Markus Brinkmann received the SETAC GLB Young scientists award of EUR 1000 for his master thesis "Uptake and effects of particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from sediment suspensions in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss, Walbaum)".
Being the first graduate of the masters course in ecotoxicology at RWTH Aachen University, he investigated the uptake and effect of PAH in rainbow trout after getting into contact with resuspended river sediments, as occurs, e.g., during flood events. After examining the exposed fish he described especially genotoxic effects with a high relevance for health and spawner quality of fish stocks.
The investigations were carried out on a moderately contaminated sediment from the River Rhine at Ehrenbreitstein, Germany. Part of the sediment was used as is, another part was additionally spiked with a PAH mixture. Some fish were exposed to the sediment particles at 12 °C – which is the temperature optimum for rainbow trout – and others at 24 °C, hence, experiencing temperature stress. Markus Brinkmann could show a chronology of different biomarkers in response to the exposure. Beside oxidative stress (through lipid peroxidation) he determined elevated micronucleus rates in erythrocytes as a measure for genotoxicity.
In his PhD thesis the young scientist will continue to investigate particle-bound contaminants and their effects on fish. The work now focuses on dioxin-like substances such as PCB. Markus Brinkmann aims to define thresholds for contamination, above which effects in fish are likely.
The prize money will be used by Brinkmann for education in fisheries biology: he takes lessons for his electrofishing license and seminars in fishery management and aquaculture.