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Organic Trace Substances


The research of the group addresses analyses and behavior of organic trace substances in the marine environment with focus on the Baltic Sea.

Measuring programs at sea and in the laboratory are conducted to answer complex questions such as the fate of organic trace substances in marine systems.

In the frame of the Environmental Monitoring of the IOW a range of organic contaminants in the Baltic Sea are analysed annually which allow to pursue long term data series and to observe long term trends in the field of organic pollutants.

The work of the research group is assigned to the research foci RF3 and RF4 of the research program of the IOW.

In the focus of our current research are environmental relevant compounds, such as

  • Persistent contaminants, as the polychlorinated biphenyls and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Pesticides, such as glyphosate
  • Compounds from the group of pharmaceuticals and personal care products
  • Natural organic P comounds, for example methyl phosphonic acid
  • Endocrine active compounds, such as estrogens.

Essential basis of our work is the continuous development of reliable and sensitive methods for

  • contaminant free sampling of anthropogenically derived trace substances, for example through in-situ pump systems
  • sample processing, for example through solid phase extraction or electrodialysis
  • Analysis of environmental relevant compounds mainly by chromatographic mass spectrometric methods
  • Determination of stable isotope ratios (C, N) of individual organic compounds
  • Analysis of the dissolved organic material
Liquid chromatography - Triple mass spectrometer (LC-MSMS)
Gas chromatography - Triple mass spectrometer (GC-MSMS)
Gas Chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio Mass Spectrometry

Working group leader

Dr. M. Kanwischer

Dr. H. Osterholz



Dr. Karoline Hammer


Technical staff

Ines Hand

Jenny Jeschek

Astrid Lerz

Andrea Tschakste


PhD students

Mo Zhou

Paul Cwierz

Tassiana S. G. Serafim



Analysis of chlorinated hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediment and water are conducted accredited:

IOW Analytics Group