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Administration - Soil Sciences
Soil Chemistry, Plant Nutrition and Microbiology
Head: Ellen R. Graber, Ph.D.
Aims: Research in soil chemistry, fertility, crop productivity and microbiology for sustainable agricultural use of soil and water resources and environmental protection; dissemination of knowledge; instruction and training of graduate and postgraduate students.



Sustainable use of soil and water resources through excellence in research

Major research fields:

1. Optimized use of nutrients and water resources in managing soil and crops, while preserving environmental quality;
2. Impacts of marginal waters, organic wastes and industrial by-products on crop production and soil quality;
3. Fate and behavior of pesticides and other organic chemicals in soil and water bodies;
4. Soil and water conservation;
5. Physiological responses of crops to environmental stresses, especially drought and salinity
6. Soil microbial ecology as affected by agricultural practices.

(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
Baram Shahar, Ph.D. Soil hydrology Soil chemistry Nitrogen Use Efficiency Greenhouse gas emissions from agricaltural activity
Bar-Tal Asher, Ph.D. Soil chemistry, plant nutrition, Fertigation, GHG The general topic is soil chemistry and plant nutrition, the specific subjects are: • Fertigation methods in soil and soilless culture to optimize yields and quality and minimize pollution. • Irrigation with secondary effluent, its effect on nutrient uptake and on nutrient and salt leaching bellow the root zone. • Simulation of nutrient chemistry and transport in soil, its uptake by root and its effects on plant growth. • Application of sludge and organic waste materials to agricultural fields, using models to predict the decomposition of the organic material and the mineralization and transformation of nitrogen in soil. Greenhouse Gases emissions from agriculture activities.
Ben-Hur Meni, Ph.D. Soil and water conservation and pollution Irrigation with saline and effluent waters Surface runoff and soil erosion Surface movement of contaminates Heavy metals in the environment Soil structure
Borisover Mikhail, Ph.D. Soil and environmental chemistry. Interactions of organic compounds with environmentally important sorbents (soils, sediments, natural organic matter, clay minerals); sorption thermodynamics; role of water (solvents) in interactions of organic compounds with soil organic matter; sorption-desorption hysteresis phenomena; Interactions between pollutants and modified clays (organoclays). Dissolved natural organic matter: structure and interactions with xenobiotics. Use of fluorescence and IR spectroscopies for characterization of natural organic matter.
Cytryn Eddie, Ph.D. Antibiotic resistance in agroecosystems; Biocontrol agents; Root-microbe interactions
Fine Pinchas, Ph.D.
Graber Ellen R., Ph.D. Soil, water and atmospheric organic chemistry, involving multi-faceted and cross-disciplinary research related to agricultural and environmental sustainability. My current research activities include: • Biochar application in agriculture, and its impacts on soil chemistry, plant production, and plant disease • Soil water repellency and other structural and chemical changes in soil as a result of application of treated wastewater and biosolids in agriculture • Contamination of soil and groundwater by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their uptake of by trees, particularly as a method for screening the subsurface for these contaminants • Physicochemical mechanisms of sorption interactions between soil organic matter and organic pollutants
Heuer Bruria, Ph.D. Plant response to drought and salinity Proteomics Osmotic adjustment Irrigation with marginal water Ornamentals and cut flowers Exogenous application of compatible solutes
Levy Guy J., D.Sc. Soil stability, Treated wastewater, Soil amendments More specifically: • Soil-structure stability indicators and their dependence on soil properties and conditions prevailing in the soil • Irrigation with treated waste water and land application of waste material: impact on soil structure. • Use of soil amendments (e.g., phosphogypsum, polymers) for improving soil-structure stability. • Soil and water conservation in dry land farming.
Minz Dror, Ph.D. Microbial Ecology, Environmental Microbiology, Rhizosphere microbiology, Microbial communities structure and function in soil and water systems. Biofilm microbiology Biocontrol of plant pathogens
Oren Adi, Ph.D. Application of organic wastes in agriculture: soil quality improvement and environmental contamination potential. Organic matter transformation in soil. Biological and chemical controlling factors in decomposition and/or sequestration of organic matter in soil. Spectroscopic methods for organic matter characterization. Organic matter composition and metabolic activity as parameters for soil quality and fertility assessment.
(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
Berezkin Anna, M.Sc.
Buchanovsky Nadia, M.Sc.
Cohen Judith, Ph.D. Environmental microbiology with emphasis on microbial communities structure and antibiotic resistance reservoirs in soil and water systems.
Croitoru Shirley Ynbal, Ms.
Goldstein Dina, M.Sc.
Hecht Ganan Hila, M.Sc.
Heller Hadar, Ph.D.
Lalzar Maya, Ph.D.
Nasonova Alla, Ph.D.
Saadon Tal, Mr.
Shawahna Raneen, Ms.
Suryano Shoshana, Ms.
Tenaw Haymero, M.Sc. Responsibilities and Interests: • Rain simulator and field work studies on erosion, infiltration and runoff water and crust formation characteristics of various soils. • Irrigation with marginal water (treated sewage effluent and saline water) effects on soil characteristics. • Aggregate stability studies on Israeli and non Israeli soils. Responsible for Dr. Meni Ben-Hur field and laboratory soil research. Main tasks: 1. Analyze and resolve variation in several tests, experiments and procedures; modification and changes to techniques and procedures. 2.Maintain appropriate documentation of research results, as required by research protocol. 3. Statistical data analysis and preparation of figures. 4. Train students in laboratory techniques and the use of laboratory equipment. Familiar with the following equipment: Rainfall simulator, fluorescence spectroscopy, TOC analyzer, ICP, GC, TDR, Field CO2 measuring instrument, etc.
Tzehansky Ludmila, M.Sc.
(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
(Surname, First name)
Research Interests /
Job description
Bar-Yosef Benayahu, Ph.D. Senio soil scientist (retired). Soil chemistry- Adsorption; surface reaction models; rhizosperic chemistry; ions transport; nutrients transformations in soil. Plant nutrition- modeling uptake and root growth in response to environmental conditions; root excretions; fertigation principles; crops objective nutrient consumption curves. Greenhouse crop production- soilless culture; modeling crop response to solution recycling; developing expert systems for optimal operation of open and semi-closed greenhouse fertigation systems. Inorganic and organic phosphorus- reactions and transformations in soil; availability to plants; environmental concerns stemming from manure, sludge and reclaimed wastewater soil application.
Gerstl Zev, Ph.D. Soil and environmental chemistry
Mingelgrin Uri, Prof. Behavior of micropollutants in soils and water systems. Dynamics and equilibrium of the adsorption/desorption process of organic monomers on geosorbents. Effect of complexation on the transport of heavy metals and organic monomers. Carbon sequestration as solid mineral species. Novel controlled release formulations for agrochemicals. Time dependent speciation of transition metals and organic contaminants in soils treated with effluents or sludges. Use of earth materials such as peats and modified clays for the treatment of effluents and polluted soils and water. Mechanochemistry
Nachshon Uri, Ph.D. Soil degradation: Salinization and erosion. Impact of agricultural activities on soil quality. Sustainable agriculture.
Shainberg Isaac, Ph.D. Emeritus
Silber Avner, Ph.D. Chemical reactions in the rhizosphere. Phosphorus reactions in soil and mechanisms of phosphorus uptake by plants. Soilless culture, fertigation methods. Nutrition of plants originating from the south hemisphere. Irrigation methods to optimize nutrient uptake by plants: high fertigation frequency, subsurface drip irrigation. Physiological disorders induced by nutrient deficiency: blossom-end rot (BER).
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