The primary objective of TOXPROF is to toxicologically profile the major oil types and hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) transported within EU waters using the suite of bioassays and biomarkers recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

TOXPROF logoTOXPROF is an international collaboration with partners from Norway, United Kingdom, Spain and France.

The two-year project is funded through the AMPERA ERA-NET. The final report will be available in June 2011.

The project is split into five work packages:

  • WP1: Oil and HNS selection and physical and chemical characterisation
  • WP2: Bioassay profiling
  • WP3: Biomarker profiling
  • WP4: Effects-directed identification of toxic oil components
  • WP5: Data evaluation, dissemination and reporting
Partners Contact
Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Oslo, Norway Kevin V Thomas, Project coordinator and WP4 lead
University of Oslo, Norway Ketil Hylland, WP3 and 5 lead
Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Weymouth, UK John Thain/Brett Lyons, WP2 lead
Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO) / Oceanographic Centre of Murcia, Spain Concepción Martínez-Gómez
Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Barcelona, Spain Josep M Bayona, WP1 lead (and RAMOCS coordinator)
Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (IFREMER), France Thierry Burgeot
Institut des Sciences Moléculaires (ISM) – UMR 5255 CNRS, Université Bordeaux 1 Hélène Budzinski

About the project

In 2006, the Oslo and Paris (OSPAR) Commission requested that the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), through the Working Group on the Biological Effects of Contaminants (WGBEC), consider and assess the long term impact of oil spills on marine and coastal life as requested from OSPAR and provide a guidance document on the use of biological effects techniques for oil spill situations. In addition to providing a background document (ICES WGBEC Report 2006), the working group concluded that research was required on the toxicity profiling of the major oil types transported in a given region.

Toxicological profiling / hazard identification using bioassays should be employed to determine the responses to the given oil types. The importance of undertaking this research is to establish the applicability of biological effects techniques (bioassays and biomarkers) for risk assessment, management and policy purposes after oil spill accidents.

The primary objective of this project is therefore to toxicologically profile the major oil types and Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) transported within EU waters using the suite of bioassays and biomarkers recommended by the ICES WGBEC. The proposal is closely aligned with RAMOCS (Implementation of Risk Assessment Methodologies for Oil and Chemical spills in the European Marine Environment) and will provide data and use the same protocols where necess ary as RAMOCS in order to maximize synergy. TOXPROF and RAMOCS will as far as possible work on the same oils and HNS and all workshops will be common to the two projects.

Quality assurance/control of the tests performed will be guaranteed through the testing since both Cefas and NIVA run the BEQUALM QA/QC scheme for biological effects monitoring in the marine environment.

Joint kick-off meeting

Project partners from both TOXPROF and RAMOCS held a joint kick-off meeting in Oslo on the 1st and 2nd of October 2008 where plans were laid for collaboration throughout the lifetime of the two projects. Partners from France, Spain, Portugal, UK and Norway attended the meeting.

Results and outputs

Oil selection: Four oils have been selected based upon quantities shipped, origin and oil type. These oils are:

  • Ekofisk (North Sea)
  • Angolan Dalia
  • Russian Export Blend
  • Arabian Light (Saudi Arabia)

Heavy fuel oil and diesel have also been studied within the project.

The HNS substance selected from a prioritisation performed within the RAMOCS project is styrene monomer.

An exposure workshop was held in Drøbak on Oslofjord, Norway during Autumn 2009. Data from the workshop are forthcomming with numerous posters presented at the SETAC Europe meeting in Seville, Spain.

Conference outputs

Toxprof has been presented at the following international meetings:



Project Coordinator Kevin V Thomas 

Sist oppdatert 17.09.2015