University of Belgrade
Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy
National Institute of the Republic of Serbia

grb BUUniversity of Belgrade

Applied, geo- and environmental chemistry

The research group for applied chemistry was founded at the Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy (ICTM) and Department of Chemistry, University of Belgrade (formerly Faculty of Natural Sciences) during 1960’ by academician professor Dragomir Vitorović (dec). Over the past few decades the group has broadened the research interests to the chemistry of the environment. Scientific results of this group were significantly contributed by professor Dr. Petar Pfendt, Dr. Mirjana Šaban (dec), Dr. Predrag Polić (dec), Dr. Snežana Bajc, Dr. Olga Cvetković, Dr. Ksenija Stojanović and others. Today, the head of the group is Professor Branimir Jovančićević, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Belgrade.

Members of this group employed at the Department of Chemistry (ICTM) are: Dr. Olga Cvetković, Full Research Professor; Dr. Aleksandar Šajnović, Associate Research Professor; Dr. Tatjana Šolević Knudsen, Associate Research Professor; Dr. Milica Kašanin-Grubin, Assistant Research Professor; Dr. Sanja Stojadinović, Research Assistant; Gordana Gajica, Research Assistant and Gorica Veselinović, Research Assistant.

Since the establishment of the group the most important research area has been organic geochemistry, namely the study of the kerogen structure - macromolecular organic substances of the sedimentary rocks, on the basis of degradation products, then the study of the origin and geological history of crude oil as the most important fossil fuels (based on the investigation of biomarkers), as well as research of bituminous shale and coal (investigation of biomarkers, liquefaction processes).
Since the beginning of the nineties, the group has been intensively engaged in research in the field of environmental chemistry. Members of the group are considered as founders of this scientific discipline in Serbia. All aspects of chemistry and environmental protection from organic pollutants and various inorganic pollutants, primarily related to petroleum compounds and heavy metals, are being investigated. The organic geochemical studies are primarily fundamental. However, at the same time they are used in prospecting and exploration of oil and gas. Research of coal and oil shale is both fundamental and applied. For example, the application of Aleksinac oil shale in the cement industry and asphalt mixturefillers has been investigated. In the area of environmental protection process of fluid degradation on the basis of PCB has been approved within the co-operation with the major Rafinery Pancevo (2 patents). Catalyst syntheses for degradation of organic pollution in wastewater (2005) for the needs of the oil Rafinery Pancevo and the synthesis of the material on the basis of particles nano-size for application in the production of real microwave links has been approved.

From its iception untill the present day, the research has been realized through national and international projects with the intensive cooperation and synchronised work with the leading institutions from Germany, USA, Russia, France, Denmark, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and others. Group members have repeatedly visited and worked in these institutions and published numerous scientific articles in reputable scientific journals with colleagues from those countries. In the recent period, two TEMPUS projects of the European Commission and two bilateral projects with Germany and China have been completed or are underway. Response to several applications submitted is pending. Bearing in mind the interdisciplinary nature of group’s research area, it has very strong cooperation with other universities and institutes from the country, such as Faculties of Agriculture, Mining and geology, Technology and Metallurgy, Vinča Institute, as well as enterprises. Since the organic geochemistry and environmental chemistry is closely associated with geology, group members collaborate with the colleagues from the Faculty of Mining and Geology of the University of Belgrade.

Strong transnational cooperation resulted with an active engagement of the group members in various international organizations. For example, the group leader, Professor Jovančićević is a member of the Scientific Committee of the European Association for the Chemistry of the Environment; Vice President of the Humboldt Club of Serbia and the Regional Editor of the Journal Environmental Chemistry Letters, published by Springer. Members of the group have held important leadership roles in their activities. Academician Vitorović was Head of Chemistry and Physical Chemistry departments. Professors Pfendt, Polić and Jovančićević were the deans of the Faculty of Chemistry. The incumbent Dean of Chemistry is Professor Dr. Ivan Gržetić, also a member of the Group of applied chemistry. Dr. Olga Cvetković is the member of The Committee for accreditation of research organizations. Jovančićević was Vice-Dean and the President of the Faculty Council.

The members of the group for applied, geo- and environmental chemistry participated in organization of numerous scientific symposia. The most important among them is the Sixth European Symposium of Organic Chemistry (ESOC-6) 1989 and the Sixth European Congress of Chemistry of the Environment (EMEC-6) in 2005. Both symposia were held in Belgrade, organized by Serbian Chemical Society.

The researchers have at their disposal equipment for chromatography (two GCs, two GC-MSs, and two HPLCs), calorimeter, equipment for Total Organic Carbon (TOC) determination in water solutions, and X-ray-fluorescent spectrometre (WD XRF).

The research group is very successful in publishing research results. During the last evaluation of applications for the project cycle by the relevant Ministry, the project of the group was ranked sixth among the hundreds of applications from all natural and of social and humanistic areas.

In addition to their scientific work, the group members actively participate in education at the Faculties of Chemistry, Mining and geology and Agriculture as well as in human resource capacity building in science,as testified by numerous graduate thesis, master works, master theses, and doctoral dissertations. It is important to point out that the group is very popular among young chemists.

Environmental Chemistry Researchers

  • Dr Dragana Đorđević, Full Research Professor
  • Dr Aleksandar Popović, Full Professor
  • Dr Bojana Ostojić, Associate Research Professor
  • Dr Sanja Sakan, Associate Research Professor
  • Dr Dubravka Relić, Assistant Professor
  • Mr Aleksandra Mihajlidi – Zelić, Research Assistant

Key research areas:

  • researching migration, transformations and interactions of environmental pollutants (in atmospheric aerosols, soil and river sediments) with toxicological risk assessment
  • in silico evaluation of mutagen capacity and natural biodegradation potential of pollutants in ecosystems
  • researching solutions for removal of pollutants from sources of emission and establishing new methods for measurement and tracking of pollutant fate in the environment

Research applications:

  • determining the content of pollutants at emission sources and in influence zones
  • identifying and quantifying the contribution of different emission sources to the content of pollutants in receptors and recipients
  • conducting environmental studies including risk assessment