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Ecometabolomics for a better understanding of plant response to air pollution

Grant number: 22/13213-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2023
Effective date (End): April 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Cláudia Maria Furlan
Grantee:Bruno Ruiz Brandao da Costa
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:20/07141-2 - Biogenic emissions, chemistry and impacts in the Metropolitan Area of São Paulo: BIOMASP+, AP.TEM


Plants have several physiologic and metabolic strategies to cope with air pollution, including reconfiguration of primary and secondary metabolites, increasing of antioxidant enzyme activity, and emission of volatile organic compounds. Besides its plant defensive properties, the emission of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) may impact urban ozone and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) production, exacerbating the effects of anthropogenic pollution. In this context, ecometabolomics studies may provide valuable information to understand the critical biosphere-atmosphere interactions, especially in those regions where the reports are still scarce, which is the exact case of the Atlantic Forest. Therefore, the aim of this project is to evaluate the impact of urban pollution on the metabolic profile, BVOCs emission, and redox status of representative plants of the Atlantic Forest, comparing two forest reserves in the Metropolitan Area of São Paulo (MASP) with different levels of anthropogenic contribution. This proposal is part of the project BIOMASP+ (FAPESP process number: 20/07141-2), a bilateral collaboration between Brazil and France that aims to properly quantify the impact of pollutants on air quality, health and climate change. By taking MASP as a natural laboratory, it is expected that the results of this present proposal improve the knowledge, from a molecular point of view, about how plants respond to atmospheric pollutants, and also provide a full description of the BVOCs emitted by remnants of the Atlantic Forest. These outcomes are of utmost importance to answer some of the guiding questions addressed in the BIOMASP+ project: (i) How does the biosphere-atmosphere interaction affect ozone production?; (ii) How does this alter the SOA formation and aging? (iii) How does this affect health and, in return, the biosphere?

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