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Project acronym:   PhytoPFAS

Project type:   Green Programme

Grant agreement No.:   HF-209

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Project is funded by:   Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia (Belgrade, Serbia)

Instituions where the research is conducted:

  • University of Belgrade - Faculty of Chemistry (Belgrade, Serbia) – Coordination
  • Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy (Belgrade, Serbia) – Beneficiary
  • University of Belgrade - Faculty for Physical Chemistry (Belgrade, Serbia) – Beneficiary
  • Medicinski fakultet (Belgrade, Serbia) – Beneficiary

Project realization is scheduled from May 15, 2023 till April 15, 2025.

Project staff

Principal investigator:   Vladimir P. Beškoski, University of Belgrade - Faculty of Chemistry (Beograd, Serbia)

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Short description of the project

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals widely used for more than 60 years which ended up in the environment and can be found in the soil, water, sediment, and even accumulated in human bodies. Pollution of agricultural soil and surface waters used for irrigation present a worldwide challenge. Currently, a solution to the challenge of remediation is not in sight. The project team has decades of experience in bioremediation of the soil, sediment, and waters polluted with organic pollutants and almost ten years of experience working with PFAS. This project aims to develop a phytoremediation strategy for remediation of agricultural soil and surface waters (lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and freshwater wetlands) used for irrigation. This will be done by determining which local plants are suitable for (hyper) accumulating these chemicals when grown from soil and in hydroponics conditions. Innovative electrical stimulation for boosting seed germination will be applied, and proteomics will be used to analyze changes in the protein composition of the plants when exposed to the PFAS. This will be conducted by a multidisciplinary research team (WP1), through the study of phytoremediation of agricultural soil (WP2), phytoremediation of water bodies (WP3), using sophisticated instruments for comprehensive chemical, biochemical and microbiological analysis of soil, water, and plants (WP4), with focus on gathering enough data for preparation and writing a technical solution, followed by dissemination, exploitation, and communication (WP5). The expected result of PhytoPFAS is to develop technology that can be protected, scaled up, and applied in real conditions.

[Graphical project abstract 1]