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    The German Environmental Specimen Bank is an archive of samples with which the quality of the environment can be documented and evaluated. Take a look behind the scenes and learn more about our tasks and working methods. Find out more...

  • Basics

    Welcome to the German Environmental Specimen Bank

    • Introduction

      The German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB) is an archive for samples that can be used to document and assess the quality of the environment in which we live. These samples are representative for a particular area, and are collected regularly, to be able to monitor changes of pollution over the course of time.

    • Procedures

      Collecting - Processing - Storage - Analysis

    • Tasks and Targets

      The Environmental Specimen Bank is a major component of the German environmental observation system. It provides a scientific basis for decisions by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) concerning what action it considers necessary as a means of protecting the environment and monitoring the efficacy of such action.

    • Development and Organisation

      The idea of creating an archive for environmental specimens was first proposed by German and American scientists in the early 1970s. Experts in various scientific disciplines got together for informal discussions, leading to the first international conferences held in 1977 and 1978 to define a concept for environmental specimen banking and to agree on the choice of bioindicators.

    • Concept

      The official guidelines for the operation of the German Environmental Specimen Bank are laid down in a concept document.

    • Standard operating procedures

      To achieve a high degree of quality assurance, every step in the procedure from sampling through transport, preparation and analysis of the specimen to long-term storage is the subject of binding Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for each type of specimen.

    • Archive

      The long-term storage of environmental and human specimens is regarded as the main task of the German Environmental Specimen Bank: The Environmental Specimen Bank provides a continuous historical record of the state of the environment in Germany.

  • Profiles

    What has been analysed in which specimen where and when? The profiles describe the content of our investigations. They are available for all our ecosystems, sampling areas, specimen types and parameters. Click on one of the links below and start browsing.

    • Ecosystems

      The investigations are carried out in six ecosystem types.

    • Sampling areas

      The sampling areas have been selected to represent adequately the major types of ecosystems in Germany and taking into account the varying intensities of anthropogenic impact and land use.

    • Specimen types

      The specimen types have been selected in such a way as to permit load observations within both a spatial and a time framework, thereby providing optimum information about overall conditions in the various sampling areas.

    • Parameter

      Biometric and anamnestic parameters and substances or groups of substances that describe either the basic physiological state or toxic or carcinogenic conditions.

  • Data search

    Here you can research extensive selected results over time. If you have any questions or need further data, please contact

  • Results

    • Selected Results

      Here you will find a selection of short descriptions of the findings of routine investigations and specially investigated questions.

    • Publications

      Papers, reports, and guidelines

  • Service

    • News

      References to important topics and events

    • Events

      Events in the field of environmental specimen banking

    • Links

      Quick links to ESB partner institutions, other environmental specimen banks, and authorities.

    • Contact

      Would you like to contact us? Do you have questions or suggestions? Please feel free to send us a message.

    • Help

      Do you have questions about the German Environmental Specimen Bank?

    • Imprint

    • Privacy

    • Accessibility Statement

      Here you can find the accessibility statement for the https://website

    • Easy language

      What is the German Environmental Specimen Bank?

  • Glossary