Marta Carballa Arcos

• Associate Professor
• Department:
Chemical Engineering
• Center:
Escola Técnica Superior de Enxeñaría
• Research Group:
Environmental Biotechnology (BIOGROUP)
• Tel .:
+34 8818 16787
• Email:
• Group Web:
• Personal website:


I achieved the title of Doctor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Santiago de Compostela in 2005, obtaining the final qualification of Outstanding Cum Laude, mention of the European Doctorate and Extraordinary Doctorate Award. In 2006 I obtained a Contract for Young Researchers at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile) and in May 2007 I joined as a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology and Technology of the University of Ghent in Belgium thanks to a postdoctoral contract from the Ministry of Education and Science of Spain and of a contract Angeles Alvariño of the Xunta de Galicia. In December 2008, I rejoined the Environmental Engineering and Bioprocesses group (biogroup) initially as Isidro Parga Pondal researcher, later as Ramón y Cajal researcher and finally as Interim Substitution Professor.

My research is focused on 2 main themes: anaerobic (co-) digestion processes, analyzing not only the technical aspects, but also the study of the microbial community in order to relate the functionality of anaerobic digesters to the structure of the community microbial, and the identification of the mechanisms of elimination of microcontaminants in biological processes of water and sludge treatment.

I have participated in 6 international research projects, 1 integrated action with Italy, 2 COST actions, 9 national research projects, 6 regional research projects, 1 regional network and 9 research contracts with various relevant companies in this field (Aquagest, Espina & Delfin , Energylab, AIMEN, Unións Agrarias, Aqualia).

As for academic activities, I have been part of the Teaching Organization Plan of the USC Department of Chemical Engineering from the 2009-2010 academic year with 120 hours per year. Since the 2014-15 academic year, my participation has increased to 240 hours per year. In addition, I have (co-) directed 10 end-of-degree projects, 8 end-of-master projects and more than 10 research stays for foreign students (Portugal, Mexico, Germany, Chile, Holland, Italy, Belgium).

Currently I am a member of the College of Chemical Engineers and Engineers of Galicia, the International Water Association (IWA) and the Spanish Network of
Composting (REC). Reviewer of scientific articles in various international journals, expert in the evaluation of research projects and member of the Scientific Committee of several national and international congresses, and co-chair of the Organizing Committee of the 13th World Congress on Anaerobic Digestion that was held in Santiago de Compostela in June 2013.

Lines of investigation
• Elimination of organic microcontaminants and metallic nanoparticles in wastewater and sludge
– Study of the mechanisms of elimination of organic micro-contaminants in active sludge reactors and in anaerobic sludge digesters.
– Elimination of organic microcontaminants during the post-treatment of secondary effluents.
– Effect of metallic nanoparticles on the biological activities of active sludge reactors and anaerobic sludge digesters.
– Elimination of metallic nanoparticles in active sludge reactors and anaerobic sludge digesters.
• (Co-) anaerobic digestion of organic waste
– Characterization of organic waste and formulation of optimal mixtures.
– Monitoring and optimization of anaerobic digestion of different wastes.
– Study of the inhibition by ammonia and strategies for its mitigation.
– Study of the diversity and functionality of the microbial communities of anaerobic digesters.

Current projects
• Green fertilizer upcycling from manure: Technological, economic and environmental sustainability demonstration (ManureEcoMine) (November 2013 – October 2016). European Union (FP7-ENV-20113-two stage, Project number: 603744). IP: Marta Carballa. Endowment: € 310,528.80
• Holistic technology with a low environmental footprint for wastewater treatment aimed at minimizing greenhouse gases, micro and nanocontaminants (HOLSIA) (January 2014 – December 2016). Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (CTM2013-46750-R). IPs: Juan M. Garrido and Francisco Omil. Endowment: € 242,000.00.
• Behavior and effect of nanoparticles in wastewater treatment plants (NanoWWater) (November 2015 – October 2017). Xunta de Galicia (2015-CL038). IP: Juan M. Lema. Endowment: € 1,50045.00.
• Biomethane production from urban and agro-industrial waste (SmartGreenGas) (July 2014 – July 2017). CDTIMinistry of Economy and Competitiveness (Strategic Program of National Business Research Consortia (CIEN)). IPs: Juan M. Lema and Marta Carballa. Endowment: € 147,620.00.
• Competitive Reference Groups. Consolidation and Structuring Program for competitive research units. (GRC 2013-032). (2013-2016) Xunta de Galicia. Ministry of culture, education and order. IP. Juan M. Lema. € 370000.00

Main Indicators (2005-2015)
• SCI research publications: 60
• H Index: 24 (Scopus, 02/29/2016)
• SCOPUS Citation: 2562 (02-29-2016)
• Books: 0
• Book chapters: 10
• Research publications without impact index: 6
• International participation (conferences, presentations): 87 (52 oral presentations)
• Patents: 0

Most relevant publications
Carballa, M. Smits, C. Etchebehere, N. Boon, 2. Verstraete. “Correlations between molecular and operational parameters in continuous lab-scale anaerobic reactors”. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (2011), 89 (2): 303-314.

Fernandez-Fontaina, F. Omil, J.M. Lema, M. Carballa. “Influence of nitrifying conditions on the biodegradation and surprise of emerging micropollutants”. Toilet
Research (2012), 46 (16): 5434-5444.

Carballa, L. Regueiro, J.M. Motto. “Microbial management of anaerobic digestion: exploiting the microbiome-functionality nexus”. Current Opinion in Biotechnology
(2015), 33: 103-111.

Regueiro, M. Carballa, J.M. Motto. “Microbiome response to controlled shifts in ammonium and LCFA levels in co-digestion systems”. Journal of Biotechnology
(2016), 220: 35-44.

Paredes, E. Fernandez-Fontaina, J.M. Lema, F. Omil, M. Carballa. “Understanding the fate of organic micropollutants in sand and granular activated carbon biofiltration systems.” Science of the Total Environment (2016), 551-552: 640-648.

Fernandez-Fontaina, I.B. Gomes, D.S. Aga, F. Omil, J.M. Lema, M. Carballa. “Biotransformation of pharmaceuticals under nitrification, nitratation and heterotrophic conditions”. Science of the Total Environment (2016), 541: 1439-1447