• We investigate pollutants and nutrients in the environment.

  • We elucidate processes and mechanisms in the field and laboratory.

  • We explore biochemical reactions that shape the environment.

  • We study DNA preservation in rocks to investigate environmental biomes.

  • We explore the nanoscale to understand processes of global relevance.

  • We use models to quantify processes and mechanisms.


  • Highly cited research in Environmental Science and Technology


    Thilo Hofmann, Thorsten Hüffer, and Gabriel Sigmund from EDGE have been named as selected European high-impact research published in the most important journal in Environmental Science, ES&T.

  • Welcome new group member: Richard Kimber


    Richard Kimber has joined the EDGE Krämer group as a University Assistant. Richard comes from the University of Manchester where he worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in geomicrobiology for 5 years. In Manchester, Richard’s work focused primarily on microbial ...

  • Welcome new group member: Miguel Angel Marazuela


    Miguel Angel joined the EDGE Hofmann group in October 2020, as a postdoctoral researcher involved in a groundwater modelling project. He obtained his PhD at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), where he studied the hydrogeological functioning of salt flats to explain ...

  • Mediating between scientists and journalists: a media training hosted by the Environmental Research Network


    „How can I effectively communicate my research to different media outlets in a captivating, relatable way without oversimplifying it?” – This was one of many interesting questions discussed in a praxis-oriented media training for environmental researchers of all disciplinary backgrounds ...

Latest publications

Key principles and operational practices for improved nanotechnology environmental exposure assessment

Nanotechnology is identified as a key enabling technology due to its potential to contribute to economic growth and societal well-being across industrial sectors. Sustainable nanotechnology requires a scientifically based and proportionate risk governance structure to support innovation, including a robust framework for environmental risk assessment (ERA) that ideally builds on methods established for conventional chemicals to ensure alignment and avoid duplication. Exposure assessment developed as a tiered approach is equally beneficial to nano-specific ERA as for other classes of chemicals. Here we present the developing knowledge, practical considerations and key principles need to support exposure assessment for engineered nanomaterials for regulatory and research applications.

Claus Svendsen, Lee A. Walker, Marianne Matzke, Elma Lahive, Samuel Harrison, Alison Crossley, Barry Park, Stephen Lofts, Iseult Lynch, Socorro Vázquez-Campos, Ralf Kaegi, Alexander Gogos, Christof Asbach, Geert Cornelis, Frank von der Kammer, Nico W. van den Brink, Claire Mays, David J. Spurgeon
2020 - Nature Nanotechnology, 15: 731–742

The importance of aromaticity to describe the interactions of organic matter with carbonaceous materials depends on molecular weight and sorbent geometry

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is ubiquitous in aquatic environments where it interacts with a variety of particles including carbonaceous materials (CMs). The complexity of both DOM and the CMs makes DOM–CM interactions difficult to predict. In this study we have identified the preferential sorption of specific DOM fractions as being dependent on their aromaticity and molecular weight, as well as on the surface properties of the CMs. This was achieved by conducting sorption batch experiments with three types of DOM (humic acid, Suwannee River natural organic matter, and a compost extract) and three types of CMs (graphite, carbon nanotubes, and biochar) with different geometries and surface complexities. The non-adsorbed DOM fraction was analyzed by size exclusion chromatography and preferentially sorbed molecular weight fractions were analyzed by UV/vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. All three sorbent types were found to preferentially sorb aromatic DOM fractions, but DOM fractionation depended on the particular combination of sorbent and sorbate characteristics. Single-walled carbon nanotubes only sorbed the smaller molecular weight fractions (<1 kDa). The sorption of smaller DOM fractions was not accompanied by a preference for less aromatic compounds, contrary to what was suggested in previous studies. While graphite preferentially sorbed the most aromatic DOM fraction (1–3 kDa), the structural heterogeneity of biochar resulted in reduced selectivity, sorbing all DOM > 1 kDa. The results explain the lack of correlation found in previous studies between the amount of aromatic carbon in a bulk DOM and its sorption coefficient. DOM sorption by CMs was generally controlled by DOM aromaticity but complex sorbent surfaces with high porosity, curvatures and functional groups strongly reduced the importance of aromaticity.

Stephanie Castan, Gabriel Sigmund, Thorsten Hüffer, Nathalie Tepe, Frank von der Kammer, Benny Chefetz, Thilo Hofmann
2020 - Environmental Science.: Processes & Impacts, 2020: in press

Lecture series

Speleothems and Sediments as Archives for Paleogenetic Research on Human Evolution

Dr. Mareike Stahlschmidt
Department of Human Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany
17:00 h

Photochemically produced halogen radicals: contaminant degradation, organic matter bleaching and coral death

Prof. Dr. William Mitch
Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, USA
17:00 h

Environmental Geochemistry of Dissolved Mn(III) Species: Where are we now?

Prof. Dr. Zimeng Wang
Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering, Fudan University, China
17:00 h