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

IFUM - Labors für Umweltmedizin

Feldgasse 9, A-1080 Vienna, Austria





Frick, C., Vierheilig, J., Linke, R., Savio, D., Zornig, H., Antensteiner, R., Baumgartner, C., Bucher, C., Blaschke, A.P., Derx, J., Kirschner, A.K.T., Ryzinska-Paier, G., Mayer, R., Seidl, D., Nadiotis-Tsaka, T., Sommer, R. and Farnleitner, A.H. (2018) Poikilothermic animals as a previously unrecognized source of fecal indicator bacteria in a backwater ecosystem of a large river. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. doi:10.1128/AEM.00715-18


Frick, C., Zoufal, W., Zoufal-Hruza, C., and Farnleitner, A.H. (2016). The microbiological water quality of Vienna’s River Danube section and its associated water bodies. Österreichische Wasser- und Abfallwirtschaft, doi:10.1007/s00506-016-0349-9




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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 homeothermic and poikilothermic animals
• Applicability of E. coli and enterococci as fecal indicator bacteria 
• Pollution source profiling

Christina´s research focused on the applicability and constraints of cultivation based microbiological fecal indicators. 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) or poikilothermic animals. 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.

Christina graduated from the Vienna Doctoral Programme in July 2019 with distinction and was awarded the academic degree “Dr. rer. nat.” (“Doctor rerum naturalium”, equivalent to “Doctor of Science”). Her PhD thesis in aquatic microbiology, supervised by Assoc.-Prof. Dr. Andreas Farnleitner, Dr. Georg Reischer was about “Applicability of Escherichia coli and enterococci as water quality indicators in a temperate alluvial backwater and large river system”. Her work was realised in the frame of the Interuniversity Cooperation Centre Water and Health ( and within the research project “Groundwater Resource Systems Vienna” in cooperation with Vienna Water (MA31), as part of the project LE 07-13 “Gewässervernetzung (Neue) Donau–Untere Lobau (Nationalpark Donau-Auen)” funded by the Government of Austria (Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment & Water Management), the Government of Vienna, and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Since 2005 Christina has been working for the city administration of Vienna at the municipal department 39. The division of hygiene is a competence center for water and hospital 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. 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.