MSc Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2021-2023
BSc Chemistry, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2018-2021
Summary PhD project
Investigation on inorganic and organic pollutants carried by microplastics in aquatic systems
The amount of plastic produced worldwide increased extensively over the last decades. When plastic debris is discarded to the environment, it generally breaks down into smaller microplastics (MPs). Nevertheless, there is a lack of knowledge concerning the abundance and distribution of microplastics in freshwater systems, the interaction mechanisms with other pollutants (inorganic, e.g. Hg, and organic, e.g. endocrine disruptor compounds) and the toxicological and environmental effects. My research can be related to the ongoing OMES (Onderzoek Milieu Effecten Sigmaplan) monitoring project, which contributes to the collection of water samples for this thesis.
Water samples are taken at several sampling sites along the Scheldt estuary in order to provide an overview of the dissolved and adsorbed pollutants to the natural organic matter and to investigate the associated pollutants on the MPs using the NOAA procedure (based on drying, digestion, density separation and identification). In addition, the kinetic relationships describing the short- and long-term interaction between the identified compounds and the MPs are established by performing incubation experiments. Besides determining the abundance and distribution of MPs and their pollutants in the Scheldt estuary, potential hazardous impacts are determined using an in vitro bioassay, namely CALUX (Chemical Activated LUciferase gene eXpression).
Vrije Universiteit Brussel