Dr. Tamara Polubesova

Senior Scientist


1981 - Ph.D. in Soil Science from Institute of Soil Science and Photosynthesis RAS, Russia.
1977 - B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Soil Science from Moscow State University, Russia.

Research Interests:


Environmental fate of nanoparticles; Physical chemistry of soils and clays; soil surface heterogeneity and properties; soil and clay interfacial reactions; adsorption and transformation of natural and anthropogenic compounds by clays; environmental chemistry.


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71618: Introduction to Soil Chemistry

Course Level: undergraduate
Concept of the course: Demonstration of the interrelations between chemistry of soil components and soil processes, and between solid and liquid phases in soils. The importance of interfacial reactions is emphasized. 
Syllabus details: Chemistry of organic and inorganic components of soils, surface properties of soil colloids, organo-clay interactions, chemistry of soil solutions, review of the chemical reactions and processes in soils, chemistry of soil acidity, chemistry of soil formation, environmental chemistry of heavy metals.

71913: Aquatic Geochemistry

Course level: Graduate
Concept of the course: Analysis of the dominant chemical processes in natural water bodies 
Syllabus details: Basic concepts in aquatic geo-chemistry, buffer capacity of natural water, acid rain and acid waters, redox processes in lakes, marine environment and groundwater, photochemical processes in natural waters and sediments, colloids as components of naturals waters, carbonate, iron and sulfur geochemistry in naturals waters and sediments, aquatic biochemistry, pollution of natural water bodies, aqueous geochemistry radionuclides, chemical composition and contamination of groundwater, marine chemistry, water quality monitoring and assessment, chemical processes in Lake Kinneret and in the Dead Sea



Bhaduri B., Polubesova T., Chefetz B. 2019. Interactions of organic dye with Ag- and Ce-nano-assemblies: Influence of dissolved organic matter. Coll. Surfaces A 577:683-694.

Shang H., Guo H., Ma C., Li C., Chefetz B., Polubesova T., Xin B. 2019. Maize (Zea maysL.) root exudates modify the surface chemistry of CuO nanoparticles: Altered aggregation, dissolution and toxicity. Sci. Tot. Environ. 690, 502-510.

Bhaduri B., Polubesova T. 2020. Facile synthesis of carbon-supported silver nanoparticles as an efficient reduction catalyst for aqueous 2-methyl-p-nitrophenol. Materials Letters 267, 127546.

Karpov M., Seiwert B., Mordehay V., Reemtsma T., Polubesova T., Chefetz B. 2021. Abiotic Transformation of Lamotrigine by Redox-Active Mineral and Phenolic Compounds. Environ. Sci. Technol. 55, 1535–1544.


Huiyuan G.,  C. Ma,  L. Thistle,  M. Huynh,  C. Yu,  D. Clasby,  B. Chefetz,  T. Polubesova,  J.C. White,  L. He  and  B. Xing. 2019. Transformation of Ag ions into Ag nanoparticle-loaded AgCl microcubes in the plant root zone. Environmental Science: Nano 6:1099-1110.

Bhaduri, B., T. Polubesova, B. Chefetz. 2019. Interactions of organic dye with Ag- and Ce-nano-assemblies: Influence of dissolved organic matter. Colloids and Surfaces A 577:683-694.

Shang H., Guo H., Ma C., Li C., Chefetz B., Polubesova T., Xin B. 2019. Maize (Zea maysL.) root exudates modify the surface chemistry of CuO nanoparticles: Altered aggregation, dissolution and toxicity. Sci. Tot. Environ., 690: 502-510.

Polubesova, T., S. Nir, O. Rabinovitz and B. Rubin. 2001Mepiquat-acetochlor formulations: Sorption and leaching. Applied Clay Sci., 18: 299-307.

El-Nahhal, Y., T. Undabeytia, T. Polubesova, Y. Mishael, S. Nir and B. Rubin. 2001Organo-clay formulations of pesticides : reduced leaching and photodegradation. Applied Clay Sci., 18: 309-326.

Polubesova, T., S. Nir, M. Borisover, Z. Gerstl and B. Rubin. 2001Formulations of the anionic herbicide imazaquin based on its sorption on crystal violet-montmorillonite complexes.BCPC Symposium Proc. "Pesticide behaviour in soils and water", 78, 65-70.

Nir, S., G. Rytwo, T. Polubesova, T. Undabeytia and C. Serban. 2001Adsorption of organic cations on clays: Experimental results and modeling. In: S. Yariv and H. Cross (eds.). Clay Complexes and Interactions., Marcel Dekker Publ. 193-222.

Polubesova, T., S. Nir, Z. Gerstl, M. Borisover and B. Rubin. 2002Imazaquin adsorbed on pillared clay and crystal violet-montmorillonite complexes for reduced leaching in soil. J. Environ. Qual., 31, 1657-1664.

Polubesova, T., S. Nir, O. Rabinovitz, M. Borisover and B. Rubin. 2003Sulfentrazone adsorbed on micelle-montmorillonite complexes for slow release in soil. J. Agri. Food Chem., 51, 3410-3414.

Polubesova, T., M. Epstein, S. Yariv, I. Lapides and S. Nir. 2004Adsorption of alizarinate organic micelle complexes on Na montmorillonite. Appl. Clay Sci., 24:177-183

Chefetz, B., Y.I. Bilkes and T. Polubesova. 2004Sorption-desorption behavior of triazine and phenylurea herbicides in Kishon river sediments. Water Research, 38: 4383-4394

Polubesova, T., S. Nir, D. Zadaka, O. Rabinovitz, C. Serban, L. Groisman and B. Rubin. 2005Water purification of organic pollutants by optimized micelle-clay systems. Environ. Sci. Techn., 39: 2343-2348.

Zadaka, D., T. Polubesova, Y. Mishael, A. Spitzy, H. Koeler, E.Wakshal, O. Rabinovitz and S. Nir. 2005Determination of release of organic cations from micelle-clay complexes and their re-adsorption in sand/clay columns. Applied Clay Science, 29:282-286.

Nir, S., Y. El-Nahhal, T. Undabeytia, G. Rytwo, T. Polubesova, Y. Mishael, O. Rabinovitz and B. Rubin. 2006Clays and Pesticides. In: Handbook of Clay Science. F. Bergaya, B.K.G. Theng and G. Lagaly (eds.) pp. 677-691. Elsevier Science Publisher.

Polubesova, T., D. Zadaka, L. Groisman and S. Nir. 2006Water remediation by micelle-clay system: Case study for tetracycline and sulfonamide antibiotics. Water Research 40:2369-2374.

Zadaka, D., Mishael, Y.G., Polubesova, T., Serban, C. and S. Nir. 2007, Modified silicates and porous glass as adsorbents for removal of organic pollutants from water and comparison with activated carbons. Appl. Clay Sci. 36:174-181.

Polubesova, T., Sherman-Nakache, M. and B. Chefetz. 2007Binding of pyrene to hydrophobic fractions of dissolved organic matter: Effect of polyvalent metal complexation. Environ. Sci. Technol. 41:5389-5394.

Polubesova, T., Chen, Y., Navon, R. and B. Chefetz. 2008Interactions of hydrophobic fractions of dissolved organic matter with Fe3+- and Cu2+-montmorillonite. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42:4797-4803.

Polubesova, T and B. Chefetz. 2008Sorption of herbicides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by Kishon River sediment. In: C. Dazzi and E. Costantini (eds.) The Soils of Tomorrow - Soils Changing in a Changing World. Advances in GeoEcology 39 Catena Verlag GMBH, pp. 443-455.

Polubesova,T. and M. Borisover. 2009Two components of chloride anion exclusion volume in montmorillonitic soils. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 347:175-179.

Polubesova, T., Y. Chen, C. Stefan, M. Selle, P. Werner and B. Chefetz. 2009Sorption of polyaromatic compounds by organic matter-coated Ca2+- and Fe3+-montmorillonite.Geoderma,154:36-41.

Polubesova, T., S. Eldad and B. Chefetz. 2010Adsorption and oxidative transformation of phenolic acids by Fe(III)-montmorillonite. Environ. Sci. Technol., 44:4203-4209.

Chefetz B., S. Eldad and T. Polubesova. 2011Interactions of aromatic acids with montmorillonite: Ca2+- and Fe 3+ -saturated clays versus Fe3+ - Ca2+-clay system.Geoderma 160: 608-613.

Olshansky Y., Polubesova T., Vetter W., Chefetz B. 2011Sorption-desorption behavior of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in soils. Environ. Poll. 159: 2375-2379.

Polubesova T. Chefetz B. 2013DOM-Affected Transformation of Contaminants on Mineral Surfaces: a Review. Critical Reviews in Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI: 10.1080/10643389.2012.710455.

Olshansky Y., Polubesova, T., Chefetz. B. 2014 Reconstitution of cutin monomers on smectite surfaces: Adsorption and esterification. Geoderma, 2014, 232–234:406–413.

Olshansky Y., Polubesova T. Chefetz B. 2015 Degradation of Plant Cuticles in Soils: Impact on Formation and Sorptive Ability of Humin–Mineral Matrices. Journ. Environ.Qual. 44:849-858.

Paz A., Tadmor G., Malchi T., Blotevogel J., Borch T., Polubesova T., Chefetz B. 2016Fate of carbamazepine, its metabolite, and lamotrigine in soils irrigated with reclaimed wastewater: Sorption, leaching and plant uptake. Chemosphere, 160: 22-29.

Chotzen, R. A., Polubesova, T., Chefetz B., Mishael, Y. G. 2016Adsorption of Soil-Derived Humic Acid by Seven Clay Minerals: A Systematic StudyClays and Clay Minerals 64:628-638.

Avneri-Katz S., Young R. B., McKenna A. M., Chen H., Corilo Y. E., Polubesova T., Borch T., Chefetz B. 2017Adsorptive fractionation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) by mineral soil: Macroscale approach and molecular insight. Organic Geochemistry, 103:113–124.

Young R. B., Avneri-Katz S.,  McKenna  A. M., Chen H., Bahureska W., Polubesova T., Chefetz B. and Borch T. 2018.  Composition-Dependent Sorptive Fractionation of Anthropogenic Dissolved Organic Matter by Fe(III)-Montmorillonite. Soil Syst. 2(1): 14.

Bhaduri B., Engel M., Polubesova T., Wub M., Xing B. 2018. Chefetz. B. Dual functionality of an Ag-Fe3O4-carbon nanotube composite material: Catalytic reduction and antibacterial activity. Journ. of Environ. Chem. Eng.  6: 4103–4113.

Wu W., Zhang R.,  McClements D. J., Chefetz B.,  Polubesova T., Xing B. 2018. Transformation and Speciation Analysis of Silver Nanoparticles of Dietary Supplement in Simulated Human Gastrointestinal Tract This: Environ. Sci. Technol. 52: 8792−8800.

Karpov M, Seiwert B. , Mordechay V.,  Reemtsma  T., Polubesova T., Chefetz B. 2018. Transformation of oxytetracycline by redox-active Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-containing minerals: Processes and mechanisms. Water Res. 145: 136-145.



Ongoing Research

DOM–affected behavior of manufactured nanoparticles in soil-plant system

Adsorption and transformation of organic contaminants by clays

Adsorption and transformation of inorganic oxyanions and organic anions by clays and oxides

Adsorption and transformation of dissolved organic matter by clays

Anion exclusion in soils

Clay-plant cuticular complexes as natural soil sorbents for organic pollutants

Behavior of pharmaceuticals in soils irrigated with reclaimed wastewater



M.Sc. Students

Michal Perelman (2020-) Removal of phenolic compounds by ferrihydrite and birnessite. (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)

Anna Benitez (2019- ) - Application of a granulated micelle-clay complex for removal from water (i) bacteria (ii) non-ionic herbicides: effects of organic cation loading on complex capacity of filtration and regeneration (Co-supervisor- Prof. Shlomo Nir)

Marina Karpov - Impact of organic mediators on the transformation of pollutants by minerals (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)

Dikla Zadaka - Water purification from organic pollutants. (Completed in August 2005)

Michal Sherman - Interactions of PAHs with dissolved organic matter. (Completed in December 2006)

Shai Eldad - Adsorption and transformation of organic contaminants by clays in the presence of dissolved organic matter. (co-supervisor - Prof. Benny Chefetz) (Completed in December 2009)

Galit Tadmor - Sorptive behavior of pharmaceutical compounds in soils irrigated with reclaimed wastewater. (co-supervisor - Prof. Benny Chefetz) (Completed in 2013)

Anat Paz - DOM-affected interactions of pharmaceuticals with soils (Co-superviser Prof. Benny Chefetz) (Completed in 2015)

Ph.D. Students


Andrei Jarashneli ( 2020-) Competitive transformation  of organic compounds by redox- active soil minerals (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)


Anju Parvathi Ayillyath (2019-)  - Fate of pollutants of emerging concern in soil: effect of anthropogenic and natural micropolymers (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)

Noam Kirshenbaum (2016-) - "Decomposition and transformation of organophosphate pesticides on plant surfaces" (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)

Shani Avneri (2013- ) - Adsorptive fractionation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) by soil and soil minerals: processes and environmental effects (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)

Yaniv Olshansky - Clay-plant biopolymer complexes as natural sorbents of organic pollutants.(co-supervisor - Prof. Benny Chefetz) (Completed in 2015)

Marina Karpov ( 2016-). Adsorption and transformation of organic contaminants by minerals. (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)

Postoctoral Researchers


Shani Avneri-Katz and Amanada Lounbury (2019-). Adsorption and transformation of dissolved organic matter by minerals. (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)


Catalin Stefan and Michael Selle (DAAD Scholarship program of the German Academic Exchange Service. German-Israeli Cooperation in Water Technology Research). Sorption of organic pollutants by natural sorbents (co-supervisors Prof. B. Chefetz and Prof. Y. Chen). 2007.

Bhaskar Bhaduri (2016-) DOM–affected behavior of manufactured nanoparticles in soil-plant system (Co-supervisor- Prof. Benny Chefetz)