• We investigate the dynamics of pollutants and nutrients in the environment.

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

  • Nanogeosciences: exploring the nanoscale to understand processes of global relevance.

  • We use models to quantify processes and mechanisms.


Latest publications

Sorption of organic substances to tire wear materials: Similarities and differences with other types of microplastic

Tire materials are a significant proportion of the (micro)plastics in the environment that until today have been clearly overlooked. These materials are released into the environment, either unintentionally as an abrasion product from tire wear, that reaches the environment via road runoff, or intentionally as, for example, shredded “tire crumble rubber” used as filling material for playgrounds. Although there are a few estimates available the amount of tire-wear material to be found in aquatic environments, investigations on the fate tire materials and especially their interaction with organic substances are missing. Although the sorption processes associated with the complex constituents of tires are an important aspect of any environmental risk assessment for tire-wear materials, they have yet to be thoroughly investigated. In this review we elucidate the sorption properties of the polymeric rubbers and carbon black that form the main components of tires, within the context of current microplastic research.

Thorsten Hüffer, Stephan Wagner, Thorsten Reemtsma and Thilo Hofmann
2019 - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 113: 392-401

Legal and practical challenges in classifying nanomaterials according to regulatory definitions

The European Union (EU) has adopted nano-specific provisions for cosmetics, food and biocides, among others, which include binding definitions of the term “nanomaterial”. Here we take an interdisciplinary approach to analyse the respective definitions from a legal and practical perspective. Our assessment reveals that the definitions contain several ill-defined terms such as “insoluble” or “characteristic properties” and/or are missing thresholds. Furthermore, the definitions pose major and so far unsolved analytical challenges that, in practice, make it nearly impossible to classify nanomaterials according to EU regulatory requirements. An important purpose of the regulations, the protection of human health and the environment, may remain unfulfilled and the development of innovative applications of nanomaterials may be facing a path full of (legal) uncertainties. Based on our findings, we provide five recommendations for a more coherent and practical approach towards the regulation of nanomaterials.

Martin Miernicki, Thilo Hofmann, Iris Eisenberger, Frank von der Kammer, Antonia Praetorius
2019 - Nature Nanotechnology, 14: 208–216

Models for assessing engineered nanomaterial fate and behaviour in the aquatic environment

Richard J Williams, Samuel Harrison, Virginie Keller, Jeroen Kuenen, Stephen Lofts, Antonia Praetorius, Claus Svendsen, Lucie C Vermeulen and Jikke van Wijnen
2019 - Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 105-115

Lecture series

Environmental redox-processes on the microscale - redox-active biofilms analyzed by modern X-ray microscopy

Prof. Dr. Martin Obst
BayCEER, University of Bayreuth, Germany
16:30 h
Eberhard Clar-Saal (2B 204), Althanstrasse 14 UZA II, 1090 Vienna

Nanomaterials : Not the next asbestos or What 20 years of nanomaterial implication research has taught us

Prof. Dr. Mark Wiesner
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, USA
16:30 h
Eberhard Clar-Saal (2B 204), Althanstrasse 14 UZA II, 1090 Vienna

New insights into the global biogeochemical cycle of selenium

Prof. Dr. Lenny Winkel
Professor of Inorganic Environmental Geochemistry, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
16:30 h
Eberhard Clar-Saal (2B 204), Althanstrasse 14 UZA II, 1090 Vienna