the kinetics and potential mechanisms of pesticide sorption in agricultural soils

Type of Project: Internship
Starting date: preferably between October and November 2023
Duration: 4-6 months
Location: Wetsus – European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology (Leeuwarden, Netherlands)
There are a few possibilities for allowances:
– The allowance for students is €200. The student can apply for ‘Wetsus Grant’ allowance (€200 extra; an internal committee decides if the allowance will be granted).
– Students can apply for Erasmus; (if the Erasmus grant is less than €400, the student can apply for the Wetsus Grant).
– Erasmus
*The Wetsus Grant allowance is not guaranteed and must be approved by the Grant Committee.

Background and research objective:
More than 2.4 million active pesticide ingredients are applied worldwide annually to control the occurrence of weeds, insects, and other unwanted organisms. European Union Directive 2020/2184 sets a limit of 0.1 μg/L for pesticides in the water intended for human consumption. Despite the regulations, one or more pesticides in concentrations above 0.1 μg/L are detected in 30 % of all EU water monitoring sites. Alternative methods for pesticide removal from drinking water are imperative to protect ecosystem and human health.
Soil is the first contact layer between pesticides, microbial communities, and organic matter. Based on the findings of previous studies organic matter is a crucial soil component that can influence pesticide sorption/desorption and enhance degradation. Direct pesticide remediation through organic amendment application to soil is a promising low-cost approach for preventing drinking water source pollution. However, developing guidelines for efficient pesticide remediation via organic amendment application requires an extensive understanding of sorption, biodegradation, and leaching processes.
The internship project will study the sorption behavior of pesticides in selected agricultural soils with different management histories (organic matter management, tillage, fertilizer and pesticide application). The student will test and research soil sorption capacity, sorption and desorption kinetics, as well as influence of various soil components and parameters on sorption extent.

• Test agricultural soil sorption capacity and kinetics via sorption batch tests
• Collect and prepare samples for the regular analytical tests
• Interact and collaborate within a dynamic multidisciplinary and multinational research team.
• Analyze and report on obtained data

• Preferably a background in Biotechnology/Chemical/Environmental engineering or similar.
• Enrolment at European university. For non-EU citizens, enrolment at a Dutch university is required.
• Practical laboratory experience and analytical skills
• Interest in soil studies and nature-based solutions is an advantage
• Good command of spoken and written English

How to apply:
If interested, please submit your CV (max. 2 pages) with a motivational letter (max. 1 page) by using the form below. For more information do not hesitate to contact Marija Gadžimuradova.