Toxicology Unit



The Toxicology Unit carries out research in the framework of two scientific projects financed by the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports:

The toxic effects of organophosphorus compounds (OPs), as well as the existing and new potential antidotes are studies in the framework of the project Therapeutic effect of newly synthesised compounds in organophosphorus poisoning. The general toxicological activity of OPS is based on the irreversible inhibition of hydrolytic enzymes; essential acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). These are compounds with primarily act on the cholinergic nervous system and unfortunately, besides being used in agriculture, public health and veterinary and human medicine, may also be used as warfare nerve agents. Despite many studies and findings, a suitable antidote with a satisfactory effectiveness in OP treatment has still not been found. Therefore, finding effective antidotes is one of key segments in this field of research.

Mycotoxins are metabolites of various species of mould with toxic, carcinogenic, genotoxic, mutagenic and teratogenic properties. The toxic effects of mycotoxins are investigated in the framework of the project Toxic effects of mycotoxins on humans and animals. The problem of food contamination with mycotoxins is more and more pronounced because an increasing number of foodstuffs come from tropic countries in which the possibility of mould growth and mycotoxin contamination is higher. Besides, more and more “healthy food” is consumed, i.e. food with no pesticides, which makes mould and their metabolite (mycotoxin) contamination more frequent. In the framework of this project, the mechanism of toxicity is explored, and their concentrations are measured in biological material and food.

  • Biological monitoring of aromatic hydrocarbons:
    • determination of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene isomers (BTEX) and their metabolites in biological samples using gas chromatography (GC);
    • selection of optimal biological indicators in different samples and their comparison;
    • assessment of exposure of working and general population to organic solvents using biological monitoring;
    • assessment of effects on health.
  • Identification of drug abuse in selected populations:
    • development of methods for detecting drugs in hair and urine using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS);
    • comparison of biological indicators of exposure;
  • Assessment of human exposure to passive smoking:
    • determination of nicotine and its metabolite cotinine in hair and urine using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS);
    • assessment of harmful effects on health in vulnerable groups of people (children, pregnant women, puerperas and other).


  • The activity of cholinesterases in whole blood and plasma is measured in workers occupationally exposed to pesticides (organophosphorus and carbamate compounds)
  • determining indicators of exposure to volatile hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene isomeric xylenes, ethylbenzene, styrene, phenol,) in urine and blood
  • drugs of abuse analyses (amphetamines, opiates, cocaine) in human hair and urine; serum lidocaine analysis