partim; MUSE)
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Michele Menegon (WP4; MUSE)
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Gabriella Viero (WP5; CNR-IBF)
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Franco Guizzardi (WP6 partim; APSS)

Research team

MUSE: Francesco Bellamoli, Alessandra Franceschini, Francesca Paoli, Ana Rodriguez,
Francesca Rossi
UNIBZ: Sonia Ciccazzo
UNIMIB: Valeria Di Nica, Tanita Pescatore
CNR-IBF: Paola Bernabò, Efrem Bertini

Other collaborations

Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento (Italy)
(Alberto Bellin)
Environmental Health Sciences Institute, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan (Italy)
(Sara Castiglioni)
Water Research Institute (IRSA) – CNR, Brugherio (MB) (Italy)
(Laura Marziali)
Meteotrentino, Autonomous Province of Trento
(Alberto Trenti)
Environmental Agency of Trento
(Raffaella Canepel, Massimo Paolazzi)
Agency for wastewater treatment, Autonomous Province of Trento
(Giovanni Gatti)