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Melanie Kah

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Senior Lecturer


I graduated with a MSc in Agronomy and Soil Sciences from the University of Nancy (ENSAIA, France), before completing my PhD on the fate of ionisable pesticides in soils at the University of York (UK). I was then recruited by the UK Food and Environmental Research Agency (FERA) where I assessed the exposure and hazard of a wide range of contaminants within projects commissioned by government and industry. In 2009, I joined the University of Vienna (Austria) where I developed projects looking at the interactions between contaminants and natural/engineered nanoparticles. I was invited as a Distinguished Visiting Scientist for a year at the CSIRO in Adelaide (Australia), before joining the School of Environment of the University of Auckland in 2019.

Research | Current

My research is focused on the release, fate, effects and remediation of contaminants in the environment. I have worked with the whole spectrum of substances that are released as a result of human activities including pesticides, polymers, PAHs, PFASs, pharmaceuticals, metals and nanoparticles.

Projects can involve desk-based, laboratory and field experiments, and aim at generating solid scientific bases to improve the management of our environment. I am particularly interested in elucidating the processes occurring at solid interfaces (e.g. sorption, degradation, uptake by organisms), and understand how they are influenced by environmental factors and the contaminant properties. My recent research on the ecological risk assessment of nanopesticides is a good illustration of the multidisciplinary approach applied in my group over the last years.

My updated publication list is available on Google scholar (here).

Teaching | Current






Postgraduate supervision

A number of funding sources are available to support PhD students. Please get in touch with Melanie to discuss your application.

  • If you are an Australian or New Zealand student with an excellent GPA, you should be eligible for a scholarship.
  • If you are from outside Australia/NZ, have an oustanding academic record and good English skills, we can look into possibilities to organise a scholarship for you.
  • If your country has a scholarship program then please contact Melanie to see if we are able to support an application.
  • There is currently an exciting opportunity to join a project on the application of nanotechnogy in Wine Growing. More information are available here. If you are interested and have the right profile, we would like to hear from you. Please send me your CV (2 page max) and a description of your motivations and research interests (1 page max). 

Areas of expertise

Contaminants; Exposure, hazard and risk assessment; sorption; degradation; ionisable compounds; biochar; soil; pesticide; PFAS; carbon nanotubes; remediation;

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Li, L., Xu, Z., Kah, M., Lin, D., & Filser, J. (2019). Nanopesticides: A Comprehensive Assessment of Environmental Risk Is Needed before Widespread Agricultural Application. Environmental science & technology, 53 (14), 7923-7924. 10.1021/acs.est.9b03146
  • Kah, M., Tufenkji, N., & White, J. C. (2019). Nano-enabled strategies to enhance crop nutrition and protection. Nature nanotechnology, 14 (6), 532-540. 10.1038/s41565-019-0439-5
  • Neves, J., Cardoso, D. N., Malheiro, C., Kah, M., Soares, A. M. V. M., Wrona, F. J., & Loureiro, S. (2019). Copper toxicity to Folsomia candida in different soils: A comparison between nano and conventional formulations. Environmental Chemistry10.1071/EN19061
  • Fojtová D, Vašíčková J, Grillo, R., Bílková Z, Šimek Z, Neuwirthová N, ... Hofman, J. (2019). Nanoformulations can significantly affect pesticide degradation and uptake by earthworms and plants. Environmental Chemistry10.1071/EN19057
  • Kah, M., Navarro, D., Kookana, R. S., Kirby, J. K., Santra, S., Ozcan, A., & Kabiri, S. (2019). Impact of (nano)formulations on the distribution and wash-off of copper pesticides and fertilisers applied on citrus leaves. Environmental Chemistry10.1071/EN18279
  • Kah, M., Kookana, R. S., Gogos, A., & Bucheli, T. D. (2018). A critical evaluation of nanopesticides and nanofertilizers against their conventional analogues. Nature nanotechnology, 13 (8), 677-684. 10.1038/s41565-018-0131-1
  • Walker, G. W., Kookana, R. S., Smith, N. E., Kah, M., Doolette, C. L., Reeves, P. T., ... Navarro, D. A. (2018). Ecological Risk Assessment of Nano-enabled Pesticides: A Perspective on Problem Formulation. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 66 (26), 6480-6486. 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b02373
  • Kah, M., Walch, H., & Hofmann, T. (2018). Environmental fate of nanopesticides: durability, sorption and photodegradation of nanoformulated clothianidin. Environmental science. Nano, 5 (4), 882-889. 10.1039/c8en00038g

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 4, Room 471
New Zealand