Ecotoxicologists from Tübingen are calling for new interdisciplinary approaches in order to improve investigations into the effect of pesticides on the living environment. They expect that a more effective and more frequent combination of field work and laboratory analyses will provide them with a clearer picture of the overall situation. This knowledge will enable all stakeholders involved in solving environmental issues to draw the right conclusions and take action accordingly.
Some time ago, thanks to BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg, the biotechnology company Novis GmbH met Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappler, a renowned geomicrobiologist at the University of Tübingen.The two partners went on to test bioleaching methods for their ability to recover metals from slag using bacteria. In an interview with Dr. Thomas Helle, CEO of Novis GmbH, Dr. Ursula Göttert, on behalf of BIOPRO, asked what has become of the project.
New studies reveal that rivers are major contributors to marine ecosystem pollution. A study commissioned by environmental authorities in BW and four other German states analysed samples from 25 rivers to gain an idea of the occurrence of microplastics in German inland waters. In addition, Dr. Natalie Orlowski from the University of Freiburg is analysing microplastics pollution in the Dreisam River.
Trees of the genus Symplocos in the Indonesian mountain rainforest store so much aluminium in their leaves that it can be used for dyeing textiles. A research project at the University of Ulm aims to preserve the traditional dyeing methods of Indonesian weavers, protect these rare trees and increase our knowledge of aluminium-accumulating plants.
Accidental oil spills such as those following oil disasters need to be cleaned up as quickly as possible. Researchers from the KIT in Karlsruhe have now developed an environmentally friendly process that can eliminate oil spills effectively. Nanofur is a material that imitates the fine hairs of aquatic ferns and is capable of absorbing large amounts of oil within a relatively short time.
The International Environmental Award was awarded to Professor Klaus Kümmerer from the Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Epidemiology at the University of Freiburg in Stockholm on Sunday 18th October 2009.
Technologies that can help identify pollutants in the wastewater treated in sewage plants are urgently needed. LimCo International GmbH might have a solution. The Konstanz-based company has developed a fully-automated early warning system for monitoring the quality of water and sediment in sewage plants and waterworks.
LimCo International has developed the Multispecies Freshwater Biomonitor a unique continuous early warning system that enables the fully automated detection of water contamination. The companys GamTox toxicity test can be used to assess the ecological situation of flowing waters.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in particulate matter in our environment are currently being studied by a network of institutes and research institutions, both in Germany and around the world. The impact of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other toxic components of particulate matter on human and animal health is not yet known in detail. However, their impact on the development of lung diseases such as asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases as well as cancer of the respiratory system is relatively well known. The Human and Environmental Toxicology research group at the University of Konstanz is working on establishing new methods to assess particulates polluted with environmental toxins with the overall objective of identifying potential consequences for humans and animals.
Benthic bacteria and microalgae that live at the bottom of rivers and lakes secrete substances that contribute to the stabilisation of sediments and hence to the stabilisation of aquatic ecosystems. Researchers from the University of Stuttgart are investigating the biostabilising effects of a number of bacteria and microalgae. One major research focus involves the investigation of the effects of foreign substances on microbial activity.
Outdoor lovers and athletes love them: water-repellent jackets and trousers. However, many consumers are unaware that the chemicals used to functionalise the textile surface often pollute the environment. Organic fluorine compounds (perfluorocarbons = PFC) are usually added to textiles to make them water-repellent. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB and the Hohenstein Group are researching an environmentally friendly and sustainable method for making textiles water-repellent.
When academic toxicologists in a German state join forces, it is virtually headline news. This is because the discipline is on the red list. Only in Baden-Württemberg does the number of toxicologists at university institutes justify the joining of forces. The ironic thing about this is that the competence of the rare species ”toxicologicus” is in greater demand than ever.