Excellent water quality for the food and beverage industry in Bremen
Most research in the Center for Resource & Environmental Studies at Jacobs University Bremen focuses on rocks, ore deposits and various environmental systems. From this basic research the team at Jacobs University has developed a convenient application that allows the beverage industry to evaluate the quality of the water used in their products and check for the presence of microcontaminants such as pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
In collaboration with the Bremen based distillery „Piekfeine Brände“, a producer of brandies, gin and whisky, the distribution of the rare earth elements in the water which is used during the different production steps, was determined and evaluated. The positive result: the water is of excellent quality. „If the water carries traces of pharmaceuticals, personal care products or other microcontaminants which enter the environment with the effluents from waste water treatment plants, then it also shows traces of the high-technology metal gadolinium which is used in contrast agents for MRI scans,“ explains Dr. Michael Bau, Professor of Geosciences at Jacobs University Bremen, who developed this new method together with his research team.
An anomalously high concentration of gadolinium compared to the other rare earth elements is an indicator that this water may also be contaminated by other substances that cannot be removed during waste water treatment. Besides contrast agents and pharmaceuticals, these are microcontaminants from personal care products and illegal drugs, for example.
„After having successfully tested this sensitive method in a study of softdrinks from fast-food restaurants, the cooperation with the ‘Piekfeine Brände’ distillery in Bremen gave us the opportunity to apply this convenient new high-tech method in another segment of the food and beverage industry,“ says Dr. Dennis Krämer, Postdoctoral Fellow in Geosciences at Jacobs University.
„We are extremely happy that Professor Bau could show that the water we use here in Bremen is of such excellent quality, and we appreciate the opportunity to work together with the team from Jacobs University,“ continues Birgitta Schulze van Loon, founder and owner of the ““Piekfeine Brände“ distillery.
„The quality of tap water in Bremen with regard to waste water-derived (micro)contaminants is considerably better than that of tap water in other German cities such as Berlin, Munich or Dusseldorf,“ says Michael Bau. „Not only do Bremen citizens get clean tap water which is safe to drink, the excellent water quality also confirms that Bremen is a very attractive location for the food and beverage industry. And, of course, we can only applaude that a company like ‘Piekfeine Brände’ engages in proactive consumer protection.“
About Jacobs University Bremen:
Studying in an international community. Obtaining a qualification to work on responsible tasks in a digitized and globalized society. Learning, researching and teaching across academic disciplines and countries. Strengthening people and markets with innovative solutions and advanced training programs. This is what Jacobs University Bremen stands for. Established as a private, English-medium campus university in Germany in 2001, it is continuously achieving top results in national and international university rankings. Its more than 1,500 students come from more than 120 countries with around 80% having relocated to Germany for their studies. Jacobs University’s research projects are funded by the German Research Foundation or the EU Research and Innovation program as well as by globally leading companies.
For more information: www.jacobs-university.de
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Prof. Dr. Michael Bau
Professor of Geosciences