Environmental organic chemistry

Last changed: 01 September 2023
The POPs group standing on stairs. Photo.

The POPs group (Persistent Organic Pollutants) aims to increase the knowledge about organic micropollutants in aquatic and terrestrial environments, their impacts, and solutions for a non-toxic and sustainable future.

Our research is directed towards improved water quality and sustainable use of water. We develop early warning methodologies and new strategies for the identification of previously unknown chemical risks with a focus on water through prioritisation methodology and advanced mass spectrometry. Our POPs laboratory is dedicated to trace analysis of organic micropollutants in the environment. 

Recently approved projects

  • Biokolfilter: On-farm biochar filters for removal of organic micropollutants from reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation, Stiftelsen Lantbruksforskning (PI: Oksana Golovko)
  • BioReset: Biodiversity restoration and conservation of inland water ecosystems for environmental and human well-being, BiodivERsA and Water JPI (PI: LAQ, REQUIMTE, Portugal) (Oksana Golovko)
  • FoodsecURe: Food security through better sanitation: The case of urine recycling, Norwegian Research Council (PI: Divina Gracia Rodriguez, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research) (Oksana Golovko, Lutz Ahrens)
  • MECROPLAN: Mapping of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) including microplastic in landfill leachate, their current ecological impact and sustainable technologies for their removal, Formas (PI: Oksana Golovko)
  • Novel methods and strategies to ensure safe drinking water, Formas (PI: Johan Lundqvist, SLU) (Lutz Ahrens)
  • PARC: Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (Lead: ANSES, France), Task 4.1, Task 4.2, Task 4.3, Task 8.2 (Co-lead: Lutz Ahrens)
  • SIDWater: Sustainable innovative drinking water treatment solutions for large-scale water supply and reuse, Formas (PI: Lutz Ahrens)

Other water quality projects

DANTE: Effect-directed analysis as a tool towards a non-toxic environment - identification of mixture effects and toxicity drivers in water (DANTE), Formas (PI: Johan Lundqvist, SLU) (Sofia Lindblad, Lutz Ahrens, Karin Wiberg)

DRICKS: Competence centre for drinking water - Projects about sources, prevalence, and treatment of hazardous chemicals in drinking water, Svenskt Vatten and others (Lead: Chalmers Technical University, Co-lead: Karin Wiberg)

REASSURE: To reuse or not: is purified wastewater a non-toxic and sustainable resource for the future? Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (PI: Foon Yin Lai)

Risk ranking of chemicals in drinking water - The risk thermometer, Svenskt Vatten (PI: Anders Glynn, SLU) (Karin Wiberg, Lutz Ahrens)

SAFESTORM: Are today’s stormwater systems safe chemical filters for toxic micropollutants? Formas (PI: Karin Wiberg)

Stop-ARG: Stopping spreads of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotics from on-site sewage facilities to the groundwater, Formas (PI: Foon Yin Lai)

TP-Impact: Impact of transformation products of antimicrobial chemicals on the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in aquatic environments, Swedish Research Council (PI: Foon Yin Lai)

Watch List: Monitoring for the WFD watch list, Swedish EPA (PI: Oksana Golovko)

Artificial groundwater recharge – A shortcut for harmful poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) into groundwater systems and drinking water supplies – Can we avoid this? (PI: Philipp Wanner, University of Gothenburg) (Lutz Ahrens

Other PFAS projects

BioPFAS: Microbial degradation of PFAS for remediation of contaminated soil and groundwater. Tuffo (SGI) (PI: Fritjof Fagerlund, Uppsala University) (Lutz Ahrens)

LIFE CAPTURE: Combining novel analytical protocols for PFAS contamination with technologies for sustainable remediation, EU Life (Lead: ABO, Belgium) (Lutz Ahrens)

LIFE SOuRCE: Demonstration and evaluation of sustainable on-site remediation technologies for PFAS-contaminated groundwater. EU Life (Lead: Eurecat, Spain) (Oscar Skirfors, Dan Berggren Kleja, Lutz Ahrens)

PERFORCE3: Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) towards the future of research and its communication in Europe (PI: Ian Cousins, Stockholm University) (Sanne Smith, Björn Bonnet, Karin Wiberg, Lutz Ahrens)

Other contaminated land and sediments projects

Environmental impact of gas ebullition in fiberbank sediments – flux measurements and X-ray tomography for improved remediation strategies. Formas (PI: Anna-Karin Dahlberg)

Filter media in soil treatment systems – sustainable alternatives to natural sand and gravel, Swedish EPA (PI: Erik Sindhöj, RISE) (Karin Wiberg, Anna-Karin Dahlberg)

MycoDDT: Bioremediation of DDT-contaminated soil, industry PhD project in collaboration with SGU and Sveaskog (PI: Anna-Karin Dahlberg)

The POPs laboratory

In the POPs laboratory, we have equipment to analyse persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as pharmaceuticals, highly fluorinated substances (PFASs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and flame retardants. Description of the POPs laboratory.




Professor Karin Wiberg, Professor
Professor Lutz Ahrens, Professor
Associate Professor (Docent) Foon Yin Lai, Associate Senior Lecturer
Associate Professor (Docent) Oksana Golovko, Researcher
Dr Anna-Karin Dahlberg, Researcher
Dr Alberto Celma, post-doc
Dr Georgios Niarchos, post-doc
Dr Uzair Akbar Khan, post-doc
Dr Aleksandra Skrobonja, chemist
Dr Christine Baduel, guest researcher (August T Larsson)
Dr Pablo Gago Ferrero, guest researcher (August T Larsson)
Javad Mottaghipisheh, post-doc 

Winnie Nassazzi, PhD student
Sanne Smith, PhD student
Björn Bonnet, PhD student
Valentina Ugolini, PhD student
Daniel Malnes, PhD student
Paul Löffler, PhD student
Svante Rehnstam, PhD student
Sofia Lindberg, PhD student
Stephanie Casey, PhD student
Oscar Skirfors, PhD student
Harold Flores Quintana, PhD student
Maximilian Tyka, doktorand
Malhun Fakioglu, guest PhD student
Esteban Restrepo Montes, guest PhD student