VANDALF: A new method to prioritize monitoring and regulation of pollutants in water

The goal of VANDALF is to develop and implement an innovative toxicology-driven risk assessment platform to identify and provide information on Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in wastewater, which are not removed by the current treatment technologies.

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More than 100,000 industrial chemicals are used today in Europe and more than 1,000 new chemicals are added to the list every year. New studies measuring the joint toxicity of whole wastewater samples show that only a fraction of the toxicity (1-5%) can be explained by standard monitored chemicals.

The overall vision of VANDALF is to develop and implement flexible and dynamic effect-based tools to identify the chemicals causing the remaining 95-99% of toxicity in effluent water.

The approach is to link technology-specific, but otherwise unbiased and non-targeted chemical detections (‘chemical fingerprints’) with sets of relevant toxicological endpoints (‘toxicological fingerprints’) to identify which chemicals or groups of chemicals explain the toxicity. This approach was put forward by Eide et al. in 2002 under the name virtual effect directed analysis (VEDA).


Below, the research objectives of VANDALF are described: 

  • To establish sampling, sample preparation, chemical analysis, and toxicology workflows that enable the identification of CECs in wastewater samples.

  • To establish database-driven strategies for CEC identification using non-target chemical fingerprinting and toxicology data.

  • To establish methods to quantify the fraction of toxicity explained by identified chemicals.

  • To establish multivariate statistical models that relate chemical fingerprints to toxicological endpoints to identify unknown toxicants.


  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN), University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

  • Eurofins

  • VandCenterSyd (VCS)


  • Department of Food Science (FOOD), UCPH

  • Danish Environmental Portal (DEP)

  • MSC, MSCi

  • Copenhagen Municipality (KMC)

  • Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag)

  • The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Danish EPA)

  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)



Name Title Phone E-mail
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Beatriz Quintanilla Casas Postdoc +4535329913 E-mail
Rasmus Bro Professor +4535333296 E-mail

Funded by:

Innovation Fund Denmark

VANDALF has received a four year funding from Innovation Fund Denmark – Grand Solutions

Full project name: VANDALF – Linking of chemical and toxicological fingerprints: A new method to prioritize monitoring and regulation of pollutants in water
Period:  November 1st, 2019 - November 1st, 2023
Total budget: 39.6 mio. DKK


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