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Characterization of pesticide sorption processes onto plastic debris in freshwater systems at laboratory scale, in mesocosm and in environmental samples

Grant number: 21/12484-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2022
Effective date (End): May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Cassiana Carolina Montagner
Grantee:Camila Leite Madeira
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50951-4 - INCT 2014: Advanced Analytical Technologies, AP.TEM


Plastics are versatile polymeric materials with diverse applications. Annually, large amounts of plastic end up entering aquatic environments due to inappropriate solid waste disposal. Recent studies show that plastics can act as vectors of organic contaminants through sorption processes. Small plastic particles can adsorb significant amounts of hydrophobic contaminants, leading to the accumulation and transport of these compounds in the aquatic environment and, eventually, exposing organisms to the toxic effects of these contaminants through ingestion of contaminated plastics. The presence of pesticides in surface waters has already been widely reported in Brazil. Most pesticides are hydrophobic and persistent; therefore, they have great potential for sorption onto plastic particles. Due to the various toxic effects observed in aquatic organisms exposed to pesticides, it is essential to understand the interaction between plastics and pesticides in natural surface waters. In this project, this interaction will be investigated in three different scales: (I) in bench-scale experiments, in which the sorption of pesticide and pesticide mixtures onto different types of plastics will be characterized in controlled systems, (II) in mesocosm experiments reproducing a lentic surface water body contaminated with plastics and pesticides, and (III) by elucidating the stages of contamination of natural lotic environments under urban and agricultural influence, in which pesticides sorbed on plastics collected in the Atibaia River Basin will be identified, taken as a case study. We hope this study will contribute to the understanding of the impact of pollution caused by different types of plastics on the retention and accumulation of pesticides in surface water bodies. (AU)

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