December 24, 2012
- Plant Physiology, undergraduate, BGU.
- Cell Biology, undergraduate, BGU
- Nitrogen Metabolism in Plants, graduate, BGU
- Botany of Lower Plants (algae, fungi, bryophytes and pteridiophytes), undergraduate,
- Structure and Function of Plants, graduate, BGU
- Symbiosis, undergraduate and graduate, BGU
- Bioremediation of organic and inorganic contaminants in soils and
undergraduate and graduate, BGU
- Bioremediation of heavy metal contamination in water and soils, graduate,
Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, BGU
- Introductory course in Water Resources and Management in Dry Regions, graduate,
Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies, BGU (jointly with members
of the Department of Environmental Hydrology & Microbiology)
Present Academic Activities
A) Studies concerning various microbial aspects of water pollution.
The main goal is to understand microbial processes occurring in domestic and industrial
wastewater from various sources, in order to develop cost-effective and feasible
biotechnologies for removing pollutants from water. The following are some
of the projects in which I have been involved: (1) Avoiding clogging of underground
drain pipe systems by iron bacteria. (2) The fate of trace elements in domestic
wastewater and soils irrigated by treated effluents. (3) Removal of iron
and hydrogen sulfite from Numibian-stone aquifer in the Arava valley. (4)
Biological treatment of the Ramat Hovav Chemical Industrial effluents. (5)
Biodegradation of organic pollutants in industrial wastewater. (6) Unbalanced
nitrification in wastewater reservoirs.
B) Plant- Microbe interaction with emphasize of the symbiotic association between the eukariotic water fern Azolla and its prokaryotic cyanobacterial
endosymbiont Anabaena azollae. My research was mainly aimed at understanding
the factors responsible for the co-ordination of carbon and nitrogen metabolism
in the system.
Current studies include:
heavy metals in the environment; bioremediation processes
in wastewater reservoirs; Carbon and nitrogen metabolism in photosynthetic organisms;
effect of elevated CO2 on symbiotic water plants.
(a) The biological processes leading to removal and or detoxification of toxic
heavy metals from contaminated wastewater (cadmium, nickel and others), by microalgae.
The physiological, biochemical and molecular aspects confirming cadmium resistance
in the microalga Chlorella sp. that was isolated from domestic wastewater treatment
in Beer Sheva is being examined. The aim is to reduce the concentrations of the
pollutant to a level that will at least allow safe release of the effluents,
and if possible will permit the reuse of the treated water for agricultural use.
(b) Involvement of microalgae combined with bacteria in improving water quality.
The aim is to prepare a microbial inoculant composed of microalgae strains resistant
to high temperature, high light, and high solar irradiation associated with plant
growth promoting bacteria. Such inoculant will improve pollutant removal from
domestic wastewater to permit recycling of the treated effluents.
(c) Pathogen removal and surfactant biodegradation were investigated using pilot
scale Recirculating Vertical Flow Constructed Wetlands (RVFCW) in collaboration
with Dr. Amit Gross and Dr. Katherine Baker a visiting scientist in our department.
(d) The effect of global change, mainly the effect of increasing CO2 concentration
on vegetation, using Azolla-Anabaena symbiosis, as a model system. Unlike most
plants, this symbiotic system between the water fern Azolla and the N2-fixing
cyanobacterium Anabaena azollae is recalcitrant to increased levels of CO2. The
overall aim is to understand the mechanism(s) enabling the system to withstand
high CO2 levels without loss of the biomass nutritional value.
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