Research Program Leader: Assoc. Professor Spas Kolev

Contact Details: School of Chemistry, The University of Melbourne, Parkville Vic 3052

My research is focused on the development and study of:

  • Automated on-line methods and chemical sensors for environmental monitoring of both metallic (e.g. Hg, As, Sb, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd) and non-metallic (e.g. cyanide, phenols, ammonia) pollutants in natural waters and industrial and domestic wastewaters. The majority of these methods have been implemented in flow analysis systems (e.g. flow injection and sequential injection analysis systems) which can be converted into portable field analyzers for on-site monitoring. Highly sensitive optical chemical sensors for some of the pollutants mentioned above have been also developed and implemented in on-line analyzers.
  • Batch analytical methods for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of solid (e.g. soil, sediment, biosolids, plant material) and liquid samples.
  • Novel polymeric extracting materials (polymer inclusion membranes) which are suitable for clean-up of contaminated waters and for passive sampling of waters, soil and sediments.

Industry Involvement:

I have extensive collaborative research programmes with:

  • Melbourne Water on the fate and remediation of mercury in biosolids.
  • Stawell Gold Mines (Northgate Corp.) and Native Seeds Pty. Ltd. on the development of novel approaches to ecologically sustainable and safe rehabilitation of gold mine tailings.
  • Stawell Gold Mines (Northgate Corp.) on the applicaion of polymer inclusion memebranes for the removal of thiocyanate and cyanide from gold ore processing wastewtares within the framework of an ARC Linkage Project LP0989449 (2009-2011)
  • Pyrenees Shire, DoubleE-Enviroclean Pty. Ltd., EPA Victoria and the University of the Balearic Islands (Spain) on the development of phytoextraction approaches to mitigating heavy metal release from unlined and loosely capped rural landfills (ARC Linkage Project; LP100100800; 2010-2012).

Novel Chemistry program objectives:

  • To develop and characterise novel passive samplers for water and sediment monitoring of pollutants based on polymer inclusion extracting materials.
  • To develop flow injection analysis methods for the on-line monitoring and analysis of selected pollutants of interest (e.g. arsenic, mercury) and compare this active sampling technology with passive sampling under laboratory and field conditions.
  • The passive and active sampling devices, developed after consultation with the other research teams in CAPIM, will be applied to both freshwater and estuarine systems.

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