On-going projects as Principal Investigator

Aquasome  AQUASOME – Exposome assessment of emerging contaminants in the aquatic environment

 Funded by the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigación (project ref. CTM2017-84763-C3-2-R)

 Duration: 2018-2020

Aquasome is a multi and inter-disciplinary project aimed at addressing the social concern on the increase in concentration levels of emerging contaminants, including microplastics and associated chemicals, in different compartments of the aquatic ecosystem and food webs, and their eventual impact on human health for which exposure pathways need to be elucidated. The project is focussed on the development of screening methods based on the use of high throughput methodologies for exploring the occurrence of emerging contaminants linked to human exposure and lifestyle while elucidating the most toxic fractions according to a set of in-vitro and in-vivo bioassays and their mechanisms of toxicity action. Subproject 2 is leaded by our group (PI: José Benito Quintana, Co-PI: Rosario Rodil) and participated by the Technological Institute for the Monitoring of the Marine Environment in Galicia (INTECMAR) aims at the development of methods to assess pollution and exposure to (micro)plastics and related chemicals, including wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) applications. More info at the AQUASOME website.


EMERCONFO – Novel methodologies to assess the impact of emerging contaminants on marine ecosystems and food consumers

Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project ref. CTM2014-56628-C3-2-R)

Duration: 2015-2018

The background of this project lies with the concern of the fate and behaviour of non-regulated or emerging contaminants in coastal and estuarine environments. Given the large variety of chemicals, their low concentrations in most of the environmental compartments, and the still unknown effects on organisms, there is a need to prioritize their monitoring for environmental risk assessment in the framework of European requirements. In this project we have envisaged a proposal including three domains: i) the identification and quantification of emerging contaminants including some key metabolites and transformation products in biota (mussels and fish) and estuarine water; ii) the assessment of the exposure to contaminants and the observed effects on target organisms; and, iii) the determination of the bioaccumulation of the above mentioned emerging contaminants in seafood and the estimation of the accessible fraction to human
consumers. This is a coordinated project participated by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and the Technological Institute for the  Monitoring of the Marine Environment in Galicia (INTECMAR).


ESAR-Net –Red EESARNet - smallspañola de Análisis de Aguas Residuales con Fines Epidemiológicos / Spanish Network of Wastewater-Based Epidemiology

Funded by the  Spanish "Agencia Estatal de Investigación" (project ref. CTM2016-81935-REDT)

Duration: 2017-2019

The aim of ESAR-Net is to promote collaboration on the field of Wastewater-Based Epidemiology, as well as the organization of dissemination events. More info in ESAR-Net website.



Involvement in other research actions

Score SCORE – Sewage Analysis CORe group Europe (COST Action)

Funded by COST: the intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology (project ref. ES1307)

Duration: 2014-2018

SCORE will develop and expand an existing pan-European inter-disciplinary network, bringing together experts from relevant disciplines interested in the application and development of using the quantitative measurement of human biomarkers in sewage to evaluate lifestyle, health and exposure at the community level.


Previous projects as Principal Investigator

PROMOTE – Protecting water resources from mobile trace chemicals67717_PROMOTE logo

Water Joint Programming Inititative European project funded via the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project ref. JPIW2013‐117)

Duration: 2015-2018

It is difficult to protect drinking water resources from contamination by small, very polar and stable molecules because such compounds, once released, are difficult to remove from water. At the same time it is very difficult to analyze for trace concentrations of such contaminants. As a consequence we are not sure, yet, whether our drinking water resources, and the drinking water itself, are adequately protected against such contaminations. This project will close this gap in water quality control and will then study in aquatic systems and water supplies from Spain to Norway, whether such mobile organic chemicals occur and, if so, where they come from and how they can be removed from drinking water resources. For mobile chemicals that cannot be safely removed the project will recommend measures to avoid their future release into the environment. This project is participated by German, Norgewian, French, Spanish and Dutch partners. More info in the project web.


NEAR – Novel epidemiological studies through wastewater analysis

Funded by the Galician Council of Culture, Education and Universities (project ref. EM2012/055)

Duration: 2012-2015

This project is based on the Wastewater-Based Epidemiology approach, where the concentration of a substance in wastewater is used to calculate the per capita consumption of licit or illicit substances in a local area. In this case, the methology originally designed for illicit drugs is extended to other substances of potential abuse: alcohol, tobacco and psycho-pharmaceuticals, whose use is restricted, but are subject to frequent abuse and misuse.


Substances of abuse in water: analytical, environmental and abuse study

Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project ref. CTQ2010-18927)

Duration: 2011-2014

The aim of this project is the evaluation of drugs of abuse and their metabolites in the water environment. It comprises the development of analytical methods for their determination, providing new analytical tools which are more comprehensive, with an improved selectivity and performance or which can be used at lower cost in an expanded array of laboratories. Moreover, it aims to study the fate of those drugs/metabolites in the environment (including the research of their environmental transformation) and the application of the so called "Sewage Epidemiology". Such term refers to the calculation of drug abuse in a small-medium population (a city or town) in real time by measuring the concentrations of drugs and metabolites in wastewater.


Emerging polar organic pollutants: development of analytical methodology and study of their fate in the water environment

Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education (project ref. RYC-2007-00250) - "Ramón y Cajal" startup package

Duration: 2008-2010

The aim of the research proposed was the development of analytical methods for the determination of polar emerging pollutants in water samples and the application of these methods to the study of their environmental transformation processes in the aquatic medium.Different microextraction and stablished extraction methods, namely solid-phase extraction, as well as chromatography hyphenated to mass spectrometric methods were explored. Morever, the methods were emplyed to asses the transformation of emerging pollutants in the environment.


Last update: July 2018