Prevalence and Ecotoxicological Risk of Retinoids in the Environment

Theme: Environmental Pollution

Main Supervisor:

Edwin Routledge

Environmental Sciences, BRUNEL

Second Supervisor:

Rakesh Kanda

Environmental Sciences, BRUNEL

Project Description:

Retinoids have a significant role in many vital biological processes such as regulation of skin function and neuronal development. There are over 2,500 retinoid related compounds used in cosmetic products and as anti-acne therapeutic agents. There is increasing concern about the presence of retinoids and synthetic chemicals with retinoid like properties entering the environment. Retinoid activity has been detected in wastewater effluent, pulp mill effluents, and from unknown/diffuse sources, suggesting that a variety of chemicals exist in nature (natural and/or man-made) that mimic the activity of natural endogenous retinoids. Despite this, there is little information on what these chemicals might be, or where they come from and identifying these chemicals (and developing reliable tests) is now on the OECD agenda. This project will develop bioassay directed methods to determine the identity of these chemicals and investigate if retinoid-like chemicals are prevalent in the environment and if they pose an ecotoxicological risk.

Policy Impact of Research:

The complete identity of retinoid like chemicals or the risks they pose to natural systems is unknown. Identification of the most active components and an assessment of their potential impact on the environment can be used to determine treatment strategies and to inform on policy makers.


Stay informed

Subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.


Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

Pearson Building, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter