About Associate Professor Balwant Singh

My research passion is to find a sustainable and cost-effective solution to remediate soils contaminated with trace elements (so-called heavy metals).

More specifically the research focuses on trace element substitution in iron oxides, reaction mechanisms of trace elements on soil minerals and remediation of contaminated soils using plants (phyto-remediation) and other ameliorants (e.g. iron oxides). We employ state of the art techniques including synchrotron based XAFS, XRD and XRF in many of our research projects.

Balwant Singh did his BSc (Hons) Agr and MSc Agr from Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar (India).  He completed his PhD in Soil Science in 1991 from The University of Western Australia.  After completing his PhD and a two-year stint as an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Soil Science, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, he was a Lecturer in Soil Mineralogy at the University of Reading, UK for 5 years.  He joined the University of Sydney in 1998 as a lecturer.  He is currently Associate Professor in Soil Chemistry in the Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources. Balwant is Chair of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Australian Journal of Soil Science. He also chairs the sub-committee EV009-2 (Analysis of Soil) of Standards Australia. Balwant has supervised 11 completed PhD students, and several Masters and honours students. He has published more than 100 refereed publications in international journals.

Selected publications

  • Gräfe, M, Beattie, D.A., Smith, E., Skinner, W.M. and Singh, Balwant (2008). Copper and arsenate co-sorption at the mineral–water interfaces of goethite and jarosite. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 322, 399–413.
  • Kachenko, A.G., Singh, Balwant, Bhatia, N.P., and Siegele, R. (2008).  Quantitative elemental localisation in leaves and stems of nickel hyperaccumulating shrub Hybanthus floribundus subsp. Floribundus using micro-PIXE spectroscopy. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research B 266, 667–676.
  • Kachenko A G, Bhatia N P, Singh B and Siegele R (2007). Arsenic hyperaccumulation and localization in the pinnule and stipe tissues of the gold-dust fern (Pityrogramma calomelanos (L.) Link var. austroamericana (Domin) Farw.) using quantitative micro-PIXE spectroscopy. Plant and Soil 300, 207-219.
  • Markus Gräfe, Balwant Singh and M. Balasubramaniam (2007). Surface speciation of Cd(II) and Pb(II) on kaolinite by XAFS spectroscopy. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 315, 21–32.
  • Kachenko, A.G., Singh, Balwant and Bhatia, N.P. (2007). Heavy metal tolerance in common fern species. Australian Journal of Botany 55, 63–73.
  • Mustafa, G., Kookana, R.S., and Singh, Balwant (2006). Desorption of cadmium from goethite: effect of pH, temperature and aging. Chemosphere 64, 856-865.
  • Kachenko, A.G. and Singh, Balwant (2006). Heavy metals contamination in vegetables grown in urban and metal smelter contaminated sites in Australia. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 169, 101-123.
  • Pirie, A., Singh, B. and Islam, K. (2005).  Ultra-violet, visible, near-infrared and mid-infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopic techniques to predict several soil properties. Australian Journal of Soil Research 43, 713-721.
  • Srivastava, P., Singh, B. and Angove, M. (2005). Competitive adsorption behavior of heavy metals on kaolinite.  Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 290, 28-38.
  • Nursita, A.I., Singh, Balwant and Lees, E. (2005). The effects of cadmium, copper, lead and zinc on the growth and reproduction of Prisotoma minuta Tullberg (Collembola). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 60, 306-314.