Chemistry for the Environment (Chem4Env)

Group Coordinator: José Manuel Florencio Nogueira

 

Chemistry for the Environment (Chem4Env) is a multidisciplinary group organized in several laboratories, focusing research on
new chemical methodologies and applications that play important roles in current and future environmental and societal
challenges. To fulfil its goal Chem4Env pursues three major missions: i) carry out forefront research, through strong national and
international cooperation on chemical systems using innovative technologies with environmental concerns, ii) conduct advanced
training on those subjects to the next generations, and iii) play a major role in technology transfer of part of its achievements,
along the following areas:

A- Environmental monitoring involving the development, optimization, validation and application of new analytical strategies,
methods, procedures and innovative devices, particularly for the determination of traces of emerging and priority contaminants in
matrices with a large impact. Research in metrology and examinology supports the quality of the data;

B- Biogeochemical knowledge of the processes, i.e., speciation, transport, fate and effects on biota, involving emerging
compounds and priority pollutants in atmosphere, soils, sediments and in extreme and transitional water systems. Special
attention will be given to Polar environments and coastal/estuarine waters;

C- Development of novel electroactive surfaces by modifying electrodes with specific functions with improved electrochemical and
optical performances towards energy conversion and storage, (bio)sensing and environment remediation;

D- Design of tailored porous materials and catalysts for adsorption of gases and emerging pollutants from aqueous media, and
catalytic application to refining, petrochemistry and fine chemistry reactions complying with green chemistry. Photocatalytic
application of novel nanocrystalline semiconductors and carbon materials for water remediation. Environmentally-friendly
practices for recycling critical metals.
 

EMERGING COMPOUNDS IN COMPLEX MATRICES
Modern analytical approaches in the field of sample preparation, using microextraction devices of new generation with advanced
designs, convenient sorbents and interface enhancement for chromatographic and hyphenated systems. Through scholarships
and research contracts, these novel analytical technologies have been successfully developed in compliance with green chemistry
and applied to monitor emerging compounds in complex matrices from relevant areas with impact in the society such as food,
pharmaceutical, forensic and environment. Outstanding performance has been achieved in the analysis of priority pollutants with
concern (e.g. pesticides, PPCPs). The innovation of this research field proved that the analytical approaches proposed are
remarkable alternatives whenever environmental monitoring programs are involved. The main scientific outputs have been
presented in national and international conferences, articles and patents.

BIOGEOCHEMISTRY IN THE POLAR REGIONS
Biogeochemistry of key pollutants is of the foremost importance to understand their speciation, fate and impact. The Polar
Regions are important areas to explain the long-range contaminant transport. While in Antarctica work have been done on human
impact in the ecosystem (heavy metals and POPs pollution), in the Arctic the focus was on the characterization of natural organic
matter in permafrost soils and their influence in soil chemistry and methane release. The work in Antarctica had a strong political
and diplomatic impact on the policies related to the Antarctic Treaty System (ATCM), particularly in the Commission for
Environmental Protection (CEP). The excellence of the work in the Arctic lead to the nomination of a CQE researcher as national
representative in the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and to chair a new international pan-arctic program supported
by the same organization. Models and metrological tools for the long-term comparability of ocean acidity measurements have
been promoted in the frame of a European Excellence Research Grant.

TAILORED POROUS MATERIALS
Tailored porous materials for pollutants monitoring, removal/decontamination and degradation from water or gaseous media and
for (photo/electro)catalytic processes complying with green chemistry principles. Part of the work on biomass derived materials
have been awarded by one entrepreneurship prize (TecLabs-FCUL) and that focused on wastewater treatment technologies is
being funded by EU through a LIFE Program project "IMPETUS: Improving current barriers for controlling pharmaceuticals
compounds in urban wastewater treatment plants". A patent pending technology related with the use of nonporous materials for
hospital disinfection lead to the launch of a spin-off company - Delox in 2016. Delox technology, and the associated business plan,
received three prizes: TecLabs-FCUL, Ageas Assurance Company, and "Sustainable Exploration Prize" (Airbus, Merck, ESA).

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Mil-Homens, M.; Blum, J.D.; Canário, J.; Caetano, M.; Costa, A.; Lebeiro, S.; Trancoso, M.A.; Richter, T.; Stigter, H.; Johnson, M.; Branco, V.; Cesário, R.; Mouro, F.; Mateus, M.; Bóer, W.; Melo, Z.; Tracing anthropogenic Hg input using stable Hg isotope ratios in sediments of the central Portuguese Margin, Chemical Geology 336 (2013) 62-71. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2012.02.018.

Domingos, R.F.; Franco, C.; Pinheiro, J.P.; Stability of core/shell quantum dots – role of pH and small organic ligands, Environmental Science and Pollution Research 20 (2013) 4872-4880. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-012-1457-0.

Arias, A.; Silva, R.J.N.B.; Camões, M.F.G.F.C.; Oliveira, C.M.R.R.; Evaluation of the performance of the determination of anions in the water soluble fraction of atmospheric aerosols, Talanta 104 (2013) 10-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.talanta.2012.11.024

Pio, C.; Mirante, F.; Oliveira, C.; Matos, M.; Caseiro, A.; Oliveira, C.; Quero, X.; Alves, C.; Martins, N.; Cerqueira, M.; Camões, F.; Silva, H.; Plana, F.; Size-segregated chemical composition of aerosol emissions in na urban road tunnel in Portugal, Atmospheric Environment, 71 (2013) 15-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.01.037

Merdzan, V.; Domingos, R.F.; Monteiro, C.E.; Hadioui, M.; Wilkinson, K.J.; The effects of different coatings on zinc oxide nanoparticles and their influence on dissolution and bioaccumulation by the green alga, C. reinhardtii, Science of Total Environment 488-489 (2014) 316-324.

Vale, G.; Franco, C.; Diniz, M.S.; Santos, M.M.C.; Domingos, R.F.; Bioavailability of cadmium and biochemical responses on the freshwater bivalve Corbicula fluminea – The role of TiO2 nanoparticles, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 2014, 161-168.

Canário, J.; Poissant, L.; Pilote, M.; Blaise, C.; Constant, P.; Férard, J-F.; Gagné, F.; Ecotoxicity survey of Canadian Arctic marine sediments. Journal of Soils and Sediments 14(1) (2014) 196-203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11368-013-0792-1

Mão de Ferro, A.; Mota, A.; Canário, J.; Pathways and speciation of Hg in the environmental compartments of Deception Island, Antarctica. Chemosphere 95 (2014) 227-233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.08.081

Silva, R.J.N.B.; Silveira, D.M.; Camões, M.F.G.F.C.; Borges, C.M.F.; Salgueiro, P.A.S.; Validation, uncertainty, and quality control of qualitative analysis of tear gas weapons by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, Analytical Letters 47 (2014) 250-267. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00032719.2013.832274

Camões, M.F.; Anes, B; Oliveira, C.S.; Melo Jorge, M.E.; Surface Changes at Platinized Platinum Based Hydrogen Gas Electrodes Following Use in Highly Saline Aqueous Solutions, Electroanalysis26,9(2014), 1952-1957 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/elan.201400132