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A multi-analytical approach to plastic rocks and microplastics in Brazilian oceanic islands: advancements through Micro-Raman and data analysis.

Grant number: 23/10087-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2024
Effective date (End): December 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering - Nonmetallic Materials
Principal Investigator:Carlos José Leopoldo Constantino
Grantee:Fernanda Avelar Santos
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (FCT). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Presidente Prudente. Presidente Prudente , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/22214-6 - Towards a convergence of technologies: from sensing and biosensing to information visualization and machine learning for data analysis in clinical diagnosis, AP.TEM


Plastic pollution has reached alarming levels, leading to the discovery of novel plastic debris forms associated with rock formation and sedimentary deposits. Such plastic occurrence in geological processes has meant not only a new science topic but has also been crucial in the detection studies of emerging pollutants. The geological approach to marine litter highlights the scale of plastic pollution. Also, it provides settings on its persistence and source in the environment, contributing to effective problem-solving strategies. In this project, we intend to follow up on the study of the novel finding of plastic rocks on the remote Trindade Island in Brazil, and we look to advance the pioneering research, which has garnered widespread media coverage worldwide. We aim to investigate the plastic from marine pollution in the rock cycle and propose modern paradigms in the Anthropocene context. We selected Trindade Island and Fernando de Noronha Archipelago for the studies. We will analyze the physicochemical properties of plastic debris forms and natural sediment using micro-Raman spectroscopy. In this sense, vibrational spectroscopy with optical microscopy allows the technique to provide chemical and morphological information on a micrometer scale. In addition, we will use Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, thermogravimetric, scanning electron microscopy, and sedimentary analyses (e.g., texture and mineralogy). We will process the enormous amounts of data generated with multi-analytical techniques using statistical and computational resources. This project is linked to the FAPESP Thematic Project and includes a 12-month BEPE internship in Ontario, Canada.

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