Joao Costa
Identification and characterization of microplastics in the Estarreja industrial region and assessment of the proteomic plasticity of the soil and water microbiome
Estarreja has the second largest chemical complex in the north coast of Portugal, mostly dedicated to the production of chemical reagents and products, namely, synthetic polymers. These activities result in the emission of contaminants into the environment and, collectively, plastic manufacturing inevitably leads to the discharge of plastic waste, including microplastics, which pose a significant recognized environmental threat.
Due to their inherent physical and chemical characteristics, namely, size, density, color and chemical composition, (micro)plastics are persistent and ubiquitous contaminants that can be potentially ingested by organisms at the base of the food chain, thus entering food webs.
All these threats are further exacerbated by these materials’ characteristic high surface area-to-volume ratios. Other contaminants, namely, persistent organic pollutants, can be adsorbed by these particulates and result in bioaccumulation and bioamplification phenomena.
The herein proposed project is centered at assessing the potential effects of the presence of MPs in the naturally occurring soil and water microbiomes, by comparing those with the existing microbial communities found in the surroundings of the plastic producing factories. Additionally, these potential effects will be further assessed through a proteomics approach, by evaluating any altered protein expression patterns or proteome plasticity. Although some indications seem to point to changes in the proteome of organisms exposed to polymeric materials, such studies are surprisingly limited, if existent at all, when pertaining to microbial communities, which are at the core of any ecosystem.
Projet Post-Doctoral
OHM(s) concerné(s)
  • Estarreja


João Pinto da Costa graduated in Biotechnological Engineering at the University of the Algarve (Portugal) in 2005. Soon thereafter, he successfully concluded is Master in Medical Diagnostics, awarded by the Cranfield University (UK). During 2006, he was a visiting scientist at Exelixis, Inc. (USA), a development-stage biotechnology company focusing on the development of novel small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as a research fellow at Cranfield and Aveiro Universities in different fields of research, including mass spectrometry, and applied mycology. In April 2013, he concluded his Ph.D. thesis (Bio-synthesis of nanosized semiconductors using mine wastes as material sources) in Environmental Chemistry, with the highest honors, by the University of the Algarve.
Since then, João has worked in multiple research projects as either a Post-Doctoral or research fellow at the University of Porto and the University of Aveiro. As of May 2015, João is a member of the Analytical Chemistry Group at the Chemistry Department of the University of Aveiro, where he is currently developing efforts on the monitoring environmental contaminants in real time by autonomous biosensor platform (NFETs). Furthermore, he is currently studying some of the prevailing and fundamental aspects of human aging.
João da Costa has published 19 papers in international peer reviewed journals.
Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1871-7160