Photo of Carlos M. Monreal

Carlos M. Monreal

Adjunct Research Professor, Research Scientist

Office:Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
960 Carling Ave, K.W. Neatby Building
Central Experimental Farm
Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6
Website:Visit my lab website

Areas of Expertise

  • Environmental nano- and bio-technologies
  • Nano-fertilizers
  • Cycling of carbon and nitrogen in soil rhizospheres
  • Chemical signals of root exudates and microbial metabolites in soil rhizosphere
  • Soil organic matter in nano-structures
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Soil biochemistry and microbiology of crop rhizospheres
  • High-value chemicals in biooils derived by pyrolysis of agricultural biomass
  • Consortia of soil methanotrophs for the production of added-value chemicals

Current Research

Title: Intelligent Fertilizers: Root exudates, model nano-biosensors and polymers for synchronizing the release of nitrogen from fertilizer with its uptake by wheat and canola.

The main objective of this project is to develop a nano-fertilizer product that will release nitrogen (N) and other nutrients at times and in amounts required by the crop. We will examine the chemical composition of root exudate signals inducing soil N mineralization and crop N uptake under conditions of nitrogen stress. Root signals will be used as target molecules for designing and preparing nano-biosensors to be used in nano-fertilizers. Carbon and nitrogen flows in various biotic and abiotic pools of soil-plant systems using 13CO2 and 15N sources added to soils will help elucidate the relationships between root exudate signals, soil microbial gross N mineralization and N uptake by crops.

 Title: Bioproduct development by secondary conversion of agricultural residues

The objective of this project is to extract, separate and purify high-value commercial chemical compounds found in raw biooil derived by fast pyrolysis of crop and animal residues. We will develop methods to refine raw biooil for use as a transportation fuel, and develop processing methods to extract and separate chemical compounds of interest to the chemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and nutraceutical industries.

Title: Characterization of organic matter in naturally occurring soil nano-structures

The objective of this project is to chemically, physically and kinetically characterize in-situ organic matter in soil architectural units at the nano-scale, and enhance our understanding of biotic and abiotic components and processes sequestering atmospheric carbon in soil ecosystems.

Selected Publications

DeRosa, M.C., Monreal, C.M., Schnitzer, M., Walsh, R., Sultan, Y. 2010. Prospects for nanotechnology in fertilizers. Nature nanotechnology (In press).

Hossain, K.Z., Monreal, C.M., Sayari, A. 2008. Adsorption of urease on PE-MCM-41 and its catalytic effect on hydrolysis of urea. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 62, 42–50.

Das, D.D., Schnitzer, M.I., Monreal, C.M., Mayer, P. 2009. Chemical composition of acid–base fractions separated from biooil derived by fast pyrolysis of chicken manure. Bioresource Technology 100: 6524–6532.

Lin, B., Monreal, C.M., Tambong, J.T., Miguez, C.B., Carrasco-Medina, L. 2009. Phylogenetic analysis of methanotrophic communities in cover soils of a landfill in Ontario. Can. J. Microbiology. 55: 1103-1112.

Nourbakhsh, F. and Monreal, C. M. 2006. Urease activity as affected by cultivation and soil depth: a kinetic approach. Agrochimica, 1-2: 72-76.

Bergstrom, D., C.M. Monreal and E. St. Jacques. 2001. Influence of tillage practice on carbon sequestration is scale-dependent. Can.J.Soil Sci.  81:63-70

Monreal, C.M. and D. Bergstrom. 2000. Soil enzymatic factors expressing the influence of land use, tillage system and texture on soil biochemical quality. Can. J. Soil Sci. 80: 419-428.

Monreal, C.M., H.-R. Schulten and H. Kodama. 1997. Age, turnover and molecular  diversity of soil organic matter in aggregates of a Gleysol. Can. J. Soil Sci. 77:379-388.