Jens Soentgen

Universität Augsburg, Augsberg, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (17)28.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The pathophysiological pathways linking particulate air pollution to cardiovascular disease are still not fully understood. We examined the association between ambient air pollutants and blood markers of inflammation and coagulation/fibrinolysis in three potentially susceptible populations. Three panels of non-smoking individuals were examined between 3/2007 and 12/2008: 1) with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D, n=83), 2) with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT, n=104), and 3) with a potential genetic predisposition which could affect detoxifying and inflammatory pathways (n=87) defined by the null polymorphism for glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) in combination with a certain single nucleotide polymorphism on the C-reactive protein (CRP) or the fibrinogen gene. Study participants had blood drawn up to seven times every four to six weeks. In total, 1765 blood samples were analysed for CRP, interleukin (IL)-6, soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), fibrinogen, myeloperoxidase (MPO), and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Hourly mean values of particulate air pollutants, particle number concentrations in different size ranges and gaseous pollutants were collected at fixed monitoring sites and individual 24hour averages calculated. Associations between air pollutants and blood markers were analysed for each panel separately and taking the T2D panel and the IGT panel together, using additive mixed models adjusted for long-term time trend and meteorology. For the panel with potential genetic susceptibility, CRP and MPO increased for most lags, especially with the 5-day average exposure (% change of geometric mean and 95% confidence interval: 22.9% [12.0;34.7] for CRP and 5.0% [0.3;9.9] for MPO per interquartile range of PM2.5). Small positive associations were seen for fibrinogen while sCD40L, PAI-1 and IL-6 mostly decreased in association with air pollution concentrations. Except for positive associations for fibrinogen we did not see significant results with the two other panels. Participants with potential genetic susceptibility showed a clear association between inflammatory blood biomarkers and ambient air pollutants. Our results support the hypothesis that air pollution increases systemic inflammation especially in susceptible populations which may aggravate atherosclerotic diseases and induce multi-organ damage.
    Environment international. 06/2014; 70C:32-49.
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    ABSTRACT: In many European cities mass concentrations of PM10 (particles less than 10 microm in size) are still exceeding air quality standards as set by the European Commission in 1999. As a consequence, many cities introduced low emission zones (LEZs) to improve air quality and to meet the limit values. In Germany currently 48 LEZs are in operation. By means of dispersion modeling, PM10 concentrations were estimated to decrease up to 10%. Analysis of PM10 levels conducted for Cologne, Berlin, and Munich some time after the LEZs were introduced showed reduction of PM10 mass concentration in the estimated range. The PM10 particle fraction is, however composed of particles with varying toxicity, of which diesel soot is highly health relevant. An evaluation of air quality data conducted in Berlin showed that in 2010 traffic-related soot concentrations measured along major roads decreased by 52% compared to 2007. Diesel particle emissions in Berlin were reduced in 2012 by 63% compared to a business-as-usual scenario (reference year 2007). A strong reduction of the traffic-related particle fraction of PM2.5 was also reported for Munich. Therefore, it is likely that the effects of LEZs are considerably more significant to human health than was anticipated when only considering the reduction of PM10 mass concentrations. Implications: The implementation of low emission zones in German cities might result in a reduction of PM10 levels concentrations by up to 10%. However, it is difficult to show a reduction of PM10 annual averages in this order of magnitude as meteorology has a large impact on the year-to-year variation of PM mass concentrations. Monitoring of other PM metrics such as black smoke (BS) or elemental carbon (EC) might be a better strategy for evaluating LEZs effects. The benefit of low emission zones on human health is far greater than is presently visible from routine measurements of PM10.
    Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) 04/2014; 64(4):481-7. · 1.20 Impact Factor
  • Jens Soentgen
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    ABSTRACT: Das 20. Jahrhundert ist ein zentraler Wendepunkt in der Geschichte des Stickstoffs, weil es den bislang größten Eingriff des Menschen in einen natürlichen Stoffkreislauf mit sich gebracht hat. Ein Rätsel und ein Versprechen haben die Stickstoffgeschichte im 20. Jahrhundert maßgeblich bestimmt: Das “Wheat-Problem”, die Weizenfrage, die der englische Chemiker Thomas Crookes 1896 mit ungeheurer Nachwirkung formulierte und das “Salpeterversprechen” der BASF im Jahre 1914 gegenüber der Heeresleitung des Reiches. Die Zukunft aber wird von der “Neuen Stickstofffrage” bestimmt werden. Doch der Reihe nach.
    Chemie in unserer Zeit 12/2013; · 0.52 Impact Factor
  • Jens Soentgen
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    ABSTRACT: Primo Levis 1975 publiziertes Buch Il sistema periodico (Das periodische System, deutsch 1987) wurde 2006 bei einer Befragung des Imperial College in London zum “best science book ever” gekürt. Es ist eines der bekanntesten literarischen Werke mit chemischem Inhalt. Es gliedert sich in 21 Element-Erzählungen, die berühmteste von diesen ist die vom Kohlenstoff. Im folgenden versuche ich, den Nachweis zu führen, dass diese Geschichte eine Vorlage hatte, nämlich die Erzählung ‘Lebensgeschichte eines Kohlenstoffatoms’ von Helmut Schmid, die 1946 erschien. Ziel des folgenden, kurzen Vergleichs ist, die besonderen literarischen Qualitäten von Levis Version noch besser wahrzunehmen.
    Chemie in unserer Zeit 06/2013; 47(3). · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Source apportionment of ambient particulate matter (PM10) was carried out using daily chemical composition data collected in winter 2006/07 and winter 2007/08 in Augsburg, Germany. Six factors have been identified and were associated with secondary nitrate, secondary sulfate, residential and commercial combustion, NaCl, re-suspended dust and traffic emissions. Comparing the source profiles between winter 2006/07 and winter 2007/08 showed that they were similar for both winters, except the combustion and traffic emissions factors. The spatial variation of particulate sources was evaluated by analysis of data collected at eight sampling sites during a one-month intensive campaign in winter 2007/08. Secondary nitrate, secondary sulfate as well as residential and commercial combustion factors showed strong correlations and low coefficient of divergence (COD) values among eight sites, indicating that they are uniformly distributed in urban area. By contrast, traffic emissions factor and NaCl were highly heterogeneously distributed. These two factors were enhanced greatly at the traffic site and are the cause of elevated PM10 mass concentration at traffic site. It means that for some specific sources of particles showing pronounced spatial variability a central monitoring site could not assess the absolute concentrations across an urban area. Thus, cautions should be taken when approximating average human exposure to these particle sources in long-term epidemiological studies.
    Atmospheric Environment 06/2013; 71:131–139. · 3.11 Impact Factor
  • Jens Soentgen, Klaus Hilbert
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    ABSTRACT: Wir wollen in diesem Essay zeigen, dass besonders auf dem Gebiet der chemischen Praktiken die Erfindungsgabe und technische Intelligenz der indigenen Völker Südamerikas beträchtlich war und ist und zu Erfindungen geführt hat, von denen bis heute etliche Millionen Menschen in der westlichen Welt, insbesondere Chemiekonzerne, profitieren. Wir möchten diese Behauptungen mit einigen Beispielen aus dem Bereich der chemischen Praktiken und der biochemischen Prozesse der Stoffumwandlung belegen, die in der Alten Welt unbekannt waren. Die Fähigkeit der südamerikanischen Indianer, Stoffe zu gewinnen und gezielt umzubilden, soll anhand der Erzeugung von Giften, wie Curare, oder auch der Entgiftung von Pflanzen, wie bei der Herstellung von Maniokmehl, erläutert werden. Erwähnt werden auch andere mehrstufige Prozesse der gezielten Stoffumwandlung und die Entdeckung und Nutzung hochwirksamer Naturstoffe durch indigene Völker Amazoniens, wie Kautschuk, aber auch psychoaktive Drogen. The contribution of non-European cultures to science and technology, primarily to chemistry, has gained very little attentions until now. Especially the high technological intelligence and inventiveness of South American native populations shall be put into a different light by our contribution. The purpose of this essay is to show that mainly in the area of chemical practices the indigenous competence was considerable and has led to inventions profitable nowadays to millions of people in the western world and especially to the pharmacy corporations. We would like to illustrate this assumption by giving some examples of chemical practices of transformation of substances, mainly those unknown in the Old World. The indigenous capacity to gain and to transform substances shall be shown here by the manufacture of poisons, such as curare or the extraction of toxic substances of plants, like during the fabrication of manioc flower. We shall mention as well other processes of multi-stage transformations and the discovery and the use of highly effective natural substances by Amazonian native populations, such as, for example, rubber or psychoactive drugs.
    Chemie in unserer Zeit 10/2012; 46(5). · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The success of epidemiological studies depends on the use of appropriate exposure variables. The purpose of this study is to extract a relatively small selection of variables characterizing ambient particulate matter from a large measurement data set. The original data set comprised a total of 96 particulate matter variables that have been continuously measured since 2004 at an urban background aerosol monitoring site in the city of Augsburg, Germany. Many of the original variables were derived from measured particle size distribution (PSD) across the particle diameter range 3nm to 10μm, including size-segregated particle number concentration, particle length concentration, particle surface concentration and particle mass concentration. The data set was complemented by integral aerosol variables. These variables were measured by independent instruments, including black carbon, sulfate, particle active surface concentration and particle length concentration. It is obvious that such a large number of measured variables cannot be used in health effect analyses simultaneously. The aim of this study is a pre-screening and a selection of the key variables that will be used as input in forthcoming epidemiological studies. In this study, we present two methods of parameter selection and apply them to data from a two-year period from 2007 to 2008. We used the agglomerative hierarchical cluster method to find groups of similar variables. In total, we selected 15 key variables from 9 clusters which are recommended for epidemiological analyses. We also applied a two-dimensional visualization technique called "heatmap" analysis to the Spearman correlation matrix. 12 key variables were selected using this method. Moreover, the positive matrix factorization (PMF) method was applied to the PSD data to characterize the possible particle sources. Correlations between the variables and PMF factors were used to interpret the meaning of the cluster and the heatmap analyses.
    Science of The Total Environment 08/2012; 435-436:541-50. · 3.26 Impact Factor
  • Jens Soentgen
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    ABSTRACT: Die in der öffentlichen Diskussion verbreitete Charakterisierung von CO2 als Klimakiller wird in diesem Essay als Projektion kritisiert: Mit der Vokabel “Klimakiller” wird aus einem politischen und kulturellen Problem ein technisches gemacht. Zugleich wird der Blick auf das CO2 selbst verstellt. Daher stellt sich der Autor in die Tradition der enkomia paradoxa, der paradoxen Lobreden und stimmt eine Laudatio auf das CO2 an. Er zieht dazu Fakten aus der Religionsgeschichte, aus der Wissenschaftsgeschichte, aus der Kulturgeschichte und insbesondere aus der ökologischen Chemie heran und stellt sie in einen größeren Zusammenhang. Ziel ist es, durch notwendige Provokationen zu einem realittsnheren Bild des Stoffes CO2 zu gelangen. Experimente mit CO2, darunter auch das einfachstmögliche Experiment zum Treibhauseffekt, ergnzen die Darstellung.This essay is a thought-provoking laudatio of carbon dioxide. It shows, that this gas, albeit one of the causes of climate change, is an essential part of life on earth. The author tells the little known story of carbon dioxide and points on facts from science and from the history of science. Thus, he gives a three-dimensional picture of this unique substance. Without being a “climate sceptic”, he criticises the common picture of CO2 as a reification. A couple of new didactic experiments on CO2, including an impressive and simple experiment on the greenhouse effect, are added.
    Chemie in unserer Zeit 02/2011; 45(1):48 - 55. · 0.52 Impact Factor
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    Hans Peter Hahn, Jens Soentgen
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    ABSTRACT: Material culture, strictly speaking, is substance culture. Nevertheless, studies on material culture are almost exclusively concerned with things. The specificities in the perception of substances and the related everyday practices are rarely taken into consideration. Although this can be explained by the history of anthropology, the bias towards associating material culture with "formed matter" is a foundational shortcoming. In consequence, particular perspectives on the material remain understudied, and the cultural relevance of substances as such is rarely taken into consideration. Taking a perspective grounded in anthropology and phenomenol- ogy, this article intends to provide new approaches to substances that elucidate the particular modes of their perception, reveal their characteristics and reflect on particular notions implicit to substances. The final section of this contribution discusses two exemplary studies on substances and proposes transformation and incorporation as new fields of research that would contribute to a more explicit engagement with substances in material culture studies.
    Philosophy & Technology. 01/2011; 24(1):19-33.
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    ABSTRACT: Positive matrix factorization (PMF) method was used to identify the sources of ambient particles (PM10) in Augsburg in winter 2006/07. The analyses were carried out separately with particulate chemical composition (PCC) data at an urban traffic site and with particle size distribution (PSD) data at an urban background site on daily and hourly base, respectively. For PCC data, six factors are identified and associated with NaCl (6.7% of PM10), secondary sulfate (13.0%), biomass burning (13.3%), secondary nitrate (30.5%), traffic emission (16.5%) and re-suspended dust (20.0%). For PSD data, seven factors are identified and are associated with fresh and aged traffic sources, secondary aerosols, stationary combustion, nucleation particles, re-suspended dust and long range transported dust. The two traffic factors were dominated by ultrafine particles (diameter2.5μm. The two different approaches (PCC and PSD data) led to comparable results with strong correlations for secondary nitrate and sulfate/secondary aerosols (r=0.92), which are considered to origin mainly from long range transport. Traffic emissions (r=0.52) and re-suspended dust (r=0.62) showed weaker correlation due to influences of local sources at the different sites.
    Atmospheric Environment 01/2011; 45(10):1849-1857. · 3.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of major eruptions of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland started on 14 April 2010 and continued until the end of May 2010. The volcanic emissions moved over nearly the whole of Europe and were observed first on 16 April 2010 in Southern Germany with different remote sensing systems from the ground and space. Enhanced PM(10) and SO(2) concentrations were detected on 17 April at mountain stations (Zugspitze/Schneefernerhaus and Schauinsland) as well as in Innsbruck by in situ measurement devices. On 19 April intensive vertical mixing and advection along with clear-sky conditions facilitated the entrainment of volcanic material down to the ground. The subsequent formation of a stably stratified lower atmosphere with limited mixing near the ground during the evening of 19 April led to an additional enhancement of near-surface particle concentrations. Consequently, on 19 April and 20 April exceedances of the daily threshold value for particulate matter (PM(10)) were reported at nearly all monitoring stations of the North Alpine foothills as well as at mountain and valley stations in the northern Alps. The chemical analyses of ambient PM(10) at monitoring stations of the North Alpine foothills yielded elevated Titanium concentrations on 19/20 April which prove the presence of volcanic plume material. Following this result the PM(10) threshold exceedances are also associated with the volcanic plume. The entrainment of the volcanic plume material mainly affected the concentrations of coarse particles (> 1 mu m) - interpreted as volcanic ash - and ultrafine particles (< 100 nm), while the concentrations of accumulation mode aerosol (0.1-1 mu m) were not changed significantly. With regard to the occurrence of ultrafine particles, it is concluded that their formation was triggered by high sulphuric acid concentrations which are necessarily generated by the photochemical processes in a plume rich in sulphur dioxide under high solar irradiance. It became evident that during the course of several days, the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic emissions influenced the near-surface atmosphere and thus the ambient air quality. Although the volcanic plume contributed to the overall exposure of the population of the northern Alpine region on two days, only minor effects on the exacerbation of respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms can be expected.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2011; 11(16):8555-8575. · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    M. Pitz, J. Gu, J. Soentgen, A. Peters, J. Cyrys
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    ABSTRACT: During the time period of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption in 2010 increased mass concentration of PM10 (particulate matter, diameter
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2011; 11:16417-16437. · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While in the beginning of the environmental debate, conflicts over environmental and technological issues had primarily been understood in terms of "risk", over the past two decades the relevance of ignorance, or nonknowledge, was emphasized. Referring to this shift of attention to nonknowledge the article presents two main findings: first, that in debates on what is not known and how to appraise it different and partly conflicting epistemic cultures of nonknowledge can be discerned and, second, that drawing attention to nonknowledge in technology conflicts results in significant institutional effects and new constellations of actors in public debates. To illustrate and substantiate this political dynamics of nonknowledge we draw upon examples from the areas of agri-biotechnology and mobile phoning. In a first step, we develop in greater detail the concept of scientific cultures of nonknowledge and identify three such cultures involved in the social conflicts within the two areas. Subsequently, we analyze the specific dynamics of the politicisation of nonknowledge looking at the variety of actors involved and the pluralisation of perceptions and evaluations of what is not known. Then, we point out some of the institutional reactions to the political and cultural dynamics of scientific nonknowledge. We argue that the equal recognition of the diverse cultures of nonknowledge is a key prerequisite for socially legitimate and "robust" decision-making under conditions of politicised scientific nonknowledge.
    Science, Technology & Human Values 10/2010; 35(6):783-811. · 2.41 Impact Factor
  • Jens Soentgen
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    ABSTRACT: I will trace the little known prehistory and parts of the better known history of CO2 by investigating some of the names it has been given from Antiquity to the present day. In Antiquity, the words pneuma or spiritus letalis designated both a supernatural force and an exhalation that emanated from certain caves. We will see how CO2 gradually came to be regarded as something natural, a gas and then substance.
    Foundations of Chemistry 01/2010; 12(2):137-148.
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    ABSTRACT: The limits of scientific knowledge are an emerging problem in the debates about technological risk. In an exemplary analysis of the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO), we show that the epistemic settings of two involved scientific disciplines - molecular biology and ecology - entail different types of non-knowledge and deal with non-knowledge differently. Both of these "scientific cultures of non-knowledge" are analysed along five criteria: the way of dealing with unforeseen events, the way of dealing with complexity and uncertainty, the temporal and spatial scales of knowledge, the de-and re-contextualisation of knowledge, and the epistemic (self-)reflexivity. The scientific culture of non-knowledge in molecular biology can be described as control-oriented, while that of ecology can be described as uncertainty-oriented. This difference is mirrored in the societal discourses and regulations concerning GMO. A greater variety of cultures of non-knowledge seems likely, which calls for further analysis.
    Gaia: Okologische Perspektiven in Natur-, Geistes- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften 11/2006; 15(4):294-301. · 1.20 Impact Factor
  • Epidemiology. 01/2006; 17.
  • Jens Soentgen
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    ABSTRACT: Die Forschungen zur Nanotechnologie stehen im Zusammenhang mit einer langen Tradition wissenschaftlicher und kultureller Auseinandersetzung mit staubfeinen Teilchen. Staubfeine Partikel werden meist einfach als "Staub" bezeichnet. Der folgende Artikel zeichnet einige Stationen der Kultur-und Wissenschaftsgeschichte des Phänomens "Staub" nach. Ziel ist es, die historischen Hintergründe der aktuellen Diskussion um die Nanotechnologie nachvollziehbar zu machen. SCHWERPUNKT: NANOTECHNOLOGIE S taub begleitet die Menschen seit Anbeginn. Davon legen die Familiennamen beredtes Zeugnis ab. Stuyvesant etwa, der Name des ersten Bürgermeisters von New York, bezeichnet einen flotten Reiter, der "Sand aufstäubt". Und Stoiber, der Name des bayerischen Ministerpräsidenten, bezeichnet einen "unruhigen Menschen, der Staub aufwirbelt". Doch nicht nur jeder einzelne, auch jede Kultur hat eine besondere Beziehung zum Staub. Im Judentum und später im Christentum war der Staub vielfach ein memento mori. Die alten Griechen hingegen hielten feinen Staub nicht für eine tragische, sondern für eine nützliche Sache. Sie importierten ihn von weither und nutzten ihn als Sportplatzbe-lag. Zugleich war Staub in der Antike ein wichtiges Schriftmedi-um: Auf staubbedeckten Flächen kann man leicht schreiben und zeichnen.
    Gaia: Okologische Perspektiven in Natur-, Geistes- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften 01/2005; 14(1). · 1.20 Impact Factor