Possible starting date: February 2023 or later
Synthetic antioxidants (SAOs) are chemicals of emerging concern, since they are ubiquitously present in everyday life products, such as plastics. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, they are of even more interest, as they are contained in facemasks. Consequently, it is expected that human take them up. Upon entrance into the human body, metabolization is expected, in order to increase their polarity and to enhance their excretion. After excretion, they end up in wastewater treatment plants, whose wastewater can be analyzed after sample preparation with high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-HRMS/MS).
As their name says, SAOs possess antioxidant characteristics, as they can undergo reactions with radicals, to prevent oxidation of the product they protect. The resulting oxidized products may be identical to the human metabolites, as many biotransformation reactions are of oxidative nature. The aim of this project is to identify human metabolites of SAOs in wastewater water and thereby indirectly human exposure. In a second step, the goal is to develop an experiment to identify oxidation products of these compounds in order to ensure that the identified metabolites exclusively originate from human metabolism.
This project will start with a data analysis part of previously acquired HPLC-HRMS/MS data on wastewater samples. Several software tools will be used for screening SAO. The results will be used in the second part to design and execute an experiment for the identification of oxidized products followed by hands on HPLC-HRMS/MS measurements.
We are looking for a chemistry or environmental science student with some background in biogeochemistry or any other natural science student with some laboratory experience and who is motivated to learn more about environmental chemistry. The start of the project is flexible. If you are interested, please contact
Corina Meyer or
Prof. Dr. Juliane Hollender