Soil Science Group

Environmental pollution in Ukraine

The New York Times (2022). Russia-Ukraine War. Biden Warns Russia Against Using Nuclear Weapons as ‘Dirty Bomb’ Accusations Fly. Available at: (accessed on 22 Nov. 2023).

The war in Ukraine is affecting the physical and chemical properties of soil in the long term. The chemistry of soil can be altered by bombing through the deposition of potentially toxic trace elements (PTTE), which include metals, metalloids and non-metals that can be harmful to organisms. Agriculture is very important in Ukraine, due to its large areas of fertile black soils (chernozem), which have been affected by the war. The destruction and contamination of soils have been recognised as a major potential threat to food security in Ukraine and in the many countries that import crops from Ukraine.

Research Projects

Our research aims to investigate the pollution of soil through PTTE in and around craters, using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). Kateryna Polianska of the NGO Environment People Law (EPL) is collecting evidence of the environmental damage caused by the war in Ukraine, is sending us soil samples for further analysis in our lab.

Master student: Luzia Klopfenstein
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Adrien Mestrot

World Grain (2023). Ukraine: is the worst yet to come? Available at: (accessed on 22 Nov. 2023).