SLU news

New project about early detection of micropollutants in aquatic ecosystems

Published: 05 December 2019
Sunset over a lake. Photo.
Ekoln, Lake Mälaren, in sunset. Photo: Joakim Ahlgren.

Lutz Ahrens, senior lecturer, together with Foon Yin Lai, postdoc, and Oksana Golovko, researcher, all at the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, have received funding for a project concerning early detection of organic micropollutants in aquatic ecosystems.

Every year approximately 300 million tons of man-made organic micropollutants (OMPs) are used in production of industrial and consumer products and large amounts continuously reach natural waters. In nature, OMPs can alter ecosystem functioning, reduce biodiversity and constrain ecosystem services, and assessment of OMPs occurring in freshwater ecosystems are therefore important. However, currently used detection methods measure only a small fraction of the released OMPs. Likely the ones detected constitute only the tip of the iceberg, and therefore effects of OMPs on ecosystems and human health are difficult to assess.

The new project, funded by the Oscar and Lili Lamm Memorial Foundation, aims at improving detection methods of OMPs. The new analyzing strategy will be used to produce a list of prioritized pollutants for which control measures are urgently needed.

The project will be focusing on Lake Mälaren, which is the largest drinking water reservoir and the third largest lake in Sweden. Water, wastewater effluents, sediment and biota (e.g. mussels) will be screened for OMPs. The sampling will be conducted in a close collaboration with the Lake Mälaren's Water Conservation Association (Mälarens vattenvårdsförbund).

Read more about the project at the project web page - Early detection of organic micropollutants in aquatic ecosystems.

Read more about the research at the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment: