Environmental Specimen Bank

The Fraunhofer IME has been one of the partners of the German Environmental Specimen Bank since the year 2000. On behalf of the German Federal Environmental Agency, we process annual samples to form homogenized specimens (cryogenic milling), operate the archive of the environmental specimen bank (cryogenic storage), and perform element and element-species analyses of environmental samples (Rüdel et al. 2010).

In the framework of the Environmental Specimen Bank program Fraunhofer IME also performs retrospective analyses to investigate archived samples for their content of currently relevant chemical substances. For example, this is a possibility to monitor the success of a substance ban by governmental agencies or of manufacturers’ voluntary restrictions on the use of a specific substance which should result in a decrease of the environmental concentrations of the banned chemical.

The results obtained in the monitoring studies are compiled in reports and, if approved by the sponsor, published in scientific journals. Examples are investigations on organotin compounds in mussels from the North and Baltic Sea (Rüdel et al. 2009), on perfluorinated compounds in different organisms of the marine food web (Rüdel et al. 2011) or on triclosan and methyltriclosan in freshwater fish (Böhmer et al. 2004). 

Video clips about working methods of the German Environmental Specimen Bank

The videos were produced on behalf of and funded by the Federal Environment Agency.

Preparation of specimens for archiving. (mp4)

Alternative clip as flv-file.

Storage in the environmental specimen bank. (mp4)

Alternative clip as flv-file.

Analysis of mercury in specimens of the environmental specimen bank. (mp4)

Alternative clip as flv-file.

Selected publications

Göckener B, Fliedner A, Rüdel H, Badry A, Koschorreck J (2022):
Long-Term Trends of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Suspended Particular Matter from German Rivers Using the Direct Total Oxidizable Precursor (dTOP) Assay. Environ Sci Technol 56, 208-217; (doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c04165)

Yuan B, Rüdel H, de Wit CA, Koschorreck J (2022):
Identifying Emerging Environmental Concerns from Long-Chain Chlorinated Paraffins towards German Ecosystems. J Hazard Mater 424, 127607, (doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2021.127607)

Dreyer A, Neugebauer F, Lohmann N, Rüdel H, Tarricone K, Rauert C, Koschorreck J (2021):
Long-term trends of airborne halogenated flame retardants (HFRs) by means of tree leaf and shoot analyses. Environ Pollut 287, 117342, (doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117342)

Yamakawa A, Amouroux D, Tessier E, Berail S, Fettig I, Barre JPG, Koschorreck J, Rüdel H, Donard OFX (2021):
Hg isotopic composition of one-year-old spruce shoots: Application to long-term Hg atmospheric monitoring in Germany. Chemosphere 279, 130631, (doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.130631)

Chaplow JS, Bond AL, Koschorreck J, Rüdel H, Shore RF (2021):
The role of environmental specimen banks in monitoring environmental contamination. In: Johnson S (Hrsg.), Monitoring Environmental Contaminants. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2021 S.123-138, ISBN: 978-0-444-64335-3 / ISBN: 978-0-444-64336-0

Radermacher G, Rüdel H, Wesch C, Böhnhardt A, Koschorreck J (2020):
Retrospective analysis of cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes in archived German fish samples covering a period of two decades. Sci Total Environ 706, 136011, (doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.136011)

Fliedner A, Rüdel H, Knopf B, Lohmann N, Paulus M, Jud M, Pirntke U, Koschorreck J (2018):
Assessment of seafood contamination under the marine strategy framework directive: contributions of the German environmental specimen bank. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 26939-26956

Kotthoff M, Rüdel H, Jürling H, Severin K, Hennecke S, Friesen A, Koschorreck J (2018):
First evidence of anticoagulant rodenticides in fish and suspended particulate matter: spatial and temporal distribution in German freshwater aquatic systems. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 7315-7325

Fliedner A, Rüdel H, Lohmann N, Buchmeier G, Koschorreck J (2018):
Biota monitoring under the Water Framework Directive: On tissue choice and fish species selection. Environ Pollut 235, 129-140, (DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2017.12.052)

Fliedner A, Rüdel H, Teubner D, Buchmeier G, Lowis J, Heiss C, Wellmitz J, Koschorreck J (2016):
Biota monitoring and the Water Framework Directive - can normalization overcome shortcomings in sampling strategies? Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 21927-21939, (10.1007/s11356-016-7442-2)

Fliedner A, Lohmann N, Rüdel H, Teubner D, Wellmitz J, Koschorreck J (2016):
Current levels and trends of selected EU Water Framework Directive priority substances in freshwater fish from the German environmental specimen bank. Environ Pollut 216, 866-876, (doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.06.060)

Koschorreck, J., Heiss, C., Wellmitz, J., Fliedner, A., Rüdel, H.:
The use of monitoring data in EU chemicals management — experiences and considerations from the German environmental specimen bank.  Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Vol 22 (3) (2015) 1597-1611 (DOI: 10.1007/s11356-014-2897-5)

Paulus, M., Teubner, D., Rüdel, H., Klein, R.:
Bioaccumulation and long-term monitoring in freshwater ecosystems – knowledge gained from 20 years of zebra mussel analysis by the German Environmental Specimen Bank.
In: R.H. Armon, O. Hänninnen (eds.) Environmental Indicators, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht (2015) 781-803, (DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9499-2_44)

Rüdel, H., Böhmer, W., Müller, M., Fliedner, A., Ricking, M., Teubner, D., Schröter-Kermani, C.:
Retrospective study of triclosan and methyl-triclosan residues in fish and suspended particulate matter: Results from the German Environmental Specimen Bank.
Chemosphere 91 (2013) No. 11: 1517-1524 (DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.12.030)

Rüdel, H.:
Use of environmental specimen banks for investigations of emerging substances: Examples for freshwater fish monitoring studies. Network of Reference Laboratories for Monitoring of Environmental Substances. Norman Bulletin. Online Journal (2012) No. 3: 5 - 7  

Weinfurtner, K., Fliedner, A.:
Umweltprobenbank des Bundes – Auswertung der Analysen von Schwebstoffproben aus den Jahren 2005 bis 2009. Umweltbundesamt (2012) 67 pp.

Rüdel, H., Müller, J., Jürling, H., Bartel-Steinbach, M.,  Koschorreck, J.:
Survey of patterns, levels, and trends of perfluorinated compounds in aquatic organisms and bird eggs from representative German ecosystems. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. (2011) 18:1457–1470 (DOI: 10.1007/s11356-011-0501-9)

Rüdel, H., Fliedner, A., Kösters, J., Schröter-Kermani, C.:
Twenty years of elemental analysis of marine biota within the German Environmental Specimen Bank — a thorough look at the data. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 17 (2010) 1025-1034 (DOI: 10.1007/s11356-009-0280-8)

Rüdel, H., Steinhanses, J., Müller, J., Schröter-Kermani, C.:
Retrospektives Monitoring von Organozinnverbindungen in biologischen Proben aus Nord- und Ostsee – sind die Anwendungsbeschränkungen erfolgreich? - Beitragsserie Meeresforschung. Umweltwiss. Schadst. Forsch. 21 (2009) 282-291
(DOI: 10.1007/s12302-009-0039-3)