This community of practice tackles the ever-growing challenges of environmental stewardship and sustainability in the context of the water-soil-waste nexus.

Global trends of rapid urbanisation and climate change pose serious threats to sustainable development and sustainable resource management. The nexus approach recognises that water, soil and waste are inextricably intertwined and therefore integrated management of these environmental resources is necessary in order to achieve sustainable development in the face of these global trends. 

It is this need for an integrated approach that has propelled us to establish this community of practice for transdisciplinary research, within which knowledge is shared between researchers whose focus is on different nodes. This will facilitate and support a full nexus approach to our work in order to advance integrated and sustainable resource management. 

For more information, contact Professor Frederic Coulon:

Our focus areas

  • Aeromicrobiology;
  • Environmental biotechnology;
  • Environmental monitoring for sustainable energy systems (including bioenergy, shale gas and CCS);
  • Industrial ecology;
  • Environmental pollution and remediation risk management;
  • Water-soil-waste systemengineering and modelling;
  • Resource recovery and circular economy.
  • Advanced Sensors: Our research programme focuses on the development, design and fabrication of novel sensors for the Water-Environment-Health nexus that enable rapid and on-site testing.
    • Environmental sensing and microfluidics
    • Water quality and source tracking
    • Wastewater-based Epidemiology
    • Point-of-care diagnosis

Analytical expertise

Analytical expertise Examples of techniques
Volatile organic compounds
(microbial VOCs and VOCs)
Detection and quantification
Teenax, Tedlar bags, wind tunnel, thermal desorption-gas
chromatography mass spectrometry
(TD-GC-MS), selected-ion flow-tube
mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS)
Gas sensors Optical and quartz crystal microbalance / node wireless sensor network
Extractions Ultrasonic, Soxhlet, solid phase extraction, accelerated solvent extraction,
microwave-assisted solvent extraction (MSE)
Inorganic analytical techniques Atomic absorbtion spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy, ion chromatography
Organic analytical techniques Gas/liquid chromatography coupled to mass
spectrometry (GCMS and LCMS), gas
chromatography with flame-ionization 
detection (GC-FID), HPLC (high performance
liquid chromatography), gas chromatography
with electron capture detection (GC-ECD)
Microbial ecology and toxicology PLFA/PLEL profiling, Q-PCR, next-gen
sequencing (NGS), flow cytometry, biosensors,
seed germination, earthworm survival, 
catabolic profiling, respiration
Modelling Fugacity, GoldSim Monte Carlo Simulation
, COMSOL Multiphysics® Modeling
Pilot hall/wasterwater treatment plant
and 8m3 anaerobic digester plant
Gas testing, media beds, MBRs, ponds, upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB),
feedstock biodegradation, biomethane potential,
fate and transport of chemicals in genuine effluents, gas cleanup
Remediation pilot trial Biopiles, turn windrows, mesocosms, bioreactors

Recent publications

Prabhu A., Thomas D.J., Ledesma-Amaro R., Leeke G.A., Medina Vaya A., Verheecke-Vaessen, Coulon F., Agrawal D., Kumar V. 2020. Biovalorisation of crude glycerol and xylose into xylitol by oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Microbial Cell Factories. 19:121-139

Mehta N., Cipullo S., Cocerva T., Coulon F., Dino G.A., Ajmone-Marsan F., Padoan E., Cox S.F., Cave M.R., De Luca D.A. 2020. Incorporating oral bioaccessibility into human health risk assessment due to potentially toxic elements in extractive waste and contaminated soils from an abandoned mine site. Chemosphere. 255: 126927

Fawcett-Hirst W., Temple T.J., Ladyman M.K., Coulon F. 2020. Adsorption behaviour of 1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5,-triazine, 2,4-dinitroanisole and 3-nitro-1,2,4-triazol-5-one on commercial activated carbons. Chemosphere. 255: 126848

Chi H., Hou Y., Li G., Zhang Y. Coulon F., Cai C. 2020. In vitro model insights into the role of human gut microbiota on arsenic bioaccessibility and its speciation in soils. Environmental Pollution. 263, 114580

Tian J-H., Yan C., Nasir Z.A., Garcia-Alcega S., Tyrrel S., Coulon F. 2020. Real time detection and characterisation of bioaerosol emissions from wastewater treatment plants. Science of the Total Environment. 721: 137629

Garcia-Alcega S., Nasir Z.A., Cipullo S., Ferguson R., Yan C., Whitby C., Dumbrell A.J., Drew G., Colbeck I., Tyrrel S., Coulon F. 2020. Fingerprinting ambient air to understand bioaerosol profiles in three different environments in the South East of England. Science of the Total Environment. 719: 137542

Fan J., Cai C., Reid B.J., Coulon F., Zhang Y., Hou Y. 2020. Remediation of cadmium and lead polluted soil using thiol-modified biochar. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 388: 1222037

Freeman D., Bajon Fernandez Y., Wilson A., McKew B.A., Whitby C., Clark D., Jefferson B., Coulon F., Hassard F. 2019. Nitrogen oxidation consortia dynamics influence the performance of full-scale rotating biological contactors. Environment International. 135: 105354

Bortone I., Labianca C., Todaro F., De Gisi S., Coulon F., Notarnicola M. 2020. Experimental investigations and numerical modelling of in-situ reactive caps for PAH contaminated marine sediments. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 387: 121724

Hassard F., Biddle J., Cartmell E., Stephenson T., Coulon F. 2020. Biosolids recycling impact on biofilm extracellular enzyme activity and performance of hybrid rotating biological reactors. Science of the Total Environment. 706: 135865

Khomenko O., Dotro G., Jefferson B., Coulon F., Bajon Fernandez Y. 2019. Influence of sludge layer properties on the hydraulic behaviour of gravel-based vertical flow constructed wetlands for primary treatment of sewage. Science of the Total Environment 691: 1137-1143

Campo P, Holmes A., Coulon F. 2019. A method for the characterisation of microplastics in sludge. MethodsX. 6: 2776-2781

Ferguson R.M.W., Garcia-Alcega S., Coulon F., Dumbrell A.J., Whitby C., Colbeck I. 2019. Bioaerosol biomonitoring: Sampling optimization for molecular microbial ecology. Molecular Ecology Resources. 19: 672-690

Pulleyblank C., Cipullo S., Campo P., Kelleher B., Coulon F. 2019. Analytical progress and challenges for the detection of oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons degradation products in aqueous and soil environmental matrices: A review. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and technology. 49:5, 357-409

Wagland S.T., Coulon F., Canopoli L. 2019. Developing the case for enhanced landfill mining in the UK. Detritus, 5: 105-110