The impact of human activities on planetary systems is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. Natural and anthropogenic contaminants can drive systems outside safe operating spaces with far-reaching impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human health.

Our mission is to investigate the environmental fate and effects of organic and inorganic contaminants and processes at mineral interfaces. We train the next generation of leaders and societal actors.

Our vision is to inform solutions for the pressing environmental problems of today and tomorrow that sustain communities while stewarding the environment.

Specific research topics

  • Standardization of Methods for the Behavior and Fate of Nanomaterials in Environmental Media – Solubility and Dissolution Rate

    The safety testing of chemicals and their risk assessment require standardized and validated methods. For nanomaterials there is a critical lack of suitable test methods that take into account the special properties of those materials. In this project we develop, [...]

  • OECD Test Guideline Development for Nanomaterials: Transformation of Nanomaterials under Environmental Conditions

    Apart from dissolution nanomaterials undergo chemical transformation and agglomeration in environmental aquatic media. These processes change exposure, their toxicological profile and transport behavior. In this project we develop, validate and implement methodologies to determine the abiotic transformation of nanomaterials and [...]

  • TwinSubDyn

    Organic soil amendments such as compost or biochar can change the dynamics of nutrients and pollutants in the soil: Researchers from EDGE partnered up in an international research project that investigates the effects of these soil amendments and networks expertise [...]

  • From Road to Plate

    Tire wear particles form via mechanical and thermal abrasion of tires while driving, and collect on road surfaces. During rain events they are washed off with stormwater, which in many areas, is collected and treated in wastewater treatment plants. Tires [...]

  • Biodegradation of water-soluble polymers in engineered and natural aquatic environments

    Water-soluble polymers (WSPs) are used in numerous applications, including home and personal care products. After their use, WSPs are often released into wastewater systems. Many aspects related to the fate of WSPs in wastewater systems and downstream environments remain to [...]

  • Exploring extracellular enzymes from wastewater microbial communities to mitigate environmental pollution

    The input of anthropogenic chemicals into environmental systems is a major concern. For example, the presence of antibiotics in wastewater and wastewater-receiving environments contributes to the propagation of antibiotic resistance and impairs services provided by environmental microbiomes. One approach to [...]

  • Biotransformation of biopesticides in agricultural soils

    Biopesticides are promising alternatives to synthetic pesticides – among other reasons also because they are expected to be biodegraded and thus of limited persistence in soils and other receiving environments. However, the current knowledge on the biodegradation and biotransformation of [...]

  • The Challenge of Urban Futures

    Given the wide gamut of issues cities are facing, the Research Platform "Urban Futures" focuses on five thematic areas: Society and Culture, Economy and Redistribution, Environment and Sustainability, Technology and Surveillance, and Urban Government and Governance. More in detail, the research [...]

  • Mobilization of chromium by organic matter in reduced systems (CHROMA)

    Long-term pollution mitigation requires a better understanding of the biogeochemical processes that regulate the behavior and fate of trace metals, such as chromium (Cr), in subsurface environments. The emerging role of organic ligands, including siderophores and organic acids, in the [...]

  • Role of Organic Ligands on the Stability of Tetravalent Uranium under Anoxic Conditions

    Anthropogenic activities associated with mining, ore processing, and nuclear materials production have left a legacy of uranium (U) contamination in aqueous systems, soils, and sediments. As toxic metals cannot be degraded, remediation efforts have focused on stabilization so as to [...]

  • Plastics in the Environment and Society (PLENTY)

    The versatile applicability of plastics in our daily life lead to an increasing demand and production of plastics in the past decades and plastics pollution consequently became a topic of increasing concern. Due to their versatility and durability, plastics are [...]

  • Numerical optimization of bank filtration site management

    The project investigates numerical approaches to bring forth best-management strategies crucial for drinking water production from bank filtration. Depicting the ties between spatially heterogeneous hydrological processes, particularly at the river-aquifer interface, and flow and transport in a heterogeneous aquifer constitute [...]

  • Reaction mechanisms of CHCs and Cr(VI) with nZVI particles (ModelFace)

    In the last decade, nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) attracted extensive attention for contaminant removal due to its large specific surface area, superior reactivity, easy and flexible in situ applicability and formation of environmentally benign transformation products. nZVI has been shown [...]

  • Development of Biochar Based Soil Remediation Strategies (KOKOSAN II)

    The remediation and restoration of polluted sites is a crucial challenge for reducing risk to humans and environmental health, as well as for the safety of groundwater resources. Conventional remediation strategies can have substantial environmental footprints and are often too [...]

  • Using mercury isotopes for process tracing in contaminated soils and groundwater

    Mercury (Hg) is a naturally-occurring toxic heavy metal of great environmental concern. It has been listed by the WHO as one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern and identified as a priority hazardous substance [...]

  • Interplay of chelating and reducing root exudates in plant iron acquisition

    Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrients for plants that often limits their growth and reproduction. Despite its high abundance, biologically available Fe is restricted by the low solubility and the slow dissolution kinetics of Fe-oxides, in particular at alkaline pH [...]


    Aerobic methanotrophic bacteria oxidize the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4) most efficiently via the copper (Cu)-bearing enzyme particulate methane-monooxygenase (pMMO). Aerobic CH4 oxidation therefore critically depends on the ability of methanotrophs to acquire Cu. “Cu availability” can be biologically limited [...]

  • Copper Acquisition (CORA)

    All organisms on Earth require certain types of trace metal co-factors like Fe, Mn and Cu for key enzymes in their metabolisms. Aerobic ammonia oxidation is one of the most important biological metabolic pathways of the nitrogen cycle on Earth [...]