Environmental Toxicology and -chemistry

Prof. Dr. Henner Hollert, Hollert@bio.uni-frankfurt.deTel +49 69 798 42171

PD Dr. Werner Brack (UFZ und GU), werner.brack@ufz.de 

Dr. Sabrina Schiwy, Schiwy@bio.uni-frankfurt.de  Tel +49 69 798 42173

Module information 

The exposure of humans and the environment to chemicals is becoming an increasingly important issue in society and plays an important role in premature deaths, climate change, and the destruction of ecosystems (e.g., using hazardous pesticides). Environmental toxicology is concerned with the harmful effects of chemical substances on ecosystems and their impact on humans. Environmental chemistry studies the dispersion, transformation and effects of chemical substances on the living and non-living environment.

The lecture lays extensive theoretical foundations for the subsequent practical course. The relevance of environmental toxicology and methods are introduced comprehensively. The assessment of different matrices (water, sediment, suspended matter) is addressed, and the levels of ecotoxicological effects (molecular effects, cell, individual to ecosystem) are discussed. The environmental chemistry part presents the history of environmental pollution, important substance groups, substance properties, distribution and effects of chemicals in the environment depending on their structure and properties. The theory part is accompanied by a seminar, which deepens the lecture topics and is concluded with a lecture. 

The general and special technical procedures and methods for analysing possible environmental hazards and risks caused by complex mixtures, such as wastewater or sediments, are presented in the research-oriented practical course. For this purpose, samples taken upstream and downstream of a wastewater treatment plant equipped with a fourth treatment step to eliminate micropollutants are examined as a case study.

In the practical part, it is tested whether upgrading the treatment plant improves the water quality downstream of the treatment plant. Therefore, regulatory-relevant and newly developed ecotoxicological in vivo and in vitro bioassays are learned and carried out on the samples mentioned above to achieve a comprehensive characterisation. Alternative methods to animal experiments and mechanism-specific bioassays have a major role in the course. After completing the module, students are familiar with the current procedure of an environmental risk assessment of complex environmental samples.


Time slot of the module – second half of the winter semester

Number of participants – 12 to 16

Special features - The module will be conducted entirely or partly in English in consultation with the students.

Homepage of the working groups-

Department of Prof. Dr. Henner Hollert:

Studentslab Goethe goes Environmental

Department of PD Dr. Werner Brack: