Dispersion of hazardous substances, pathogens and other stressors in a changing environment: environmental risk assessment and remediation (POLLUTION)

Approved by the order of the Minister of Education,

Science and Sports of the Republic of Lithuania

No. V-585 of 19 April 2022



1. The entity implementing the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Programme for 2022-2026 „Dispersion of hazardous substances, pathogens and other stressors in a changing environment: Environmental risk assessment and remediation (Pollution)“(hereinafter referred to as the programme) is the Nature Recearch Centre (hereinafter referred to as NRC).
2. Objectives of the programme:
2.1. To gain new fundamental knowledge to scientifically substantiate environmental quality preservation in conditions of global climate change and anthropogenic pressure by conducting /integrated/ research into the dispersion of hazardous substances (chemical and radioactive), pathogenic (micro-) organisms and other stressors in the environment.
2.2. To assess biodiversity and its dynamics, to forecast environmental quality trends and to scientifically substantiate the recommendations set out in state strategic documents on options and measures for controlling environmental quality and ensuring social well-being based on the findings of the environmental pollution impact analysis covering various ecosystem levels (from separate biota components to ecosystems).
2.3. To improve environmental risk assessment methodologies, to maintain databases related to pollution phenomena and environmental quality and risk assessment, to pursue the scientific knowledge-based discourse on pollution risks and environmental quality thereby encouraging society to rationally apply scientific knowledge in practice.
3. Tasks of the Programme:
3.1. To assess the ecotoxicological effects and risks posed by the newly emerging chemical pollutants to the environment in conditions of (a)biotic factors change.
3.2. To investigate the diversity and dispersion dynamics of phytopathogenic microorganisms in conditions of climate change and anthropogenic pressure for the purpose of selecting preventive and control measures against them, thereby reducing the damage caused by phytopathogenic microorganisms.
3.3. To investigate the biological peculiarities of microscopic fungi on anthropogenic substrata and in the human environment as well as the factors limiting their growth and development; to assess the role of microscopic fungi in biodegradation processes of materials.
3.4. To determine structures of microbial systems and their importance in biotic pollution control.
3.5. To investigate the entry, dispersion and accumulation of priority hazardous polluting substances in terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
3.6. To analyze the environmental effects of radioactive pollution from the main regional nuclear facilities and to assess radiation exposure risks to biota and humans.

4. Substantiation of research methodology
In response to the environmental challenges facing the present-day society and in line with the strategies for addressing them outlined in strategic EU and national documents (Lithuania‘s Progress Strategy „ Lithuania 2030“, the National Environmental Protection Strategy, priorities of the Green Course and those of Circular economy, the 2030 Agenda and the Sutainable Development Goals of the UN, etc.), in its Action Programme (The Programme of the 18th Government of the Republic of Lithuania, Government Resolution No XIV-72 of 11 December 2020) and in its Action Implementation Plan (Implementation of the Programme of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania), the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has stressed the relevance of the scientific research-based projects and actions aimed at reducing pollution intensity and development of new measures and methods for pollution prevention, thereby emphasizing environmental protection and remediation, and the use of environmentally friendly resources. The pursuit of high environmental quality standards is still challenged by pollution, an inevitable side effect of global technological progress, posing serious threat to the mankind. The hitherto world-dominant model of economy, which is based on the use of fossil fuels and the constantly growing resource extraction for the ever increasing production of commodities, on the one hand, and on low waste recycling, on the other, generates huge amounts of waste, often containing hazardous substances that enter the environment in various forms and ways.
The simultaneously ongoing processes of rapid global biodiversity decline and ecosystem reorganization evolve into the decline of individual species and their groups/populations or into their uncontrolled expansion leading to the increased incidence of alien species invasions and increasing extent of the damage caused, which, undoubdtedly, negatively affect human populations and significant branches of economy. It is highly important that the combined effects of the pathogenic microorganisms activity, toxins produced by living organisms and dispersion of the already existing and the newly developed hazardous chemical substances in the environment as well as the effects of other stressors‘ dynamics should be analyzed both on various biological organization levels and on that of the ecosystem employing the latest research methods. It is only in such a way that the diversity and dynamics of the pollution associated phenomena as well as the risks they pose to the environment and humans can be reliably assessed, and scientifically substantiated prevention options and measures can be provided. Hence, safe living environment can be preserved only by reducing pollution intensity, which requires that rational, scientifically grounded and constantly updated efforts should be jointly undertaken by various countries and their citizens.
Science and technologies development is accompanied by the rapid improvement of instrumental and methodological research bases and the growing significance of the fields of science dealing with the environmental state assessment. Dispersion of hazardous substances (chemical and radioactive) in the environment is not the only problem that worries the present-day society. Another issue of public concern is the rapid development of nanotechnologies. In modern industry, nano- and microderivatives have become an irreplaceable class of materials, which despite their obvious benefits, may be detrimental to ecosystems and human health. Due to their size, specific physical-chemical properties and their extensive and increasing use in different fields of industry, medicine and agriculture, man-made nano- and microderivatives or those formed in nature as a result of anthropogenic activity may accumulate in environmental components and affect both separate individuals or species and environmental processes. As the available data on their impacts on organisms and environment are scarce, and as there are no universally acceptable, scientifically grounded risk assessment methods, safety of nano- and microderivatives provokes a lot of controversial discussions.
The accelerating chemicalization process threatens ecosystems and humans via aquatic environment, because, firstly, water is widely used for waste management, secondly, it is the main vector of a great many of chemical substances, and, finally, water supply and sanitation are the indispensable prerequisites for the evolution of the whole mankind (Sustainable Development Goals of UN). According to the latest chemical inventory data, there are about 350 000 chemicals or their mixtures recorded in the world. However, identity of a great many of chemical substances, and, at the same time, their (eco)toxiological data are not publicly available for confidentiality reasons or because of the ambiguity of their description. In the future, the circulation of the newly synthesized chemical substances or their derivatives in the biogeosphere will also raise concerns, and such pollutants as microplastics are potential mediators between the dispersion of chemicals and pathogens in the environment. Hence, there will inevitably arise the need to identify the (a)biotic interactions induced by the above mentioned substances as well as to determine and predict the „something from nothing“ phenomenon, when the chemical substances at background concentrations acting together with physical factors can bring about a synergistic (or antagonistic) effect on organisms, i.e., the synergistic effect of (a)biotic factors, which manifests itself when separate factors operate within the limits of background or threshold concentrations. In accordance with the European circular economy strategy, environmental problems arising because of the production, use and consumption of plastics need to be addressed urgently, which calls for comprehensive, transdisciplinary science-based, intergrated risk assessment solutions.
Microorganisms play an exceptionally important role in the assessment, control and conservation of the environment. Although they are among the most widespread organisms in the world, so far only a small part of them are known and an even smaller part of them are used in practice. Due to the abundance of synthesized metabolites they are widespread in various ecosystems, play a significant role in the metabolic cycle, generate biologically active substances, and are able to decompose both natural organic waste and synthetic substances and pollutants. As production volumes in different industries increase, environmental protection will have to address the new needs associated with the control and practical application of microorganism activity. Such complex studies into microorganisms (micromycetes, yeasts and bacteria) in other Lithuanian scientific research institutions are not conducted. Various microorganisms cause plant diseases, economic and harvest losses as well as damage to wildlife and plant communities. Climate change ( appearance of new invasive plant species and insect vectors of human and plant diseases) and anthropogenic pressure (introduction of pathogens and their hosts) heighten the risk of new-to-the-region diseases emergence, and they do emerge. Hence, scientifically-grounded monitoring and development of research methodology are indispensable.
The research under the Programme will be performed using a combination of modern methods mastered by NRC researchers. The innovative integrative methodology for pollution research, combining the main modern physical-chemical (including isotope analysis), specialized microbiological, physiological, biochemical and genetic methods of material analysis, and used in specially equipped laboratories and field research bases, is going to be optimized. In-depth biological pollution investigations will be performed employing such modern high-efficiency omics technologies as metagenomics, transcriptomics, viromics and metabolomics. The technical potential of the NRC will be exploited for conducting ecotoxicity tests on aquatic organisms (algae, aquatic plants, crustaceans, various development stages of fish) employing biotesting, toxicological, biochemical, cytogenetic, hydrochemical, bioaccumulation, histological, physiological and other methods. Assessment of biomarker responses at different biological organization levels will allow determining the cumulative effect of stressors and may prove especially efficient in reducing the lag between the chemical pollution detection and the assessment of the ecological state of ecosystems. NRC laboratory facilities and their modern equipment will warrant the up-to-date research level and safety of work with toxic substances. A breakthrough in the area of mycological studies is expected to be achieved by employing modern microorganism identification methods, which integrate phenotypical, physiological, biochemical and molecular approaches. Fungicide active substances will be investigated employing methods for the determination of minimal inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations. The role of microscopic fungi in biodestruction processes will be assessed applying qualitative and quantitative enzymatic activity methods.
The laboratories engaged in research under this programme have compiled collections of the test organisms, model and natural microorganisms that are indispensable for conducting ecotoxicological and microbiological investigations. The available libraries of single gene deletion yeast strains (over 4500 strains) and those of gene overexpression (over 5000 strains) will be made use of when conducting functional genomics investigations. NRC researchers have amassed extensive arrays of data, which are important not only to the present generation scientists, but are also expected to serve as an uninterrupted connection with future scientists.
It is projected that forty researchers of NRC as well as technical research assistants, students of various study cycles ( Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degree studies) and research fellows will be engaged in the research programme implementation. Whenever possible, efforts will be undertaken to upgrade and replenish the facilities and equipment available and to recruit the needed human resources by attracting national and international funding sources. Open access laboratories of other Lithuanian research institutions will be also used for conducting the envisaged investigations. The interdisciplinary investigations into pollution related phenomena performed under this Programme will contribute to the training of specialists in ecology and environmental science as well as to the enhancement of the public‘s environmental literacy.

5. Research stages and their description

The investigations envisaged under the programme will be performed in two main stages, lasting 2,5 years each. The first stage of investigations will last from 2022 through the first half of 2024 and will end in the interim report summarizing the preliminary results. The second stage, which will last from the second half of 2024 through 2026, will end in a final report.
The first stage (2022 through the first half of 2024 ) investigations will cover the review of previous investigations, adaptation, scientific substantiation and improvement of methodology, research material collection from natural study sites (the Baltic Sea area and its littoral zone, the Curonian Lagoon, typical Lithuanian rivers and lakes), from fishery farms, typical industrial sites, accident impact areas, background survey sites taip and research stations as well as from laboratory experiments; initial analysis, interpretation and summary of the results obtained, attendace of various science events such as conferences, seminars, scientific meetings and workshops, and preparation of scientific publication.

• The main investigations to be performed during the first stage are as follows:
• Impact assessment of the rare earth elements (REE) on algae and macrophytes at different levels of their biological organization applying long-term toxicity investigation methods.
• Complex investigations into the mechanisms of the ecotoxicological impact of nano- and microderivatives on aquatic organisms of different trophic level (plants, crustaceans and fish) depending on their development stage and environmental factors (water temperature and pH), also, investigations into the impact of nano- and microderivatives on fish behaviour and their intestinal microbiota depending on fish species and age as well as on environmental factors.
• Investigations into the potential and mechanisms of the ecotoxicological impact exerted by micro- and nanoplastics of different polymer types and by chemical mixtures on aquatic organisms using a wide range of biomarkers.
• In vivo experimental studies into susceptibility differences to monospecific infections and/or chemical stress between the early development stages of artificially-bred and those of wild salmonids.
• Investigations into the cytogenetic state of salmonid populations (brown trout, sea trout and salmon) in different types of ecosystems varying from protected to anthropogenically affected territories (Lithuanian rivers, the Curonian lagoon, the Baltic Sea littoral and fishery farms).
• Investigations into diversity and dispersion dynamics of phytopathogenic microorganisms under the impact of climate change, species invasions and anthropogenic factors.
• The multilocus identification of phytoplasma in wild berry plants and insect vectors.
• Collection of the plant material with symptoms of a pathogenic infection and samples of the insect-vectors of these plant pathogens, identification of plant-damaging microorganisms (fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, phythoplasmas) employing contemporary molecular biology methods.
• Isolation of microscopic fungi (yeasts) from various anthropogenic substrata and identification of their dominant species. Elucidation of the biological peculiarities of microscopic fungi (yeasts) and the (a)biotic factors influencing their dispersion and functioning. Assessment of the role that the microscopic fungi common on anthropogenic substrata play in biodegradation processes of some materials.
• Investigations into the dispersion of microorganisms, yeast viruses and intracellular parasites in the natural environment. Isolation and identification of the cultivated microorganisms using molecular methods, metagenomic analysis of microorganisms, viruses and parasites.
• Structural bioinformatics analysis of the microbiota and dispersion assessment of the microorganisms potentially harmful to the environment and humans.
• Analysis of the normative documents regulating the use and standardization of priority hazardous polluting substances.
• Analysis of the global research data on the accumulation of priority hazardous polluting substances in living organisms (fish, molluscs).
• Optimization of the latest analysis methods such as gas and liquid chromatography,inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, emission spectrophotometry (OAES) and x-ray fluorescence (RF) for studying priority hazardous polluting substances.
• Investigations of priority hazardous polluting substances (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, organotin compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals, microplastics, etc.,) found in Lithuanian water bodies (the Baltic Sea, the main rivers and lakes) and in terrestrial ecosystems (typical industrial sites, accident impact zones, background survey sites).
• Analysis of the peculiarities of the potential entry, dispersion and accumulation of hazardous polluting substances in the environment.
• Optimization of the methodology for investigating radionuclides of artificial and natural origin (H-3, C-14, Cs-137, Be-7, Pb-210, Pb-214 etc.). Performance of radiation tests at the NRC atmospheric fallout station in Vilnius, at the Neris River radiation monitoring station in Buivydžiai (water, suspended particles, macrophytes etc.) and at eight terrestrial ecosystem study sites (annual plants or annual parts of plants, etc.)
• Determination of the dispersion peculiarities of the radionuclides of artificial and natural origin (H-3, C-14, Cs-137, Be-7, Pb-210, Pb-214 etc.)in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
• Assessment of the long-term impacts of the radioactive substances released from the operating Byelorussian nuclear power plant and the decommissioned nuclear power plant of Ignalina on ecosystems and humans in conditions of normal operation and in emergencies.

The second stage (the second half of 2024 through 2026) investigations, which will end in the final report summarizing research findings, will include performance of the experiments designed to study pollution phenomena, assessment of pollution risks and impacts on biota, preparation of forecasts of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem changes, development of recommendations for the environmental quality preservation, analysis, interpretation and summary of the results obtained as well as attendace of various science events such as conferences, seminars, scientific meetings and workshops, and preparation of scientific publications.
The main investigations envisaged for the second stage are:
• Assessment of the rare earth elements (REE) impact on algae and macrophytes applying biomarkers.
• Assessment of stability, pathways of entry, dispersion and accumulation of nano- and microderivatives and their constituent metals in algae, crustaceans and fish depending on environmental factors. Elucidation of the impact mechanisms of nano- and microderivatives on the studied organisms.
• Investigations into the cytogenetic state of salmonid populations (brown trout, sea trout and salmon) in different types of ecosystems ranging from protected territories to the anthropogenically affected ones (typical Lithuanian rivers, the Curonian lagoon, the Baltic Sea littoral and fishery farms).
• Determination of the early genetic biomarker responses to environmental pollution and assessment of biomarker response levels (control/background and threshold) in indicator salmonid species.
• The bioinformatic analysis of the data obtained, phylogenetic analysis of the probable origin of microorganisms, development of the disease control strategy..
• Research into the functions and metabolic activity of the microscopic fungi involved in biodegradation processes in nutritionally different environments. A summary of the research into the activity control of the microorganisms involved in biodegradation processes and scientific substantiation of their potential use for other practical purposes. Development and maintenance of living microorganism collections.
• Assessment of microorganism assemblies and their biocontrol mechanisms applying technologies of functional genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics.
• Investigations into the impact of separate microbiota components, biocidal systems and biocidal substances on the structure and functionality of the microorganism community.
• Investigations into the use of microorganisms and biocidal substances for pollution reduction for the purpose of creating the scientific basis for pest control and prevention in a biotic environment.
• Integrated assessment of the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems pollution with various priority hazardous substances and forecasting of the pollution impact on biota. Identification of priority hazardous substances or their groups for separate media, statistical assessment and comparison of their concentrations with the applicable standard and natural (background) values. Description of pollution phenomena peculiarities depending on physical-geographical, hydrogeochemical and sedimentary conditions and assessment of the species-specific accumulation of priority polutants in living organisms.
• Analysis of the natural radionuclides’ (H-3, C-14, Cs-137 etc.) dispersion and accumulation in ecosystems, forecasting of radiation exposure effects on biota and humans in cases of the significantly increased dispersion of the above mentioned artificial radionuclides in the environment.
• Statistical comparison of artificial radiation (emitted by nuclear facilities) exposure effects on humans and biota with those of the natural radiation emitted by the naturally occurring radionuclides including the same radionuclides but of cosmogenic origin (H-3, Be-7, C-14) and typical radionuclides of the geogenic origin (uranium-238 ,thorium-232 and uranium-235 series).

6. Detailed plan for research project implementation and indicative allocation of funds

Stage I (2022 through the first half of 2024 )
Preparation for the implementation of the research programme tasks, harmonization of the first stage tasks with the investigations performed under various national and international projects. Collection of research material, updating and development of databases, overview of the latest relevant research in the world, implementation of new methodologies and optimization of the most effective ones. Performance of experiments, sample collection and examination, data collection, analysis and modelling. Attendace of various science events such as conferences, seminars, scientific meetings and workshops, lecture delivery, dissemination of the results obtained, preparation of scientific publications and recommendations.
The funding required for the first stage research is projected to reach 50% of the funds allocated for the whole research programme implementation.

Stage II (the second half of 2024 through 2026)
Collection of research data, updating of databases.Performance of experiments, sample collection and examination, data collection, analysis and modelling, forecasting; attendance of conferences and seminars, lecturing, dissemination of the results obtained, preparation of publications and recommendations, planning of further research, preparation of the final research programme report.
The funding required for the second stage research is projected to reach 50% of the funds allocated for the whole research programme implementation.

7. Projected Results:

Task 1

• Investigations into the impacts of separate rare earth elements (REE) and their mixtures on algae and macrophytes are expected to determine their active concentrations and potential synergistic effects as well as to assess the predictability of the toxic effects exerted by spontaneous and induced REE action on charophyte cells.
• The impact of separate REEs and their mixtures on algae and macrophytes will be elucidated using biotransformation and oxidative stress biomarkers, the mechanisms/ of REE accumulation in separate compartments of charophyte cells will be determined.
• The impact of nano-and microderivatives on test organisms of different trophic level and different ontogenesis will be investigated employing a complex of methods, impact mechanisms of metal-based nanomaterials and their application possibilities will be elucidated. The results obtained will provide new knowledge about the embryotoxicity and nanotoxicity of nano- and microderivatives to aquatic organisms, will help understand the mechanisms underlying their penetration through biological barriers. The newly obtained data will deepen the fundamental knowledge in the field of nanoecotoxicology and will prove important in assessing impacts and potential risks of nano-and microderivatives.
• New scientific knowledge about parasite-host-pollution interactions in aquatic ecosystems will be gained; comprehensive data on the ecotoxicological impact of nano-, microplastics and chemical mixtures on aquatic biota will be obtained; the main mechanisms underlying the outbreaks of fish parasitic infections, e.g. infections with pathogenic oomycetes, in conditions of exposure to multiple (a) biotic factors will be elucidated; preconditions will be created for forecasting potentially hazardous concentrations of (a)biotic factors, capable of causing combined biological effects in conditions of a changing environment, and their dynamics in the natural environment; resistance of artificially-bred and wild fish species and their potential to recover after exposure to single or combined action of (a)biotic factors will be assessed.
• The data obtained will prove helpful in preparing or adjusting the current guidelines for assessing combined effects and risks from multiple stressors to the environment, in improving programmes for the monitoring of water pollution effects on ecosystems as well as in reducing the negative effects of aquaculture.
• The newly obtained data on the cytogenetic state of salmonids in inland waters of Lithuania will deepen the knowledge indispensable for achieving good status for inland water bodies, and will create the preconditions for the development and application of the measures aimed at reducing the impact of anthropogenic pollutants.
• The findings of investigations into the recovery of organisms after their exposure to multiple (a)biotic factors will be of use in assessing the damage caused to ecosystems by ecological disasters as well as in developing projects for the remediation of their effects and the restoration of the damaged ecosystems and biodiversity.
• The results obtained will allow objective assessment of the aquatic ecosystems‘ pollution in conditions of a changing environment and concurrent exposure to multiple (a)biotic factors.
• In terms of fundamental research, the obtained findings will help forecast the combined impact of environment pollution and multiple (a)biotic factors on evolution processes and resistance of populations in anthropogenized ecosystems, thus helping to fill in the existing gaps between ecotoxicology, behavioural ecology and evolutionary ecology.

Task 2

Methodology for the detection of phytopathogenic micro-organisms in plants and their identification will be improved, diversity and dispersion dynamics of microorganisms will be determined, possibilities of new invasions (if detected) will be assessed, efforts to develop their control strategy and provide forecasts will be made.

Task 3

Various genera of micromycetes will be isolated from anthropogenic substrates, their species will be identified, biological peculiarities and the (a)biotic factors influencing their dispersion and functioning in a changing environment will be elucidated. The strains of micromycetes actively involved in destruction processes of polymeric materials will be selected and factors capable of stimulating their functioning will be identified. The most active fungal strains will be selected and their potential to biodegrade plant waste and to improve soil quality as well as to be used for practical purposes will be assessed and exploited. It is expected that oil-oxidizing microorganisms will be successfully selected and used for environmental clean-up and soil remediation. The search for the biologically active substances regulating activity of the microorganisms that are harmful to humans will be carried out. A unique collection of living microorganisms will be replenished and maintained.

Task 4

Comprehensive information on the structure of the microbial systems prevalent in the natural environment and diversity of its components (microorganisms and their synthesized biocidal substances, yeast viruses, intracellular parasites), their functionality and potential harmfulness to the environment and humans will be gained; a scientific basis for the microbiological pollution reduction in the biotic environment will be created; the potential of microbial systems to control pollution of the biotic environment will be summarized and its importance for the welfare of society will be scientifically substantiated.

Task 5

Entry into the environment, dispersion and accumulation therein of priority hazardous substances as well as their potential degradation mechanisms will be assessed. The most informative medium, i.e. the one that accumulates priority hazardous polluting substances the most, will be determined. The environmental parameters stimulating the degradation of priority hazardous substances will be characterized and assessed. The database of priority hazardous substances’ concentrations for typical regions of Lithuania and separate ecosystems will be built up.

Task 6

Dispersion of artificial radionuclides (from nuclear facilities) and their accumulation in ecosystems will be analyzed, the forecast of radiation exposure effects on humans and biota will be provided.
It is expected that in the course of this research programme implementation, approximately 70 articles will be published in peer reviewed journals having a citation index in the CA WoS database. Young researchers and scientists (1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle students and postdoctoral fellows) will receive the relevant training and will be engaged in the implementation of this research programme.

8. Dissemination of research results:
Results of this research programme are going to be presented at 45 international and 10 national scientific conferences. Scientific research and its findings will be publicized and popularized in Lithuanian and international press, in the online space, on radio and TV if required. The summarized research programme results are going to be made use of in preparing lectures as well as in organizing excursions for students, upper secondary school students and the general public.
The summarized research programme results are also going to be publicized via social media („Facebook“, „Research Gate“ or „LinkedIn“) and used for preparing practical tasks for 1st and 2nd cycle university students as well as for students‘ graduate research papers
The obtained research results will be used in such expert activities as provision of recommendations and counselling to the interested state institutions of Lithuania on the following and other relevant issues:
• Assessment of the impact and potential risks posed by REEs, nano- and microderivatives to aquatic ecosystems, improvement of pollution monitoring programmes, scientific substantiation of the measures for the reduction of the negative impacts of economic (aquaculture) activities, assessment of the resistance and recovery potential of artificially-bred and wild fish, minimization of the ecological disaster-caused damage to ecosystems, substantiation of the projects aimed at the ecological disaster remediation and restoration of the damaged ecosystems and biodiversity.
• forecasting of the possible spread of phytopathogenic microorganisms in plants and development of their control strategies;
• scientific substantiation of the use of microscopic fungi for the biodegradation of plant waste and other polymer substances;
• the use of oil-oxidizing substances for the environmental clean-up and soil remediation, assessment of the insights into biotechnological and other practical needs;
• Scientific substantiation and exploitation of the microbial systems’ potential for the biotic pollution control;
• Customization of the database of priority hazardous pollutants concentrations for solution searching;
• Optimization of the assessment of nuclear facilities safety in conditions of normal operation and in emergencies taking into account exposure of humans and biota to radionuclides.
Part of the research programme executors deliver lectures at universities, therefore the findings obtained from this research programme will be used in university bachelor- and master-degree courses in natural sciences and technology. Ten doctoral dissertations are to be prepared based on the findings of this research programme.

9. The funds allocated for the implementation of research under the programme amount to

2022 m. 2023 m. 2024 m. 2025 m. 2026 m. Iš viso Eur
Funds allocated for the programme implementation 1 209,8 1 209,8 1 209,8 1 209,8 1 209,8 6 049,0
The sum total 1 209,8 1 209,8 1 209,8 1 209,8 1 209,8 6 049,0

10.. The programme leader shall be announced on the NRC website: www.gamtostyrimai.lt.