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In vitro Environmental Toxicology – Concepts, Application and Assessment

In recent years considerable technological progress has been achieved in the development of in vitro bioanalytical methods and instruments for the elucidation of toxic effects of compounds either of natural or anthropogenic origin.

Such methods which are progressively applied in toxicology and environmental science allow the detection of cytotoxicity but as well the investigation of specific, sublethal effects of chemicals and chemical mixtures of different complexity. In toxicology, so far in vitro bioanalytical tools are mainly used to generate scientific knowledge, to elucidate the chemical causes of effects and to provide data in support of environmental monitoring.

It is widely accepted that in vitro methods add substantial value to the field of ecotoxicology because of their efficiency, high throughput capacity, the possibility to gain mechanistic information about toxicity and to quickly obtain basic data on possible toxicological risks in different environmental compartments. However, the use and interpretation of test results in regulation is challenging and still under discussion. Although reduction, replacement and refinement of in vivo toxicology is always being called for by society and regulatory stakeholders one main reason for regulatory obstruction is that options for in vitro-in vivo extrapolation of effects are still missing.

This book gives an overview about the current state of the art of in vitro bioassays in the field of (eco)toxicology with a special focus on effects of very high concern and reasonable areas of applications. Furthermore, selected chapters address topics that are related to the application of in vitro bioassays in environmental sciences such as passive sampling / passive dosing and effect directed analysis. A special chapter describes possibilities to link results of in vitro assays to in vivo effects by making use of physiologically based pharmacokinetic modelling. According to the basic test principles the underlying concepts of the various techniques are shown.

The book exemplifies the use of in vitro approaches in different fields of application. It discusses the potential, current limitations, research needs and the regulatory perspectives of some selected bioanalytical tools but as well for in vitro bioassays in general.

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