Scopus Author ID: 15020384400
Researcher ID: N-1958-2014


Section of Plant Physiology
Faculty of Biology
University of Barcelona
Av. Diagonal, 643

08028 Barcelona


Research interests:

My research focuses on metal metabolism in plants, both from agronomical and environmental perspectives. Zinc deficiency is the most common crop micronutrient deficiency and causes malnutrition in millions of people. This area of my research focuses on zinc efficiency and tolerance to zinc deficiency in rice and wheat and on increasing the zinc content of grains. Zinc is also one of the most common environmental pollutants, emitted by virtually every sector of human activity. In this area, I study the uptake, accumulation, and toxicity of zinc and its nanoparticles in plants and other metals such as copper, lead, or cadmium. Moreover, I develop systems for heavy metal phytoremediation and biomonitor airborne metal pollution in cities. I use an innovative technical approach, that combines plant science techniques with zinc isotopic fractionation in plants, a technique stemming from geochemistry. Zinc stable isotopes are useful to understand the biological mechanisms of zinc uptake, translocation, and compartmentation in plants, and the origin and fate of pollutants in the environment. 

Research projects:

    • Fenotipeado de trigo a diferentes escalas: del ideotipo a la adaptación regional: rendimiento y estabilidad. 2021. Ref. PID2019-106650RB-C21. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. PI: José Luis Araus.
    • Study of the effects of foliar treatments based on silica on rice under salt stress conditions, in a greenhouse. 2020. Agronutrition (French company). PI: Dolors Serret.
    • A novel isotope tool to assess nanoparticle toxicity in wetland plants (NANOREM). 2016-2018. Ref. H2020-MSCA-IF-2015-704957. European Commission. PI: José Luis Araus.
    • Developing stable isotopes technologies for the study of plant metallomics: zinc deficiency in rice (STABLEPLANT). 2012-2015. Ref. FP7/2007-2013/299473. European Commission. PI: Dominik J Weiss.
    • Advanced Technologies for the Treatment of Industrial and Coastal Waters of the Mediterranean Region (MEDINDUS). 2004. Ref. INCO-CT-2004-509159. European Commission. PI: Jordi Bort Pie and Anna Febrero.
    • Improvement of native perennial forage plants for the sustainability of Mediterranean farming systems (PERMED). 2004. Ref. INCO-CT-2004-509140. European Commission. PI: Salvador Nogués.
    • Development of Viable Technologies and Monitoring Systems for the Remediation/Detection of Mercury in South American waters. Designs of Chelators with Therapeutical Properties (MERCURY). 2002. Ref. ICA4-CT-2002-10055. European Commission. PI: Jordi Bort Pie.


  1. Caldelas C, Rezzouk FZ, Aparicio N, Araus JL. 2022. Cultivar diversity in the mineral content of wheat grain under different nitrogen regimes. AgriRxiv.
  2. Caldelas C, Gurí R, Araus JL, Sorolla A. 2021. Effect of ZnO nanoparticles on Zn, Cu, and Pb dissolution in a green bioretention system for urban stormwater remediation. Chemosphere, 282, pp. 131045. ISSN: 0045-6535.
  3. Caldelas C, Poitrasson F, Viers J, Araus JL. 2020. Stable Zn isotopes reveal the uptake and toxicity of zinc oxide engineered nanomaterials in Phragmites australis. Environmental Science: Nano, 7, pp. 1927-1941. ISSN: 20518161.
  4. Martín A, Caldelas C Weiss DJ, Aranjuelo I, Navarro E. 2018Assessment of metal immission in urban environments using elemental concentrations and Zinc isotope signatures in leaves of Nerium oleander. Environmental Science & Technology, 52(4), pp. 2071-2080. ISSN: 0013-936X
  5. Caldelas C Weiss DJ. 2016Zinc Homeostasis and isotopic fractionation in plants: a review. Plant and Soil, 411(1-2), pp. 17-46. Open access linkISSN: 0032-079X.
  6. Weiss DJ, Boye K, Caldelas C, Fendorf S. 2014Zinc Isotope Fractionation during Early Dissolution of Biotite Granite. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 78(1), pp. 171 – 179 ISSN: 0361-5995.
  7. Caldelas C, Araus JL, Febrero A, Bort J. 2012Accumulation and toxic effects of chromium and zinc in Iris pseudacorus L. Acta Physiologiae Plantarum, 34(3), pp. 1217 – 1228. ISSN: 0137-5881.
  8. Caldelas C, Bort J, Febrero A. 2011Ultrastructure and subcellular distribution of Cr in Iris pseudacorus L. using TEM and X-ray microanalysis. Cell Biology and Toxicology, 28(1), pp. 57 – 68. ISSN: 0742-2091.
  9. Caldelas, C.; Iglesia-Turiño, S.; Araus, J.L.; Bort, J.; Febrero, A. 2009Physiological responses of Eichhornia crassipes [Mart.] Solms to the combined exposure to excess nutrients and Hg. Brazilian Journal of Plant Physiology, 21(1), pp. 1-12. ISSN: 1677-9452.
  10. de la Iglesia-Turiño, S.; Febrero, A.; Jauregui, O.; Caldelas, C.; Araus, J.L.; Bort, J. 2006Detection and quantification of unbound Phytochelatin 2 (PC2) in plant extracts of Brassica napus grown with different levels of mercury. Plant Physiology, 142, pp. 742 – 749 ISSN: 0032-0889