The Antarctic Environmental Specimen Bank (BCAA) is placed at the Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry of the University of Genoa and it is operating since 1994 under the Italian Antarctic Research Program (PNRA) by properly collecting biotic and abiotic matrices from coastal and remote sites in Antarctica and analyzing them for trace elements and organic pollutants. The BCAA is associated to the Italian Antarctic National Museum (MNA) since 2006 and it is part of the International Specimen Bank (IESBs) group.
The main objectives of BCAA are:
- Retrospective control of the obtained analytical data in the context of the PNRA research projects.
- Retrospective monitoring of the chemical contamination in Antarctica, including new parameters which have not been studied at the time of collection (emergent pollutants, “classical” contaminants by new analytical methods).
- Supply and exchange of specimens, overcoming practical problems due to the sampling in remote areas.
- Chemical characterization of collected samples, providing background levels of contaminants and their natural variability, important for a more appropriate interpretation of results from biomonitoring programs.