New paper detailing DNA-hotspots in sediments by H. Kanbar and Holmboe

Hussein Kanbar and Michael Holmboe has collaborated with EMG/UMU Prof. Göran Englund and PhD student Fredrik Olajos, on the faith of (ancient)DNA adsorbed onto minerals in 10,000 y old Swedish lake sediments. Their first publication is now available online at:


  1. Lake sediment geochmemistry plays a significant role in the sorption.
  2. Clays were the main sedimentary components to host DNA.
  3. Both clay-mineral and organo-clay complexes govern the sorption of DNA.
  4. A DNA infrared fingerprint was determined in sediments via spectral subtraction.
  5. DNA-hotspots in lake sediments were revealed using geochemical approaches.

Boily Group Publishes Science Advances Paper on Water Films!

Using an AFM tip sensitive to water, we tracked the spatial distributions of water films on minerals. We thank the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for access to its facilities through a User grant.

You can find our paper here:
Yalcin SE, Legg BA, Yeşilbaş M, Malvankar NS, Boily JF. 2020. Direct observation of anisotropic growth of water films on minerals driven by defects and surface tension. Sci. Adv6, eaaz9708

In the news: Smart Water Magazine,, Yale U., UmUNews Beezer, aitnews, Today Headline,, My News Desk

Boily paper out in Nature Communications Chemistry!

Using vibrational spectroscopy and simulations we resolved the enigmatic surface chemistry of ferrihydrite. Three ways to learn more about our work:

  1. The paper: Boily JF & Song X. 2020 Direct identification of reaction sites on ferrihydrite. Nat. Comm. Chem. DOI 10.1038/s42004-020-0325-y​.
  2. Nature’s blog site, with the story behind this paper.
  3. Goldschmidt conference: PDF of virtual presentation. Also a Q&A session on June 23rd.

New associate professor in inorganic chemistry!

Michael Holmboe which initially joined the Chemistry Dept. at Umeå University in 2015 as an assistant professor, has now been appointed to associate professor (universitetslektor) in inorganic chemistry!

Thanks to recent grants from SSM and VR, his groups research is set to start two new projects regarding radiation-induced redox effects in clay minerals and organic/minerals interactions using molecular simulations!

Effects of gamma-radiation on Bentonite project funded by SSM

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, or SSM in short, are funding a 1-year project in the Holmboe group!

In the context of nuclear waste disposal in Sweden and many other countries, this project will investigate the effects of redox and physicochemical changes induced by gamma (γ) irradiation on compacted Bentonite clay and its main component montmorillonite. This is relevant since in nuclear waste repository concepts such as the Swedish KBS-3, the compacted and water saturated Bentonite clay buffer will unavoidably be exposed to significant doses (40-200kGy) of ionizing 137-Cs radiation, which may induce redox-changes in the structural Fe(II)/Fe(III) sites in the clay mineral lattice.

Ice nucleation paper with University of British Columbia research group out now!

In a collaboration between the JF Boily group and the Allan Bertram group of UBC, we show that K+ is the key ion driving ice nucleation on K-feldspar, an important part of atmospheric mineral dust. Read the paper here:

Yun J, Link N, Kumar A, Shchukarev, Davidson J, Lam AE, Walters C, Xi Y, Boily JF, Bertram AK2020. 

Two papers out on hydrochars for wastewater treatment

Two new papers in collaboration with Stina Jansson  and J-F Boily of UmU now out in Environmental Science and Pollution Research:

Niinipuu M, Latham KG, Boily J-F, Bergknut M, Jansson S. 2020 The impact of hydrothermal carbonization on the surface functionalities of wet waste materials for water treatment applications. Env. Sci. Poll. Res.

Niinipuu M, Bergknut M, Boily J-F, Rosenbaum E, Jansson S. 2020 Influence of water matrix and hydrochar properties on removal of organic and inorganic contaminants. Env. Sci. Poll. Res.