The research group Environmental Biogeochemistry (EB) is the merging of two research groups previously existing in distinct research units (CQE-IST and CCMM-FC) with convergent scientific objectives and complementary expertise in studying biogeochemical systems with relevant socio-economic impacts. The EB group is geographically located both at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) Campus Alameda and at Faculdade de Ciências (FC). At CQE the research group maintains the facilities of the previously existing “Chemistry and Electrochemistry of Natural Systems” group and the same happens at FC with the previously existing “Analytical and Environmental Chemistry” group.


Group Coordinator: Margarida Maria Portela Correia dos Santos Romão in CQE@tecnico & CQE@ciencias

IMG_3946Group Coordinator in CQE@ciencias: Filomena Camões




The labThe focus of the Environmental Biogeochemistry Group (EB) is to expand the biogeochemical knowledge of processes involving emerging compounds such as nanomaterials and priority pollutants in atmosphere, soils, sediments and water with special focus in Portuguese, Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. Ongoing research also involves the development and optimisation of analytical strategies, methods and procedures, all contributing to the quality of the results obtained from examinations, measurements and calculations, hence to the validity of the information produced for a specific purpose. The nanotechnology breakthrough resulted in numerous new materials (NM) with high reactivity and mobility that led to an increase in the uncertainty of their environmental impacts. Several key questions are put forward:

Potentiometric celli) How do the NM properties and nanoscale features affect their behavior?

ii) Which transformations are likely to occur in natural systems and what is the role of the respective surrounding matrix?

iii) How do the NM transformations affect their physicochemical properties and bioavailability?

iv) What is the impact of the NM transformations on biocompatible or bioadverse outcomes?

Biogeochemistry of key pollutants is of the foremost importance in order to understand their speciation, transport, fate and effects in Portuguese and/or polar ecosystems. Arctic and Antarctic regions are important study sites to understand long-range contaminant transport. Moreover, climate change effects were particularly important in Polar Regions and it is likely that these key changes have also altered both the global carbon cycle and contaminants fate due to similarities in transport mechanisms with consequent effects on Polar living organisms. Main lines of research are:

i)The biogeochemical processes that control pollutant speciation: e.g. role of microorganisms in Hg methylation;

ii) Physical-chemical mechanisms that role contaminant partitioning and transport: e.g. by using Hg stable isotopes Hg methylation/demethylation rates can be quantified, as well as the pathways by which Hg is transferred from sediments to salt-marsh plant tissues and from water or vegetation to air;

Comparability of salinity and acidity of seawatersiii) The biogeochemical processes that role the (bio)availability of a specific contaminant by creating tools for its risk assessment;

iv) The impact of key pollutants in living organisms by identifying their ecotoxicological effects or biotransformations (e.g. sediment phyto-extraction by salt-marsh plants);

v) Besides the speciation and fate of priority pollutants (Hg, Pb, Cd and As) in the Antartica regions, the biogeochemistry of carbon and sulphur in the Arctic permafrost and toxicology responses of polar organisms to the crescent inputs of contaminants to their ecosystems are also under study.

Ion chromatography of water soluble ions in atmospheric aerosol extractsMetrological and examinological tools aiming to extract reliable and objective information from several complex biogeochemical systems, namely:

i) Physical-chemistry of seawater carbonate system and the discrimination of its long-term and global scale variation;

ii) depletion constants of environmental contaminants and kinetic constants for the photocatalytic degradation of wastewater components; iii) trace levels of mineral and organic compounds in biological materials by LC or GC-MS, like metabolites of active substances of medicinal interest, or contaminants in environmental samples or foodstuffs, with reliable uncertainty.

Photos from out labs



EB in CQE@tecnico

Integrated Members

Margarida Maria Portela Correia dos Santos Romão

Ana Maria Macedo de Albuquerque Almeida Mota

João Alfredo Vieira Canário

Rute Isabel Ferreira Domingos


PhD students

Rute Isabel Talhadas Cesário

Maria Paula Gomes Cantinho da Silva

Neusa Lindosa Loureiro Figueiredo


Collaborators & Other researchers

António Carlos Lopes da Conceição

Gonçalo Jorge Dias do Vale

Cristiana Maria Viana Franco

Sara Neusa Monteiro de Alcântara Carreira

Ana Alexandra Barrinha Cordeiro

Eduardo Miguel Lanceiro Amaro

Ana Carina Gomes Padeiro


EB in CQE@ciencias

Integrated Members

Maria Filomena Gomes Ferreira Crujo Camões

Ricardo Jorge Neves Bettencourt da Silva

PhD students

Barbara Velasco Anes

Nelson Alberto Frade Silva

Pedro Alexandre dos Santos Salgueiro

Hugo Filipe Félix Antunes da Silva


Collaborators & Other researchers

Cristina Maria Roque Ramiro de Oliveira

Maria Manuela Gomes da Silva Rocha

Maria João Marques Nunes

Daniel Mendes Silveira

Alejandro Arias Fachado

Ana da Pina Garcia Correia

Beatriz Tavares da Silva Flores Brasil

Joana Filipa Palmeira Rodrigues

Pedro Alexandre Figueiredo

Rudi Leonel Terreiros da Fonseca Lopes

Ana Sofia Gomes de Sousa Lopes

Rui Miguel da Silva Cordeiro

Ana Cecília Cruz da Rocha

Nuno Figueiredo da Silva Rosa



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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