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Zohre Kurt
Zohre Kurt

Assistant Professor
Middle East Technical University

She received her bachelor degrees in Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering from METU in 2006 and 2007, respectively. She continued her studies in Georgia Institute of Technology where she got masters in Environmental Engineering and Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering in 2008 and 2011 and completed my PhD in 2012. After working as a postdoctoral fellow followed by being a researcher in Georgia Tech, she joined Technical University of Panama, Florida State University in Panama. Currently she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering at Middle East Technical University while she is still doing research in FSU Urban Risk Center and Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology. Her work includes finding sustainable solutions to agricultural contamination, obtaining ways to determine the contamination in surface and subsurface, establishing biodegradation pathways and using biomolecular, bioinformatical, microbiological and biochemical techniques to establish decontamination techniques.


Sustainable Remediation of Pesticide Contamination in the Agricultural Fields

Pesticide application is inevitable when high yields of the crops are aimed. This practice causes contamination in the soil which also leaches to the groundwater underneath. Biodegradation in the vadose zone has been well studied and it was shown that most of the biodegradation activity was found at the capillary fringe. However, the effect of biodegradation in the capillary fringe to the soil and the groundwater itself was not well defined. This study tested the hypothesis that pesticide contamination can be eliminated drastically when contaminated groundwater was used for irrigation and appropriate organisms are present to degrade the contaminants at the capillary fringe. The results of this study indicated that using the contaminated water as the irrigation water could not only eliminate the pesticide contamination from the soil and from the groundwater but also could minimize the pesticide use without affecting the yield of the crop planted.

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