Development, validation and application of analytical methods for PBDE determination – DeValApp

Croatian Science Foundation

Project head: Darija Klinčić

Duration: 1 Oct 2018 – 30 Sep 2023

Funding: 1,424,500.00 HRK

The purpose of the proposed project is to develop and validate analytical methods for determining specific polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners in complex samples of house dust and human milk. PBDEs are widespread in the environment, they accumulate in the food chain and enter human organism where they can exert a number of negative impacts. House dust is recognized as an important source of exposure to PBDEs because of their intensive use as flame retardants in objects widely used in households (furniture, textiles, electrical and electronic devices). On the other hand, human milk is a reliable bioindicator of people’s exposure to these compounds. The development of analytical methods will involve the examination and comparison of various types of extraction techniques, whereby along with the solid phase extraction and ultrasonic extraction, particular emphasis will be put on the application of an unused technique, microwave extraction. Techniques and conditions for the cleanup of the extract from the interfering compounds and matrix components before the final instrument analysis will be investigated. The sensitivity and selectivity of gas-chromatographic determination of PBDEs by electron capture detectors, mass spectrometer and coupled tandem mass spectrometry will be determined. Validated methods will be confirmed by analysis of certified reference samples. During the project, house dust will be sampled in the homes of milk donors. The optimized and validated analytical methods will be used for PBDE analysis in collected samples. Results on PBDE levels and distribution will be the first of a kind in Croatia and will be used to assess the importance of PBDE intake in the body by inhaling house dust and exposure of general population to PBDEs. From all of the above mentioned, it will be concluded whether there is a potential risk to human health with a special emphasis on sensitive population groups of nursing mothers, infants and young children.

Research team

Darija Klinčić, PhD
Senior Research Associate
Principal Investigator

Marija Dvoršćak, PhD
Scientific Associate

Karla Jagić, mag. chem.
PhD student

Other associates: Andreja Jurič, mag. ing. bioproc., PhD student

Implementation plan


  • Klinčić, B. Tariba Lovaković, K. Jagić, M. Dvoršćak, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and multi-element profile of house dust in Croatia: Indoor sources, influencing factors of their accumulation and health risk assessment for humans. Sci Total Environ (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149430. LINK
  • K. Jagić, M. Dvoršćak, A. Jurič, T. Safner, D. Klinčić, Optimization and validation of a two-step method for the determination of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in Croatian house dust samples. Anal Methods (2021) doi: 10.1039/d1ay00695a. LINK
  • K. Jagić, M. Dvoršćak, A. Jurič, T. Safner, D. Klinčić, Preliminary results on polybrominated diphenyl ether contamination status in Croatian households and insights into children’s exposure,  Environ Toxicol Pharmacol (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.etap.2021.103603. LINK
  • D. Klinčić, M. Dvoršćak, K. Jagić, G. Mendaš, S. Herceg Romanić, Levels and distribution of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in humans and environmental compartments: a comprehensive review of the last five years of research. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020) doi:10.1007/s11356-020-07598-7. LINK


  • Marija Dvoršćak, Unwelcome guests in house dust – polybrominated diphenyl ethers, Elementary school Djurdjevac, 21.05.2021.

  • Darija Klinčić, Presentation of scientific-research work within the DeValApp project, IMI, 07.05.2021.
  • Marija Dvoršćak, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers – how we are exposed to them, IMI, 02.12.2020.
  • Marija Dvoršćak, Side by side with polybrominated diphenyl ethers, Professional Meeting of Biology Teachers AZOO, 08.07.2020., webinar
  • Marija Dvoršćak, Persistent organic pollutants – from application to side effects, County professional meeting for biology teachers in specialized schools of Zagreb, 02.03.2020., Craft School for Personal Services, Zagreb

  • Marija Dvoršćak, Persistent organic pollutants in environment and humans (organochlorine and organobromine compounds), presentation, part of classes held at IMROH 2019 for students of the Medical School Vrapče, subject Hygiene and Preventive Medicine (21.10.-26.11.2019.)
  • Darija Klinčić, Brominated flame retardants and their impact on human health, Experiences and news of the health profession for the purpose of improving and modernizing teaching (IMI, ASOO), 22.11.2018., IMROH, Zagreb
  • Marija Dvoršćak, Coexistence with the brominated compounds, Scientific Discussions of Young Scientists, 21.11.2018., IMROH, Zagreb

Participation at scientific meetings

  • Karla Jagić: 27th Croatian Meeting of Chemists and Chemical Engineers (HSKIKI 2021), Veli Lošinj, Croatia, poster presentation, 05.-08.10.2021.

  • Marija Dvoršćak: 6th Croatian Congress of Toxicology (CROTOX 2021), Rabac, Croatia, poster presentation, 03.-06.10.2021.

  • Karla Jagić: 6th Croatian Congress of Toxicology (CROTOX 2021), Rabac, Croatia, oral presentation, 03.-06.10.2021.

  • Karla Jagić: 56th Congress of the European Societies of Toxicology (EURUTOX 2021), virtual congress, poster presentation, 27.09.-01.10.2
  • Karla Jagić: Air Protection 2021, Medulin, Croatia, poster presentation, 15.-17.09.2021.

  • Karla Jagić: 5th Faculty of Science PhD student Symposium, Zagreb, Hrvatska, flash and poster presentation, 24.-25.04.2021

  • Karla Jagić: 18th Ružička Days, Vukovar, Croatia, 16.-18.09.2020.

  • Karla Jagić: 4th Symposium of PhD students of the Faculty of Science 2020, Zagreb, Croatia, 28.02.2020.

  • Karla Jagić: XIII Meeting of Young Chemical Engineers, Zagreb, Croatia, 20.-21.02.2020.

Science Popularization

  • Darija Klinčić, Development, validation and application of analytical methods for PBDE determination,  WorkIn’ Science – WISe, 07.11.2018., Faculty of Science, Zagreb,

List of publications:|6605|text|project-id

Additional activities during the project

  • Karla Jagić: summer academy – lecture series „9th BfR-Summer Academy on Risk Assessment and Risk Communication in Food Safety 2021“, online, 23.-27.08.2021.
  • Darija Klinčić, Karla Jagić: summer school “ 17th edition of RECETOX Summer School”, RECETOX, online, 21.-25.06.2021.
  • Karla Jagić: summer school “15th Summer School on Toxic Compounds in the Environment 2019”, 17.-21.06.2019., RECETOX, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

  • Karla Jagić: summer school “XIX. International Chromatography School”, 10.-11.06.2019., Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Zagreb, Croatia

Graduation thesis

  • Defence of Diploma thesis: Lucija Besednik, Microwave assisted extraction of polybrominated diphenyl ethers from human milk, Faculty of Science, Zagreb (18.09.2020.)

  • the preparation of Diploma thesis of Lucija Besednik, graduate student of Analytical Chemistry and Biochemstry at Faculty of Science


  • Karla Jagić: Young Scientist Award, 6th Croatian Congress of Toxicology (CROTOX 2021), Rabac, Croatia (03.-06.10.2021.)
  • Karla Jagić: Best Poster Award at „4th Symposium of PhD students of the Faculty of Science 2020.“, Zagreb, Hrvatska (28.2.2020.)


  • at CROTOX 2021, Rabac

  • tour de Rijeka and hiking on Učka