A plea for the integration of Green Toxicology in sustainable bioeconomy strategies - Biosurfactants and microgel-based pesticide release systems as examples

J Hazard Mater. 2022 Mar 15:426:127800. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127800. Epub 2021 Nov 25.


A key aspect of the transformation of the economic sector towards a sustainable bioeconomy is the development of environmentally friendly alternatives for hitherto used chemicals, which have negative impacts on environmental health. However, the implementation of an ecotoxicological hazard assessment at early steps of product development to elaborate the most promising candidates of lowest harm is scarce in industry practice. The present article introduces the interdisciplinary proof-of-concept project GreenToxiConomy, which shows the successful application of a Green Toxicology strategy for biosurfactants and a novel microgel-based pesticide release system. Both groups are promising candidates for industrial and agricultural applications and the ecotoxicological characterization is yet missing important information. An iterative substance- and application-oriented bioassay battery for acute and mechanism-specific toxicity within aquatic and terrestrial model species is introduced for both potentially hazardous materials getting into contact with humans and ending up in the environment. By applying in silico QSAR-based models on genotoxicity, endocrine disruption, skin sensitization and acute toxicity to algae, daphnids and fish, individual biosurfactants resulted in deviating toxicity, suggesting a pre-ranking of the compounds. Experimental toxicity assessment will further complement the predicted toxicity to elaborate the most promising candidates in an efficient pre-screening of new substances.

Keywords: Acute toxicity; Agriculture; Aquatic models; Bioassays; Green Chemistry; Green Engineering; Mechanism-specific toxicity; QSAR; Terrestrial models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Fishes
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Humans
  • Microgels*
  • Pesticides* / toxicity


  • Hazardous Substances
  • Microgels
  • Pesticides