Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 18

Search results for: microplastics

18 Microplastics in Two Bivalves of The Bay of Bengal Coast, Bangladesh

Authors: Showmitra Chowdhury, M. Shahadat Hossain, S. M. Sharifuzzaman, Sayedur Rahman Chowdhury, Subrata Sarker, M. Shah Nawaz Chowdhury


Microplastics were identified in mussel (Pernaviridis) and Oyster (Crassostrea madrasensis) from the south east coast of Bangladesh. Samples were collected from four sites of the coast based on their availability, and gastrointestinal tracts were assessed following isolation, floatation, filtration, microscopic observation, and polymer identification by micro-Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscope (μ-FTIR) for microplastics determination. A total of 1527 microplastics were identified from 130 samples. The amount of microplastics varied from 0.66 to 3.10 microplastics/g and from 3.20 to 27.60 items/individual. Crassostrea madrasensiscontained on average 1.64 items/g and exhibited the highest level of microplastics by weight. Fiber was the most dominant type, accounting for 72% of total microplastics. Polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyester, and nylon were the major polymer types. In both species, transparent/ black color and filamentous shape was dominant. The most common size ranges from 0.005 to 0.25mm and accounted for 39% to 67%. The study revealed microplastics pollution is widespread and relatively high in the bivalves of Bangladesh.

Keywords: microplastics, bivalves, mussel, oyster, bay of bengal, Bangladesh

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17 The Fate of Plastic Debris and Microplastic Particles in Mangroves in the Sultanate of Oman

Authors: Muna Al-tarshi


The distribution and accumulation dynamics of anthropogenic marine debris (AMD) and microplastic particles in mangrove habitats in the region are poorly understood. The abundance, sorting, and diversity aspects of AMD and microplastics were investigated in three types of mangroves creeks ( Natural mangrove, afforested mangrove, and non-planted). Abundance, concentration, and particles form of microplastics have been illustrated in three substrate in mangrove habitats e.g. sediment, water, and aquatic organisms. Density separation method by using highly saturated solution was implemented to extract the plastic particles from the sediment samples. The average size of particles in each transect was done using image software, and the polymer type was determined via FTIR. There was variability in abundance of microplastics and marine debris between the habitats and within the substrates in the habitats.Biomonitoring program was developed to detect the pollution of microplastics in mangrove habitats in Sultanate of Oman. Sediment dwelling species were the best choice. Testing whether the zooplankton (Artemia) eating the microplastics via FlowCam technique have been studied. The zooplanktons (Artemia) were eating the microplastics as mistaken food.

Keywords: microplastics, marine debris, flowcam, FTIR, polymer, artemia

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16 Using MALDI-TOF MS to Detect Environmental Microplastics (Polyethylene, Polyethylene Terephthalate, and Polystyrene) within a Simulated Tissue Sample

Authors: Kara J. Coffman-Rea, Karen E. Samonds


Microplastic pollution is an urgent global threat to our planet and human health. Microplastic particles have been detected within our food, water, and atmosphere, and found within the human stool, placenta, and lung tissue. However, most spectrometric microplastic detection methods require chemical digestion which can alter or destroy microplastic particles and makes it impossible to acquire information about their in-situ distribution. MALDI TOF MS (Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry) is an analytical method using a soft ionization technique that can be used for polymer analysis. This method provides a valuable opportunity to both acquire information regarding the in-situ distribution of microplastics and also minimizes the destructive element of chemical digestion. In addition, MALDI TOF MS allows for expanded analysis of the microplastics including detection of specific additives that may be present within them. MALDI TOF MS is particularly sensitive to sample preparation and has not yet been used to analyze environmental microplastics within their specific location (e.g., biological tissues, sediment, water). In this study, microplastics were created using polyethylene gloves, polystyrene micro-foam, and polyethylene terephthalate cable sleeving. Plastics were frozen using liquid nitrogen and ground to obtain small fragments. An artificial tissue was created using a cellulose sponge as scaffolding coated with a MaxGel Extracellular Matrix to simulate human lung tissue. Optimal preparation techniques (e.g., matrix, cationization reagent, solvent, mixing ratio, laser intensity) were first established for each specific polymer type. The artificial tissue sample was subsequently spiked with microplastics, and specific polymers were detected using MALDI-TOF-MS. This study presents a novel method for the detection of environmental polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polystyrene microplastics within a complex sample. Results of this study provide an effective method that can be used in future microplastics research and can aid in determining the potential threats to environmental and human health that they pose.

Keywords: environmental plastic pollution, MALDI-TOF MS, microplastics, polymer identification

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15 Studying the Photodegradation Behavior of Microplastics Released from Agricultural Plastic Products to the Farmland

Authors: Maryam Salehi, Gholamreza Bonyadinejad


The application of agricultural plastic products like mulch, greenhouse covers, and silage films is increasing due to their economic benefits in providing an early and better-quality harvest. In 2015, the 4 million tons (valued a 10.6 million USD) global market for agricultural plastic films was estimated to grow by 5.6% per year through 2030. Despite the short-term benefits provided by plastic products, their long-term sustainability issues and negative impacts on soil health are not well understood. After their removal from the field, some plastic residuals remain in the soil. Plastic residuals in farmlands may fragment to small particles called microplastics (d<5mm). The microplastics' exposure to solar radiation could alter their surface chemistry and make them susceptible to fragmentation. Thus, this study examined the photodegradation of low density polyethylene as the model microplastics that are released to the agriculture farmland. The variation of plastic’s surface chemistry, morphology, and bulk characteristics were studied after accelerated UV-A radiation experiments and sampling from an agricultural field. The Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) demonstrated the formation of oxidized surface functional groups onto the microplastics surface due to the photodegradation. The Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) analysis revealed an increased crystallinity for the photodegraded microplastics compared to the new samples. The gel permeation chromatography (GPC) demonstrated the reduced molecular weight for the polymer due to the photodegradation. This study provides an important opportunity to advance understanding of soil pollution. Understanding the plastic residuals’ variations as they are left in the soil is providing a critical piece of information to better estimate the microplastics' impacts on environmental biodiversity, ecosystem sustainability, and food safety.

Keywords: soil health, plastic pollution, sustainability, photodegradation

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14 Effects of Temperature and Mechanical Abrasion on Microplastics

Authors: N. Singh, G. K. Darbha


Since the last decade, a wave of research has begun to study the prevalence and impact of ever-increasing plastic pollution in the environment. The wide application and ubiquitous distribution of plastic have become a global concern due to its persistent nature. The disposal of plastics has emerged as one of the major challenges for waste management landfills. Microplastics (MPs) have found its existence in almost every environment, from the high altitude mountain lake to the deep sea sediments, polar icebergs, coral reefs, estuaries, beaches, and river, etc. Microplastics are fragments of plastics with size less than 5 mm. Microplastics can be classified as primary microplastics and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics includes purposefully introduced microplastics into the end products for consumers (microbeads used in facial cleansers, personal care product, etc.), pellets (used in manufacturing industries) or fibres (from textile industries) which finally enters into the environment. Secondary microplastics are formed by disintegration of larger fragments under the exposure of sunlight, mechanical abrasive forces by rain, waves, wind and/or water. A number of factors affect the quantity of microplastic present in freshwater environments. In addition to physical forces, human population density proximal to the water body, proximity to urban centres, water residence time, and size of the water body also affects plastic properties. With time, other complex processes in nature such as physical, chemical and biological break down plastics by interfering with its structural integrity. Several studies demonstrate that microplastics found in wastewater sludge being used as manure for agricultural fields, thus having the tendency to alter the soil environment condition influencing the microbial population as well. Inadequate data are available on the fate and transport of microplastics under varying environmental conditions that are required to supplement important information for further research. In addition, microplastics have the tendency to absorb heavy metals and hydrophobic organic contaminants such as PAHs and PCBs from its surroundings and thus acting as carriers for these contaminants in the environment system. In this study, three kinds of microplastics (polyethylene, polypropylene and expanded polystyrene) of different densities were chosen. Plastic samples were placed in sand with different aqueous media (distilled water, surface water, groundwater and marine water). It was incubated at varying temperatures (25, 35 and 40 °C) and agitation levels (rpm). The results show that the number of plastic fragments enhanced with increase in temperature and agitation speed. Moreover, the rate of disintegration of expanded polystyrene is high compared to other plastics. These results demonstrate that temperature, salinity, and mechanical abrasion plays a major role in degradation of plastics. Since weathered microplastics are more harmful as compared to the virgin microplastics, long-term studies involving other environmental factors are needed to have a better understanding of degradation of plastics.

Keywords: environmental contamination, fragmentation, microplastics, temperature, weathering

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13 Near-Infrared Hyperspectral Imaging Spectroscopy to Detect Microplastics and Pieces of Plastic in Almond Flour

Authors: H. Apaza, L. Chévez, H. Loro


Plastic and microplastic pollution in human food chain is a big problem for human health that requires more elaborated techniques that can identify their presences in different kinds of food. Hyperspectral imaging technique is an optical technique than can detect the presence of different elements in an image and can be used to detect plastics and microplastics in a scene. To do this statistical techniques are required that need to be evaluated and compared in order to find the more efficient ones. In this work, two problems related to the presence of plastics are addressed, the first is to detect and identify pieces of plastic immersed in almond seeds, and the second problem is to detect and quantify microplastic in almond flour. To do this we make use of the analysis hyperspectral images taken in the range of 900 to 1700 nm using 4 unmixing techniques of hyperspectral imaging which are: least squares unmixing (LSU), non-negatively constrained least squares unmixing (NCLSU), fully constrained least squares unmixing (FCLSU), and scaled constrained least squares unmixing (SCLSU). NCLSU, FCLSU, SCLSU techniques manage to find the region where the plastic is found and also manage to quantify the amount of microplastic contained in the almond flour. The SCLSU technique estimated a 13.03% abundance of microplastics and 86.97% of almond flour compared to 16.66% of microplastics and 83.33% abundance of almond flour prepared for the experiment. Results show the feasibility of applying near-infrared hyperspectral image analysis for the detection of plastic contaminants in food.

Keywords: food, plastic, microplastic, NIR hyperspectral imaging, unmixing

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12 Microplastics in Fish from Grenada, West Indies: Problems and Opportunities

Authors: Michelle E. Taylor, Clare E. Morrall


Microplastics are small particles produced for industrial purposes or formed by breakdown of anthropogenic debris. Caribbean nations import large quantities of plastic products. The Caribbean region is vulnerable to natural disasters and Climate Change is predicted to bring multiple additional challenges to island nations. Microplastics have been found in an array of marine environments and in a diversity of marine species. Occurrence of microplastic in the intestinal tracts of marine fish is a concern to human and ecosystem health as pollutants and pathogens can associate with plastics. Studies have shown that the incidence of microplastics in marine fish varies with species and location. Prevalence of microplastics (≤ 5 mm) in fish species from Grenadian waters (representing pelagic, semi-pelagic and demersal lifestyles) harvested for human consumption have been investigated via gut analysis. Harvested tissue was digested in 10% KOH and particles retained on a 0.177 mm sieve were examined. Microplastics identified have been classified according to type, colour and size. Over 97% of fish examined thus far (n=34) contained microplastics. Current and future work includes examining the invasive Lionfish (Pterois spp.) for microplastics, investigating marine invertebrate species as well as examining environmental sources of microplastics (i.e. rivers, coastal waters and sand). Owing to concerns of pollutant accumulation on microplastics and potential migration into organismal tissues, we plan to analyse fish tissue for mercury and other persistent pollutants. Despite having ~110,000 inhabitants, the island nation of Grenada imported approximately 33 million plastic bottles in 2013, of which it is estimated less than 5% were recycled. Over 30% of the imported bottles were ‘unmanaged’, and as such are potential litter/marine debris. A revised Litter Abatement Act passed into law in Grenada in 2015, but little enforcement of the law is evident to date. A local Non-governmental organization (NGO) ‘The Grenada Green Group’ (G3) is focused on reducing litter in Grenada through lobbying government to implement the revised act and running sessions in schools, community groups and on local media and social media to raise awareness of the problems associated with plastics. A local private company has indicated willingness to support an Anti-Litter Campaign in 2018 and local awareness of the need for a reduction of single use plastic use and litter seems to be high. The Government of Grenada have called for a Sustainable Waste Management Strategy and a ban on both Styrofoam and plastic grocery bags are among recommendations recently submitted. A Styrofoam ban will be in place at the St. George’s University campus from January 1st, 2018 and many local businesses have already voluntarily moved away from Styrofoam. Our findings underscore the importance of continuing investigations into microplastics in marine life; this will contribute to understanding the associated health risks. Furthermore, our findings support action to mitigate the volume of plastics entering the world’s oceans. We hope that Grenada’s future will involve a lot less plastic. This research was supported by the Caribbean Node of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter.

Keywords: Caribbean, microplastics, pollution, small island developing nation

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11 Applying Miniaturized near Infrared Technology for Commingled and Microplastic Waste Analysis

Authors: Monika Rani, Claudio Marchesi, Stefania Federici, Laura E. Depero


Degradation of the aquatic environment by plastic litter, especially microplastics (MPs), i.e., any water-insoluble solid plastic particle with the longest dimension in the range 1µm and 1000 µm (=1 mm) size, is an unfortunate indication of the advancement of the Anthropocene age on Earth. Microplastics formed due to natural weathering processes are termed as secondary microplastics, while when these are synthesized in industries, they are called primary microplastics. Their presence from the highest peaks to the deepest points in oceans explored and their resistance to biological and chemical decay has adversely affected the environment, especially marine life. Even though the presence of MPs in the marine environment is well-reported, a legitimate and authentic analytical technique to sample, analyze, and quantify the MPs is still under progress and testing stages. Among the characterization techniques, vibrational spectroscopic techniques are largely adopted in the field of polymers. And the ongoing miniaturization of these methods is on the way to revolutionize the plastic recycling industry. In this scenario, the capability and the feasibility of a miniaturized near-infrared (MicroNIR) spectroscopy combined with chemometrics tools for qualitative and quantitative analysis of urban plastic waste collected from a recycling plant and microplastic mixture fragmented in the lab were investigated. Based on the Resin Identification Code, 250 plastic samples were used for macroplastic analysis and to set up a library of polymers. Subsequently, MicroNIR spectra were analysed through the application of multivariate modelling. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was used as an unsupervised tool to find trends within the data. After the exploratory PCA analysis, a supervised classification tool was applied in order to distinguish the different plastic classes, and a database containing the NIR spectra of polymers was made. For the microplastic analysis, the three most abundant polymers in the plastic litter, PE, PP, PS, were mechanically fragmented in the laboratory to micron size. The distinctive arrangement of blends of these three microplastics was prepared in line with a designed ternary composition plot. After the PCA exploratory analysis, a quantitative model Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) allowed to predict the percentage of microplastics in the mixtures. With a complete dataset of 63 compositions, PLS was calibrated with 42 data-points. The model was used to predict the composition of 21 unknown mixtures of the test set. The advantage of the consolidated NIR Chemometric approach lies in the quick evaluation of whether the sample is macro or micro, contaminated, coloured or not, and with no sample pre-treatment. The technique can be utilized with bigger example volumes and even considers an on-site evaluation and in this manner satisfies the need for a high-throughput strategy.

Keywords: chemometrics, microNIR, microplastics, urban plastic waste

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10 Microplastics in the Seine River Catchment: Results and Lessons from a Pluriannual Research Programme

Authors: Bruno Tassin, Robin Treilles, Cleo Stratmann, Minh Trang Nguyen, Sam Azimi, Vincent Rocher, Rachid Dris, Johnny Gasperi


Microplastics (<5mm) in the environment and in hydro systems is one of the major present environmental issues. Over the last five years a research programme was conducted in order to assess the behavior of microplastics in the Seine river catchment, in a Man-Land-Sea continuum approach. Results show that microplastic concentration varies at the seasonal scale, but also at much smaller scales, during flood events and with tides in the estuary for instance. Moreover, microplastic sampling and characterization issues emerged throughout this work. The Seine river is a 750km long river flowing in Northwestern France. It crosses the Paris megacity (12 millions inhabitants) and reaches the English Channel after a 170 km long estuary. This site is a very relevant one to assess the effect of anthropogenic pollution as the mean river flow is low (mean flow around 350m³/s) while the human presence and activities are very intense. Monthly monitoring of the microplastic concentration took place over a 19-month period and showed significant temporal variations at all sampling stations but no significant upstream-downstream increase, indicating a possible major sink to the sediment. At the scale of a major flood event (winter and spring 2018), microplastic concentration shows an evolution similar to the well-known suspended solids concentration, with an increase during the increase of the flow and a decrease during the decrease of the flow. Assessing the position of the concentration peak in relation to the flow peak was unfortunately impossible. In the estuary, concentrations vary with time in connection with tides movements and in the water column in relation to the salinity and the turbidity. Although major gains of knowledge on the microplastic dynamics in the Seine river have been obtained over the last years, major gaps remain to deal mostly with the interaction with the dynamics of the suspended solids, the selling processes in the water column and the resuspension by navigation or shear stress increase. Moreover, the development of efficient chemical characterization techniques during the 5 year period of this pluriannual research programme led to the improvement of the sampling techniques in order to access smaller microplastics (>10µm) as well as larger but rare ones (>500µm).

Keywords: microplastics, Paris megacity, seine river, suspended solids

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9 Evidence of Microplastics Ingestion in Two Commercial Cephalopod Species: Octopus Vulgaris and Sepia Officinalis

Authors: Federica Laface, Cristina Pedà, Francesco Longo, Francesca de Domenico, Riccardo Minichino, Pierpaolo Consoli, Pietro Battaglia, Silvestro Greco, Teresa Romeo


Plastics pollution represents one of the most important threats to marine biodiversity. In the last decades, different species are investigated to evaluate the extent of the plastic ingestion phenomenon. Even if the cephalopods play an important role in the food chain, they are still poorly studied. The aim of this research was to investigate the plastic ingestion in two commercial cephalopod species from the southern Tyrrhenian Sea: the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris (n=6; mean mantle length ML 10.7 ± 1.8) and the common cuttlefish, Sepia officinalis (n=13; mean ML 13.2 ± 1.7). Plastics were extracted from the filters obtained by the chemical digestion of cephalopods gastrointestinal tracts (GITs), using 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution in a 1:5 (w/v) ratio. Once isolated, particles were photographed, measured, and their size class, shape and color were recorded. A total of 81 items was isolated from 16 of the 19 examined GITs, representing a total occurrence (%O) of 84.2% with a mean value of 4.3 ± 8.6 particles per individual. In particular, 62 plastics were found in 6 specimens of O. vulgaris (%O=100) and 19 particles in 10 S. officinalis (%O=94.7). In both species, the microplastics size class was the most abundant (93.8%). Plastic items found in O. vulgaris were mainly fibers (61%) while fragments were the most frequent in S. officinalis (53%). Transparent was the most common color in both species. The analysis will be completed by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy technique in order to identify polymers nature. This study reports preliminary data on plastic ingestion events in two cephalopods species and represents the first record of plastic ingestion by the common octopus. Microplastic items detected in both common octopus and common cuttlefish could derive from secondary and/or accidental ingestion events, probably due to their behavior, feeding habits and anatomical features. Further studies will be required to assess the effect of marine litter pollution in these ecologically and commercially important species.

Keywords: cephalopods, GIT analysis, marine pollution, Mediterranean sea, microplastics

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8 Microplastic Accumulation in Native and Invasive Sea Urchin Populations on Lipsi Island (Aegean Sea)

Authors: Ella Zahra


Sea urchins are keystone species in many global benthic ecosystems. The concentration of microplastics (MPs) in sea urchin organs was quantified in 120 individuals of 2 different species and from 4 sites across the Greek island Lipsi, with special interest in the differences between the native Arbacia lixula and the invasive Diadema setosum. Over 93% of MPs observed in both species were fibrous. MP abundance was found to correlate with exposure to open sea and harsh prevailing winds, irrespective of proximity to urban activities. The MP abundance in the invasive species was not found to be significantly dependent on site. Interestingly, the smaller native species contained significantly larger sized MPs than the invasive, possibly as a result of a greater feeding rate in A. lixula individuals. Sexually immature urchins may also have a higher feeding rate, giving rise to the negative correlation between gonad index and MPs per individual. The size of MPs ranged from 10µm to 24210µm, heavily skewed towards smaller particles. Few differences in colour were noted between the species and sites. MPs were detected in 100% of the samples with abundance ranging from 19.27 ± 6.77 to 26.83 ± 8.15 items per individual, or 3.55 ± 3.73 to 7.34 ± 10.51 items per gram of wet organ weight. This high value could lead to health risks in East Asia and the Mediterranean, where sea urchin is widely consumed, due to toxins adsorbed to the MPs.

Keywords: microplastics, plastic pollution, invertebrate ecology, invasive marine species

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7 Microplastic Concentrations and Fluxes in Urban Compartments: A Systemic Approach at the Scale of the Paris Megacity

Authors: Rachid Dris, Robin Treilles, Max Beaurepaire, Minh Trang Nguyen, Sam Azimi, Vincent Rocher, Johnny Gasperi, Bruno Tassin


Microplastic sources and fluxes in urban catchments are only poorly studied. Most often, the approaches taken focus on a single source and only carry out a description of the contamination levels and type (shape, size, polymers). In order to gain an improved knowledge of microplastic inputs at urban scales, estimating and comparing various fluxes is necessary. The Laboratoire Eau, Environnement et Systèmes Urbains (LEESU), the Laboratoire Eau Environnement (LEE) and the SIAAP (Service public de l’assainissement francilien) initiated several projects to investigate different urban sources and flows of microplastics. A systemic approach is undertaken at the scale of Paris Megacity, and several compartments are considered, including atmospheric fallout, wastewater treatments plants, runoff and combined sewer overflows. These investigations are carried out within the Limnoplast and OPUR projects. Atmospheric fallout was sampled during consecutive periods ranging from 2 to 3 weeks with a stainless-steel funnel. Both wet and dry periods were considered. Different treatment steps were sampled in 2 wastewater treatment plants (Seine-Amont for activated sludge and Seine-Centre for biofiltration) of the SIAAP, including sludge samples. Microplastics were also investigated in combined sewer overflows as well as in stormwater at the outlet suburban catchment (Sucy-en-Brie, France) during four rain events. Samples are treated using hydroperoxide digestion (H₂O₂ 30 %) in order to reduce organic material. Microplastics are then extracted from the samples with a density separation step using NaI (d=1.6⁻³). Samples are filtered on metallic filters with a porosity of 14 µm between steps to separate them from the solutions (H₂O₂ and NaI). The last filtration was carried out on alumina filters. Infrared mapping analysis (using a micro-FTIR with an MCT detector) is performed on each alumina filter. The resulting maps are analyzed using a microplastic analysis software simple, developed by Aalborg University, Denmark and Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany. Blanks were systematically carried out to consider sample contamination. This presentation aims at synthesizing the data found in the various projects. In order to carry out a systemic approach and compare the various inputs, all the data were converted into annual microplastic fluxes (number of microplastics per year), and extrapolated to the Parisian agglomeration. PP, PE and alkyd are the most prevalent polymers found in storm water samples. Rain intensity and microplastic concentrations did not show any clear correlation. Considering the runoff volumes and the impervious surface area of the studied catchment, a flux of 4*107–9*107 MPs.yr⁻¹.ha⁻¹ was estimated. Samples of wastewater treatment plants and atmospheric fallout are currently being analyzed in order to finalize this assessment. The representativeness of such samplings and uncertainties related to the extrapolations will be discussed and gaps in knowledge will be identified. The data provided by such an approach will help to prioritize future research as well as policy efforts.

Keywords: microplastics, atmosphere, wastewater, urban runoff, Paris megacity, urban waters

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6 Microplastic Concentrations in Cultured Oyster in Two Bays of Baja California, Mexico

Authors: Eduardo Antonio Lozano Hernandez, Nancy Ramirez Alvarez, Lorena Margarita Rios Mendoza, Jose Vinicio Macias Zamora, Felix Augusto Hernandez Guzman, Jose Luis Sanchez Osorio


Microplastics (MPs) are one of the most numerous reported wastes found in the marine ecosystem, representing one of the greatest risks for organisms that inhabit that environment due to their bioavailability. Such is the case of bivalve mollusks, since they are capable of filtering large volumes of water, which increases the risk of contamination by microplastics through the continuous exposure to these materials. This study aims to determine, quantify and characterize microplastics found in the cultured oyster Crassostrea gigas. We also analyzed if there are spatio-temporal differences in the microplastic concentration of organisms grown in two bays having quite different human population. In addition, we wanted to have an idea of the possible impact on humans via consumption of these organisms. Commercial size organisms (>6cm length; n = 15) were collected by triplicate from eight oyster farming sites in Baja California, Mexico during winter and summer. Two sites are located in Todos Santos Bay (TSB), while the other six are located in San Quintin Bay (SQB). Site selection was based on commercial concessions for oyster farming in each bay. The organisms were chemically digested with 30% KOH (w/v) and 30% H₂O₂ (v/v) to remove the organic matter and subsequently filtered using a GF/D filter. All particles considered as possible MPs were quantified according to their physical characteristics using a stereoscopic microscope. The type of synthetic polymer was determined using a FTIR-ATR microscope and using a user as well as a commercial reference library (Nicolet iN10 Thermo Scientific, Inc.) of IR spectra of plastic polymers (with a certainty ≥70% for polymers pure; ≥50% for composite polymers). Plastic microfibers were found in all the samples analyzed. However, a low incidence of MP fragments was observed in our study (approximately 9%). The synthetic polymers identified were mainly polyester and polyacrylonitrile. In addition, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon, and T. elastomer. On average, the content of microplastics in organisms were higher in TSB (0.05 ± 0.01 plastic particles (pp)/g of wet weight) than found in SQB (0.02 ± 0.004 pp/g of wet weight) in the winter period. The highest concentration of MPs found in TSB coincides with the rainy season in the region, which increases the runoff from streams and wastewater discharges to the bay, as well as the larger population pressure (> 500,000 inhabitants). Otherwise, SQB is a mainly rural location, where surface runoff from streams is minimal and in addition, does not have a wastewater discharge into the bay. During the summer, no significant differences (Manne-Whitney U test; P=0.484) were observed in the concentration of MPs found in the cultured oysters of TSB and SQB, (average: 0.01 ± 0.003 pp/g and 0.01 ± 0.002 pp/g, respectively). Finally, we concluded that the consumption of oyster does not represent a risk for humans due to the low concentrations of MPs found. The concentration of MPs is influenced by the variables such as temporality, circulations dynamics of the bay and existing demographic pressure.

Keywords: FTIR-ATR, Human risk, Microplastic, Oyster

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5 Reactive Oxygen Species-Mediated Photoaging Pathways of Ultrafine Plastic Particles under UV Irradiation

Authors: Jiajun Duan, Yang Li, Jianan Gao, Runzi Cao, Enxiang Shang, Wen Zhang


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation is considered as an important photoaging mechanism of microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs). To elucidate the ROS-induced MP/NP aging processes in water under UV365 irradiation, we examined the effects of surface coatings, polymer types, and grain sizes on ROS generation and photoaging intermediates. Bare polystyrene (PS) NPs generated hydroxyl radicals (•OH) and singlet oxygen (¹O₂), while coated PS NPs (carboxyl-modified PS (PS-COOH), amino-modified PS (PS-NH₂)) and PS MPs generated fewer ROS due to coating scavenging or size effects. Polypropylene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene terephthalate, and polycarbonate MPs only generated •OH. For aromatic polymers, •OH addition preferentially occurred at benzene rings to form monohydroxy polymers. Excess •OH resulted in H abstraction, C-C scission, and phenyl ring opening to generate aliphatic ketones, esters, aldehydes, and aromatic ketones. For coated PS NPs, •OH preferentially attacked the surface coatings to result in decarboxylation and deamination reactions. For aliphatic polymers, •OH attack resulted in the formation of carbonyl groups from peracid, aldehyde, or ketone via H abstraction and C-C scission. Moreover, ¹O₂ might participate in phenyl ring opening for PS NPs and coating degradation for coated PS NPs. This study facilitates understanding the ROS-induced weathering process of NPs/MPs in water under UV irradiation.

Keywords: microplastics, nanoplastics, photoaging, reactive oxygen species, surface coating

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4 Predicting the Lifetime of Weathered Polyolefins by Relating Mechanics to Microstructure

Authors: Marta Chiapasco, Alexandra Porter, Finn Giuliani


Designing polymers with a specific microstructure can affect how the polymer degrades once released in the environment. Not only the amount but also the distribution of different phases determines a polymers’ degradability. The following research investigates the use of a combination of spectroscopy analysis and thermal analysis to study changes of polymers’ amorphous and crystalline phases during degradation, comparing different microstructures of polypropylene and polyethylene. The use of nanoindentation helps study how degradation proceeds across a material by looking at changes in phases, while bulk tensile test describes when the material fails. The first results demonstrate that different microstructures have different degrading rates, with homopolymer having a linear and faster degradation compared to copolymers. The goal is to create materials that degrade at faster rates without releasing microplastics into the environment.

Keywords: degradation, microstructure, nanoindentation, Raman spectroscopy

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3 Hydroclean Smartbin Solution for Plastic Pollution Crisis

Authors: Anish Bhargava


By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. 51 trillion micro-plastics pollute our waters and contaminate the food on our plates, increasing the risk of tumours and diseases such as cancer. Our product is a solution to the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution. We call it the SmartBin. The SmartBin is a cylindrical device which will float just below the surface of the water, able to move with the aid of 4 water thrusters situated on the sides. As it floats, our SmartBin will suck water into itself and pump it out through the bottom. All waste is collected into a reusable filter including microplastics measuring down to 1.5mm. A speaker emitting sound at a frequency of 9 hertz ensures marine life stays away from the SmartBin. Featured along with our product is a smartphone app which will enable the user to designate an area for the SmartBin to cover on a satellite image. The SmartBin will then return to its start position near the shore, configured through the app. As global pressure to tackle water pollution continues to increase, environmental spending increases too. As our product provides an effective solution to this issue, we can seize the opportunity and scale our company. Our product is unparalleled. It can move at a high speed, covering a wide area rather than being restricted to one position. We target not only oceans and sea-shores, but also rivers, lakes, reservoirs and canals, as they are much easier to access and control.

Keywords: water, plastic, pollution, solution, hydroclean, smartbin, cleanup

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2 Fiber Release from Fabrics with Various Weave Parameters and Finishing Treatments during Washing and Their Marine Biodegradation

Authors: Seoyoun Kim, Chunghee Park


Microplastics have recently become an issue due to their potentially harmful effects on the marine environment and the human body. The purpose of this study is to investigate the correlation of fiber emissions during the home laundering with the fabric parameters such as yarn density, warp/weft density, and weave structure. Also, the effect of finishing treatments such as reactive dyeing, water-repellent finish, peach skin finish on fiber emissions was evaluated. Furthermore, we studied the biodegradability of fibers in the marine environment compared to those in soil burial and the impact of finishing treatment on the biodegradability. Biodegradability was evaluated by measuring BOD values and tensile strength reduction. The results showed that more fibers were released in the thicker yarn, lower weave density. Also, a weave structure which has less compactness, released more fibers. Peach skin finish with microfibers exposed on the surface caused more fiber release, whereas water-repellent finish reduced the fiber emission. In addition, the biodegradability of the fabrics submerged in the marine environment were lower compared with those buried in the soil. Also, the water-repellent fabric was less biodegradable than the untreated one. Further research is suggested considering the fabrics with various chemical components or geometry and their fouling behavior in the marine environment.

Keywords: biodegradation, fibers, microplastic, pollution

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1 Removal of Pharmaceuticals from Aquarius Solutions Using Hybrid Ceramic Membranes

Authors: Jenny Radeva, Anke-Gundula Roth, Christian Goebbert, Robert Niestroj-Pahl, Lars Daehne, Axel Wolfram, Juergen Wiese


The technological advantages of ceramic filtration elements were combined with polyelectrolyte films in the development process of hybrid membrane for the elimination of pharmaceuticals from Aquarius solutions. Previously extruded alumina ceramic membranes were coated with nanosized polyelectrolyte films using Layer-by-Layer technology. The polyelectrolyte chains form a network with nano-pores on the ceramic surface and promote the retention of small molecules like pharmaceuticals and microplastics, which cannot be eliminated using standard ultrafiltration methods. Additionally, the polyelectrolyte coat contributes with its adjustable (based on application) Zeta Potential for repulsion of contaminant molecules with opposite charges. Properties like permeability, bubble point, pore size distribution and Zeta Potential of ceramic and hybrid membranes were characterized using various laboratory and pilot tests and compared with each other. The most significant role for the membrane characterization played the filtration behavior investigation, during which retention against widely used pharmaceuticals like Diclofenac, Ibuprofen and Sulfamethoxazol was subjected to series of filtration tests. The presented study offers a new perspective on nanosized molecules removal from aqueous solutions and shows the importance of combined techniques application for the elimination of pharmaceutical contaminants from drinking water.

Keywords: water treatment, hybrid membranes, layer-by-layer coating, filtration, polyelectrolytes

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