Department Environmental Toxicology



For the identification and monitoring of chemical effects in organisms exposed in the environment there is an array of approaches and specific endpoints available:

  • in vitro tests can be used to monitor for the presence and the effect of a certain environmental chemical. This is very often combined with chemical (non-)target analysis in what is called effect-directed analysis (EDA).
  • alternatively, a set of biomarkers for specific genes can be analyzed on the messenger RNA (mRNA) or protein level, using cell lines or aquatic organisms, e.g. fish. The set of genes reflect different cellular stress responses.

We have been applying EDA within EU project EDA-EMERGE, in order to identify chemicals acting like the stress hormone cortisol. Within the EcoImpact project and in collaboration with the Ecotox Centre and aQua Tox-Solutions we have used a set of biomarker genes in brown trout, to identify responses in fish found up- and downstream of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), before and after a WWTP upgrade. This helped evaluate the efficiency of chemicals elimination in the WWTP.


Sonavane, M.; Schollée, J. E.; Hidasi, A. O.; Creusot, N.; Brion, F.; Suter, M. J. -F.; Hollender, J.; Aït-Aïssa, S. (2018) An integrative approach combining passive sampling, bioassays and effect-directed analysis to assess the impact of wastewater effluent, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 37(8), 2079-2088, doi:10.1002/etc.4155, Institutional Repository
Fischer, S.; Fischer, M.; Schirmer, K.; Werner, I. (2017) Wirkungsorientierte Gewässerüberwachung: Biomonitoring mit Forellen. Studie im Auftrag des Bundesamtes für Umwelt (BAFU). Abschlussbericht 2017, Institutional Repository
Schulze, T.; Ahel, M.; Ahlheim, J.; Aït-Aïssa, S.; Brion, F.; Di Paolo, C.; Froment, J.; Hidasi, A. O.; Hollender, J.; Hollert, H.; Hu, M.; Kloß, A.; Koprivica, S.; Krauss, M.; Muz, M.; Oswald, P.; Petre, M.; Schollée, J. E.; Seiler, T.-B.; Shao, Y.; Slobodnik, J.; Sonavane, M.; Suter, M. J. -F.; Tollefsen, K. E.; Tousova, Z.; Walz, K.-H.; Brack, W. (2017) Assessment of a novel device for onsite integrative large-volume solid phase extraction of water samples to enable a comprehensive chemical and effect-based analysis, Science of the Total Environment, 581, 350-358, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.140, Institutional Repository
Stamm, C.; Burdon, F.; Fischer, S.; Kienle, C.; Munz, N.; Tlili, A.; Altermatt, F.; Behra, R.; Bürgmann, H.; Joss, A.; Räsänen, K.; Eggen, R. (2017) Einfluss von Mikroverunreinigungen, Aqua & Gas, 97(6), 90-95, Institutional Repository
Kopecka-Pilarczyk, J.; Schirmer, K. (2016) Contribution of hepatic cytochrome CYP1A and metallothionein mRNA abundance to biomonitoring - a case study with European flounder (Platichthys flesus) from the Gulf of Gdańsk, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology, 188, 24-29, doi:10.1016/j.cbpc.2016.06.001, Institutional Repository
Groh, K. J.; Suter, M. J. -F. (2015) Stressor-induced proteome alterations in zebrafish: a meta-analysis of response patterns, Aquatic Toxicology, 159, 1-12, doi:10.1016/j.aquatox.2014.11.013, Institutional Repository