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DFG finances joint laboratory of the University of Dresden for microplastic research

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is to fund the equipping of a joint laboratory at the University of Applied Sciences in Dresden (HTWD) in the coming five years with sums amounting to 1 million euros. With the new equipment, research is to be intensified in the fields of microplastic, soil science, water management and vegetation technology, and the effects of plastics on the environment investigated.


The DFG says that, in its “major instrumentation initiatives”, it finances universities of applied sciences in the procurement and use of equipment. In the DFG funding project entitled "Joint laboratory – Environmental behaviour of polymers in soil-water-vegetation compartments", the effects of plastics on the environment are to be studied by a cross-faculty research team headed by Professor Kathrin Harre, Professor Thomas Grischek, Professor Christian Siewert and Professor Arne Cierjacks from the faculties of Farming, Environment and Chemistry as well as the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The aim is, in the shortest possible time, to obtain more precise data on the pollution of environmental compartments such as water, soil and air. The new laboratory equipment for the joint laboratory include apparatus such as microwave disintegration for spectrometric elemental analysis, thermal extraction desorption GC for determining microplastics in various environmental media, flow cytometers for quantitative measurement and molecular characterisation, a throughput centrifuge and a thermobalance. These will be made available in future to researchers and students at the HTWD in various faculties for interdisciplinary application areas, and, says HTDW, will enable the simplified preparation and processing of specimens and an improvement in detection limits. The project of a young research group that will make use of the equipment in the joint laboratory is aiming for example to establish how microplastic-free drinking water can be obtained through bank filtration. Also the development of innovative reference materials is to be advanced together with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at HTDW. "We are very pleased indeed that, with the expansion of our joint laboratory, we can strengthen our research in the fields of soil science, water management, biodiversity and polymer sciences, and can push forward with our joint environmental studies for the deeper research of the behaviour of anthropogenic substances in various environmental compartments. The specific investment in state-of-the-art equipment is not only a major asset for our cross-faculty cooperation, but also a springboard for innovative technologies and findings as a basis for further effective contributions from the HTW Dresden to sustainable development," explained Professor Harre, who is responsible for the funding proposal. Professor Katrin Salchert, Rector of the HTWD, emphasises: "For our university and especially for the research students, the procurement of the DFG funds is a major success and confirmation for all involved of the work they have done so far."

  • HTW Dresden (23.1.2024)
  • Photo: © DFG

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