Nothing stops the P-TRAP researchers!

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic. We are safe at home and we have not stopped working. Understanding the dynamics and  how to trap and reuse Phosphorus is our passion!

After more than 3 weeks of working from home in some cases and of lockdown in others, we got used to the “new normal”, wearing sleepers to work, many video call meetings with Microsoft Team, Skype, Zoom. So many new software around to get used to! and very flexible working spaces. On this blog, we share a picture of our “new working places” and a small message from each of us with what we have been up to these days.

Ville Nenonen

Ville is back in Finland, as EWAG is physically closed. The good side is he has now more time to be close to family and friends

“I am using R to plot Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) data from my laboratory experiment with solutions containing iron, calcium, and organic compounds. FTIR gives me information on what kind of precipitates are forming in the solution. More specifically; what kind of bonds are forming between iron, calcium, phosphate, and organic carbon.’”

Tolulope Ayeyemi

Tolulope just moved to her new room in Sevilla, there’s still a lot out there to explore once the crisis is over, hopefully very soon!

“I am reading papers on other slow release and low soluble P fertilizers such as struvite to understand their solubility in different environments and soils. The plan is to write a review paper with Rochelle and Lordina and we have started an interesting conversation on this already.”

Rouven Metz

Is the university closed? I am still pretending to be in the lab! And otherwise I am taking online courses, reading papers and preparing a review!




Rochelle Joie Saracanlao

Rochelle is in Leuven and can access her plants!

“I am reading on phosphorus diffusion from fertilizers in anaerobic soils, as the mechanisms in paddy soils are not well understood compared to aerobic conditions. I plan to model the P diffusion later. Still so much to go!”

Karel Sikke As

Karel was in the Netherlands, as the virus outbreak got him in the middle of his secondment at Utrecht University, the good part is that he is a local!

“I am now working on a diagenetic model to quantify the effectiveness of iron addition in phosphorus trapping in lake sediment. Also, reading literature on iron addition and sediment incubation of cores. This knowledge is very useful to understand the processes in the sediment cores taken from my fieldwork site! To predict the effectiveness of iron addition and to later calibrate the model in iron addition experiments.”

Lordina Ekua Eshun

Lordina has luckily fully recovered from her cold, she is working from Manchester.

“I am reading and writing towards Milestone 10 and reading papers on Fe-P fertilizers. I am also taking two online courses on EXAFS and PHREEQC!  I will use these two models later in my project during data analysis. During this time I will write a review paper in collaboration with Rochelle and Tolulope.”

Mingkai Ma

Mingkai is in quarantine Shanghai before visiting his family.

“I just finished an online meeting with other ESRs. Since I am a teacher assistant for the course “Minerals and magmas”, I am now discussing with the main lecturer the questions and answers for their exam! Shortly after this, I will have a meeting about learning MINEQL with my supervisor and a Utrecht University bachelor student. Learning MINEQL is very useful and interesting, Utrecht and Bayreuth Universities are looking for possible collaboration and further thermodynamic calculations for my part requires knowledge about MINEQL!

Melanie Münch

Melanie enjoys her new office on the balcony!

“I am diving into modeling and reactivating my R knowledge. I want to develop a diagenetic model of my lake sediment. This will help to gain some insight into the influence of Fe addition on the P dynamics and to constrain key factors in the Fe-P interaction in the sediments. We will validate the model as soon as we can go out again to collect data.”

Oleksandr Bolielyi

“I just finished with the kinetic experiments with iron sludges towards P removal, I will continue evaluating and compiling data and searching and reading literature dedicated to agglomeration techniques. I am planning to write a short report about the data obtained and a literature review for the most challenging part of ESR’s 4 research. Lots of work ahead!”

Xingyu Liu

Xingyu recently moved to Bayreuth and looking forward to meeting all the P-TRAP fellows!

“I am learning how to visualize my data with Python. I will try to understand the dynamics of Phosphorus with varying hydrological und geochemical conditions. And I will go on fieldwork this Thursday! Really looking forward to it!”


Victoria Barcala

Victoria has taking samples last Friday, fieldwork is still going strong!

“I am planning fieldwork and collaborating with a Deltares colleague to write a paper on phosphorus balance and the role of legacy phosphorus in the soil in a cattle farm in the Netherlands, the same you see in the picture! P-TRAP measures will be implemented on this farm this year, understanding the P transport is crucial to assess the effectiveness of measures.”


Thanks for reading! As you can see, we are all doing our best to keep the research going!

Cheers and see you on our next post!