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Nanobiochar modified with thiol in the control of mercury biogeochemistry in the soil in the Amazon region contaminated by mining activity

Grant number: 22/08032-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences
Principal Investigator:Luís Reynaldo Ferracciú Alleoni
Grantee:Matheus Bortolanza Soares
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):23/14727-1 - Does the recarbonization of artisanal gold mining soil increase mercury retention?, BE.EP.PD


Four of the ten municipalities with the highest gold extraction volume in Brazil are located in the Amazon region. Most of the gold in these regions is extracted through artisanal mining that can contaminate the soil and the environment with mercury (Hg). The use of biochar is a low-cost environmental alternative to reduce the concentration of Hg in contaminated soils; however, the sorption capacity and the efficiency of the in natura biochar are limited. Chemical and particle size modifications have been evaluated to improve the performance of the biochar, reaching the product on a nanometric scale (nanobiochars). The technique of biochar chemical modification using sulfur-containing groups (S), such as thiol, is an alternative for immobilizing Hg under suboxide and anoxic environmental conditions due to the extremely low solubility of HgS, but little is known about the effect of combining nanobiochar with sulfur chemical modification on the soil microbial community. The presence of S and aromatic carbon alters the enzymatic activity and the population of soil microorganisms, as well as the dynamics and destination of Hg in the soil. In addition to biotic factors, the biogeochemistry of Hg is affected by the dynamics of water in the soil, which is influenced by climatic seasons. So, it is essential to evaluate the biogeochemistry of Hg not only over time but also as a function of climatic variability. In this project, we will evaluate the influence of the addition of thiol-modified nanobiochar on the dynamics and remediation of Hg in soil contaminated by artisanal gold mining. The project is divided into three experiments in order to obtain, by means of a molecular and atomic scale: i) the impact of mining on the content and quality of total organic carbon; ii) the biogeochemistry of Hg as a function of rainy and dry seasons; iii) the role of soil structure and microbial community in Hg dynamics; and iv) the efficiency and mechanisms of sorption and desorption of Hg species in a thiol-modified nanobiochar.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ALEXANDRE, DAVID SILVA; OGURA, ALLAN PRETTI; PINTO, THANDY JUNIO DA SILVA; SOARES, MATHEUS BORTOLANZA; ALLEONI, LUIS REYNALDO FERRACCIU; MONTAGNER, CASSIANA CAROLINA; ZACHARIAS, TELMA DE OLIVEIRA; DIAS, MARIANA AMARAL; ESPINDOLA, EVALDO LUIZ GAETA. Biochar from Sugarcane Straw Reduces the Toxicity of Soils Contaminated with 2,4-D and Fipronil, Isolated and in a Mixture, on Multispecies Microcosms. WATER AIR AND SOIL POLLUTION, v. 234, n. 10, p. 16-pg., . (22/14293-9, 15/18790-3, 21/14789-1, 22/08032-8)

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