Approved Abstracts

Potential toxicological effect on the marine environment of secondary raw material based artificial reefs.

Author(s): J. Santos Terán; E. Cifrian; A. Rodriguez-Romero; Yoris-Nobile A.I.; Blanco-Fernandez E.; Castro-Fresno D.; A. Andres;
Presenter: Jorge Santos Terán

Due to the massive production of construction materials and its consequent impact on the environment, the development of new, more sustainable materials is urgent. One way of approaching a solution is to incorporate waste streams as secondary raw materials in these production processes. One potential use for some of these proposed new materials could be in marine environments as artificial reefs. Artificial reefs are used nowadays for the protection and restoration of fisheries and biodiversity; but how are these based on secondary raw materials construction products affecting the marine environment? In this sense, a minimum test battery for aquatic toxicity tests on construction products has been recommended recently for freshwater environment. However, the biological effects on marine ecosystem are still not considered even if the diversity of new building materials grows every day with increasingly complex matrices, more heterogeneous streams of secondary raw materials and an increasingly specific range of applications.
In this study, in order to stablish a marine ecotoxicity test battery as useful tool to assess the impact of construction products in the marine ecosystem, the potential environmental effects of three different cement matrices proposed as artificial reefs have been investigated. The artificial reefs were developed by 3D printing with three concrete formulations, based on cement CEM III binders and a traditional sands (CL) and two replacing the limestone by secondary raw materials: seashells (CS) and glass (CG). To assess the potential ecotoxicity effects of both products, two different toxicity bioassays based on the luminosity reduction of marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri (Microtox®) and the success of early larval development of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, were conducted.
The results obtained from Microtox® test show little toxic effect for bacteria in leachate solutions of building materials based on traditional materials and those containing glass; but, nevertheless, a high toxic effect was detected for the seashells containing material. In the case of sea urchin embryogenesis test, the glass-containing material (CG) was the one that least affected embryonic development with an EC50 = 42.39%. The material that contained only traditional materials had a slightly higher effect with an EC50 = 30.31%; and the material containing seashells showed the highest toxicity effect, EC50 = 10.30%. Furthermore, with the results obtained from both bioassays, a statistical analysis was carried out to find significant differences on toxicity among the tested cement matrices. The obtained endpoint from Microtox® test was linked to chemical properties of elutriates from the tested cement matrices in order to stablish the relationship between the reduction in luminosity of bacteria and the presence of contaminants. These results show that the potential toxicity of constructions is being underestimated on marine environment due to the lack of suitable tools for their assessment. Further research, to stablish a test battery that consider the marine ecosystem as an important exposure pathway related to construction products, are needed.
This work has been supported by a) the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the European Regional Development Fund by means of the research project RTI2018-097612-B-C22;
Dr. Araceli Rodríguez-Romero is supported by the Spanish grant Juan de la Cierva Incorporación referenced as IJC2018–037545-I.
The materials studied were obtained in the framework of the collaborative project Artificial Reef 3D Printing for Atlantic Area (3DPARE), co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the European cross-border programme INTERREG Atlantic Area.

Keywords: Ecotoxicology; alternative concrete; bioassays




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