An interview with Sylwia Adamczyk

Sylwia Adamczyk works as a researcher at Natural Resources Institute Finland. She was born in Poland in 1979. She received her Master’s degree in 2003 (Master of Biology, ecotoxicology) at the University of Lodz, Poland, and her Ph.D. degree in 2016 (Doctor of Forest Sciences) at the University of Helsinki, Finland. After defending her Ph.D., she started a post-doc at Natural Resources Institute Finland working on biopesticides. In 2020 she has been involved in the preparation of Working Package 4 for the PAPILLONS application, and she started to work for PAPILLONS in 2021. Her main interests span biochemistry and ecotoxicology. She is fascinated by complex interactions between plant-soil microbial interactions and how these react to toxic agents.

See her publications here:

What motivated you to join the PAPILLONS project?

I am a plant and soil biochemist/toxicologist, thus the important issue of plastics’ effect on plant yield is at the core of my interests. Although we have been assuming that plastics are inert for the environment and also for our health, the newest insights in the field are questioning this assumption. However, potential underlying mechanisms are not well known. Having a mechanism-orientated way of thinking about biological processes I am greatly interested in helping to understand how plastics may influence plant biochemistry and physiology.

How would you describe the task of your Work Package and your role within it?

Working Package 4 provides a holistic view of the effect of plastics on crops. I especially like its multilevel scale. To better understand this issue, we study the effect of plastics in plant cell cultures experiments, via microcosm experiments, ending with field plot experiments. Each experiment involves different partners from European Institutes and Universities. In the experiments, we can pinpoint the most vulnerable endpoint measurements describing the best potential effect of plastics on plants. My role in Work Package 4 is to study physiological and biochemical indicators in plant material exposed to plastics on the scale of cell cultures, microcosms, and field studies. Using state-of-the-art methods from the biochemistry field I help to understand how plastics affect crops’ health. I am also involved in the coordination of lab and field experiments as well as in the development or/and adjustment of biochemical methods if this will be needed.

What do you think could be the most important outcome and impact of the PAPILLONS project?

In my opinion, the PAPILLONS project will provide an in-depth, holistic view of the effect of plastics on plant yield. By involving partners which are experts in the field, a multilevel approach (cell cultures, microcosms, field study), methodological development, and state-of-the-art techniques we can answer very timely questions: do plastics affect plant health? if yes, how?

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