You are here:
Toxicology of Biodiesel Combustion products
MADDEN, M. C., L. Bhavaraju, AND U. P. KODAVANTI. Toxicology of Biodiesel Combustion products. Chapter 13, Margarita Stoytcheva and Gisela Montero (ed.), Biofuels. InTech, Rijeka, Croatia, 2:196-214, (2011).
For brevity, this chapter will primarily examine human responses to combustion products though an extensive literature exists on nonhuman animal effects. Discussion of nonhuman animal findings will be used to present findings where human data are sparse or nonexistent, and to provide information on health effects mechanisms. Much of the nonhuman findings fill in data gaps concerning extrapulmonary effects of combustion emissions, particularly cardiac and vascular effects.
1. Introduction The toxicology of combusted biodiesel is an emerging field. Much of the current knowledge about biological responses and health effects stems from studies of exposures to other fuel sources (typically petroleum diesel, gasoline, and wood) incompletely combusted. The ultimate aim of toxicology studies is to identify possible health effects induced by exposure of both the general population as well as sensitive or susceptible populations, including determination of the exposure threshold level needed to induce health effects. The threshold should include not only a concentration but a duration metric, which could be acute or repeated exposures. From such information on sensitive groups and pollutant concentrations needed to induce effects, strategies can be put in place if deemed needed to improve public health. Because possible health effects may take years of exposure to discern, e.g., lung cancer, fibrosis, emphysema, mitigation of the exposure and/or effects may be too late for an individual. Typically markers and biological responses believed to be an early step leading to a clinical disease are measured as a surrogate of the health effect. A biological marker, or "biomarker", indicates a homeostatic change in an organism or a part of the organism (ranging from organ systems to the biochemicals within cells), that will ultimately lead to a disease induced by exposure to a pollutant (Madden and Gallagher, 1999). So with the previous example of lung cancer, damage to lung DNA induced by an exposure would substitute as the biomarker of effect, or possibly examination of the mutagenic potential of the combustion products through an Ames assay using bacterial strains.