The Working Group Element-Speciation conducts independent analytical-methodical research and processes analytical questions within the framework of the program-oriented research of the Helmholtz Association mainly for the research field “Earth and the environment”.
Chemical elements like metals and metalloids play an important role in essential as well as toxic processes in environment and biology. Important for the understanding of environmental and biological processes is the knowledge of the actual form of the elements in the corresponding compartments to be examined. The different binding forms of metals and metalloids (element species) e.g. isotopic composition, electronic/oxidation state, and complex/molecular structure show different behaviour regarding the main interactions in the geo- and biosphere like mobility, transport, bioavailability, toxicity etc..

Research activities
Our research activities focus on the following priorities:

  • Basic research to develop new or improved existing methods for identification, structure elucidation, quantification of elements and their compounds (element species) in environmental compartments as well as their spatial and temporal localization
  • Research on the application of those analytical methods to environmentally/biochemically relevant issues such as the clarification of processes of distribution, propagation and metabolism of pollutants
  • Identification and quantification of metals operating functionally in biological systems e.g. metalloenzymes, metalloproteins etc.

Additionally, tasks in the field of research services (analysis of nutrients, common anions, aliphatic carboxylic acids, amino acids and carbohydrates etc.) can be conducted in cooperation with other departments of the UFZ and external research partners, including the required quality management (QM).     

The instruments comprise state-of-the-art analytical equipment and sample preparation system, which are crucial for the essential investigations:

  • UPLC 1290 - ICPMSMS (8800) / ESI Q-tof-MS (6530) (Agilent)
  • HPLC - ICPqMS (7700) (Agilent)
  • GC - AED (jas); GC-ICPqMS (7500ce) (Agilent)
  • ICS 2000, ICS 6000 – CD/PAD/UV (both Thermo)
  • Photometer Galery (Thermo)
  • focused US-Extraction, Thermoshaker, Solid-Phase-Micro-Extraction (SPME)

Furthermore, the instrumentation platform PROVIS (Visualization Centre for biological processes on cellular level) and the instruments of the other working groups of the Department of Analytical Chemistry are available for speciation analysis.

PhD student (guest)

Franz Lehmann, M.Sc.

Karsten Marien
Madlen Zieseniß
Michaela Wunderlich

Carola Bönisch
Dr. Jürgen Mattusch
Dr. Sibylle Mothes

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1995 (1)