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Non-target and suspect screening strategies for the investigation of pharmaceuticals and personal care products biotransformation pathways in the anaerobic digestion

Grant number: 22/09239-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2023
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Alvaro José dos Santos Neto
Grantee:Rodrigo Braz Carneiro
Supervisor: Pablo Gago-Ferrero
Host Institution: Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Instituto de Diagnóstico Ambiental y Estudios del Agua (IDAEA), Spain  
Associated to the scholarship:19/22532-0 - Anaerobic biotransformation of emerging organic micropollutants in a two-phase (acidogenic-methanogenic) treatment system treating domestic wastewater, BP.PD


A wide variety of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are present in different environmental matrices through human activities and animal husbandry. Upon reaching sewage treatment plants, many of these PPCPs may be partially or fully removed from the system during the biological treatment processes, generating biotransformation products (BTPs), which can become more toxic molecules than the unmetabolized compounds. The identification of BTPs is a major analytical challenge, requiring highly efficient sample preparation techniques, with high concentration factors, coupled with analytical methods of high selectivity and sensitivity. As the structure of these compounds is unknown, non-target and suspect screening strategies should be adopted. The wastewater treatment by anaerobic digestion (AD) is used worldwide and has shown potential for removal of several PPCPs. Furthermore, it is known that the different stages of AD, e.g. acidogenesis and methanogenesis, act differently on the biotransformation of PPCPs, through different enzymes and microbial groups. Thus, this project intends to investigate the pharmaceuticals and personal care products BTPs during the anaerobic digestion, as well as clarify the fate and behavior of these compounds in different environmental matrices and in the human body. (AU)

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