Biomonitoring & Biobanks

Biomonitoring, the monitoring of chemicals in humans and the environment, serves as the basis for a wide range of political decisions and regulation measures in the field of human and environmental health. In the areas of human biomonitoring and environmental monitoring, the working group Biomonitoring & Biobanks of the Fraunhofer IBMT is developing groundbreaking platforms for the standardization of processes of the pre-analytical and analytical phase right up to cryostorage of samples. This includes the development of standardized methods for the collection and preparation of the samples for the analysis of pollutants such as heavy metals, plasticizers and nanoparticles, for cryopreservation and for the transport of human and environmental samples under cryogenic conditions. Furthermore, the working group is collaborating in the inter-working group development of mobile laboratory units for use in biomonitoring. The team has many years of experience in the standardized sampling of diverse environmental samples and human samples under BLS2 conditions.

The working group is certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9001 and accredited in accordance with DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 to carry out tests in the areas of "healthcare provision – medical laboratory investigations within the framework of clinical studies" in the investigation area of clinical chemistry for the execution of


• araeometric analysis
• gravimetric analysis
• electrochemical investigations
• spectrometry (photometry)
• sample taking and preservation

and is concerned with the investigation of subjects including their urine, blood plasma and whole-blood samples. Besides sampling, important aspects include the collection of biometric data, the characterization of samples according to clinical, chemical and physical sample parameters, and the registration of medical history data of subjects by the development of project-specific questionnaires. Retrospective analyses of selected pollutants and a subsequent statistical evaluation and interpretation of data allows for the evaluation of chemicals in terms of their hazardous potential for humans and the environment, and allow the early recommendation of regulation measures and the control of their success. On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, the working group Biomonitoring & Biobanks is collecting and characterizing human samples for the German Environmental Specimens Bank and is operating the corresponding cryobank near Münster/Wolbeck.

Furthermore, the working group operates the cryorepository of the 5th German Environmental Survey (GerES 2014-2017), also coordinated by the Federal Environment Agency. Within the framework of the project "NanoUmwelt" funded by the BMBF, the working group Biomonitoring & Biobanks is collecting, preparing and biometrically characterizing environmental samples from a wide range of organisms in order to determine where nanoparticles end up in environmental media.

In addition to this, the working group is also developing protocols for the isolation, cultivation and cryopreservation of primary cells from wild animals. A standardized execution of these processes is being carried out for the German Cell Bank for Wildlife – "Alfred Brehm" (Cryo-Brehm) which is coordinated by the Fraunhofer EMB.

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