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).