Marie Markantonis (geb. Schmidt)

Contact / Address


Tel. +49 (0) 341 235 1332
Fax +49 (0) 341 235 1443

Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Permoserstrasse 15
04318 Leipzig

Marie Schmidt


Since 11/2009 PhD student at the UFZ in the Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry
09/2009 Diploma in Biology, Department of Microbiology, Martin-Luther-University, Halle (Saale)


"Assessment of the in-situ Biodegradation of Dichloro- and Monochlorobenzene in contaminated aquifers”

My research in the Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry focuses on anaerobic biotransformation of halogenated organic contaminants, in particular: lower chlorinated benzenes. These toxic and common groundwater contaminants were commonly used in the chemical industry. Since spillage events and inappropriate handling of manufactured chemicals led to their release into the groundwater and endanger our drinking water and surface water. The work is enclosed in the European project GENESIS.

In particular, my PhD research aims at the identification of biodegradation pathways of dichlorobenzene (DCB) and chlorobenzene (MCB) under anaerobic conditions and to get the knowledge of the microorganisms which are involved.

Therefore the microbial groundwater community of a contaminated aquifer (Bitterfeld, Germany) will be characterised by using molecular biological methods. Further microbial activity will be checked by preparing anaerobic laboratory microcosms of the groundwater. The anaerobic degradation pathways will be examined in the microcosms, focusing on the detection of labelled intermediates and end products (e.g. 13C-CO2), by using gas chromatography-isotopic ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS). Additionally, enrichment laboratory cultures of Dehalococcoides strains will be used to analyse the anaerobic degradation pathways of various chlorinated benzenes. Moreover, the in-situ biotransformation of DCB and MCB will be tested in a model scale wetland system. Geochemical condition will be monitored and biodegradation will be assed by gas chromatography- flame ionization detection (GC-FID) and GC-IRMS.

I'm supervised by Dr. Ivonne Nijenhuis (Department of Isotope Biogeochemistry).


  • Schmidt, M., Lege, S. and Nijenhuis, I. (2014) Comparison of 1,2-dichloroethane, dichloroethene and vinyl chloride carbon stable isotope fractionation during dechlorination by two Dehalococcoides strains. Water Research. 52: 146–154
  • Gemitzi, A., Stefanopoulos, K., Schmidt, M. and Richnow, H.H. (2014): Seawater intrusion into groundwater aquifer through a coastal lake - complex interaction characterised by water isotopes (2)H and (18)O. Isotopes Environ Health Stud. 50(1):74-87
  • Schmidt, M., Wolfram, D., Birkigt, J., Ahlheim, J., Paschke, H., Richnow, HH. and Nijenhuis, I. (2014): Iron oxides stimulate microbial monochlorobenzene in situ transformation in constructed wetlands and laboratory systems. Science of the Total Environment. 472: 185-193
  • Nijenhuis, I., Schmidt, M., Pellegatti, E., Paramatti, E., Richnow, HH. and Gargini, A. (2013): A stable isotope approach for source apportionment of chlorinated ethenes plumes at a complex multi-contamination events urban site. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 153: 92–105
  • Kaufhold, T., Schmidt, M., Cichocka, D., Nikolausz, M. and Nijenhuis, I. (2013): Dehalogenation of diverse halogenated substrates by a highly enriched Dehalococcoides-containing culture derived from the contaminated mega-site in Bitterfeld. Fems Microbiology Ecology 83(1): 176-188