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Cornelis A. M. (Kees) van Gestel is Professor of Ecotoxicology of Soil Ecosystems within the Department of Ecological Science, Faculty of Science of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He studied Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University, and started his career in 1981 as a scientific advisor on pesticide risk assessment at the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). At RIVM he also started his research in soil ecotoxicology. He obtained his PhD from Utrecht University (1991), and moved to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in 1992.


In soil, the bioavailability of chemicals is highly dependent on their interaction with soil particles and the resulting concentrations in the soil pore water. Organisms may affect their exposure by the way they interact with the soil, with some organisms literally eating themselves through the soil while others just walk on it or feed on leaf litter. In soil, pollution rarely is restricted to single chemicals. And life in soil is dynamic, asking for a dynamic approach when assessing the bioaccumulation and effects of chemicals in soil organisms. Finally, effects on single species may have consequences for the soil community and its role in important ecological processes (ecosystem services) like decomposition and nutrient cycling. My research focuses on aspects like bioavailability, routes of exposure, toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, and mixture toxicity, but also aims at addressing effects at different levels of biological organization. I am studying metals, pesticides, nanoparticles and microplastics, using earthworms, enchytraeids, springtails, oribatid mites and isopods as the test organisms. I am interested in the application of our results in the risk assessment of new and existing chemicals. In addition, I am interested in using ecotoxicological test methods for the effect-based assessment of (contaminated) soils and other substrates.


Kees van Gestel is teaching biology, ecology and (eco)toxicology at the Vrije Universiteit, and PhD courses on ecotoxicology and chemical risk assessment at the national and international level. He has been supervising over 35 PhD students and many more undergraduate students. He is winner of the SETAC Europe/Noack-Laboratorien Environmental Education Award 2015.

Ancillary activities

  • Member of the SETAC Europe Council
  • Chair of the SETAC Europe Certified Risk Assessor programme
  • Editor Terrestrial Ecotoxicology of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Open University programme on Environmental Sciences

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Education/Academic qualification

Ecotoxicology, PhD, Universiteit Utrecht

Environmental Sciences, Master, Wageningen University


  • ecotoxicology
  • mixture toxicity
  • toxicokinetics
  • bioavailability

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Kees van Gestel is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 9 Similar Profiles
Soil Medicine & Life Sciences
Soils Chemical Compounds
Toxicity Chemical Compounds
Oligochaeta Medicine & Life Sciences
toxicity Earth & Environmental Sciences
earthworm Earth & Environmental Sciences
Metals Medicine & Life Sciences
soil Earth & Environmental Sciences

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Research Output 1980 2020

Ecotoxicological effects on Lemna minor and Daphnia magna of leachates from differently aged landfills of Ghana

Sackey, L. N. A., Kočí, V. & van Gestel, C. A. M., 1 Jan 2020, In : Science of the Total Environment. 698, 134295.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Chemical Water Pollutants
Land fill

A combined toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics approach to investigate delayed lead toxicity in the soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus

Zhang, L., Belloc da Silva Muccillo, V. & Van Gestel, C. A. M., 1 Mar 2019, In : Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 169, p. 33-39 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

An uptake and elimination kinetics approach to assess the bioavailability of chromium, copper, and arsenic to earthworms (Eisenia andrei) in contaminated field soils

Kilpi-Koski, J., Penttinen, O. P., Väisänen, A. O. & van Gestel, C. A. M., 1 May 2019, In : Environmental science and pollution research international. 26, 15, p. 15095-15104 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Biological Availability

Bioturbation of Ag2S-NPs in soil columns by earthworms

Baccaro, M., Harrison, S., van den Berg, H., Sloot, L., Hermans, D., Cornelis, G., van Gestel, C. A. M. & van den Brink, N. W., Sep 2019, In : Environmental Pollution. 252, p. 155-162 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

X Ray Tomography

Different dynamic accumulation and toxicity of ZnO nanoparticles and ionic Zn in the soil sentinel organism Enchytraeus crypticus

He, E., Qiu, H., Huang, X., Van Gestel, C. A. M. & Qiu, R., 1 Feb 2019, In : Environmental Pollution. 245, p. 510-518 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Activities 1998 2017

  • 13 Lecture / Presentation

Long-term fate, effects and toxicokinetics of nanoparticles in soil invertebrates

C.A.M. van Gestel (Speaker)
19 Jun 2017

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Environmental safety assessment of biomass process streams

C.A.M. van Gestel (Speaker), B. Pieterse (Speaker), D. Giesen (Speaker), J.B. Legradi (Speaker), R. Vooijs (Speaker), B. Vugt-Lussenburg (Speaker), D. Roelofs (Speaker), E.W.M. Roex (Speaker), E. Swart (Speaker), W. Röling (Speaker), F. Smedes (Speaker), T.E. de Boer (Speaker), M.H. Lamoree (Speaker), R. de Wildt-Liesveld (Speaker)
8 Mar 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


C.A.M. van Gestel (Invited speaker)
28 May 1998

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Invloed van bodemeigenschappen op de toxiciteit van metalen voor bodemdieren.

C.A.M. van Gestel (Invited speaker)
22 May 1998

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Bioaccumulatie. Respectfully yours.

C.A.M. van Gestel (Invited speaker)
13 Jan 1998

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic