Kliniken & Institute … Institute Zentrum für… Medizinische… Forschung Research Erdinger

Research Group Erdinger

Group Leader

PD Dr. Lothar Erdinger

Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene
Im Neuenheimer Feld 324
69120 Heidelberg

Phone +49 6221 56 37810
Fax +49 6221 56 5857

Research interest

Environmental hygiene, water microbiology and water chemistry.

The lab’s research focusses on the broad field of water hygiene. What is ‘good’ drinking water? Which chemical and microbial parameters can be used to define a baseline for healthy or perturbed water? How can we translate the research findings to engineered systems such as drinking water systems in buildings? We ‘immerse’ into water systems to detect and analyze pathogenic bacteria such as Legionella, Pseudomonas, nontuberculous Mycobacteria and also antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Water systems can be changed by stressors such as the temperature, the nutrient availability, the composition of the microbiota and the material of the system. We study the interaction of bacteria with hosts, other bacteria and biofilms as well as the chemical properties of water systems.

The lab is accredited by the DAkkS according to ISO 17025 for chemical and microbial analysis of water.


For hygienic reasons, disinfection of swimming pool water is indispensable. However, being a strongly oxidizing and halogenating compound chlorine will react readily with inorganic and organic components. Chlorate is probably the most important inorganic DBP and can reach high concentrations in pool water. Main organic Disinfection By Product (DBP) is chloroform, which is formed during reactions of chlorine with natural organics in the water, with human skin and organics released into the water by bathers. Next to chloroform (CCl3) mixed haloforms will be produced if bromide or iodide is present in the water. Concentration of DBPs in the water is mainly influenced by their production rate and their outtake into the air. Main route of exposure is by inhalation, whilst uptake through the skin contributes only about one third. Although chloroform is not degradable by UV radiation due to absorbing effects of nitrate in the water, bromoform is much better removable this way. A method has been developed and patented to chemically shift haloform production to the bromoform side and to remove this product by UV irradiation. However, pathways of haloform production in the water are mostly unknown. For sure, intermediate products will be formed containing chlorine bound in a-position to carboxylic groups. These compounds can cause stronger eye-irritating effects than hypochlorite. Our research targets on the identification of pathways of DBP formation in swimming pools and their evaluation.

  • 1995 - 1996, Irritating halogentated coumpounds in indoor swimming pools, Bundesministerium für Gesundheit
  • 1997, Eye irritations by Disinfection by Products, Klinikum der Universität Heidelberg
  • 2000-2003, Reduction of chlorine use in swimming pool water by new water preparation technologies, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
  • 2003-2005, Practical comparison of membrane filtration and conventional sand filtration fort he elimination of microorganisms, DBPs and DBP precursors in swimming pool water, DVGW - Deutsche Vereinigung des Gas- und Wasserfachs

Hasan Mohammad Rahman Khattak, Msc.

  • Erdinger L, Kühn K, Feldhues R, Fröbel T, Nohynek B, Gabrio Th: Pathways of THM Uptake in Swimming Pools. Int J Hyg Environ Health 207 (2004) 571-575
  • Erdinger L, Kirsch F, Sonntag HG: Chlorate as an Inorganic Disinfection by Product in Swimming Pools. Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed 202 (1999) 61-75
  • Erdinger L, Kirsch F, Sonntag HG: Potassium as an Indicator of Anthropogenic Contamination of Swimming Pool Water. Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed 200 (1997) 297-308
  • Erdinger L, Kirsch F, Höppner A, Sonntag HG: Haloforms in Spas. Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed 200 (1997) 309-317
  • Mannschott P, Erdinger L, Sonntag HG: Halogenated organic compounds in swimming pool water. Zentralbl Hyg Umweltmed 197 (1995) 516-533
  • Mannschott P, Erdinger L, Sonntag, HG, De Biasi P, Dieter S, Kohlmüller D, Kochen W: Haloform concentrations in indoor swimming pool air. In: Indoor Air Quality Problems - From Science to Practice. Eds.: T. Jedrzejewska-Scibak, J. Sowa, Warsaw, Poland, 1993
  • DBP Nr. 103 06 976; 24.03.2005, Verfahren zur Entfernung von Halogenierungsprodukten in gechlortem Wasser