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See detailValidated ready-to-use GC-MS/MS method for dioxin analysis in food and feed following the new EU Regulations
L'Homme, Benjamin ULg; Sandy, Chris; Scholl, Georges ULg et al

in Organohalogen Compounds (in press)

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See detailPOPs in free-ranging pilot whales, sperm whales and fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea: Influence of biological and ecological factors
Pinzone, Marianna ULg; Budzinski, Hélène; Tasciotti, Aurélie et al

in Environmental Research (2015), 142

The pilot whale Globicephala melas, the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus and the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus are large cetaceans permanently inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea. These species are ... [more ▼]

The pilot whale Globicephala melas, the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus and the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus are large cetaceans permanently inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea. These species are subjected to numerous anthropogenic threats, such as exposure to high levels of contaminants. Therefore, selected persistent organic pollutants, POPs (29 PCBs, 15 organochlorine compounds, nine PBDEs and 17 PCDD/Fs), were analysed in the blubber biopsies of 49 long-finned pilot whales, 61 sperm whales and 70 fin whales collected in the north-western Mediterranean Sea (NWMS) from 2006 to 2013. The contamination profile and species feeding ecology were combined through the use of stable isotopes. δ13C, δ15N values and POPs levels were assessed through IR-MS and GC-MS, respectively. To assess the toxic potency of the dioxin-like compounds, the TEQ approach was applied. δ15N values were 12.2 ± 1.3‰ for sperm whales, 10.5 ± 0.7‰ for pilot whales and 7.7±0.8‰ in fin whales, which positions sperm whales at higher trophic levels. δ13C of the two odontocetes were similar and amounted to −17.3±0.4‰ for sperm whales and −17.8±0.3‰ for pilot whales, whereas the result for fin whales reflected more depleted (−18.7±0.4‰). This outcome indicates a partial overlap in the feeding habits of toothed whales and confirms the differences in feeding behaviour of the mysticete. Pilot whales had higher concentrations than sperm whales for ΣPCBs (38666 ± 25731 ng.g-1 lw and 22849 ± 15566 ng.g-1 lw, respectively), ΣPBDEs (712±412 ng.g-1 lw and 347±173 ng.g-1 lw, respectively) and ΣDDTs (46081±37506 ng.g-1 lw and 37647±38518 ng.g-1 lw, respectively). Fin whales had the lowest values, which reflected its trophic position (ΣPCBs: 5721±5180 ng.g-1 lw, ΣPBDEs: 177±208 ng.g-1 lw and ΣDDTs: 6643±5549 ng.g-1 lw). Each species was characterized by large inter-individual variations that are more related to sex than trophic level. Males presented a higher contaminant burden than females. The discriminant analysis (DA) confirmed how DDTs and highly chlorinated PCBs could differentiate the three species. The pollutant concentrations of our species were significantly higher than both their southern hemisphere and North Atlantic counterparts. This result is possibly due to Mediterranean geomorphology, which influences the distribution and recycling of pollutants. Dioxin-like PCBs accounted for over 80% of the total TEQ. This study demonstrated (1) the pollutants of Mediterranean cetaceans often surpassed the estimated threshold toxicity value of 17000 ng.g−1 lw for blubber in marine mammals and (2) how the final pollutant burden in these animals is strongly influenced not only by trophic position but also by numerous other factors, including sex, age, body size and geographical distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatial variation in the concentrations of mercury and persistent organic pollutants in free-ranging bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from South Florida
Damseaux, France ULg; Kiszka, Jeremy; Heithaus et al

Poster (2014, December 12)

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is an abundant apex predator found in nearshore waters of South Florida, especially in the Lower Florida Keys (Key West) and the coastal waters of Everglades ... [more ▼]

The bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is an abundant apex predator found in nearshore waters of South Florida, especially in the Lower Florida Keys (Key West) and the coastal waters of Everglades National Park (ENP). The objective of this study was to assess variation in contamination levels of total mercury (T-Hg) and persistent organic pollutants (NDL-PCBs, PBDEs, DDT, HCH, HCB, PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs) in bottlenose dolphins found offshore of the densely populated Key West (n = 27) and from undeveloped ENP (n = 20). T-Hg and POPs were analysed in skin and blubber, respectively, by the mean of Direct Mercury analyser (for THg), GC-ECD (POPs) and GC-HRMS (DLCs). The 7 ICES PCBs were the main compounds found in bottlenose dolphins from Key West (8229 ng.g-1 lipids) and the ENP (2289 ng.g-1 lipids), while the concentrations of PCDD/Fs remained low (Key West: 104 pg.g-1 lipids, ENP: 102 ng.g-1 lipids). POP concentrations were higher in individuals from Key West compared to those from the ENP. However, POPs concentrations in Key West dolphins were lower than those from other locations in Florida and around the world. Unlike organic pollutants, T-Hg concentrations were significantly higher in ENP dolphins (Key West: 2941 ng.g-1 dw versus ENP: 9314 ng.g-1 dw) highlighting the specific cycle of Hg in mangrove ecosystems. To conclude, sources of T-Hg and POPs differed between Key West and ENP as reflected by their concentrations in skin and blubber of free-ranging bottlenose dolphins highlighting their role as sentinels of their environment. [less ▲]

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See detailDietary early-life exposure to contaminated eels does not impair spatial cognitive performances in adult offspring mice as assessed in the Y-maze and the Morris water maze
Dridi, Imen; Leroy, Delphine; Guignard, Cedric et al

in Nutrition Research (2014), 34(12), 1075-1084

Many environmental contaminants are introduced via the diet and may act as neurotoxins and endocrine disrupters, especially influencing growing organisms in early life. The purpose of this study was to ... [more ▼]

Many environmental contaminants are introduced via the diet and may act as neurotoxins and endocrine disrupters, especially influencing growing organisms in early life. The purpose of this study was to examine whether dietary exposure of dams to fish naturally contaminated with xenobiotics, especially with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals (e.g. mercury and lead), resulted in cognitive function deficits in adult offspring mice. Daily, four groups of dams (n = 10/group) ingested standard diet plus paste with/without eels, during gestation and lactation, from gestational day (GD) six until post natal day (PND) 21 (weaning). Dams orally ingested a standardized amount of eel (0.8 mgkg-1 d-1) containing the six non-dioxin-like (NDL) PCBs (σ6 NDL-PCBs: 28, 52, 101, 138, 153, and 180) at 0, 85, 216, and 400 ngkg-1 d-1. Results showed that early-life exposure to contaminated eels did not (compared to non-exposed controls) impair immediate working memory in the Y-maze in the offspring assessed at PND 38. Furthermore, it did not significantly impact spatial learning and retention memory as measured in the Morris water maze in adult offspring mice (PND 120-123). Our results suggest that perinatal exposure to contaminated eels does not affect spatial cognitive performances, as assessed by the Y-maze and Morris water maze at adult age. Adverse effects of xenobiotics reported earlier might be camouflaged by beneficial eel constituents, such as n-3 fatty acids. However, additional studies are needed to differentiate between potential positive and negative effects following consumption of food items both rich in nutrients and contaminants. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. [less ▲]

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See detailMeasurement uncertainty for persistent organic pollutants by isotope dilution mass spectrometry
Eppe, Gauthier ULg; Diletti, G; Fernandes, A et al

in Organohalogen Compounds (2014, September), 76

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See detailDechloranes: The next Emerging POP?
Brasseur, Catherine ULg; L'Homme, Benjamin ULg; PIRARD, Catherine ULg et al

Conference (2013, November)

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See detailBelgian population exposed to furan: from analytical developments to risk assessment
Scholl, Georges ULg

Doctoral thesis (2013)

Since the acrylamide incident in 2002, food authorities such as EFSA, FDA, FAO and Belgian FFSA paid more attention to the food borne contaminants such as furan, glycidyl esters or nitrosamines. As a ... [more ▼]

Since the acrylamide incident in 2002, food authorities such as EFSA, FDA, FAO and Belgian FFSA paid more attention to the food borne contaminants such as furan, glycidyl esters or nitrosamines. As a consequence, authorities support scientific initiatives to gather information about these toxicants. The thesis was conducted in this framework and was specifically dedicated to the furan issue. The fundamental concept behind this work on furan was to include analytical developments, to determine its occurrence in Belgian food and to carry out a risk assessment of the Belgian population. The first section was dedicated to the development of a high sensitive analytical method able to report sub-parts-per-billion (ppb) levels in foodstuffs with the aim to limit the number of unreported results below of the limit of quantification (LOQ). A HS-SPME-GC-MS method has been developed and optimized using the experimental design approach. The developed method has been validated to fulfill the requirements of the European Commission decision regarding the validation of analytical method (2002/657/EC). The second section was dedicated to the achievement of a contamination survey of the foodstuffs available on the Belgian market with a restricted number of samples (n=496). A specific sampling plan was designed to cover every food matrices with regard to the more consumed and/or contaminated items. The analytical method developed in the first section was applied and 78% of results were reported above LOQ. We concluded to a ubiquitous contamination of our food chain with specially high levels in coffee, roasted and long-time cooking foodstuffs. The third section was dedicated to the assessment of the risk linked to the furan ingestion by the Belgian population. A methodology involving the estimation of the furan daily intake (by both deterministic and probabilistic approach) and the calculation of the Margin of Exposure (MoE) was applied to 3 sub-populations namely Adults, Children and Toddlers. The adults and children assessments highlighted that almost none have a “High concern risk level” (MoE < 100), that the risk for health tends to be low (median MoE for adults 5486; median MoE for children 5079), and that the risk for children is slightly higher than for adults. For infants, the assessment showed a higher risk (median MoE 817) compared to children and adults. However, this finding has to be tempered by the current limited knowledge of the furan toxicity for toddlers. In addition, the size of the datasets available for this work was low and limited to ready-to-eat baby foods, which are known to be more contaminated than home-made baby food. It gives however the first benchmark for Belgian infants exposed to furan. Thus, developing consumption survey for infants that are harmonized at European level, and basic research on furan toxicity for toddlers are necessary. [less ▲]

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See detailPreliminary assessment of the risk linked to furan ingestion by babies consuming only ready-to-eat food
Scholl, Georges ULg; Humblet, Marie-France ULg; Scippo, Marie-Louise ULg et al

in Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A. Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment (2013), 30(4), 654-659

The risk linked to furan ingestion has been assessed in previous papers for Belgian adults and children (Scholl et al., 2012b; Scholl et al., 2012c). The present paper focuses on infants consuming only ... [more ▼]

The risk linked to furan ingestion has been assessed in previous papers for Belgian adults and children (Scholl et al., 2012b; Scholl et al., 2012c). The present paper focuses on infants consuming only ready-to-eat baby food. As there is no Belgian baby dietary database, the furan exposure assessment was carried out by using Italian infant consumption database and Belgian contamination data. The estimated daily intake (EDI) was calculated according to a deterministic methodology. It involved 42 commercially available ready-to-eat baby food and 36 baby consumption records. The mean EDI was 1,460 ng * (kgb.w.*day)-1 which is 3.8 times higher than the 381 ng * (kgb.w.*day)-1 reported for Belgian adults, and 3.5 times higher than the 419 ng * (kgb.w. * day)-1 measured for Belgian children. To assess and characterize the risk for babies exposure the Margin of Exposure (MoE) was calculated. It highlighted that 74% of infants have a MoE below 1,000, with a minimum of 140. However, these are only preliminary results as they were calculated from a very small dataset and the infant cytochrome P450 activity is significantly different compared to the adult. Therefore, the risk linked to furan ingestion by babies should be assessed in a different manner. To this end, additional data regarding a baby diet as well as a better understanding of furan toxicity for babies are needed to characterize more accurately the risk for infants. [less ▲]

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See detailDioxin levels in fertilizers from Belgium: Determination and evaluation of the potential impact on soil contamination
Elskens, M; Pussemier, L; Dumortier, P et al

in Science of the Total Environment (2013), 454-455

Dioxins are harmful Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to which humans are exposed mostly via the consumption of animal products. They can enter the food chain at any stage, including crop fertilization ... [more ▼]

Dioxins are harmful Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to which humans are exposed mostly via the consumption of animal products. They can enter the food chain at any stage, including crop fertilization. Fertilizers belong to several categories: synthetic chemicals providing the essential elements (mostly N, P and K) that are required by the crops but also organic fertilizers or amendments, liming materials, etc. Ninety-seven samples of fertilizers were taken in Belgium during the year 2011 and analyzed after a soft extraction procedure for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs) and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (DL-PCBs) using GC-IDHRMS. Only small qualitative differences could be observed between the main fertilizer categories since the PCDD:PCDF:DL-PCB average ratio obtained with the results expressed in WHO 2005-TEQ was often close to 30:30:40 (typically for sewage sludge) or 40:30:30 (typically for compost). The median dioxin levels determined were generally lower than recorded previously and were the highest for sewage sludge and compost (5.6 and 5.5 ng TEQ/kg dry weight (dw), respectively). The levels in other fertilizers were lower including manure for which the median value was only 0.2 ng TEQ/kg dw. Several fertilization scenarios relying on the use of those fertilizers were assessed taking into consideration the application conditions prevailing in Belgium. From this assessment it could be concluded that the contribution of fertilizers to the overall soil contamination will be low by comparison of other sources of contamination such as atmospheric depositions. At the field scale, intensive use of compost and sewage sludge will increase dramatically the dioxin inputs compared with other fertilization practices but this kind of immission to the soil will still be relatively low compared to the dioxin atmospheric depositions. [less ▲]

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See detailLevels of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans and polychlorinated biphenyls in human milk from different regions of France
Focant, Jean-François ULg; Fréry, N; Bidondo, ML et al

in Science of the Total Environment (2013), 452-453

Wereport on the pilot study carried out before the start of the Elfe project (French longitudinal study from childhood). A total of 44 samples of mature human milk were collected at home 8 weeks after ... [more ▼]

Wereport on the pilot study carried out before the start of the Elfe project (French longitudinal study from childhood). A total of 44 samples of mature human milk were collected at home 8 weeks after delivery. A total of 7 polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), 10 polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), 12 dioxin-like (DL) polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 6 non dioxin-like (NDL)-PCBs were measured. For total TEQ (PCDD/Fs and DL-PCBs), the geometric mean concentration was 17.81 pg TEQWHO05/g lipids. Relative PCDD, PCDF, and DL-PCB contributions to the arithmetic mean TEQWHO05 were 38%, 18%, and 44%, respectively. The use of TEFWHO05 instead of TEFWHO98 resulted in a 27% reduction of the total TEQ value. Although PCDD levels did not significantly change (less than 0.5% increase), PCDF and DL-PCB levels both decreased by 35% and 38%, respectively. Levels have been compared to data obtained during a previous non-reported national study conducted in 1998 (TEFWHO98) in French lactaria (n = 244). The mean of PCDD/Fs has decreased about 39.4% (18.8 pg TEQWHO98/g lipids in 1998 vs 11.4 pg TEQWHO98/g lipids in pilot study), respectively 41.5% for PCDDs (10.6 pg TEQWHO98/g lipids in 1998 vs 6.2 pg TEQWHO98/g lipids in pilot study) and 36.7% for PCDFs (7.9 pg TEQWHO98/g lipids in 1998 vs 5.0 pg TEQWHO98/g lipids in pilot study). For the sum of the 6 NDL-PCBs, the 2007 geometric mean concentration in milk was 176.3 ng/g lipids. The arithmetic mean lipid concentration in 2007 breast milk was 26.4 g/l (range from 6.0 to 46.7 g/l). A PCDD/F and DL-PCB daily intake was estimated to be 62.3 pg TEQWHO05/kg body weight per day (85.0 pg TEQWHO98/kg bodyweight per day) for a baby of 5 kg of bodyweight fed daily with 700 ml of maternal milk containing 25 g/l of lipids. [less ▲]

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See detailFuran formation upon degradation of carbohydrates in combination with proteins and lipids
Owczarek, Agnieszka; De Meulenaer, Bruno; Scholl, Georges ULg et al

Conference (2012, September 20)

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