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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Latest publications

Stravs, M. A.; Pomati, F.; Hollender, J. (2019) Biodiversity drives micropollutant biotransformation in freshwater phytoplankton assemblages, Environmental Science and Technology, 53(8), 4265-4273, doi:10.1021/acs.est.8b07018, Institutional Repository
Lavrieux, M.; Birkholz, A.; Meusburger, K.; Wiesenberg, G. L. B.; Gilli, A.; Stamm, C.; Alewell, C. (2019) Plants or bacteria? 130 years of mixed imprints in Lake Baldegg sediments (Switzerland), as revealed by compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) and biomarker analysis, Biogeosciences, 16(10), 2131-2146, doi:10.5194/bg-16-2131-2019, Institutional Repository
Benateau, S.; Gaudard, A.; Stamm, C.; Altermatt, F. (2019) Climate change and freshwater ecosystems. Impacts on water quality and ecological status, 111 p, Institutional Repository
Palzes, V. A.; Sagiv, S. K.; Baker, J. M.; Rojas-Valverde, D.; Gutiérrez-Vargas, R.; Winkler, M. S.; Fuhrimann, S.; Staudacher, P.; Menezes-Filho, J. A.; Reiss, A. L.; Eskenazi, B.; Mora, A. M. (2019) Manganese exposure and working memory-related brain activity in smallholder farmworkers in Costa Rica: results from a pilot study, Environmental Research, 173, 539-548, doi:10.1016/j.envres.2019.04.006, Institutional Repository

Current open positions at Uchem:


350 years of phosphorus

Mining phosphate in Togo (Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0)
Mining phosphate in Togo (Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0)

July 8 2019, Without phosphorus there would be no life; however, the mineable quantities are limited. The element was first described 350 years ago. This week, some 200 experts are meeting in Zurich to discuss the future of phosphorus. [more info]

Selected and representative research projects

Comprehensive monitoring of organic trace substances in surface waters is time-consuming and costly. The NAWA SPEZ project delivers data and analyses on the status of water pollution.
Predicting environment-specific biotransformation of chemical contaminants
The screening of aquatic systems for known and unknown polar and semi-polar organic micropollutants relies heavily on analytical chemistry, foremost high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) coupled to liquid chromatography (LC)....
Pilot scale advanced treatment of wastewater with granular activated carbon (GAC) and combined with ozonation (O3/GAC) at WWTP Glarnerland