Bridging chemical and biological expertise
Grafik after G. Brenner-Weiß and U. Obst Ch.i.u.Z 2002 (Graphic: Daniel Pröfrock/Hereon)
In recent decades outstanding methodological and technical progress has been made in analytical chemistry in order to determine a variety of hazardous compounds simultaneously in lowest sample volumes and quantities. However, these sensitive instrumental detection methods have so far not been satisfactory in providing information on biological functions and effects.
During the same time period, molecular biological, biochemical and bio-informatic methods have developed rapidly in the direction of a holistic and quantitative functional analysis of living systems (cells, tissues, organisms).
The actual challenge is now to combine the advantages of sensitive instrumental detection with the performance of bioanalytical methods in order to allow an effect-based evaluation of hazardous compounds.
For this purpose modern trace analytical techniques for the determination of contaminants are available, as well as cell-based assays, bio-specific interaction analysis and target-specific separation processes are applied in combination with multidimensional chromatographic techniques coupled to organic and inorganic mass spectrometry.