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Adsorption of endocrine disruptors Bisphenol-A and 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol on microplastics and implications for cytotoxicity

Grant number: 23/12690-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2024
Effective date (End): January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering - Nonmetallic Materials
Principal Investigator:Priscila Alessio Constantino
Grantee:Vitória Akiyama de Oliveira
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


Microplastics have been frequently detected in various environments such as waterways, oceans, soil and the human body. In relation to the exposure of living beings, the presence of microplastics in breast milk as well as in meat and dairy products, attributed to ingestion by animals, has already been documented. While microplastics alone pose a worrying threat to the environment and human health, they can also act as carriers and accumulators for harmful substances, such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and ethinyl estradiol (EE2), through the adsorption of these pollutants on the surface. Therefore, the study of the adsorption of pollutants by microplastic particles is a current topic of great relevance in both the scientific and environmental spheres.Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a common chemical in the production of plastics, although it has restrictions in some products due to human health concerns. Ethinyl estradiol (EE2) is a synthetic hormone frequently present in contraceptive pills and can be released into the environment through wastewater treatment. Both compounds are known for their capabilities to interfere with the endocrine system as endocrine disruptors (ED) and have been linked to adverse health effects such as hormonal imbalances and reproductive problems in aquatic organisms. The interaction between these chemical substances and microplastic particles can prolong their stay in the environment, slowing down degradation and, thus, increasing exposure to living organisms. Furthermore, the absorption of BPA and EE2 by microplastic particles can affect their availability and toxicity, posing potential risks to human health.In this project, we intend to investigate the adsorption of BPA and EE2 by microplastics to understand the mechanisms involved, considering variables such as individual concentration, mixture of compounds and exposure time. Furthermore, the cytotoxicity of this system will be evaluated in in vitro tests involving immortalized cells, with the aim of analyzing the potential impacts resulting from the interaction between microplastics and these chemical substances.

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