Water, Environmental and Food Chemistry (ENFOCHEM)

This Unit 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 regulated in the legislation (priority contaminants), such as pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, but also contaminants of recent identification (contaminants of emerging concern), such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, drugs of abuse, 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 organisms, crops, food and biological samples from humans. It further deals with the bioaccumulation of contaminants in biota and humans. This research line has a long history of monitoring activities, which have been carried out in very diverse areas, going from remote areas (for instance, the Antarctic) to local rivers. The research group has broad experience in coordinating national and international research projects funded by the European Commission, other International Institutions, and the Spanish Government. In addition, it has many contracts with public and private entities (e.g. Catalan Water Agency-ACA and Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona -AGBAR).

  • 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 in the environment, food stuff and human samples
  • Evaluation of uptake, bioaccumulation, and metabolism of priority and contaminants of emerging concern in biota, crops and humans
  • Evaluation of the impact of pollution of the reclaimed water in the agriculture and aquifers replenishment
  • Assessment of the attenuation and 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
  • 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).

Experimental facilities

  • Artificial recharge pilot plant
  • Agricultural plots


Permanent Researchers

Barceló Cullerès, Damià

934006183 - int: 437902

Díaz Cruz, Silvia

934006189 - int: 437781

López de Alda Villaizán, Miren

934006134 - int: 437906

Postdoc Researchers

Bonansea, Rocío Inés

932557696 - int: 437919



Communication and Outreach

Projects and Fundraising

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