Itamar Shabtai


Department of Environmental Science and Forestry
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
123 Huntington Street

New Haven, CT 06511

Voice: (203) 974-8532

Personal website:

Dr. Shabtai is an environmental biogeochemist with expertise in organo-mineral interactions between minerals and natural organic compounds and organic contaminants in soil and water environments. His current research focuses on abiotic conditions that control soil organic carbon cycling and sequestration.

Present Research
Present research includes examining how soil moisture governs the composition of plant root exudates and their role in biogeochemical cycling in the soil-root interface known as the rhizosphere. Other projects explore the stabilization mechanisms of soil organic carbon by soil calcium.

Past Research
Dr. Shabtai’s doctorate work focused on developing clay-polymer nanocomposites as adsorbents for removal of organic contaminants from treated wastewater. Specific objectives included removal of specific contaminants in the presence of dissolved organic matter and adsorbent regeneration. As a postdoctoral associate, he studied the effects of long-term soil moisture on conversion of plant inputs to mineral-associated organic matter.

Ph.D. in Soil Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 2018
M.S. in Soil Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 2014 
B.S. in Soil Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, 2011

Postdoctoral Experience
Cornell University, School of Integrative Plant Sciences, 2018-2021

Station Career
Assistant Agricultural Scientist II, 2022-present



  1. Shabtai, I. A.*, Wilhelm R., Schweizer, S., Hoeschen, C., Buckley, D., Lehmann, J. Calcium promotes persistent soil organic matter by altering microbial transformation of plant litter. Under Review. Preprint available at 10.21203/ 
  2. Davenport, R., Bowen, B. P., Lynch, L. M., Kosina, S. M., Shabtai, I. A., Northern, T. R., and Lehmann, J. (2023). Decomposition decreases diversity and ecosystem similarity of soil organic matter. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 120(25).
  3. Leite, A. A., Melo, L. C. A., Carlos, L., Hurtarte, C., Zuin, L., Piccolla, C. D., Werder, D., Shabtai, I. A., and Lehmann, J. (2023). Magnesium-enriched poultry manure enhances phosphorus bioavailability in biochars. Chemosphere, 331.
  4. Kummel, M. L., Shabtai, I. A.*, Nir, S., and Mishael, Y. G. (2023). DOM removal from surface water by activated carbon vs. a nanocomposite: an experimental and modeling approach to optimize treatment. Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol. 9, 1531-1544.
  5. Shabtai, I. A.*, Das, S., Inagaki, T. M., Azimzadeh, B., Richards, B., Martínez, C. E., Kögel-Knabner, I. and Lehmann, J. (2022). Soil organic carbon accrual due to more efficient microbial utilization of plant inputs at greater long-term soil moisture. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 327, 170-185.
  6. Shabtai I. A., Lynch L. M., and Mishael. Y. G. (2021). Designing polymer-clay composite sorbents for water treatment: A review and meta-analysis of the last decade. Water Research, 188.
  7. Ray J. R., Shabtai, I. A., Teixido, M., Mishael Y. G., and Sedlak D. L. (2019). Polymeric-clay composite geomedia for sorptive removal of trace organic compounds and metals in urban storm water. Water Research, 157, 454-462. 
  8. Shabtai, I. A. and Mishael. Y. G. (2018). Polycyclodextrin-clay composites: Regenerable dual-site sorbents for Bisphenol A removal from treated wastewater. ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 10, 27088-27097.
  9. Shabtai I. A. and Mishael. Y. G. (2017). Catalytic polymer-clay composite for enhanced removal and degradation of diazinon. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 335, 135-142.
  10. Shabtai, I. A. and Mishael, Y. G. (2016). Efficient Filtration of effluent organic matter by polycation-clay composite sorbents: Effect of polycation configuration on pharmaceutical removal. Environmental Science and Technology, 50, 8246-8254. 
  11. Shabtai, I. A., Shenker, M., Edeto, W. L., Warburg, A., and Ben-Hur, M. (2014). Effects of land use on structure and hydraulic properties of Vertisols containing a sodic horizon in northern Ethiopia. Soil and Tillage Research, 136, 19-27.