Soil and Water Pollution - Experimental Assessment

Course content

This is an experimental method-based course covering key soil and water chemical and microbiological topics. The aim of the course is to give the students practical and theoretical skills regarding methods used in environmental chemistry and microbiology for studies of polluted environments.

Each student will select two topics for experimental based project work. Examples of topic areas are:
-  Pesticide fate and degradation pathways: mineralization assays using 14C-compounds, molecular detection of the microbial degraders and activity in the environment.
- Natural toxins fate and degradation pathways.
-  Metal-microbe interactions: Heavy metal bioavailabilty in soil, use of biosensors, microbial activity, metal resistance, co-selection for antibiotic resistance, metal-antibiotic-biocide cocktail effects.
- Soil remediation and effect on bioavailability and metal speciation.



MSc Programme in Environmental Science

Learning outcome

Learning outcome:

The learning objectives of the course are to qualify and expand theoretical learning by experimentally method-based teaching in the areas of i) soil and water responses to pollutant load; ii) fate of pollutant in terrestrial and aquatic systems with focus on both chemical and microbiological remedial  options for polluted soils and waters, and iii) new technologies for cleaning soils and water.

 When the course is finished you should be able to:

- Recognize chemical and microbiological properties typical of polluted soil and water systems
- Describe methods available for predicting the fate of chemical substances in soil and aquatic environments
-Describe analytical procedures, monitoring and remediation strategies for pollutants in terrestrial and aquatic systems
- Display an overview of microbiological methods to study presence and activity of degrader populations
- Display an overview of chemical and microbiological methods to determine bioavailability and toxicity of pollutants in the environment
- Describe methods to determine microbial resistance to anthropogenic pollutants
- Possess detailed knowledge on selected speciation, availability, and degradation experiments.

- Evaluate the critical variables and methods that may be used to quantify a contaminant’s distribution and transformation rate
- Evaluate methods for analysis of microbial degrader populations, microbial activity and transport in soil and water environments
- Evaluate the physicochemical properties, fate and environmental effect of natural and anthropogenic contaminants from own environmental laboratory data.

- Select and discuss utility of chemical and microbiological methods to investigate polluted environments
- Operate selected laboratory set-up and instruments
- Conduct a scientific evaluation of the environmental fate and effects of a contaminant
- Evaluate the potential for biodegradation of environmental pollutants
- Prepare and complete a written report involving laboratory assessments
- Demonstrate overview over selected remediation technologies and understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
- To be prepared for making master thesis work.

Experimentally based project work complemented by colloquia and lectures at an advanced level. The experimental methods comprise modern state-of-the-art techniques used in environmental chemistry and environmental microbiology. Specific exercises may change from year to year as they will reflect current research activities among the participating research groups.
The goal is to provide students with a hands-on understanding of the fates and effects of pollutants in environmental and biological systems.

Lecture hand out notes.
Original journal papers.
Laboratory exercise manual.

Further information will be available on Absalon.

This course is a continuation of Soil and Water Pollution which is also a compulsory course for the Msc Programme in Environmental Chemistry and Health. This course assumes competences equivalent to Soil and Water Pollution.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

The teachers give oral feedback on the kolloquie presentations and the students presentations of the projects.

Likewise will the students give peerfeedback on the kolloquie. 

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Type of assessment details
A time period of 30 min is used for preparation for the exam.
The grade is based on: There will be examined in the background for the project report and the results obtained: (50%); and examination in textbook, reviews and original papers: (50%)
Exam registration requirements

Submit project report

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examinators

As the ordinary exam.

If the requirements has not been met the report needs to be handed in 2 weeks before signing up for re-examination.

Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Class Instruction
  • 16
  • Preparation
  • 94
  • Laboratory
  • 64
  • Exam
  • 16
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 2
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Peter Engelund Holm   (4-72676a7142726e6770306d7730666d)
Peter E. Holm

Peter E. Holm, Hans Chr. Bruun Hansen, Bjarne W. Strobel, Kristian K. Brandt

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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