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»PhD position (ESR 7) in Marie Skłodowska Curie ITN “FoodTraNet”: Alternative waste exploitation: microplastics in water and reuse in crops«

   Department of Environment and Agronomy

  Dr Hernando Dolores  Wednesday, June 30, 2021  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Madrid Spain Analytical Chemistry Biochemistry Bioinformatics Environmental Biology Environmental Chemistry Microbiology Nanotechnology Food Sciences Pharmaceutical Chemistry

About the Project

Context: While the impacts of microplastics (MPs) in the environment have been the subject of significant media and scientific attention, the research on the uptake and accumulation of MPs by plants is still very scarce. MPs may enter agricultural systems through a variety of means, such as through organic fertilization, plastic mulching, waste water irrigation, plastic littering, surface runoff or from atmospheric deposition of airborne MPs. The PhD student is expected to study whether MPs pass through the physical barriers of tissues of plants growing from treated wastewater and whether MPs translocate from roots to aerial parts, in a laboratory setting.

Objectives: To assess uptake of MPs in crops grown on hydroponic conditions.

Specific objectives include:

  • Development of extraction techniques for mpsin root, stems and leaves.
  • Optimisation of methodologies for the detection of MPs.
  • Determination if the presence of MPs in irrigation water can reach edible parts of vegetables.
  • Evaluation the role of MPs as scavengers of contaminants such as pesticides, bisphenols, pharmaceuticals, or PAHs.

Expected Results: Assessment of agricultural irrigation with waters contaminated with MPs in relation to food quality and safety (D2.2); Development of methods for determining MPs (M3); Determination of water-to-plant transfer factor (TF) value (M7).

Planned secondments: S22: AUTH (D. Lambropoulou), 1 month, M9, exchange of knowledge and skills for the extraction of contaminants; S23: JSI (E. Heath) 3 months, M16-18 determination of pharmaceutical and bisphenols using LC/MS; S24; Agilent (J. Escudero), 1 month, M21 knowledge exchange on the new state-of-the-art techniques in MS analysis; S25: UAL (A.F. Alba) 1 month, M23 for non-target analysis; S26: NIJZ (U. Blaznik), 1 month, M35, introducing methods for assessing the risk of residues in food.

ESR Profile and requirements:

  • Academic Master recognized by the EU in one of the following disciplines: Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, or Food Sciences.
  • Outstanding academic study performance.
  • Expertise or knowledge of analytical chemistry, particularly in separation sciences and mass spectrometry, data management and statistics. Strong interest in basic and applied research.
  • You act with attention to quality and creativity. Critical thinking, highly motivated and independent.
  • Flexible and able to work in a team in an international research environment

How to apply

Application Process:

All applications, in English, must be done using FoodTraNet application form. To access the application form click on this link:

The application form requires basic contact information (name, surname, email) and ESR eligibility criteria (date of Master’s award, full-time postgraduate research experience in months, country of residence and duration of residence in that country). Applicants are invited to choose up to three PhD Positions in order of preference. Only the complete applications (completed application form, CV, Covering Letter and Academic Records) will be evaluated. FoodTraNet is committed to Open, transparent, Merit-based Recruitment procedures of Researchers (OTM-R). Please contact  if you have any problems submitting your application.

Please carefully read the Call for Applicants guidance document for more information regarding Employment Conditions, ESR Benefits, and Eligibility Rules before you submit your application: .

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