Privatdozent Mag. Dr.rer.nat.

Andreas Farnleitner
Tel.: + 43-664- 60588-2244

Centre for Water Resource Systems,
Vienna University of Technology,
Karlsplatz 13/222, A-1040 Vienna, Austria

Institute of Chemical Engineering,

Vienna University of Technology, Gumpendorferstr. 1a, A-1060 Vienna, Austria




Muhsi, D., Byamukama, D., Kirschner, A.K.T., Mach, R., Brunner, K. and Farnleitner, A.H. 2012. Sanitary inspection of wells using risk-of-contamination scoring shows a high predictive ability for bacterial faecal pollution in peri-urban tropical lowlands of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Journal of Water and Health, 10, 236-243

Reischer, G.H., Kollanur, D., Vierheilig, J., Wehrspaun, C., Mach, R.L., Sommer, R., Stadler, H., Farnleitner, A.H. 2011. Hypothesis-Driven Approach for the Identification of Fecal Pollution Sources in Water Resources. Environmental Science & Technology, 45(9), 4038–4045.

Ryzinska-Paier, G., Sommer, R., Haider, J.M., Knetsch, S., Frick, C., Kirschner, A.K.T., and Farnleitner, A.H. 2011. Acid phosphatase test proofs superior to standard phenotypic identification procedure for Clostridium perfringens strains isolated from water. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 87, 189-194.

Farnleitner, A.H., Ryzinska-Paier, G., Reischer, G.H., Burtscher, M.M. Knetsch, S., Rudnicki, S., Dirnböck, T., Kuschnig, G., Mach, R.L., Sommer R. 2010. Escherichia coli and enterococci are sensitive and reliable indicators for human, livestock, and wild life faecal pollution in alpine mountainous water resources. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 109(5), 1599-1608.


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People › Faculty


Prof. Andreas Farnleitner





Prof. Farnleitner is an Associate Professor for Environmental Microbiology at the Institute of Chemical Engineering, Research Area Applied Chemistry and Gene Technology, Vienna University of Technology. He heads the recently established Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water and Health (ICC Water & Health) and the research group Environmental Microbiology and Molecular Ecology. The ICC Water & Health is a cooperation between the Vienna University of Technology and the Medical University of Vienna.

He teaches courses in microbiology, microbial diagnostics & analysis, water quality, and toxicology. He has also been responsible for several education programmes and courses in the field of pollution and health related water microbiology for national and international organisations (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austrian Federal Ministries, IHE UNESCO Water Education Institute Delfts, etc.). He has supervised over 25 MSc and PhD students from Europe, Africa and Asia and acts as examiner at academic defences abroad (TU Berlin, University of Auckland, University of Brighton, EAWAG-ETH Zürich, etc.).


Research Interests


•    Microbial diagnostics
•    Microbial ecology of ground and drinking water resources
•    Pollution microbiology and sanitation
•    Health related water quality
•    Toxigenesis in aquatic systems

Andreas Farnleitner’s research interests focus around the field of microbiological water quality analysis and aquatic microbial ecology. He has been developing and evaluating molecular (nucleic acids as main targets), biochemical (e.g. enzymatic activities) and microbiological tools for the detection and monitoring of microbes in water of temperate and tropical regions. Faecal indicator diagnostics and the application of novel indicator concepts are a principle research interest.  He recently worked on a framework for faecal pollution analysis and management in alpine water resources integrating faecal pollution monitoring with microbial source tracking and risk assessment. He also contributed to the development of the first national health risk based water quality guidelines concerning sewage percolation. Investigation of alpine karst spring water by molecular 16S-rRNA gene analysis led to the recovery of the autochthonous microbial endokarst communities (AMEC), a tracer for the diagenesis and origin of groundwater resources. He is an executive board member of the international collaboration for assessing the contribution of sewage to global waters (IC-Sewage) of the HRWM IWA through which several national and international research cooperations exist.


Key Facts


Andreas Farnleitner holds a master diploma in microbiology and ecology from the University of Vienna, a doctorate in molecular microbial diagnostics from the Vienna University of Technology, and a postdoctoral master diploma in toxicology from the Medical University of Vienna. He has received research fellowships for the University of Bangor, UK, Berlin University of Technology, Germany and the Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), Texel. In 2007 he achieved his professorial qualifications in the field of environmental microbiology at Vienna University of Technology. 


He has published over 65 peer reviewed full papers, 35 book articles, and 2 patents. He presented over 100 contributions as first or senior author at international conferences and workshops. He is editor for Water Science and Technology and Water Science and Technology: Water Supply and referee in leading journals of microbiology, microbial ecology, water quality and biotechnology (Environmental Science and Technology, ISME Journal, Water Research, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology Reports, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Microbiology, Microbiological Research, Letters in Applied Microbiology, Journal of Applied Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Journal of Environmental Quality, Hydrogeology Journal, Biotechnology Progress, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Geoderma, Journal of Environmental Engineering) and an evaluator at international research foundations (e.g. European Community, Canadian Research Council, Swiss Science Fund, Luxenbourg National Research Fund, Portuguese Science Fund). He is vice chair of the Health Related Water Quality Specialist Group of the International Association for Danube Research and vice chair of the Specialist Group Microbiology & Water at the Austrian Water and Wastewater Association. In 2009 he was selected as a committee member of the Willie Grabow Young Investigator Award of the International Water Association (IWA).


The work published by his group and associated research activities has received 25 national and international awards, including the Austrian Award of Hygiene in 2002, 2005 and 2007, the International Award for Danube Research in 2004 and 2011, the NEPTUN Award 2013, and several best poster/presentation awards at IWA congresses. He has performed consultancy activities for the Austrian Federal Ministries, Public Departments and industry including cooperations such as with Vienna Water, Vitens or Danone. In total, he has conducted more than 40 research projects.