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Micro and nanoplastics under photodegradation conditions: interactions with persistent organic pollutants, cells and bacteria in a synchrotron approach

Grant number: 24/00101-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2024
Effective date (End): March 31, 2028
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Mateus Borba Cardoso
Grantee:Aline Orvalho Pereira
Host Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:21/12071-6 - Tailoring colloids through supramolecular interactions: from fundamentals to applications, AP.TEM


Micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) represent a current environmental challenge due to inadequate disposal in soil and aquatic environments, dispersing globally. These particles become environmental pollutants, being ingested by organisms in different ecosystems, including humans, with direct impacts on health and well-being. MNPs undergo degradation over time, especially through photodegradation, which modifies their properties and changes their capacity of sorption of pollutants and microorganisms, with potential to aggravate the problem. The accurately characterization of MNPs and understanding of their environmental behavior are crucial scientific challenges. This project proposes a study with model polystyrene particles of different sizes to investigate their characterization and interactions with organic pollutants, bacteria and cells, in their native and photodegraded states. The research will include the development of strategies to use next generation synchrotron radiation techniques to characterize MNPs, allowing the analysis of nanometer-scale structures with high resolution. Chemical analysis changes due to photodegradation and interactions with pollutants, cells and bacteria will be investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), micro and nano-FTIR spectroscopy. The aggregation profile of the particles and their colloidal stability will be examined by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), while internalization in cells will be analyzed by X-ray nano-tomography. The project will contribute to the advancement of studies on MNPs, using synchrotron radiation, establishing protocols and strategies for future research in this field.

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