Research topic II

For human health: Investigation of the biological effects of particulate emissions from biomass combustion

Although great efforts have been made to reduce air pollution, particle emissions still pose a considerable threat to human health in many areas. The recent increase in the use of solid biomass as energy source has increased air pollution in both urban and remote areas, especially during winter months. However, little is known about the health effects of particles emitted by biomass combustion. Therefore, the BIOCOMBUST project investigates the biological effects of such particles (e.g. fly ashes). For this purpose, we expose human lung cells in the laboratory to various types of particles and identify the effects on the genetic material and the viability of the cells. Further indicators include increased inflammation and defense mechanisms that can be measured by molecular biological methods and indicate possible cell damage. In addition to conventional cell cultures, the cell culture systems of three different types of cells, tissue sections and 3D-cell culture sets are used for the toxicological investigations.

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