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Wissen, was drin ist.


February 2016

•  Draft Bill for the Regulation on Evaporative
   Cooling Systems
•  Joint Project - VAMINAP
•  Clostridia
•  Altlastensymposium in Dresden


Dear Reader,

in addition to interesting topics in the field of food and environmental analysis, in this edition of our newsletter, you will get a first look at the joint project “VAMINAP,” supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), which we began with a kickoff meeting in Göttingen on February 11th.

Enjoy reading!
Your GBA Laboratory Group


Draft Bill for the Regulation on Evaporative Cooling Systems and Wet Scrubber Systems Published

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

In the fatal cases of Legionnaire’s disease in Ulm, 2010, and in Warstein, 2013, with multiple fatalities and many more infected, the emission of legionella through open cooling towers was part of the cause of both outbreaks. Until re­cently, there were no adequate hygienic requirements for open evaporative cooling systems. For the first time, these requirements were defined in the guide­line published by the Association of German Engineers for the hygienically safe operation of evaporative cooling systems and wet scrubber systems, VDI 2047-2, valid since January 2015. However, the guideline is still not legally bin­ding and alone does not suffice. The requirements in the VDI guideline should be given weight by enacting a provision in the German Federal Immis­sion Con­trol Act.[1] The draft bill for this regulation was published in January 2016. Writ­ten statements about the draft are to be submitted to the German Federal Mini­stry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nu­clear Safety (BMUB) by February 26th, 2016. After an additional hearing, the draft should lead to the 42nd enactment of the German Federal Immission Control Act (42nd BImSchV).

Comprehensive technical and organizational requirements for operators of such systems are planned.

The essential new points in the draft bill are:

•  Expanding the validity of the regulation to all evaporative cooling systems
   (even natural draft cooling towers) and wet scrubber systems
•  Specifications for routine sampling and microbiological analysis
•  Comprehensive requirements if the total plate count rises
•  Specifications for analytical laboratories
•  Implementation of test values and action values for legionellae
•  Reporting requirements and comprehensive requirements for when the test
   values and action values are exceeded
•  The obligation to compile an annual report
•  Disclosure obligation for the system and any changes made to it
•  Testing every 5 years by publicly appointed appraisers under oath

According to the BMUB, between 20,000 and 30,000 systems could be included in the scope of the regulation. However, there is no precise data on this, since the installations have not yet been registered systematically. Similarly, in this draft, so far no cost estimate has been conducted.

Since analyzing watery samples from evaporative cooling systems and wet scrubbers is not a trivial matter, the GBA Laboratory Group is working together with a project group from the German Association of Independent Testing La­boratories (Deutscher Verband unabhängiger Prüflaboratorien e.V. – VUP), working to optimize methods that were originally developed for drinking water. An initial ring test has shown very good results.

The GBA Laboratory Group has been analyzing samples from technical instal­lations and various matrices for many years. We will continue to observe this topic for you and keep you informed accordingly. If you have any questions about this or other topics in food or environmental analysis, then please contact your individual consultant at the GBA Laboratory Group or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Dr. Sven Steinhauer
phone: +49 (0)40 797172-0

; Accessed on 16.02.2016


GBA Laboratory Group in Joint Project - VAMINAP

by Dr. Sven Steinhauer, GBA Laboratory Group

The GBA Laboratory Group began the joint project called VAMINAP, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), with a kick-off meeting in Göttingen on February 11th. In the project, an on-site ana­lysis should be developed that enables operators of municipal sewage treat­ment plants to analyze for pharmaceuticals, microplastics, and nanoparticles quickly, easily, and inexpansively. VAMINAP is an abbreviation derived from the Ger­man phrase for “on-site monitoring of pharmaceuticals, microparticles, and na­noparticles in the discharge of municipal sewage treatment plants using photo­nic methods.”

These substances pass through municipal sewage treatment plants, sometimes in amounts that are not negligible. For a series of trace substances actual or fu­ture limits for environmental quality standards for German waterways have al­ready been exceeded. Therefore, the German Environmental Protection Agency (Umweltbundesamt - UBA) is requiring upgrades to the larger municipal sewage treatment plants with an additional process stage. The first trial facilities are al­ready in operation in North Rhine-Westphalia. These utilize ozone or powdered activated carbon in order to remove the trace compounds. In order to operate this treatment level optimally, it is necessary to know the amount of these sub­stances present during the various phases of the treatment process. The cur­rent methods deliver results either only after several days or indirectly, using parameters that are put in correlation with the substances to be eliminated.

In the research project, the analytes are selected using mechanical methods and by extraction from the matrix, then they are detected, identified, and quan­tified using Raman Spectroscopy and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). Additionally, sampling strategies should be developed in cooperation with a municipal sewage treatment plant in order to introduce photonic mea­surements for these analytes. In addition to the new filter membranes, antibo­dies also are employed, which are bound to the surface of the SERS chips. New kinds of plasmonic surfaces must be developed for this and the antibodies have to be attached to them.

For pharmaceuticals, the active ingredients Carbamazepin, Diclofenac and Sul­famethoxazol were chosen to start with, since it can be assumed that these can be found in the municipal wastewater stream year-round. For the detection of pharmaceuticals and nanoparticles, the detection process is enhanced by an additional photonic/plasmonic field effect.

One main focus of the research is to further develop Raman Spectroscopic me­thods, which generally enable very detailed statements to be made about the compounds contained within the sample, even when in continuous usage. The other main focus is to develop an automatic evaluation process based on data, since the data sets that are collected presumably also have matrix components. A particular challenge is posed by the integration of these methods into a por­table device, in order to enable on-site measurement.

The GBA Laboratory Group’s project partners are:

• Airsense Analytics GmbH
• AMO GmbH
• Dr. Pelzer und Partner
• Micromata GmbH
• Laserlaboratorium Göttingen e.V. 

The GBA Laboratory Group participates in a diverse range of research projects in order to be prepared for future analytical issues. We will keep you informed about this research project. If you have any questions about this or any other topic in the field of food and environmental analysis, then please get in touch with your contact person at the GBA Laboratory Group or

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Dr. Sven Steinhauer
phone: +49 (0)40 797172-0


Microbiological Topics in Focus: Clostridia

by Mareen Lehmann, GBA Laboratory Group

Clostridia (Clostridium spp.) are Gram-positive, rod-shaped, obligate anaerobes that form spores and belong to the family Clostridiaceae. The clostridia spores are heat-resistant and can survive in temperatures of over 100 °C. They are ubiquitous in the environment, but they can colonize in the human digestive tract and in higher animals.[1] 

The most notable species are Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium perfringens. The former can produce exotoxins in food that can cause the illness botulism. Serologically, they are differentiated between toxins A, B, C1, C2, D, E, F, and G. As long as C. botulinum does not form toxins in food products, the presence of the microbe is absolutely irrelevant. However, an elevated concentration of spores in infant food can pose a health risk.[2] In infant botulism, the spores germinate in the small intestines of infants and toddlers (up to one year of age) and the vegetative cells multiply.[3] After an incubation time of 12 to 36 hours, the toxin that is formed results in nausea, diarrhea, or constipation. Neurological symptoms such as flaccid paralysis are present in the most severe form of the illness.[4]

Clostridium perfringens is not strictly anaerobic, since an oxygen supply is tole­rated for a certain amount of time, even by vegetative forms. Even reproduction is possible under conditions that are not strictly anaerobic, whereas the anaero­bic optimal growth is between 43° and 47°C.[3] The spores display high tenacity (adhesiveness or grip) facing heat or dryness. However, the heat-resistance, as well as the stability of the vegetation cells in high temperatures, depends greatly on the strain. In spore form, the bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment, for example in the soil. They also represent a natural resident of human and animal intestines. For this reason, C. perfringens can be present in a variety of food­stuffs of both plant and animal origin. Even if perfect kitchen hygiene is main­tained, contamination cannot be entirely ruled out. It is absolutely necessary to manage the temperature appropriately during the production of ready-to-eat food products in order to prevent the pathogen from multiplying.[5] Cases of ill­ness frequently occur when precooked products in a kitchen setting cool off too slowly in larger containers. Heating at sufficiently high temperatures, cooling to below 15 °C quickly, and/or maintaining heated products at a temperature above 60 °C can prevent most cases of illness.[3] Yet C. perfringens, as well as all other Clostridium species, is not only a cause of illness, but also a cause of spoilage when its reproduction takes place within the food product (anaerobic growth). In meat this is considered inner putridity, which is characterized by gas formation, but primarily by a distinctly foul smell.[5] Due to the formation of various toxins, C. perfringens is divided into types A through E, although types A and C have the largest pathogenic characteristics for humans. Type A can cause wound infec­tions (gangrene) and foodborne illnesses, type C can cause necrotizing enteritis (damaging intestinal tissue). The vegetative cells reach the intestinal tract along with food, reproduce quickly, and then sporulate, which is when the enterotoxin is generated. After an incubation time of about 10 to 24 hours, the symptoms (e.g. diarrhea) begin to emerge.[2]

Analyzing for Clostridium perfringens is currently not legally mandated for any foodstuff matrix (except drinking water). However, it plays a role both in the context of investigating outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and also as a hygienic parameter in various food products. Yet, often in routine analysis, Clostridium perfringens is not directly detected, instead the parameters “sulfite-reducing clostridia” or “spores of sulfite-reducing clostridia” are determined, which is sufficient for many issues.[3]

If you have any further questions, please contact your individual customer ser­vice representative or:

GBA Gesellschaft für Bioanalytik mbH
Ms. Heike Schlechte
phone: +49 (0)40 797172-0

[1], BfR –
Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, Accessed on 13.02.2015
[2] Krämer, J.: Lebensmittelmikrobiologie, 4. neu bearbeitete Auflage,
Verlag Eugen Ulmer GmbH & Co., Stuttgart (Hohenheim), 2002
[3] Baumgart, J., Becker, B., Stephan, R.: Mikrobiologische Untersuchung
von Lebensmitteln, 68. Aktualisierungs-Lieferung, Behr´s Verlag GmbH Co.KG,
Hamburg, 2014
BfR – Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, Accessed on 13.02.2015
[5] Messelhäußer, U.: Pathogene Mikroorganismen Clostridium perfringens,
1. Auflage, Behr´s Verlag GmbH Co.KG, Hamburg, 2013


The GBA Laboratory Group at the “ITVA-Altlastensymposium” (Contaminated Sites Symposium) in Dresden, March 10th and 11th, 2016.

by Patrizia Schulz, GBA Laboratory Group

This year, the Technical Engineering Association for Contaminated Site Mana­gement and Land Recycling (Ingenieurtechnische Verband für Altlastenmana­gement und Flächenrecycling e.V. - ITVA) will be hosting the Contaminated Sites Symposium in cooperation with Saxony’s state agency for the Asso­ciation of Engineers for Water Management, Waste Management and Land Improve­ment (Bund der Ingenieure für Wasserwirtschaft, Abfallwirtschaft und Kulturbau e.V. - BWK) in Dresden on March 10th and 11th, 2016. The event is sponsored by the Saxony State Ministry for the Environment and Agriculture (Sächsische Staatsministerium für Umwelt und Landwirtschaft - SMUL). Additionally, the Dres­den Center for Groundwater Research (Dresdner Grundwasserforschungs­zentrum e.V. - DGFZ) was acquired as a partner.

The event program is focused on practical solutions and includes a diverse ran­ge of topics, which will be presented and discussed in several lecture blocks. The symposium will mainly focus on current legal questions as well as issues concerning the remediation of a wide variety of contamination.

The symposium is the defining platform for communicating and sharing informa­tion in the field of contaminated site management and land recycling. The GBA Laboratory Group will once again be represented with an informa­tion stand at the trade fair accompanying the symposium. Visit us there at the event for con­sultation about our extensive service portfolio for environ­mental analysis.

At the moment, the GBA Laboratory Group has five locations specialized in en­vironmental analysis, in Pinneberg, Hildesheim, Gelsenkirchen, Herten, and Freiberg - We’re right nearby!

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