Prof. Dr. Thorsten Stumpf

Director Institute of Resource Ecology
Phone: +49 351 260 3210
Phone: +49 351 260 2148

Lecture: Radioecology

The Radioecology lecture is part of the module "Umwelt- und Radiochemie". Lecture topics on environmental radioactivity deal with e.g. sources of radionuclides in the environment, factors influencing radionuclide migration and uptake in food chains and our ecosystems, sampling and pre-treatment of environmental samples, radionuclide separation methods and specific counting techniques for low-level samples. In addition, examples on how radioecology is present in every-day life are given. A short outline of the course is given below.

Content of the lecture (PDF file)

  1. Formation of Earth and the elements
  2. Natural radioactivity
    • Primordial radionuclides
    • Cosmic radiation
    • NORM
  3. Anthropogenic radionuclides
    • Sources
    • Fission products
    • Transuranium elements
  4. Radionuclide transport pathways
    • Atmospheric deposition
    • Radionuclide uptake in plants
    • Radionuclide uptake in animals and humans – the food chains
  5. Mobility of radionuclides in the environment
    • Radionuclide speciation in aqueous solution
    • Radionuclide interactions with interfaces
    • Formation of solid phases
  6. Impact of microorganisms on radionuclide mobility in the environment
    • Interaction of radionuclides with microorganisms
    • Environmental effects of the radionuclide-microbe interaction
    • Effects of radionuclides on biology
    • Radionuclide contamination in the environment - bioremediation
  7. Environmental samples and their radiochemical separation methods
    • Special aspects of radionuclide chemistry
    • Collection and pretreatment of environmental samples
  8. Separation methods
    • Precipitation
    • Ion exchange
    • Solvent extraction
    • Extraction chromatography
  9. Measurement of environmental samples
    • Radioanalytical methods
    • Mass spectrometric methods
  10. Radioecology in everyday life
    • Age determination
    • Environmental processes
    • Forensic science

Lecture notes

At the appropriate time of the course, a number of supporting slides are available as PDF files.

  • Dr. N. Huittinen: Part 1 (03.4.2019, 11.7 MB)
  • Dr. N. Huittinen: Part 2 (29.4.2019, 13.3 MB)
  • Dr. N. Huittinen: Part 3 (18.6.2019, 10.5 MB)

The lecture scripts of the past years are also available for further self-study.

    2017 lecture notes

    The lecture scripts of lst year are also available for further self-study.

    Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11 & 12.

    Exam dates

    The dates of the oral examination are from 12th to 16th of August 2019.

    Certificate of achievement

    Master studies in Chemistry (MA-CH-MRBO 10) see Modul "Umwelt- und Radiochemie"
    Other courses:

    • Certificate of participation with grading after oral examination or
    • Certificate of participation only.


    The lecture will take place in the summer semester starting Thursday the 4th of April from 9.20 to 10.50 a.m. in room CHE/182/P, Chemie Neubau, Bergstraße.

    Course literature

    • Kratz, Lieser: "Nuclear and Radiochemistry"
    • Choppin, Rydberg, Liljenzin: "Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry"
    • Atwood: "Radionuclides in the Environment"
    • Poinssot, Geckeis: "Radionuclide behaviour in the natural environment"
    • Lehto, Hou: "Chemistry and Analysis of Radionuclides"


    Prof. Dr. Thorsten Stumpf

    Director Institute of Resource Ecology
    Phone: +49 351 260 3210

    Dr. Nina Maria Huittinen
    Phone: +49 351 260 2148