Building with Tel-Hai logo

faculty member

  • Prof. Iggy Litaor
  • Full Professor
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Water Sciences M.SC
  • +972(0)546780076
  • [email protected]
  • Geology, Geophysics, Planetary Sciences.

    My main research activities are: (1) The design, testing and implementation of constructed wetland for the treatment of organic-rich effluents such as wineries & olive mill wastewaters. We developed a new design of mobile vertical-flow constructed wetland to reduce COD, N & P concentrations to levels allowed for reuse as irrigation waters; (2) Factors and processes of salinity in altered wetland soils. This study involves a detailed characterization of water flow and salinity dynamics in the altered wetland soils; (3) Phosphorus capture, recycling and utilization for sustainable agriculture and a clean environment using iron desalinization treatment residuals (Fe-DTR). This innovative idea combines refuge from desalinization plants with cowsheds wastewaters to produce an alternative P fertilizer following circular economy guidelines;  (4) The Impact of ornithogenic inputs on phosphorous transport from altered wetland soils to waterways in East Mediterranean ecosystem. This study evaluates the impact of > 50,000 wintering Eurasian Grus on the Agmon Hula ecosystem, and (5) Using electromagnetic induction (EMI) to evaluate soil heterogeneity. The EMI technique provides an excellent platform to quantify soil heterogeneity and from this ancillary data to derive stationary prescription maps for precision irrigation.

  • I am the head of the Hydro-geochemistry lab in MIGAL located in Tel Hai industrial park. I have been involved in research of soil & water and snow dynamics in the Colorado Front Range since 1981 to present. Between 1990 and 1996 I studied the fate and transport of radionuclides (Pu, Am & U) around a nuclear facility and their potential influence on residential areas around the site. Since 1996 I have been conducting research on the hydro-geochemistry of P in wetlands and in altered wetland soils. The studies encompass the assessment of the mineralogy, sorption-desorption mechanisms, fate and transport in highly fractured peat environs, development of P recycling technologies, and the impact of various land use and land use change on P transport to waterways. More recently, I have developed & evaluated aerated cells technology for the treatment of organic-laden wastewater. I also involve in the study of salinity processes in altered wetland soils, the influence of compost and zeolites additions on K availability in selected crops and the usage of proximal soil survey techniques to assess the spatiotemporal variability and availability of water and nutrients. Finally, I am studying the ornitogenic impact on soils and constructed wetlands in highly intensive farming setting.

    Research in the last six years:

    1. 2021 – 2024. Fertigation experiment in a new re-afforestation initiative using mixed native tree species in Gilbow Mountain, Israel. JNF, 600,000 NIS (PI).
    2. 2021 – 2023. Making alternative phosphate fertilizer using Fe-DTR and agro-industrial effluents. Israel Innovation Authority – NOFAR program,1.2 million NIS (PI).
    3. 2020 – 2023. SOILdarity - Stepping up and bringing out the scientific excellence and innovation capacity in soil Research of the University of Lisbon. H2020 (PI), 220312 EU.
    4. 2020 – 2023. The impact of irrigation with Lake Kinneret water on the soil health of Hula Valley. Israel Water Authority – Research Project (PI), 360,000 NIS.
    5. 2020 – 2023. Integrated Solution Systems Development for Precision Irrigation and Fertilizer Management. BARD – Research Project (PI), IS-5221-19, $310,000.
    6. 2017 – 2018. Model of Precision Agriculture – Development of Integrative System for the quantification of spatial soil fertility. MIGAL, 170,000 NIS.
    7. 2016 – 2020. Bridging the Gap for Innovations in Disaster Resilience – BRIGAID. Horizon 2020 (PI), EU 395000.
    8. 2016 – 2018. Co-addition of zeolites and compost for improvement of soil quality and fertility and crop yield by increasing K availability. Ministry of Agriculture (PI), 420,000 NIS.
    9. 2015 – 2018. Phosphorus capture and recycling and utilization for sustainable agriculture using Al/organic composite water treatment residuals. BARD – Research Project IS-4870-15 R (PI), $295,000.
  • Present
    Introduction to Soil and Water Sciences
    Introduction to Environmental Sciences
    Treatment wetlands (graduate level)

    Introduction to geohydrology
    Introduction to geology

    1. Andrews, J.T., P.W. Birkeland, J. Harbor, N. Dellamonte, M.I. Litaor, R. Kihl. 1985. Holocene sediment record, Blue Lake, Colorado Front Range. Symposium on climate and paleoclimate of lakes, Rivers and Glaciers, Innsbruck. Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde und Glazialgeologie 21:25-34.
    2. Litaor, M.I., 1987. The influence of eolian dust on the genesis of alpine soils in the Front Range, Colorado. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. Jour. 51(1):142 147.
    3. Litaor, M.I., 1987. Aluminum chemistry: fractionation, speciation, and mineral equilibria of soil interstitial waters of an alpine watershed, Front Range, Colorado. Geochem. et Cosmochim. Acta. 51:1285 1295.
    4. Litaor, M.I., 1988. Reply to "Comments on 'The influence of eolian dust on alpine soils'". Soil  Soc. Am. Jour. 52:301-302.
    5. Litaor, M.I., 1988. Soil solution chemistry in an alpine watershed, Front Range, Colorado, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Res. 20:485-491.
    6. Litaor, M.I., 1988. Review of Soil solution samplers. Water Resour. Res. 24:727-733.
    7. Litaor, M.I. and Thurman, E.M., 1988. Acid neutralizing capacity in an alpine watershed, Front Range, Colorado I. The chemistry of dissolved organic carbon. Applied Geochemistry. 3:645-652.
    8. Litaor, M.I. Dan, Y. and Koyumdjisky, H., 1989. Factor analysis of a lithosequence in Northeastern Samaria Steppe, Israel. Geoderma. 44:1-15.
    9. Litaor, M.I. and Keigley, R. 1991. Geochemical Equilibria of iron in sediments of the Roaring River Alluvial Fan, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 16:533-546.
    10. Litaor, M.I. 1992. Aluminum mobility along a geochemical catena in an alpine watershed, Front Range, Colorado. Catena. 19:1-16.
    11. Litaor, M.I. 1993. The physicochemistry of major, minor, and trace elements in streams and soil interstitial waters of the Green Lakes Valley, Front Range, Colorado. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 18:489-504.
    12. Litaor, M.I., M. L. Thompson, G. R. Barth, and P.C. Molzer. 1994. Plutonium-239+240 and Americium-241 in Soils East of Rocky Flats, Colorado. Jour. Environ. Qual. 23:1231-1239.
    13. Litaor, M.I., D. Ellerbroek, L. Allen, Erika Dovala. 1995. A Comprehensive Appraisal of Plutonium-239+240 in Soils of Colorado. Health Physics. 69:923-935.
    14. Litaor, M.I. 1995. Spatial analysis of Pu-239+240 and Am-241 in soil around Rocky Flats, Colorado Plant. Jour. Environ. Qual. 24:506-516.
    15. Litaor, M.I. 1995. Uranium isotopes Distribution in soils at the Rocky Flats Plant, Colorado.Jour. Environ. Qual. 24:314-323.
    16. Litaor, M.I. and S. Ibrahim. 1996. Plutonium association with selected solid phases in soils of Rocky Flats, Colorado using sequential extraction technique. Environ. Qual. 25: 1144-1152.
    17. Litaor, M.I., G.R. Barth, E.M. Zika. 1996. Fate and transport of actinides in soils of Rocky Flats, Colorado. Environ. Qual. 25: 671-683.
    18. Litaor, M.I., and Allen. A. 1996. Comprehensive Appraisal of Am-241 in Soils of Colorado. Health Physics. 70:1213-1223.
    19. Litaor, M.I., Mancinelli, R., Halfpenny, J. 1996. The influence of Pocket Gophers on the status of nutrients in alpine soils. Geoderma.70:37-48.
    20. Litaor, M.I. 1997. Reply to a comment: Plutonium Association with Selected Phases in Soils of Rocky Flats, Colorado Using sequential Extraction Techniques. Jour. Environ. Qual. 26:776-777.
    21. Litaor, M.I., G.R. Barth, E.M. Zika, G. Litus, J. Moffitt, and H. Daniels. 1998. The behavior of radionuclides in the soils of Rocky Flats, Colorado. Jour. Environ. Radio. 38(1): 17-46.
    22. Ryan J.N., T.H. Illangasekare, M.I. Litaor, and R. Shannon. 1998. Particle and plutonium mobilization in a macroporous soil during rainfall simulations. Environ. Sci. Tech. 32: 476-482.
    23. Litaor I., 1999. Plutonium loading on soils of residential areas and open space adjacent to Rocky Flats, Colorado. Health Physics. 76:171-179.
    24. Litaor, M. I., Seastedt, T.R., and D.A. Walker. 2002. Spatial Analysis of Selected Soil Attributes across an Alpine Topographic/Snow Gradient. Landscape Ecology. 17:71-85.
    25. Otabbong, E., P Leinweber, A Schlichting, R Meissner, M Shenker, M.I. Litaor, A. Sapek, S Robinson, A. Nidermeier, H Hacin and J. R Otabbong. 2003. Comparison of Ammonium Lactate, Sodium Bicarbonate and Double Calcium Lactate Methods for Extraction of Phosphorus from Wetland Peat Soils. Acta Agriculturea Scandinavca, Section B 54, pages 9-13.
    26. Litaor, M. I., Reichmann, O., Belzer, M., Auerswald K., Nishri, A., and M. Shenker. 2003. Spatial Analysis of Phosphorus Sorption Capacity in a Semi-Arid Altered Wetland. Jour. Environ. Qual. 32:335-343.
    27. Shore, L.S., O. Reichmann, M. Shemesh, A. Wenzel and M. I. Litaor. 2004. Washout of accumulated testosterone in a watershed. Science of the Total Environment. 332:193-202.
    28. Litaor, M.I., O. Reichmann, K. Auerswald, M. Shenker. 2004. The Geochemistry of Phosphorus in an altered Wetland. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 68:2078-2085.
    29. Litaor, M.I., Reichmann, O. Haim, A. Auerswald, K. Shenker, M. Sorption Characteristics of Phosphorus in Peat Soils of a Semi-Arid Altered Wetland. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 69:1658-1665.
    30. Litaor, M. I., R. Seastedt, M.D. Walker, M. Carbone, and A.  Townsend. 2005. The Biogeochemistry of Phosphorus in Alpine Soils. Geoderma 124:49-61.
    31. Shenker, M., Seitelbach, S., Brand, S., Haim, A. & Litaor, M. I. 2005. Redox reactions and phosphorus release in re-flooded soils of an altered wetland. European Journal of Soil Science 56: 515-525.
    32. Litaor, M. I., G. Eshel, O. Reichmann, M. Shenker Hydrological control of Phosphorus mobility in altered wetland soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am J. 70:1975-1982.
    33. Meissner, R., P. Leinweber, H. Rupp, M. Shenker, M.I. Litaor, S. Robinson and A. Schlichting. 2007. Mitigation of diffuse phosphorus pollution during rewetting of fen peat soils: A trans-European case study. Water, Air and Soil DOI 10.1007/s11270-007-9528-4
    34. Brand-Klibanski, S., M. I. Litaor and M. Shenker. 2007. Overestimation of Phosphorus Adsorption Capacity in Reduced Soils: An Artifact of Typical Batch Adsorption Experiments. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 71:1128-1136, doi:10.2136/sssaj2006.0222
    35. Litaor, M. I., G. Eshel, R. Sade, A. Rimmer, M. Shenker. 2008. Hydrogeological characterization of an altered wetland. Journal of Hydrology, 349: 333– 349. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2007.11.007.
    36. Litaor, M. I., M. Williams, and T. R. Seastedt. 2008. Topographic controls on snow distribution, soil moisture, and species diversity of herbaceous alpine vegetation, Niwot Ridge, Colorado, J. Geophys. Res., 113, G02008, doi:10.1029/2007JG000419.
    37. Litaor, M. I., T.R. Seastedt, L.C. Sackett. 2008. Analysis of the Nutrient Status in Alpine Soils of the Colorado Front Range Using the N:P Ratio Index. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 72:1628-1636, DOI: 10.2136/sssaj2006.0434.
    38. Sade, R., Litaor, M.I., Shenker M. 2010. Evaluation of groundwater and phosphorus transport in fractured altered wetland soils. J Hydrology, 393: 133–142.
    39. Litaor, M.I., H. Brielmann, O. Reichmann, M. Shenker, 2010. Hydrochemical  Analysis of Groundwater Using Tree-Based Model, J Hydrology, 387:273–282.
    40. Schoumans, O., W.J. Chardon, M. Bechmann, C. Gascuel-Odoux, G. Hofman, B. Kronvang, M.I. Litaor, A. Lo Porto, P. Newwell-Price and G. Rubaek. 2011. Overview and evaluation of mitigation options for reducing nutrient emission from agriculture to groundwater and surface water. A Study amongst European Members States of EC-COST Action 869. Alterra Report 2141 ISSN 1566-7197.
    41. Viviroli, D., D. R. Archer, W. Buytaert, H. J. Fowler, G. B. Greenwood, A. F. Hamlet, Y. Huang, G. Koboltschnig, M. I. Litaor, J. I. López-Moreno, S. Lorentz, B. Schädler, H. Schreier, K. Schwaiger, M. Vuille, and R. Woods. 2011. Climate change and mountain water resources: overview and recommendations for research, management and policy. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 15, 471-504.
    42. Sade, R. A. Rimmer, M. Litaor & A. Forman. 2011. The sensitivity of snow-surface temperature equation to sloped terrain. J. Hydrology, 408: 308-313.
    43. Litaor, M.I., O. Reichmann, and M. Shenker. 2011. Genesis, classification and human modification of peat and mineral-organic soils, Hula Valley, Israel. Mires and Peat, 9:1-9.
    44. Barnea, I., M. I. Litaor & M. Shenker, 2012. Evaluation of phosphorus management practices in East Mediterranean altered wetland soils. Soil Use & Management 28:35-44.
    45. Shemchaiov, R. M. I. Litaor & M. Shenker. 2012. The catastrophic dieback of Cyperus papyrus in an East Mediterranean altered wetland: Critical examination of hydrogeochemical models. Mires and Peat Research,9:1-12.
    46. Haygarth, P.M., A. Delgado, W.J. Chardon, M. I. Litaor, F. Gil-Soters, and J. Torrent. 2013. Phosphorous in soils and its transfer to water: from fine-scale soil processes to models and solutions in landscapes and catchments. 29:1-4.
    47. Litaor, M. I., I. Chash, I. Barnea, & M. Shenker. 2013. Assessment of Phosphorus Fertilizing Practices in Altered Wetland Soils Using Uncertainty Analysis, Soil Use Management altered wetland soils. 29:55-64.
    48. Reichmann, , Y. Chen, and M. Iggy Litaor. 2013. Spatial Model Assessment of P Transport from Soils to Waterways in an Eastern Mediterranean Watershed. Water, 5:262-279.
    49. Mizrahi, A. and M. Iggy Litaor. 2013. The kinetics of the removal of organic pollutants from drinking water by a novel plasma-based advanced oxidation technology. Desalination and water treatment. Doi:10.1080/19443994.2013.808392.
    50. Simhayov, R., M. Iggy Litaor, I. Barnea and M. Shenker. 2013. Catastrophic Dieback of Cyperus Papyrus in Response to Geochemical Changes in an East Mediterranean Altered Wetland. Wetlands, 33:747-758.
    51. Litaor , M.I., Reichman, O, E. Denta, A. Naftali and M. Shenker. 2014. The Impact of ornithogenic inputs on phosphorous transport from altered wetland soils to waterways in East Mediterranean ecosystem. Science of the Total Environment, 473-474: 36-42.
    52. Sade, R., A. Rimmer, M. I. Litaor, E. Shamir, A. Furman. 2014. Snow surface energy and mass balance in a warm temperate climate mountain. J. Hydrology. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2014.07.048.
    53. Litaor,I., N. Meir-Dinar, B. Castro, H. Azaizeh, G. Rytwo, N. Levi, M. Levi and U. MarChaim 2015. Treatment of Winery Wastewater with Aerated Cells Mobile System. Environ. Nanotech. Monitoring & Management, 4:17-26.
    54. Litaor, M.I., I. Barnea, O. Reichmann and I. Zohar. 2016. Evaluation of the ornithogenic influence on the trophic state of East Mediterranean wetland ecosystem using trend analysis. Science of the Total Environment 539:231–240.
    55. Reichman, O. Chen, Y. and M. I. Litaor. 2016. The Impact of Rainfall-Runoff Events on the Water Quality of the Upper Catchment of the Jordan River, Israel. "Integrated Water Resources Management: Concept, Research and Implementation. Borchardt et al. (EDs). Springer, NY, p. 129-146.
    56. Zohar, I. J. Ippolito, M. S. Massey, M.I. Litaor. 2017.  Innovative approach for Recycling Phosphorous from Agro-Wastewaters Using Water Treatment Residuals (WTR). Chemoshpere, 168: 234-243.
    57. Litaor, M.I., L. Katz and M. Shenker. 2017. The influence of compost and zeolites co-addition on the nutrients status and plant growth in intensively cultivated Mediterranean soils. Soil Use and Management, 33: 72-80.
    58. LitaorI. and N. Kadyha. 2018. The impact of olive mill wastewater spreading on soils using an integrated approach of proximal soil survey, spatial and multivariate analyses. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25:7469-7478. DOI: 10.1007/s11356-017-1062-3
    59. Zohar, I., M. S. Massey, J.A. Ippolito, and M. I. Litaor. 2018. Phosphorus Sorption Characteristics in Aluminum-Based Water Treatment Residuals Reacted with Dairy Wastewater, Part I: Isotherms, XRD, and SEM-EDS Analysis  Journal Environmental Quality. doi:10.2134/jeq2017.10.0405
    60. Massey, M.S., I. Zohar, J.A. Ippolito, and M.I. Litaor. 2018. Phosphorus sorption to aluminum-based water treatment residuals reacted with dairy wastewa­ter, Part II: X-ray adsorption spectroscopy. Journal Environmental. Quality. doi:10.2134/ jeq2017.10.0407 .
    61. Litaor, M.I., K. Suding, S.P. Anderson, G. Litus, N. Caine. 2018. Trend Analysis of Alpine Catena Response to Nitrogen Deposition. Catena. 170:108-118.
    62. Litaor, I., S. Schechter, I. Zohar, M.S. Massey, J. A. Ippolito. 2019. Making Phosphorus Fertilizer from Dairy Wastewater with Al Water Treatment Residuals. Soil Science Society of America Journal. doi:10.2136/sssaj2018.07.0278
    63. Israeli, A., Emmerich, M., Litaor, M., Shir, O.M. 2019. Statistical Learning in Soil Sampling Design Aided by Pareto Optimization. In: Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO-2019, New York, NY, USA, ACM Press.
    64. Crawford, J.T., Eve-Lyn S. Hinckley, M. Iggy Litaor , Janice Brahney and Jason C Neff. 2019. Evidence for accelerated weathering and sulfate export in high alpine environments. Environ. Res. Lett. 14, 124092.
    65. Banet, T., M.S. Massey, I. Zohar, M. Iggy Litaor, J.A. Ippolito. 2020. Assessing modified aluminum-based water treatment residuals as plant-available phosphorus source. Chemosphere, 247,
    66. Ben Yona, M. A. Rimmer, E. Shamir, and Iggy Litaor. 2020. Hydrologic response in the karstic and basaltic hydro-geological units of Lake Kinneret Watershed. Jour. Hydrology. 583,
    67. Zohar, I., J.A. Ippolito, and M. I. 2020. Phosphorus pools in Al and Fe-based water treatment residuals (WTRs) following mixing with agro-wastewater - a sequential extraction study. Environmental Technology & Innovation, 18,
    68. Banet, T., Massey, M.S., Zohar, I., Litaor, M.I. and Ippolito, J.A. 2020. Phosphorus removal from swine wastewater using aluminum-based water treatment residuals. Resources, Conservation and Recycling: X,6, 100039.
    69. Orlofsky, E., S. Chernoivanov, A. Asiag, I. Maor and M. I. Litaor. 2020. Biological Reconditioning of Sodium Enriched Zeolite by Halophytes: Case study of Dairy Farm Effluent Treatment. International Journal of Phytoremediation.
    70. Katz, L., Naor, A., Litaor, M. I., Ben-Gal, A., Alchanatis, V., Peres, M., Peeters, A., & Cohen, Y. (2021). Methodology for comparison between uniform and variable rate application in a drip-irrigated peach orchard. Precision Agriculture ’21, 71–78.
    71. Litaor, M.I. 2022. Alpine Ecosystem Response to Climate Warming: Long-Term Monitoring Data of Lakes and Streams Chemistries Revisited. Science of the Total Environment.
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