The University of Cadiz organized an interesting activity to bring science and the BIZENTE project closer to students with high capacities, within the course “Toxicity assessment as a practical tool and early warning indicator of potential environmental risks”, a dozen students have had the opportunity to learn about the toxicology process that the UCA carries in the framework of BIZENTE and then perform a complete test with worms. The first day was devoted to the basic theory of toxicology and the basics of the project. During the second day, the students, guided by BIZENTE experts, designed and set up the toxicity test with the organisms. On the third day, the collection of the test and treatment of samples for analysis took place. On the fourth day, enzyme activity and protein measurements were performed on the samples. On the fifth day, it was the turn to perform the data processing and the subsequent analysis of results. The activity concluded on the sixth day with a session dedicated to brainstorming and sharing the conclusions of the study. All students received a diploma, with the project logo.
The aim of the workshop was to make students aware of the importance for the environment of assessing toxicity and measuring biomarkers in organisms, as it serves as an early warning indicator for decision making and to know the risk of certain products in daily use (pesticides, medicines, plastics…). The students have learned to design and carry out a complete toxicity test, to calculate and prepare solutions and reagents necessary for the experiments; to take and pre-treat biological samples, to measure specific biomarkers; to take and interpret data and discuss results. We have emphasized the awareness and importance of handling the safety elements and personal protective equipment necessary to develop a safe activity in a laboratory, as well as the correct handling of terrestrial invertebrates such as the Californian red worm (Eisenia foetida), taking into account all the necessary ethical aspects.