Biophysical Environmental Chemistry: A New Frontier for Chemistry


  • Jacques Buffle
  • Montserrat Filella
  • Jingwu Zhang



The paper discusses the position and role of environmental chemistry among the other environmental disciplines. It discusses the various aspects of environmental chemistry and emphasizes the need for developing fundamental studies in biophysical environmental chemistry in order to better understand the functioning of environmental systems. These systems include a large number of various structures in the nanometer to meter range which play key roles on compound fluxes and consequently on the homeostasis of ecosystems and on their disturbance by anthropogenic activities. Both structures and fluxes are presently ill-known and new concepts and methods must be developed in this field. For chemistry, this is a challenging area where supramolecular structures and processes play dominant roles. It is also a challenging field for the development of environmental sciences since detailed and sound physico-chemical processes are needed in macroscopic modeling of compound circulation in ecosystems. In addition, teaching this discipline to chemistry students would allow them to confront complex, structured real systems. This paper also discusses the relationship between biophysical environmental chemistry and the other environmental disciplines within integrated multidisciplinary studies. The structure used at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Geneva to favour a flexible but efficient integration is briefly described.




How to Cite

J. Buffle, M. Filella, J. Zhang, Chimia 1995, 49, 102, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.1995.102.