Bioavailability and human health risk of mixed metals


The use of bioavailability testing on contaminated soil to assess the human health risk of heavy metals has attracted wide attention. The involvement of PBET (physiologically based extraction test) studies to determine bioavailability makes the determination process quick and cost-effective. However, use of animal models to validate the bioavailability data are crucial and appropriate as animals have physiological similarities to humans.

Limited research studies have been conducted on metal-metal interactions.  Therefore this research will focus on the influence of soil properties on metal-metal interactions to provide a better understanding of the bioavailability of toxic metals and the related health risks to humans.

The project involves studying heavy metal bioavailability and toxicity to earthworms and pigs from spiked Australian soil. This includes toxicity testing using earthworm Eisenia fetida as well as conducting in vitro bioavailability tests and validating them using pig models.