Water, Environmental and Food Chemistry (ENFOCHEM)

Water, Environmental and Food Chemistry (ENFOCHEM)

The Water, Environmental and Food Chemistry (ENFOCHEM) group focuses its research on the presence, impact and fate of organic pollutants in the water cycle, terrestrial environment, biota, food and humans, including not only those that are already regulated by legislation (priority contaminants), such as pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, alkylphenols, phthalates, and brominated flame retardants, but also contaminants of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, chlorinated paraffins, organophosphate plasticizers, plastic additives, drugs of abuse, perfluorinated compounds, silicones, nanomaterials and micro- and nano-plastics for which environmental occurrence and ecotoxicity data are very scarce. This involves their monitoring in field samples and assessment of their degradation/metabolism in different types of water matrices, particulate matter, sediments, soils, sewage sludge, air, aquatic and terrestrial organisms, crops, food and biological samples from humans. It further deals with the bioaccessibility, bioaccumulation and biomagnification through the food web of contaminants in biota and humans.

These objectives are achieved based on the development of advanced analytical methodologies (including non-target analysis by HRMS) as well as new techniques such as biosensors. This research line has a long history of monitoring activities, which have been carried out in very diverse areas, including aquatic environments: rivers, seas and remote, pristine areas such as the Antarctic; and terrestrial environments: agricultural and industrial areas, and National Parks such as Doñana.

  • Determination of occurrence, fate and behavior of priority contaminants in the environment, food stuff and human samples
  • Study of occurrence and impact of organic pollutants of emerging concern, nanomaterials and natural products in the environment, food stuff and human samples
  • Evaluation of uptake, bioaccumulation, biomagnification and metabolism of priority and contaminants of emerging concern in biota, crops and humans
  • Impact of marine plastic debris on marine biota
  • Evaluation of the impact of pollution of the reclaimed water in the agriculture and aquifers replenishment
  • Assessment of the transformation of pollutants of emerging concern in engineered systems and in the aquatic environment (rivers, aquifers and oceans)
  • Identification and analysis of emerging disinfection by-products (DBPs) in water and evaluation of their generation in drinking water facilities
  • Estimation of alcohol and drugs consumption through sewage epidemiology
  • Targeted and non-targeted metabolomics
  • Environmental risk assessment

Research Facilities

Instrumentation for chemical analysis

Sample collection, preparation and extraction:

  • Portable automatic water sampler Isco 6712c (Teledyne ISCO)
  • Automated solid phase extraction (SPE): off-line ASPEC GX-271 (Gilson)
  • On-line PROSPEKT (Spark Holland) coupled to LC-QqQ-MS
  • On-line Symbiosis PICO (Spark Holland) coupled to LC-QLIT-MS
  • Turbulent flow chromatography (TurboFlow, Thermo Fisher) coupled to LC-QqQ-MS
  • EQuan (Thermo Fisher Scientific) coupled to LC-QqQ-MS
  • Pressurized liquid extraction – ASE 350 (Dionex) and ONE PSE (Applied Separations)


  • LC-QLIT-MS, Q-Trap 4000 Q-TRAP (Sciex)
  • UPLC-QqQ-MS, TQD (Waters)
  • LC-QqQ-MS, TSQ Vantage (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
  • UHLPC-Orbitrap-MS, Q-Exactive (Thermo Electron)
  • UPLC-Triple-TOF-MS, X500R (Sciex)

Analysis by MALDI-TOF-MS imaging:

AuToFlex III MALDI-TOF/TOF instrument (Bruker Daltonik GmbH,Bremen, Germany) equipped with a Smartbeam laser at 200 Hz laser at the “medium focus” setting and were controlled using FlexControl 3.0 (Bruker Daltonik GmbH).

Ecotox and biosensors lab

  • Microtox® system (Azur)
  • ToxAlert 100 (Merck)
  • Abratox Camera (Abraxis)
  • Incubators with lateral illumination (Aqualytic)
  • Spectrophotometer (Jenway 6062)
  • Swift M10 Advanced Binocular Microscope
  • Cellular toxicity suit
  • Cell-Insight NxT reader (Thermo)
  • Biosensor:Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) platform Reichert – SR7500DC SPR-System
  • CellCense – Amperometric whole cell biosensor
  • Plate readers and washers for immunoassays

Experimental facilities

  • Greenhouse
  • Fish tanks
  • Artificial recharge pilot plant
  • Agricultural plots


Communication and Outreach

Projects and Fundraising

No items found
Close Menu