Ecotoxycology of Persistent Pollutants and Nanomaterials

Misurazione dei parametri biometrici di krill pescato in acque artiche (Progetti PNRA 2009/A1.04 e TEAM‐Fish) per studi ecotossicologici

Via P.A. Mattioli, 4 – Siena. II level


It is mandatory and important to understand source, flux, distribution and fate of anthropogenic persistent pollutants (POPs) to assess contamination and solutions. Ecotoxicology of legacy, emergent and new POPs is an efficient and essential tool to investigate polar, temperate and tropical ecosystems. Research projects are focused on predators (fish like shark, tuna, swordfish; reptiles as sea turtle; seabirds; marine mammals) and their trophic webs. Special attention is devoted to non‐destructive/nonlethal sampling methods, specially for protected species or in protected areas.
The studied chemicals include legacy, emergent and new POPs as listed by the Stockholm Convention ( ).

In this context, the main aims of the research team are:

  • POP levels, their distribution in the body tissues, their patterns of accumulation from tissue to upper levels of an ecosystem;
  • POP transfer between abiotic (air, water, sediment) and biotic compartments (trophic webs) and between trophic levels;
  • assessment of toxic risk (method of TEF, TEQ) in marine trophic webs, using key‐species to evaluate the health status of populations and ecosystems;
  • assessment of the risk for human consumptions in the case of edible and commercial species (e.g. tuna, swordfish, shark, etc) through the calculation of the weekly tolerable intake (TWI) and estimated daily intake (EDI);
  • role of nanoparticles in the POP accumulation in marine organisms (Trojan effect);
  • ecology of marine Antarctic vertebrates (penguins, stercorarids).

Key‐words: Ecotoxicology, legacy POPs, emergent POPs, new POPs, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), environmental monitoring, Ecophysiology, trophic webs, air, water, seawater, sediment, atmospheric deposition, polar ecosystem, temperate ecosystem, tropical ecosystem, toxicity, risk assessment, gaschromatography, ecology, penguins, seabirds, marine mammals, fish, top predators, endocrine disruptor, top predators, fish, seabirds, marine mammals, turtles, shark.

Studi di ecologia del pinguino di Adelia


  • University of Trőmso,
  • University of Calcutta,
  • Institute of Protein Biochemistry (National Research Council - Naples, Italy),
  • Water Research Institute (IRSA, National Research Council, Rome, Italy),
  • A&T Texas University,
  • Masaryk University,
  • University of Murcia,
  • Environment Canada,
  • University of Toronto,
  • University of Palermo,
  • Unversity of Pisa,
  • Unversity of Firenze,
  • Unversity of Genova,
  • National Museum of Antarctica (,

and others.

Completed (selected):

  • Free University of Amsterdam,
  • Michigan State University,
  • Wadsworth Center,
  • University of New York at Albany,
  • Antwerp University,
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – La Jolla,
  • University of Barcelona,
  • Ehime University.


  • National Program of Research in Antarctica (PNRA): PNRA 2009/A1.04: Flux of persistent organic pollutants between abiotic and biotic polar compartments, national coordinator.
  • PNRA 2009/A2.10: Environmental contamination in Antarctica: levels and patterns of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), coordinated by University of Pisa, UO3‐ Siena: Persistent Organic pollutants (POPs) in organisms.
  • TUNU Euro‐Arctic Marine Fishes ‐Diversity and Adaptation (TEAM‐Fish and TUNU‐MAFIG), coordinated by University of Trőmso.
  • Programmi di Ricerca Scientifica di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale (PRIN) (D.M. 19 marzo 2010 n. 51), Anno 2009, prot. 2009FHHP2W: Marine ecotoxicology of nanomaterials: toxicity and bioaccumulation of titanium dioxide, metals and dioxin in edible species.
  • CORIBAR ( ( 'remote participant', in collaboration with colleagues of the Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale, Trieste (Italy): study of sediments from the Greenland sea for contaminant analysis.

Starting in 2014

  • PNRA 2013/C1.04: TUNU Euro‐Arctic Marine Fishes (TEAM‐Fish): Impact of climate change on biodiversity, adaptation, contaminant bioaccumulation. Comparison with the Antarctic.
Methods and instruments

Activities: identification and quantification of persistent organic pollutants in abiotic and biotic samples, clean up (chromatography, PowerPrep System), chromatography, gas‐chromatography. Methods of sampling in terrestrial and marine ecosystems; sampling of tissues/organisms including bleeding in polar organisms. Samplingof atmospheric depositions and air; air and organism monitoring.

Instruments: gas‐chromatograph‐mass spectrometer, high resolution gas‐chromatography with different detectors, high pressure liquid chromatograph, high pressure liquid chromatograph‐ion trap mass spectrometer, CHNS/O analysis, Accelerated solvent extraction (ASE), Power‐Prep System, satellite telemetry and recorder device use for penguins and seabirds. Seabird monitoring, demography, reproductive and feeding ecology.

Selected pubblications
un momento delle analisi di laboratorio per determinazione dei POP.
  • Corsolini S., Sarkar K.S., Guerranti C.,Bhattachary B.D., Chatterje M., Biswas S.N., Jonathan M.P., 2012. Perfluorinated Compounds in recent sediments of the Ganges River and adjacent Sundarban mangrove wetland, India. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64(12): 2829 2833.
  • Corsolini S. Borghesi N., Ademollo N., Focardi S., 2011. Chlorinated biphenyls and pesticides in migrating and resident seabirds from East and West Antarctica. Environment International 37(8): 1329‐1335.
  • Dickhut R.M., Deshpande A.D., Cincinelli A., Cochran M.A., Corsolini S., Brill R.W., Secor D.H., Graves J.E., 2009. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) Population Dynamics Delineated by Organochlorine Tracers. Environmental Science & Technology 43: 8522–8527.
  • Borghesi N., Corsolini S., Leonards P., Brandsma S., de Boer J., Focardi S., 2009. Polybrominated diphenyl ether contamination levels in fish from the Antarctic and the Mediterranean Sea. Chemosphere, 77(5), C6o9r3s‐o6l9in8i. S., 2009. Industrial contaminants in Antarctic biota. J. Chrom. A, 1216, 598–612.
  • Corsolini Simonetta, Guerranti Cristiana, Perra Guido, Focardi Silvano, 2008. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, Perfluorinated Compounds and Chlorinated Pesticides in Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) from the Mediterranean Sea. Environ. Sci. Technol., 42(12), 4344 – 4349.
  • Corsolini S., Borghesi N., Schiavone A., Focardi S., 2007. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers, Polychlorinated Dibenzo‐dioxins, ‐furans, and ‐biphenyls in Three Species of Antarctic Penguins. Environ Sci & Pollut Res 14 (6), 421–429
  • Corsolini S., Sarà G., Borghesi N., Focardi S., 2007. HCB, p,p'‐DDE and PCB Ontogenetic Transfer and Magnification in Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) from the Mediterranean Sea. Environ. Sci. Technol., 41(12): 4227‐4233.
  • Corsolini S, Covaci A, Ademollo N, Focardi S, Schepens P., 2005. Occurrence of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and their enantiomeric signatures, and concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the Adelie penguin food web, Antarctica. Environ Pollut., 140(2): 371‐382
  • Corsolini S., Kannan K., Imagawa T., Focardi S., Giesy J.P., 2002. Polychloronaphthalenes and other dioxinlike compounds in Arctic and Antarctic marine food webs. Environ. Sci. Technol., 36: 3490‐3496.

The list and pdf of publication are available at:

Ask the author ( for those publication not available in the Internet (book
chapter, proceedings, abstracts, etc.).

The research group
Other researchers
  • Pozo‐Gallardo Karla (contract)
  • Baroni Davide (technician)
  • Badini Simone (PhD student)
  • Guerranti Cristiana (grant)
  • Perra Guido (grant)
  • Cossu Francesca (contract)
  • Olmastroni Silvia (National Museum of Antarctica)