• Alternative Leadership in Flexible Surge Capacity — The Perceived Impact of the Tabletop Simulation Exercises on Thai Emergency Physicians Capability to Manage a Major Incident, P. Phattharapornjarnen et al., University of Gothenburg
  • Snapring: an everyday activity & personal safety app with seamless emergency features, M. Volk, University of Ljubljana
  • Mineral oil in food: How is the situation in Belgium and what are the risks? A. Van Heyst, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.  
  • RAINDROPS – Resilience and Adaptation to Drylands: identifying past water management practises for drought-resistant crops, C. Lancelotti, University of Pompeu Fabra
  • Enhancing the exploitation of sedimentary basins for the energy transition: From hydrocarbon resources production to geothermal heat generation, Cédric Bailly et al., CY Cergy Paris Université
  • Supercavitation, a method of water disinfection, M. Dular, University of Ljubljana
  • Resoil cleaning technology of soil contaminated with heavy metals, D. Leštan, University of Ljubljana
  • New biopesticides for Controlling Plant Pests, K. Sepčič, University of Ljubljana
  • Effects of environmental change on habitat forming seaweeds, A. Kinnby, University of Gothenburg
  • Cultivation of Seaweeds in Industrial Process Waters – Evaluation of Growth and Nitrogen Content, K. Stedt et al., University of Gothenburg

Mineral oil in food: How is the situation in Belgium and what are the risks?


Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Science and Bio-engineering Sciences AMGC

Researchers reported presence of mineral oil in various food. Mineral oil can enter the food via different routes: (i) certain mineral oils are allowed as additive (e.g. E905a), (ii) as a pollutant from atmospheric precipitation or aquatic pollution, (iii) due to processing of food (e.g. use of machine oils and anti-dusting products) and (iv) as a residue coming from ingredients from pesticides or components from printing inks on paper and board packaging.

In 2013, the European Food Safety Authority published a scientific opinion, thereby indicating that occurrence data onmineral oil are only available for a limited number of food groups and from few countries. In Belgium, data on thecontamination of food by mineral oil were lacking. Another point of concern is that the potential health effects related to the contamination of the food chain by mineral oil are largely unknown.

Within this research, I evaluated the presence of mineral oil in food sold on the Belgian market and subsequently the exposure of the Belgian population. Afterwards, I investigated the hazards associated with mineral oil in terms of genotoxicity and endocrine activity. The data obtained within the project will be used to support the Belgian authorities in the implementation of new rules to minimize the exposure to mineral oil and prevent health issues caused by mineral oil.

This video was made in collaboration withScience Figured Out

RAINDROPS – Resilience and Adaptation to Drylands: identifying past water management practises for drought-resistant crops (ERC-Stg-2017 G.A. 759800)

Carla Lancelotti

CasEs Research Group, Department of Humanities, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

RAINDROPS aims to provide a long-term perspective on human adaptation to and the establishment of resilient cultivation systems in drylands. Drylands cover over 40% of the Earth’s surface and are home to approximately 2.3 billion people and in those areas either irrigation, a permanent water source or some form of rainwater harvesting techniques are often deemed necessary for cultivation. However, there are modern examples that testify to the existence of successful rain-fed cultivation systems, even in hyper-arid locations. Archeologically, the different levels of water management, and especially rain-fed cultivation, are extremely difficult to study, due to the lack of trustful proxies of these practices. Determining water availability directly from archaeobotanical material – specifically form ubiquitous and well-preserved micro-remains (phytoliths) – offers a potential solution to this problem.

The main objectives of RAINDROPS are: 1) to develop a methodology for identifying direct evidence of water management practice from crop remains; 2) to identify adaptive practices in drylands cultivation, with particular emphasis on rain-fed agriculture and drought resistant crops (i.e. finger millet and sorghum); and, 3) to establish past water management and land use practices at three biophysical hotspots in Asia and Africa. To reach its objectives, RAINDROPS combines research on plant physiology with original archaeobotanical applications and records of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) on cultivation systems in drylands. Plant remains from archaeological sites are the most direct evidence of ancient cultivation practices. RAINDROPS connects experimentally controlled data of macro-remains (stable carbon isotopes) and micro-remains (phytolith morphological ratios, and stable oxygen and silicon isotopes from phytoliths), with ethnographic evidence to create a methodological framework for the assessment of crop water availability. This approach is developed for three of the major tropical and sub-tropical crops, both in prehistory and today – pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.], finger millet [Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.] and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] – and is applied to selected key archaeological settings (Harappa, Pakistan; Al Khiday, Sudan and Mezber, Ethiopia).

Enhancing the exploitation of sedimentary basins for the energy transition: From hydrocarbon resources production to geothermal heat generation

Cédric BAILLY (1*), Jean-Baptiste REGNET (1), Philippe ROBION (1), Sylvie BOURQUIN (2), Xavier SENGELEN (1), Christophe BARNES (1), Ronan HEBERT (1), Béatrice LEDESERT (1)

(1) Laboratoire Géosciences et Environnement Cergy, CY Cergy Paris University, France. 
(2) Geosciences Rennes, UMR 6118 ; Université de Rennes 1, France.   
* Contact :

As part of the energy transition, the geothermal potential of the Earth need to be studied in order to cope with climate change. In this context, the Horizon 2020 program is funding the MEET project to investigate the development of Enhanced Geothermal Systems in different geological settings, including sedimentary basins and theconversion of oil wells for geothermal purposes. Within this European project, we are investigating a Triassic reservoir made of sandstones and dolomites in order to evaluate the co-production potential of geothermal and oil resources.

Our study is intended to provide insights on the interrelations between rock physics properties andmicrostructures in a newly defined stratigraphic framework. The main objectives are focused on the geological controlling factors of the transport properties. The studied rocks were accumulated on the western part of the ParisBasin during the Upper Triassic. Eight wells were characterized, combining sedimentary logging of 470 meters of rock cores and analyses of well-log dataset (Gamma Ray, Photoelectric absorption factor, Neutron Porosity, Density, Sonic). Lithofacies were defined based on core description, together with facies associations definition and depositional environment interpretation. Furthermore, a sampling of 159 plugs was done, for performingpetrophysical analysis. Rock physics measurements were acquired on those plugs in order to complete an existing petrophysical dataset of more than 700 samples (permeability, κ and porosity, Φ). Furthermore, a petrographic work was conducted, including 250 thin-sections observations using conventional microscopy and 32 thin sections using cathodoluminescence.

Based on a systematic petrographic description, we show that the combination between sedimentary texture and diagenetic overprint may greatly impact the porous network of the studied rocks, conducting to the definition of 3 main rocks types displaying distinctive κ-Φ trends. Furthermore, using both sedimentary descriptions and well-log dataset, seven electrofacies corresponding to three main depositional environments were defined, namely alluvial fan deposiqts (conglomerates & sandstones), floodplain/lacustrine deposits (heterolytic clays) and dolomitic paleosols (dolomitization of siliciclastic deposits). Then, a high resolution correlation transect was designed using genetic stratigraphy principles, including seven main genetic sequences that show the spatial evolution of depositional environments. In addition, the integration of rock types within the correlation transect provides a high resolutiondefinition of the reservoir compartmentalization. To go further, we may build a 3D static geological model that will serve as a basis for the development of future numerical simulations of fluid flow and heat transfer at the scale of thereservoir.

Effects of environmental change on habitat forming seaweeds

Alexandra Kinnby, PhD-student

Department of Marine Sciences, Tjärnö, University of Gothenburg, 452 96 Strömstad, Sweden 

Fucus vesiculosus is a habitat forming seaweed in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea; any changes in its distribution or physical structure could have broad-reaching implications on many coastal ecosystems. It is therefore important to understand both how this important species has evolved in the past and adapted to historical changes in the environment but also how future environmental stress and changes will affect this species.

Salinity is one environmental factor that will be affected by climate change, increasing in some areas, but sharplydecreasing in coastal regions. Within the Baltic Sea the sea surface salinity varies along a gradient from north to south and it therefore serves as a great model for studying effects of environmental changes. The reproduction of Fucus spp. is dependent on the local salinity. F. vesiculosus generally reproduces sexually, however in the Baltic Sea it has evolved clonal reproduction using adventitious branches which can detach from the parent and reattach nearby. Our results from structural equation modeling suggest that different factors interactively promote the growth of adventitious branches in a complex way, and that in some cases, the same factor (e.g. salinity) can have opposing effects in different areas.

In a separate study, the effects of changes in salinity were investigated by combining an experimental approach with a genome scan of six nearby F. vesiculosus populations from a natural salinity gradient. We analyzed the genetic differentiation among populations using thousands of genetic markers. The physiological tolerance to reduced salinity was evaluated by measuring growth, phlorotannin (defense compounds) content, and maximum photochemical yield in tissue of the same individuals exposed to both current and projected future salinities. Our results show that despite short geographic distances (max 100 km), most populations were genetically well separated. Furthermore, different populations responded very differently to a salinity decrease of four practical salinity units.

Another effect of climate change is ocean acidification due to increased atmospheric CO2, which might seriously affect coastal ecosystems. In addition to the direct effects on seaweeds, interactions between the seaweed and their consumers can be altered. We found an increase in surface area and decrease in breaking force which indicate that F. vesiculosusgrown under elevated levels of pCO2 may have their tissue strength reduced. This, together with increased wave energy in coastal ecosystems due to climate change, could have detrimental effects by reducing both habitat and food availability for herbivores.

Cultivation of Seaweeds in Industrial Process Waters – Evaluation of Growth and Nitrogen Content

Kristoffer Stedt (1), João Pedro Trigo (2), Henrik Pavia (1), Göran Nylund (1), Bita Forghani Targhi (2) & Ingrid Undeland (2)

(1) Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.   
(2) Department of Biology and Biological Engineering – Food and Nutrition Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

Elevated nutrient concentrations can increase both growth and protein content of different seaweeds. Nutrient-rich industrial process waters are untapped sources for seaweed cultivation. Cultivation of seaweeds in integration with fish farms have received much attention lately, but industrial process waters from other food industries have rarely been studied. Some focus has been on simulating process waters, without much attention on cultivation of seaweeds in real process waters, due to concerns that the complex characteristics of the waters will affect seaweeds negatively. Here we show that the seaweed species U. fenestrata, U. intestinalis and C. linum are suitable species for cultivation in a wide range of industrial process waters, while S. latissima is not. Growth rates of U. fenestrata, U. intestinalis and C. linum were similar or higher than the controls across the different process waters. All three species showed increased nitrogen content when cultivated in process waters compared to seawater. This study indicates the potential for cultivating seaweeds with industrial process waters to generate additional protein-rich biomass. The study shows that industrial process waters, otherwise costly disposed of, can be used as a valuable input for seaweed growth.