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Effects of oxidative treatments on microplastic pollution and its associated chemical and biological risks

Grant number: 22/04015-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2022
Effective date (End): July 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering - Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment
Principal Investigator:Valdemar Luiz Tornisielo
Grantee:Jacqueline Aparecida Malvestiti
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Environmental pollution by plastics and microplastics is considered one of the most alarming and relevant anthropogenic factors that affect biodiversity, being considered a significant global problem. Besides that, emerging contaminants can adsorb to microplastic particles, forming complex compounds that can contaminate water resources used to obtain drinking water, in addition to causing problems for aquatic biota. The physical-chemical properties and the adsorption characteristics of microplastics can be influenced by the aging of these pollutants in the environment, provided, gradually, by the attack of degrading agents, such as solar radiation and reactive oxygen species, which are naturally formed. Based on this, it is hypothesized that Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP), used in water and effluent treatments, can significantly impact the aging process and the adsorption properties of microplastics, since artificially generated ultraviolet radiation is used and powerful oxidants, at doses significantly higher than those experienced under ambient conditions. The main objective of this project is to know how the properties of microplastics can be changed by AOPs, currently implemented in water and effluent treatment systems, and how these treatment processes can change the fate of organic micropollutants in the aquatic environment. This information is essential for a better understanding of one of the most important chemical risk mechanisms of microplastic pollution. (AU)

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