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Zagreb, Croatia

Oikon Ltd

Zagreb, Croatia

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Spiric Z.,OIKON Ltd.
Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering | Year: 2013

Since 1995 the concentrations of total mercury were analyzed in the pheasant organs (liver, kidney, brain and muscle) that live freely in an area that was exposed to elevated levels of mercury as a result of industrial activity (mercury contaminated natural gas production and processing which began in 1980). The range of the median mercury concentration values (wet weight) in pheasant organs in Podravina, Croatia were 0.0004-0.024, 0.0001-0.034, 0.0002-0.016 and 0.0001-0.025 μg/g for liver, kidney, brain, and muscle, respectively. Results of these studies confirms that in the study area in the observed period there was no significant mercury contamination which can be linked to anthropogenic activities (hydrocarbon production) On the contrary, systematic measurements demonstrate a small but constant (barely noticeable) decline in mercury concentrations in pheasant's organs. Primarily, this is the result of the significant improvement in the technological process which involves the removal of mercury from the natural gas that was designed and implemented in 1993. However, due to the need for reliable control of mercury contaminated natural gas production and the importance for better understanding of long-term exposure to low levels of mercury, and assessment of their possible harmful effects on the environment, human and animal health, research will be continued. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Valent F.,University of Udine | Horvat M.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Sofianou-Katsoulis A.,Institute of Child Health | Spiric Z.,OIKON Ltd | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2013

Background: Mercury is a neurotoxic environmental pollutant. However, the literature on the neurodevelopmental effect of low-level prenatal mercury exposure from maternal fish intake is inconsistent. We assessed the association between prenatal mercury exposure and infant neurodevelopment in coastal areas of 4 Mediterranean countries. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study that planned to enroll approximately 1700 mother-infant pairs. Pregnant women and their newborn children were recruited in selected hospitals of the study areas. Biological samples, including maternal hair and cord blood, were collected from mothers and children, and the concentrations of mercury and other elements were measured. Exposures to lifestyle, environmental, and social factors were assessed through questionnaires. The main outcome was child neurodevelopment at 18 months, as measured by the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition. Conclusions: This cohort has a number of strengths. First, mercury concentration was measured in several biological samples, which allows for a better understanding of mercury kinetics and is useful for sensitivity analyses. Therefore, we expect to be able to adjust for the potential confounding effects of lifestyle and social factors and for the effects of other elements that were measured in the biological samples. Finally, this is a multinational study and thus permits assessment of the relation between mercury and child neurodevelopment in different populations. © 2012 by the Japan Epidemiological Association.


Miklavcic A.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Casetta A.,University of Udine | Snoj Tratnik J.,Jozef Stefan Institute | Mazej D.,Jozef Stefan Institute | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2013

In order to assess mercury (Hg), selenium (Se) and arsenic (As) exposure in the Mediterranean area, total mercury (THg), monomethylmercury (MeHg), Se and As levels were measured in umbilical cord blood and breast milk from Italian (n=900), Slovenian (n=584), Croatian (n=234) and Greek (n=484) women. THg, MeHg, As, and Se levels were also determined in blood samples of the same mothers from Italy and Croatia. In addition, THg and MeHg were determined in the same women's hair from all the countries involved in this study and As and Se levels were determined in the mother's urine samples from Italy, Croatia and Greece. Besides recording the consumption of other food items, the frequencies of fish consumption were assessed by detailed food frequency questionnaires, since fish represents an important source of Hg, Se and As in humans. The highest levels of THg and As were found in cord blood (Med(THg)=5.8ng/g; Med(As)=3.3ng/g) and breast milk (Med(THg)=0.6ng/g; Med(As)=0.8ng/g) from Greek women, while the highest Se levels were found in cord blood (Med=113ng/g) from Italy. Significant linear correlations were found between Hg, Se and As in blood, cord blood and breast milk. In addition, significant relations were found between the frequencies of total fish consumption and biomarkers of As, MeHg and Se exposure, with the strongest Spearman rank coefficients between frequencies of total fish consumption and THg levels in cord blood (rs=0.442, p<0.001) or THg levels in hair (rs=0.421, p<0.001), and between frequencies of total fish consumption and As levels in cord blood (rs=0.350, p<0.001). The differences in Hg and As exposure between countries were probably due to different amounts of fish consumption and the consumption of different species of fish of different origin, while the highest Se levels in women from Italy were probably the consequence of the more frequent consumption of different non specific food items. Moreover, fish consumption, the possible common source of As, Hg and Se intake, could explain the correlations between the elements determined in cord blood, mother's blood or breast milk. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Sver L.,University of Zagreb | Bielen A.,Gekom Ltd. | Krizan J.,Oikon Ltd. | Guzvica G.,Geonatura Ltd
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The conservation of gray wolf (Canis lupus) and its coexistence with humans presents a challenge and requires continuous monitoring and management efforts. One of the noninvasive methods that produces high-quality wolf monitoring datasets is camera trapping. We present a novel monitoring approach where camera traps are positioned on wildlife crossing structures that channel the animals, thereby increasing trapping success and increasing the cost-efficiency of the method. In this way we have followed abundance trends of five wolf packs whose home ranges are intersected by a motorway which spans throughout the wolf distribution range in Croatia. During the five-year monitoring of six green bridges we have recorded 28 250 camera-events, 132 with wolves. Four viaducts were monitored for two years, recording 4914 camera-events, 185 with wolves. We have detected a negative abundance trend of the monitored Croatian wolf packs since 2011, especially severe in the northern part of the study area. Further, we have pinpointed the legal cull as probable major negative influence on the wolf pack abundance trends (linear regression, r2 > 0.75, P < 0.05). Using the same approach we did not find evidence for a negative impact of wolves on the prey populations, both wild ungulates and livestock. We encourage strict protection of wolf in Croatia until there is more data proving population stability. In conclusion, quantitative methods, such as the one presented here, should be used as much as possible when assessing wolf abundance trends. © 2016 Šver et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Spiric Z.,OIKON Ltd. | Vuckovic I.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje | Stafilov T.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje | Kusan V.,OIKON Ltd. | Frontasyeva M.,Joint Institute for Nuclear Research
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology | Year: 2013

Moss biomonitoring technique was applied in a heavy-metal pollution study of Croatia in 2006 when this country participated in the European moss survey for the first time. This survey was repeated in 2010, and the results are presented in this study. For this purpose, 121 moss samples were collected during summer and autumn 2010. The content of 21 elements was determined by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry and atomic absorption spectrometry. Principal component analyses was applied to show the association between the elements. Six factors (F1-F6) were determined, of which two are anthropogenic (F3 and F6), two are mixed geogenic-anthropogenic (F1 and F5), and two are geogenic factors (F2 and F4). Geographical distribution maps of the elements over the sampled territory were constructed using geographic information systems technology. Comparison of the median values of some of the anthropogenic elements - such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead, vanadium, and zinc - with those from the 2006 study shows that anthropogenic pollution has changed insignificantly during the last 5 years. The data obtained in the investigation in Norway are taken for comparison with pristine area, which indicates that Croatia is somewhat polluted but still, shows a more favourable picture when compared with two neighbouring countries. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Spiric Z.,OIKON Ltd. | Vuckovic I.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje | Stafilov T.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje | Kusan V.,OIKON Ltd. | Baceva K.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment | Year: 2014

Moss samples from four dominant species (Hypnum cupressiforme, Pleurozium schreberi, Homalothecium sericeum and Brachythecium rutabulum) were collected during the summer and autumn of 2010 from 121 sampling sites evenly distributed over the territory of Croatia. Samples were totally digested by using microwave digestion system, whilst mercury was analysed by using cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS). Descriptive statistics were done from analyses of mercury in all moss samples. The content of mercury ranged from 0.010 to 0.145 mg kg-1 with a median value of 0.043 mg kg-1. Hg distribution map shows the sites of the country with higher levels of this element. High contents of Hg were found in moss samples collected from the regions of Podravina and Istria as a result of anthropogenic pollution. Comparison of median values and ranges with those found in moss samples in 2006 shows slight reduction of mercury air pollution. When compared to the results obtained from recent studies conducted in Slovenia, Macedonia and especially in Norway - which serves as a reference considering the fact that it is a pristine area - mercury air pollution in Croatia is insignificant. © 2014 Springer International Publishing.


Spiric Z.,OIKON Ltd. | Stafilov T.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje | Vuckovic I.,Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje | Glad M.,Teaching Institute of Public Health
Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering | Year: 2014

During the summer and autumn of 2006 moss samples were collected from 98 sampling sites evenly distributed all over the territory of Croatia. Moss sampling was repeated in 2010 when additional sampling sites were added and a total of 121 samples were collected. Kjeldahl method was used to determine the nitrogen content in the samples. Descriptive statistics and distribution maps were prepared. Data obtained from these two surveys were compared, and additional comparison was done with data obtained from similar studies in neighbouring countries and Finland as a clean area. The median value of N content in the samples collected in 2006 is 1.60% and varies from 0.79% to 3.16%. The content of N in samples collected in 2010 ranges between 0.71% and 2.93% with the median value of 1.49%. High contents of N (2.32% - 3.17%) were found in the regions of Slavonia, Podravina, Posavina and cities Zagreb and Sisak as a result of agricultural activities, industry and traffic. Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


PubMed | Oikon Ltd., University of Zagreb and Gekom Ltd.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

The conservation of gray wolf (Canis lupus) and its coexistence with humans presents a challenge and requires continuous monitoring and management efforts. One of the non-invasive methods that produces high-quality wolf monitoring datasets is camera trapping. We present a novel monitoring approach where camera traps are positioned on wildlife crossing structures that channel the animals, thereby increasing trapping success and increasing the cost-efficiency of the method. In this way we have followed abundance trends of five wolf packs whose home ranges are intersected by a motorway which spans throughout the wolf distribution range in Croatia. During the five-year monitoring of six green bridges we have recorded 28 250 camera-events, 132 with wolves. Four viaducts were monitored for two years, recording 4914 camera-events, 185 with wolves. We have detected a negative abundance trend of the monitored Croatian wolf packs since 2011, especially severe in the northern part of the study area. Further, we have pinpointed the legal cull as probable major negative influence on the wolf pack abundance trends (linear regression, r2 > 0.75, P < 0.05). Using the same approach we did not find evidence for a negative impact of wolves on the prey populations, both wild ungulates and livestock. We encourage strict protection of wolf in Croatia until there is more data proving population stability. In conclusion, quantitative methods, such as the one presented here, should be used as much as possible when assessing wolf abundance trends.


Spiric Z.,OIKON Ltd. | Srebocan E.,University of Zagreb | Crnic A.P.,University of Zagreb
Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part A Toxic/Hazardous Substances and Environmental Engineering | Year: 2012

In the last two decades (1990-2008), as part of a comprehensive monitoring of the eco-system, hares were collected in the vicinity of the mercury contaminated natural gas production and treatment plant Molve, Croatia. Their organs (muscle, liver, kidney and brain) were analyzed for total mercury concentration by cold vapor AAS. The range of the median mercury concentration values (wet weight) in hares organs were 0.001-0.005, 0.007-0.045, 0.022-0.126 and 0.0006-0.015 μg/g for muscle, liver, kidney and brain, respectively. The results of mercury measurements in hares organs during the period of last twenty years demonstrate a small but constant decline in concentration values. Comparing the results obtained in this study with results published in available data and literature on mercury concentration in hare's tissue it can be concluded that area investigated in this research belongs to low mercury contaminated region. Nevertheless, further eco-monitoring and mercury measurements in various hares organs are valuable and necessary and will be continued. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Recurrent climate-induced mass mortalities of marine animals have been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea over the past 15 years. These mortality outbreaks have been associated with positive thermal anomalies. In this study, we assessed long-term (from 2003 to 2013) responses of the temperate coral Balanophyllia europaea to increasing seawater temperatures in the Mljet National Park in the Adriatic Sea (Northern Mediterranean Sea) and described the relationship between recurrent mortality events and sea temperature regimes in the southern Adriatic Sea. Our results indicate that polyp bleaching and tissue necrosis caused the observed mortality. The first observations of B. europaea mortality within the study area in the Mljet NP were in early September 2003. The Mediterranean area experienced high temperatures and hydrographic stability over a period of several weeks throughout that summer, which resulted in a mass mortality event. In the Mljet National Park, the highest impact of mass mortality started during the exceptionally hot summer of 2012, representing one of the most severe mass mortality events ever observed in the Adriatic Sea. In 2012, sea temperatures at a 5 m depth during the summer period (from June to September) ranged from 24.44 to 30.16 °C in the Mljet NP. The northern sites in the Mljet NP were highly impacted, with up to 80 % of B. europaea specimens affected by necrosis, while the southern sites displayed the highest impact, with 90–100 % of affected individuals. Without any coral adaptation to warming and under the present climate-warming trend, new mass mortality events may occur in the near future, possibly causing a major coral biodiversity crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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