Christina Frick
Tel.: +43-1-79514-39542

IFUM - Labors für Umweltmedizin

Feldgasse 9, A-1080 Vienna, Austria




Frick, C.H, Vierheilig, J., Reischer, G.H., Kirschner, A.K.T., Farnleitner , A.H. and Sommer R. 2012. Occurrence and abundance of bacterial standard faecal indicators for water quality monitoring in faeces of wildlife animals. 33rd Annual meeting of the Austrian Society for Hygiene, Microbiology and Preventive medicine, Salzburg, Austria; 21.05.2012 - 24.05.2012.


Ryzinska-Paier, G., Sommer, R., Haider, J.M., Knetsch, S., Frick, C., Kirschner, A.K.T. and Farnleitner, A.H. 2011.  Acid phosphatase test proves superior to standard phenotypic identification procedure for Clostridium perfringens strains isolated from water.  Journal of Microbial Methods, 87(2), 189-194.


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Christina Frick


Research Interests


• Prevalence and abundance of standard fecal indicator bacteria (SFIB) in the environment (sediment, soil, water)
• SFIB concentrations in feces of warm-blooded and poikilothermal animals
• Applicability of E. coli and enterococci as fecal indicator bacteria 
• Pollution source profiling

The working title of Christina´s PhD is “Applicability of Escherichia coli and enterococci as fecal indicators in a temperate alluvial backwater and large river system”. Because there is a variety of pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites), often in low concentrations, it is difficult to test for them individually. Therefore more abundant and more easily detectable fecal bacteria are used as indicators of fecal contamination. The indicator bacteria E. coli and enterococci are used worldwide for water quality monitoring (for example drinking or bathing water). Research results from the last decade indicate that these indicator bacteria may survive and potentially replicate in the non-intestinal environment (naturalized populations). Such naturalized populations could strongly affect the applicability and significance of fecal indicators. The applicability and constraints thus have to be evaluated for the various environments where water resources are to be monitored.


Key Facts


Christina studied biology (zoology) at the University of Vienna and she obtained a Master’s degree in 2001. The topics of her diploma thesis were the ecology and the genetics of yellow bellied toads (Bombina variegata, amphibian). The yellow bellied toad is highly endangered and therefore protected all over Europe. Christina carried out a field study in Lower Austria to investigate population sizes, breeding sites and the hybridization of Bombina variegata and Bombina bombina using enzyme electrophorese technique.
Since 2005 Christina has been working for the city administration of Vienna at the IFUM – Laboratories of environmental medicine. The IFUM is a competence center for hygiene with about 50 employees (experts in biology, chemistry, medicine, microbiology, molecular biology, physics). The main tasks are water quality monitoring and hygienic control of medical devices. Christina is the head of the laboratory for water microbiology and has a lot of experience with cultivation based methods. She is also an inspector for drinking water facilities. Due to her job she has a strong interest in methods for health related water quality monitoring and risk management.