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Lutz Ahrens

Lutz Ahrens
I am Professor in Environmental Organic Chemistry and my research is focused on development of new analytical methods for emerging organic pollutants in the environment using advanced mass spectrometry methods, and application of these methods for transport and fate studies.


My current research is focusing on

  • Sources, fate and transport of emerging organic pollutants in the environment such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), flame retardants (FRs), personal care products and pharmaceuticals
  • Passive sampling of organic pollutants in water and air
  • Development of suspect and non-target screening methods using high resolution mass-spectrometry
  • Development of advanced treatment techniques for soil and water
  • Partitioning of organic pollutants in various compartments of the environment


The POPs-group

Previous members

  • Dr Meritxell Gross, ICRA, Girona, Spain
  • Dr Sarah Josefsson, Swedish Geological Survey (SGU), Uppsala, Sweden
  • Dr Pablo Gago Ferrero, ICRA, Girona, Spain
  • Dr Jana Weiss, Stockholm University
  • Dr Minh Anh Ngyuen
  • Dr. Jakob Gustavsson
  • Dr. Rikard Tröger, CKB, SLU, Sweden
  • Dr. Mattias Söregård
  • Dr. Vera Franke

PhD students

  • Sanne Smith
  • Björn Bonnet
  • Frank Menger
  • Winnie Nassazi
  • Chao Guo, visting PhD student
  • Anastasia Ivanova, visting PhD student
  • Natnael Demissie (Björn Vinnerås, Dept of Energy and Technology)
  • Hugo de Campos Pereira (Jon-Petter Gustavsson, Dept of Soil and Environment, SLU)
  • Georgios Niarchos (Fritjof Fagerlund, Uppsala University)
  • Dauren Mussabek (Ronny Berndtsson, Lunds University)

Current projects

  • PARC
  • ITN PERFORCE3: Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances towards the future of research and its communication in Europe (Coordinator IT Cousins, ACES, Stockholm University, WP3 leader L Ahrens)
  • Artificial groundwater recharge – A shortcut for harmful poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) into groundwater systems and drinking water supplies – Can we avoid this? (PFASMAR), Formas (main applicant Philipp Wanner, GU)
  • Impact of antimicrobials’ transformation products on the emergence of antibiotic resistance in aquatic bodies – mechanisms, influencing factors and associations, VR (main applicant FY Lai)
  • STOP-ARG: Stopping spreads of antibiotic resistance genes and antibiotics from on-site sewage facilities to the groundwater, Formas (main applicant FY Lai)
  • Early detection of organic micropollutants in aquatic ecosystems (main applicants L Ahrens, F Y Lai, O Golovko)
  • POPscreen: Screening for emerging organic pollutants in archived biota, Swedish EPA (main applicant L Ahrens, K Wiberg)
  • PhytoRem: Phytoremediation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS)-contaminated soil and groundwater (main applicant L Ahrens)
  • LakePOPs: Lake Mälaren – a lake for millions – but threatened as a natural resource for drinking water, Formas (main applicant K Wiberg)
  • Sorption of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in soils – mechanisms and modelling, VR (main applicant J P Gustafsson)
  • StopPFAS: In-situ remediation of PFASs based on sorption methods, TUFFO (main applicant F Fagerlund, Uppsala University)
  • Food waste to new food in an urban context – production, risk assessment and consumer acceptance (Main applicant Malin Hultberg, SLU).
  • DANTE: Effect-directed analysis as a tool towards a non-toxic environment - identification of mixture effects and toxicity drivers in water (DANTE). (Main applicant Johan Lundqvist, SLU).
  • DRICKS: Competence centre for drinking water - Projects about Sources, prevalence, and treatment of hazardous chemicals in drinking water, Svenskt Vatten and others

Previous projects

  • PFASs-FREE: Innovative treatment techniques for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water, Formas (main applicant L Ahrens)
  • Blackwater treatment and reuse as agricultural fertilizer: fate and behavior of pharmaceuticals, antibiotic resistance genes and evaluation of environmental risks, Formas
  • PFASs-PURE: Innovative treatment techniques for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in soil and groundwater, Vinnova (main applicant L Ahrens)
  • Forest-POPs I: Legacy and emerging POPs in the Swedish forest, Formas (main applicant K Wiberg)
  • Forest-POPs II: POPs in Swedish snow and boreal catchment waters, Oscar and Lili Lamms Minne (main applicant K Wiberg)
  • SafeDrink: Integrated chemical and toxicological methods for early detection of hazardous chemicals in drinking water, Formas (main applicant K Wiberg)
  • RedMic: Novel strategies to reduce diffuse emissions of micropollutants from on-site sewage facilities, Formas (main applicant P Andersson, Umeå University)
  • NonHazCity (EU Interreg flagship project): Innovative management solutions for minimizing emissions of hazardous substances from urban areas in the Baltic Sea Region (main applicant Stockholm Stad, Tonie Wickman)

Selected publications

Recently published peer-reviewed papers (2015-present)

  • Lundqvist, J., Mandava, G., Lungu-Mitea, S., Lai, F.Y., Ahrens, L. 2019. In vitro bioanalytical evaluation of removal efficiency for bioactive chemicals in Swedish wastewater treatment plants. Sci Rep. 9, 7166.

  • Gustavsson, J., Wiberg, K., Nguyen, M.A., Josefsson, S., Laudon, H., Ahrens, L. 2019. Seasonal trends of legacy and alternative flame retardants in river water in a boreal catchment. Sci Total Environ. 692, 1097–105.

  • López-Serna, R., García, D., Bolado, S., Jiménez, J.J., Lai, F.Y., Golovko, O., Gago-Ferrero, P., Ahrens, L., Wiberg, K., Muñoz, R. 2019. Photobioreactors based on microalgae-bacteria and purple phototrophic bacteria consortia: A promising technology to reduce the load of veterinary drugs from piggery wastewater. Sci Total Environ. 692, 259–66.

  • Sörengård, M., Campos-Pereira, H., Ullberg, M., Lai, F.Y., Golovko, O., Ahrens, L. 2019. Mass loads, source apportionment, and risk estimation of organic micropollutants from hospital and municipal wastewater in recipient catchments. Chemosphere. 234, 931–41.

  • Sörengård, M., Niarchos, G., Jensen, P.E., Ahrens, L. 2019. Electrodialytic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) removal mechanism for contaminated soil. Chemosphere. 224–31.

  • Zhang, W., Gago-Ferrero, P., Gao, Q., Ahrens, L., Blum, K., Rostvall, A., Björlenius, B., Andersson, P.L., Wiberg, K., Haglund, P., Renman, G. 2019. Evaluation of five filter media in column experiment on the removal of selected organic micropollutants and phosphorus from household wastewater. J Environ Manage. 246, 920–8.

  • Mussabek, D., Ahrens, L., Persson, K.M., Berndtsson, R. 2019. Temporal trends and sediment–water partitioning of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in lake sediment. Chemosphere. 624–9.

  • Lai, F.Y., Rauert, C., Gobelius, L., Ahrens, L. A critical review on passive sampling in air and water for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Trends Analyt Chem. In press.

  • Dürig, W., Tröger, R., Andersson, P.L., Rybacka, A., Fischer, S., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L, 2019. Development of a suspect screening prioritization tool for organic compounds in water and biota. Chemosphere. 222, 904-912.

  • Pohl, J., Ahrens, L., Carlsson, G., Golovko, O., Norrgren, L., Weiss, J., Örn, L, 2019. Embryotoxicity of ozonated diclofenac, carbamazepine, and oxazepam in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Chemosphere. 225, 191-199.

  • Sörengård, M., Kleja, D.B., Ahrens, L. 2019. Stabilization and solidification remediation of soil contaminated with poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). J Hazard Environ. 367, 639–46.

  • Dalahmeh, S.S., Alziq, N., Ahrens, L. 2019. Potential of biochar filters for onsite wastewater treatment: Effects of active and inactive biofilms on adsorption of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in laboratory column experiments. Environ Pollut. 247, 155–64.

  • Gao, Q., Blum, K.M., Gago-Ferrero, P., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L., Andersson, P.L. 2019. Impact of on-site wastewater infiltration systems on organic contaminants in groundwater and recipient waters. Sci Total Env. 651, 1670–9.

  • Nilsen, E., Smalling, K.L., Ahrens, L., Gros, M., Miglioranza, K.S.B., Picó, Y., Schoenfuss, H.L. 2019. Critical review: Grand challenges in assessing the adverse effects of contaminants of emerging concern on aquatic food webs. Environ Toxicol Chem. 38, 46–60.

  • Gobelius, L., Persson, C., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L. 2019. Calibration and application of passive sampling for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in a drinking water treatment plant. J Hazard Mater. 362, 230–7.

  • Skaar, J.S., Ræder, E.M., Lyche, J.L., Ahrens, L., Kallenborn, R. 2019. Elucidation of contamination sources for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) on Svalbard (Norwegian Arctic). Environ Sci Pollut Res. 7356–7363.

  • Zhang, W., Blum, K., Gros, M., Ahrens, L., Jernstedt, H., Wiberg, K., Andersson, P.L., Björlenius, B., Renman, G. 2018. Removal of micropollutants and nutrients in household wastewater using organic and inorganic sorbents. Desalin Water Treat. 120, 88–108.

  • Sha, B., Dahlberg, A.K., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L. 2018. Fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), organophosphorus flame retardants (OPFRs) and cyclic volatile methylsiloxanes (cVMSs) in indoor air from occupational and home environments. Environ Pollut. 241, 319–30.

  • Rosenmai, A.K., Lundqvist, J., Gago-Ferrero, P., Mandava, G., Ahrens, L., Wiberg, K., Oskarsson, A. 2018. Effect-based assessment of recipient waters impacted by on-site, small scale, and large scale waste water treatment facilities – combining passive sampling with in vitro bioassays and chemical analysis. Sci Rep. 8, Article number 17200.

  • Ritscher, A., Wang, Z., Scheringer, M., Boucher, J.M., Ahrens, L., Berger, U., Bintein, S., Bopp, S.K., Borg, D., Buser, A.M., Cousins, I., Dewitt, J., Fletcher, T., Green, C., Herzke, D., Higgins, C., Huang, J., Hung, H., Knepper, T., Lau, C.S., Leinala, E., Lindstrom, A.B., Liu, J., Miller, M., Ohno, K., Perkola, N., Shi, Y., Haug, L.S., Trier, X., Valsecchi, S., van der Jagt, K., Vierke, L. 2018. Zürich statement on future actions on per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Environ Health Perspect. 126, Article number 084502.

  • Nguyen, M.A., Ahrens, L., Gustavsson, J., Josefsson, S., Laudon, H., Wiberg, K. 2018. The Role of Spring Flood and Landscape Type in the Terrestrial Export of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds to Streamwater. Environ Sci Technol. 52, 6217–25.

  • Gyllenhammar, I., Benskin, J.P., Sandblom, O., Berger, U., Ahrens, L., Lignell, S., Wiberg, K., Glynn, A. 2018. Perfluoroalkyl Acids (PFAAs) in Serum from 2-4-Month-Old Infants: Influence of Maternal Serum Concentration, Gestational Age, Breast-Feeding, and Contaminated Drinking Water. Environ Sci Technol. 52, 7101–10.

  • Gago-Ferrero, P., Krettek, A., Fischer, S., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L. 2018. Suspect screening and regulatory databases: A powerful combination to identify emerging micropollutants. Environ Sci Technol. 52, 6881–94.

  • Campos Pereira, H., Ullberg, M., Berggren Kleja, D., Gustafsson, J.P., Ahrens, L. 2018. Sorption of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to an organic soil horizon – effect of cation composition and pH. Chemosphere. 207, 183–91.

  • Ahrens, L., Daneshvar, A., Lau, A.E., Kreuger, J. 2018. Concentrations, fluxes and field calibration of passive water samplers for pesticides and hazard-based risk assessment. Sci Total Environ. 637–638, 835–43.

  • Rostvall, A., Zhang, W., Dürig, W., Renman, G., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L., Gago-Ferrero, P. 2018. Removal of pharmaceuticals, perfluoroalkyl substances and other micropollutants from wastewater using lignite, Xylit, sand, granular activated carbon (GAC) and GAC+Polonite® in column tests – Role of physicochemical properties. Water Res. 137, 97–106.

  • Dalahmeh, S., Tirgani, S., Komakech, A.J., Niwagaba, C.B., Ahrens, L. 2018. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in water, soil and plants in wetlands and agricultural areas in Kampala, Uganda. Sci Total Environ. 631-632, 660–7.

  • Blum, K.M., Haglund, P., Gao, Q., Ahrens, L., Gros, M., Wiberg, K., Andersson, P.L. 2018. Mass fluxes per capita of organic contaminants from on-site sewage treatment facilities. Chemosphere. 201, 864–73.

  • Gobelius, L., Hedlund, J., Dürig, W., Tröger, R., Lilja, K., Wiberg, K., Ahrens, L. 2018. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in Swedish groundwater and surface water. Implications for environmental quality standards and drinking water guidelines. Environ Sci Technol. 52, 4340–9.

  • Tröger R, Klöckner P, Ahrens L, Wiberg K. 2018. Micropollutants in drinking water from source to tap - Method development and application of a multiresidue screening method. Sci Total Environ. 627, 1404–32.

  • Gustavsson J, Wiberg K, Ribeli E, Nguyen MA, Josefsson S, Ahrens L, 2018. Screening of organic flame retardants in Swedish river water. Sci Total Environ. 625, 1046–55.

  • Nouhi S, Ahrens L, Campos Pereira H, Hughes AV, Campana M, Gutfreund P, Palsson GK, Vorobiev A, Hellsing MS, 2018. Interactions of perfluoroalkyl substances with a phospholipid bilayer studied by neutron reflectometry. J Colloid Interface Sci. 511, 474–81.

  • Rosenmai AK, Ahrens L, le Godec T, Lundqvist J, Oskarsson A, 2018. Relationship between peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha activity and cellular concentration of 14 perfluoroalkyl substances in HepG2 cells. J Appl Toxicol. 38, 219–26.

  • Blum KM, Andersson PL, Ahrens L, Wiberg K, Haglund P, 2018. Persistence, mobility and bioavailability of emerging organic contaminants discharged from sewage treatment plants. Sci Total Environ. 612, 1532–42.

  • Dalahmeh S, Ahrens L, Gros M, Wiberg K, Pell M, 2018. Potential of biochar filters for onsite sewage treatment: Adsorption and biological degradation of pharmaceuticals in laboratory filters with active, inactive and no biofilm. Sci Total Environ. 612, 192–201

  • Stubleski J, Salihovic S, Lind PM, Lind L, Dunder L, McCleaf P, Eurén K, Ahrens L, Svartengren M, van Bavel B, Kärrman A, 2017. The effect of drinking water contaminated with perfluoroalkyl substances on a 10-year longitudinal trend of plasma levels in an elderly Uppsala cohort. Environ Res. 159, 95–102.

  • Kothawala DN, Köhler SJ, Östlund A, Wiberg K, Ahrens L, 2017. Influence of dissolved organic matter concentration and composition on the removal efficiency of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) during drinking water treatment. Water Res. 121, 320–28.

  • Gobelius L, Lewis J, Ahrens L, 2017. Plant uptake of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances at a contaminated fire training facility to evaluate the phytoremediation potential of various plant species. Environ Sci Technol. 51, 12602–10.

  • McCleaf P, Englund S, Östlund A, Lindegren K, Wiberg K, Ahrens L, 2017. Removal efficiency of multiple poly-and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in drinking water using granular activated carbon (GAC) and anion exchange (AE) column tests. Water Res. 120, 77–87.

  • Åkerblom S, Negm N, Wu P, Bishop K, Ahrens L, 2017. Variation and accumulation patterns of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in European perch (Perca fluviatilis) across a gradient of pristine Swedish lakes. Sci Total Environ. 599-600, 1685–92.

  • Gago-Ferrero P, Gros M, Ahrens L, Wiberg K, 2017. Impact of on-site, small and large scale wastewater treatment facilities on levels and fate of pharmaceuticals, personal care products, artificial sweeteners, pesticides, and perfluoroalkyl substances in recipient waters. Sci Total Environ. 601-602, 1289–97.

  • Gustavsson J, Ahrens L, Nguyen MA, Josefsson S, Wiberg K, 2017. Development and comparison of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques for analysis of flame retardants. J Chromatogr A. 1481, 116–126.

  • Gustavsson J, Ahrens L, Nguyen MA, Josefsson S, Berggren Kleja D, Wiberg K, 2017. Influence of natural organic matter on the extraction efficiency of flame retardants from surface waters. J Chromatogr A. 1524, 74–86.

  • Gros M, Blum KM, Jernstedt H, Renman G, Rodríguez-Mozaz S, Haglund P, Andersson PL, Wiberg K, Ahrens L, 2017. Screening and prioritization of micropollutants in wastewaters from on-site sewage treatment facilities. J Hazard Mater. 328, 37–45.

  • Nguyen MA, Wiberg K, Ribeli E, Josefsson S, Futter M, Gustavsson J, Ahrens L, 2017. Spatial distribution and source tracing of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in surface water in Northern Europe. Environ Pollut. 220, 1438–1446.

  • Abdollahi A, Eng A, Jantunen LM, Ahrens L, Shoeib M, Parnis JM, Harner T, 2017. Characterization of polyurethane foam (PUF) and sorbent impregnated PUF (SIP) disk passive air samplers for measuring organophosphate flame retardants. Chemosphere 167, 212–19.

  • Blum KM, Andersson PL, Renman G, Ahrens L, Gros M, Wiberg K, Haglund P, 2017. Non-target screening and prioritization of potentially persistent, bioaccumulating and toxic domestic wastewater contaminants and their removal in on-site and large-scale sewage treatment plants. Sci Total Environ. 575, 265–75.

  • Ahrens L, Daneshvar A, Lau AE, Kreuger J, 2016. Characterization and application of passive samplers for monitoring of pesticides in water. JoVE 2016.

  • Ahrens L, Gashaw H, Sjöholm M, Gebrehiwot SG, Getahun A, Derbe E, Bishop K, Åkerblom S, 2016. Poly- and perfluoroalkylated substances (PFASs) in water, sediment and fish muscle tissue from Lake Tana, Ethiopia and implications for human exposure. Chemosphere 165, 352–57.

  • Lalander, C, Senecal, J, Gros Calvo, M, Ahrens, L, Josefsson, S, Wiberg, K, Vinnerås, B, 2016. Fate of pharmaceuticals and pesticides in fly larvae composting. Sci Total Environ. 565, 279–286.

  • Hellsing, MS, Josefsson, S, Hughes, AV, Ahrens, L, 2016. Sorption of perfluoroalkyl substances to two types of minerals. Chemosphere 159, 385–391.

  • Booij K, Robinson CD, Burgess RM, Mayer P, Roberts CA, Ahrens L, Allan IJ, Brant J, Jones L, Kraus UR, Larsen MM, Lepom P, Petersen J, Pröfrock D, Roose P, Schäfer S, Smedes F, Tixier C, Vorkamp K, Whitehouse P, 2016. Passive Sampling in Regulatory Chemical Monitoring of Nonpolar Organic Compounds in the Aquatic Environment. Environ Sci Technol. 50, 3–17.

  • Ahrens L, Daneshvar A, Lau AE, Kreuger J, 2015. Characterization of five passive sampling devices for monitoring of pesticides in water. J Chromatogr A 1405, 1–11.

  • Ahrens L, Norström K, Viktor T, Palm Cousins A, Josefsson S, 2015. Stockholm Arlanda Airport as a source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances to water, sediment and fish. Chemosphere 129, 33–38.

  • Schuster JK, Harner T, Fillmann G, Ahrens L, Altamirano JC, Bastos W, Castillo LE, Cortés J, Fentanes O, Gusev A, Hernandez M, Ibarra MV, Lana NB, Lee SC, Martínez AP, Miglioranza KSB, Puerta AP, Segovia F, Siu BM, Tominaga MY, Zuluaga HA, 2015. Assessing Polychlorinated Dibenzo‑P‑Dioxins and Polychlorinated Dibenzofurans in Air across Latin American Countries Using Polyurethane Foam Disk Passive Air Samplers. Environ Sci Technol, 49, 3680–86.

  • Bustnes JO, Bangjord G, Ahrens L, Herzke D, Yoccoz NG, 2015. Perfluoroalkyl substance concentrations in a terrestrial raptor: Relationships to environmental conditions and individual traits. Environ Toxicol Chem, 34, 184–191.