Univ.-Prof. Dr.

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

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

Division Water Quality and Health,

Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences, Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria

Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water & Health,

Institute of Chemical, Environmental and Biological Engineering, TU Wien, Gumpendorferstr. 1a, A-1060 Vienna, Austria




Kirschner, A. K. T., Reischer, G. H., Jakwerth, S., Savio, D., Ixenmaier, S., Toth, E., Sommer, R., Mach, R. L., Linke, R., Eiler, A., Kolarevic, S. and Farnleitner, A. H.  (2017) Multiparametric monitoring of microbial faecal pollution reveals the dominance of human contamination along the whole Danube River. Water Research, 124, 543-555.


Mayer, R., Bofill-Mas, S., Egle, L., Reischer, G., Schaden, S., Fernandez-Cassi, X., Fuchs, W., Mach, R. L., Lindner, G., Kirschner, A. K. T., Gaisbauer, M., Piringer, H., Blaschke, A., Gironés, R., Zessner, M., Sommer, R. and Farnleitner, A. H. (2016) Occurrence of human-associated Bacteroidetes genetic source tracking markers in raw and treated wastewater of municipal and domestic origin and comparison to standard and alternative indicators of faecal pollution. Water Research, 90, 265-276.


Savio, D., Sinclair, L., Ijaz, U. Z., Parajka, J., Reischer, G. H., Stadler, P., Blascke, A. P., Blöschl, G., Mach, R. L., Kirschner, A. K. T., Farnleitner, A. H. and Eiler, A. (2015) Bacterial diversity along a 2 600 km river continuum. Environmental Microbiology, 17(12), 4994-5007.


Vierheilig, J, Savio, D., Ley, R. E., Mach, R. L., Farnleitner, A. H. and Reischer, G. H. (2015) Potential application of next generation DNA sequencing of 16SrRNA gene amplicons in microbial water quality monitoring. Water Science and Technology, 72(11), 1962-1972.


»More publications

People › Faculty


Prof. Andreas Farnleitner





Prof Farnleitner is Full Professor at the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Krems (KL), leading the Division Water Quality and Health and Associate Professor at TU Wien for Microbiology and Toxicology at the Institute of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering (joint professorship). He heads the recently established Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water and Health (ICC Water & Health). The ICC Water & Health is a cooperation between the TU Wien, the Medical University of Vienna and the recently established Karl Landsteiner University for Health Sciences in Krems (


He teaches courses in the field of microbiology, microbial diagnostics & analysis, water quality, microbial ecology and toxicology. He has also been in charge 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 30 MSc and PhD students from Europe, Africa and Asia and acts as international examiner at academic defences abroad (TU Berlin, University of Auckland, University of Brighton, EAWAG-ETH Zürich, etc.). He is board member of the Health Related Microbiology Specialist Group (HRWM) of the International Water Association (IWA), member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Water Quality and Health Technical Advisory Group (WQTAG), and member, chair or vice-chair of many other related national or international organisations/associations. He serves also as editor of several journals and on-line resources in the field of microbiology, toxicology, and water quality and health (see key facts).


Research Interests


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


The research interests of Andreas Farnleitner focus within 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. A main interest has always been faecal indicator diagnostics and the application of novel indicator concepts (e.g. he was recently working on a framework for faecal pollution analysis and management in alpine water resources integrating faecal pollution monitoring with microbial source tracking and health risk assessment). He also contributed to the development of the first national health risk based water quality guideline 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.


Key Facts


Andreas Farnleitner holds a master diploma in microbiology and ecology at the University of Vienna, a doctorate in molecular microbial diagnostics at the Vienna University of Technology, and a postdoctoral master diploma in toxicology at the Medical University of Vienna. He has received research fellowships to the University of Bangor, UK, to the University of Technology, Berlin, and to the Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ), Texel. In 2007 he performed his professorial qualifications in the field of environmental microbiology at the Vienna University of Technology. In 2017 he received a full professorship in microbial diagnostics in water quality and health.


He has published over 100 peer reviewed full papers, 50 book articles, and 2 patents. He presented over 150 contributions as first or senior author at international conferences and workshops. He serves as editor for the Global Water Pathogens Project ( and the journal Water Science and Technology and Water Science and Technology: Water Supply. He is 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). Several national and international research cooperation’s exist.

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 cooperation’s such as with Vienna Water, Vitens (Netherlands) or Danone (France). In total, he has conducted more than 50 research projects.