Department Environmental Chemistry

On the trail of pollutants

Our research team studies the presence, distribution and fate of organic pollutants in the aquatic environment. The focus of our research is on substance flux from urban areas and from agriculture, and the main tools that we use for this work are trace analysis, field and laboratory studies and modelling.

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TV report on recent studies from the Environmental Chemistry Department

April 06, 2022
In a documentary on pesticides in Swiss surface waters, the SRF programme 10vor10 reported on new research results from the Environmental Chemistry Department: a large proportion of the pesticides that enter Swiss surface waters from agriculture are transported through inlet shafts. However, inputs via such shafts have so far not been taken into account in the pesticide legislation and for risk reduction measures. read more (only available in German language)


It all comes down to the first electron...

January 12, 2022,
All living organisms that respire have to get rid of electrons. In oxygen-free environments, microorganisms deploy special molecules which act as extracellular electron shuttles to transfer the electrons from cells to minerals. A group of researchers has now discovered what determines the electron transfer efficiency of these “taxi” cars: the energy differences of the transported electrons. read more


Barbara Günthardt, Matthew Moy de Vitry and Marius Neamtu win ETH medal

October 18, 2021, The environmental chemist Barbara F. Günthardt and the two environmental engineers Matthew Moy de Vitry and Marius Neamtu are awarded the ETH Medal for their doctoral theses. Plant toxins, urban flooding and complicated flows were the topics. Congratulations! read more

Opinion article Kathrin Fenner

November 5, 2021, Assessing the risk of chemicals and, even more so, managing their risk, is a challenging task and keeps environmental scientists and regulators busy without too much evidence for a clear improvement of the chemical contamination of the environment. read more


Information for potential candidates SNF Ambizione / Starting grant Fellowship

The Environmental Chemistry Department is fortunate to have externally funded fellows contributing to our research and teaching environment. If you consider applying for an externally funded fellowship in our Department, please check your eligibility under and contact a group leader whose research interests are close to yours. To ensure that incoming fellows fit our research environment and can be accommodated appropriately, and to do the necessary paperwork, sufficient time is required. If you want to apply for Ambizione/SNSF starting grant with Uchem as a host, please contact the Group Leader of your choice at least 3 months in advance of the submission deadline. Selected candidates will be invited to give a talk at our Department and discuss their research plans with us. Your formal expression of interest should come as a single PDF file including a complete CV, a motivation letter detailing why our Department is the right place for your research, an outline of the planned project (max. 2 pages), and the names and contact details of two references.

Latest publications

Oltramare, C.; Weiss, F. T.; Staudacher, P.; Kibirango, O.; Atuhaire, A.; Stamm, C. (2022) Pesticides monitoring in surface water of a subsistence agricultural catchment in Uganda using passive samplers, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, doi:10.1007/s11356-022-22717-2, Institutional Repository
Galli, A.; Winkler, M. S.; Doanthu, T.; Fuhrimann, S.; Huynh, T.; Rahn, E.; Stamm, C.; Staudacher, P.; Van Huynh, T.; Loss, G. (2022) Assessment of pesticide safety knowledge and practices in Vietnam: a cross-sectional study of smallholder farmers in the Mekong Delta, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 19(9), 509-523, doi:10.1080/15459624.2022.2100403, Institutional Repository
Bopp, C. E.; Bernet, N. M.; Kohler, H.-P. E.; Hofstetter, T. B. (2022) Elucidating the role of O2 uncoupling in the oxidative biodegradation of organic contaminants by Rieske non-heme iron dioxygenases, ACS Environmental Au, (13 pp.), doi:10.1021/acsenvironau.2c00023, Institutional Repository
Stravs, M. A.; Dührkop, K.; Böcker, S.; Zamboni, N. (2022) MSNovelist: de novo structure generation from mass spectra, Nature Methods, 19, 865-870, doi:10.1038/s41592-022-01486-3, Institutional Repository