Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 41

Search results for: microplastics

41 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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40 Metagenomics Composition During and After Wet Deposition and the Presence of Airborne Microplastics

Authors: Yee Hui Lim, Elena Gusareva, Irvan Luhung, Yulia Frank, Stephan Christoph Schuster


Environmental pollution from microplastics (MPs) is an emerging concern worldwide. While the presence of microplastics has been well established in the marine and terrestrial environments, the prevalence of microplastics in the atmosphere is still poorly understood. Wet depositions such as rain or snow scavenge impurities from the atmosphere as it falls to the ground. These wet depositions serve as a useful tool in the removal of airborne particles that are suspended in the air. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the presence of atmospheric microplastics and fibres through the analysis of air, rainwater and snow samples. Air samples were collected with filter-based air samplers from outdoor locations in Singapore. The sampling campaigns were conducted during and after each rain event. Rainwater samples from Singapore and Siberia were collected as well. Snow samples were also collected from Siberia as part of the ongoing study. Genomic DNA was then extracted from the samples and sequenced with shotgun metagenomics approach. qPCR analysis was conducted to quantify the total bacteria and fungi in the air, rainwater and snow samples. The results compared the bioaerosol profiles of all the samples. To observe the presence of microplastics, scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used. From the preliminary results, microplastics were detected. It can be concluded that there is a significant amount of atmospheric microplastics present, and its occurrence should be investigated in greater detail.

Keywords: atmospheric microplastics, metagenomics, scanning electron microscope, wet deposition

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39 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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38 Polyethylene Terephthalate Plastic Degradation by Fungus Rasamsonia Emersonii

Authors: Naveen Kumar


Microplastics, tiny plastic particles less than 5 mm in size formed by the disposal and breakdown of industrial and consumer products, have become a primary environmental concern due to their ubiquitous presence and application in the environment and their potential to cause harm to the ecosystem, wildlife and human health. In this, we study the ability of the fungus Rasamsonia emersonii IMI 393752 to degrade the rigid microplastics of Coke bottles. Microplastics were extracted from Coke bottles and incubated with Rasamsonia emersonii in Sabouraud dextrose agar media. Microplastics were pre-sterilized without altering the chemistry of microplastic. Preliminary analysis was performed by observing radial growth assessment of microplastic-containing media enriched with fungi vs. control. The assay confirmed no impedance or change in the fungi's growth pattern and rate by introducing microplastics. The degradation of the microplastics was monitored over time using microscopy and FTIR, and biodegradation/deterioration on the plastic surface was observed. Furthermore, the liquid assay was performed. HPLC and GCMS will be conducted to check the biodegradation and presence of enzyme release by fungi to counteract the presence of microplastics. These findings have important implications for managing plastic waste, as they suggest that fungi such as Rasamsonia emersonii can potentially degrade microplastics safely and effectively. However, further research to optimise the conditions for microplastic degradation by Rasamsonia emersonii and to develop strategies for scaling up the process for industrial applications will be beneficial.

Keywords: bioremediation, mycoremediation, plastic degradtion, polyethylene terephthalate

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37 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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36 Burrowing Invertebrates Induce Fragmentation of Mariculture Styrofoam Floats and Formation of Microplastics

Authors: Yifan Zheng, Jinmin Zhu, Jiji Li, Gulling Li, Huahong Shi


Secondary microplastics originate from the fragmentation of large plastics, and weathering is supposed to be the main cause of fragmentation. In this study, we investigated burrows and burrowing invertebrates on Styrofoam floats from the mariculture areas of China’s coastal waters. Various burrows were found on the submerged surface of Styrofoam floats and could be divided into ‘I’, ‘S’, ‘J’, and ‘Y’ types based on the burrow entrance number and passage curvature. Different invertebrate species, including 5 isopods, 8 clamworms, and 12 crabs, were found inside the burrows. Micro-foams were found in the bodies of these burrowers, with an average abundance of 4.2 ± 0.3 (isopod), 6.9 ± 2.0 (clamworm), and 3.0 ± 0.5 (crab) micro-foams per individual. In the laboratory, we observed the boring process of crabs in abandoned floats. Field and laboratory evidence suggested that these invertebrates bored various burrows. The total volume of crab burrows on a 3-year-used float was estimated to be 2.6 × 10³ cm³, producing 4.1 × 10⁸ microplastics. This study highlights the critical role of bioerosion in destroying man-made substrates and prompting microplastic pollution.

Keywords: burrowing invertebrate, mariculture area, styrofoam float, fragmentation, microplastics

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35 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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34 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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33 Enhanced COVID-19 Pharmaceuticals and Microplastics Removal from Wastewater Using Hybrid Reactor System

Authors: Reda Dzingelevičienė, Vytautas Abromaitis, Nerijus Dzingelevičius, Kęstutis Baranauskis, Saulius Raugelė, Malgorzata Mlynska-Szultka, Sergej Suzdalev, Reza Pashaei, Sajjad Abbasi, Boguslaw Buszewski


A unique hybrid technology was developed for the removal of COVID-19 specific contaminants from wastewater. Reactor testing was performed using model water samples contaminated with COVID-19 pharmaceuticals and microplastics. Different hydraulic retention times, concentrations of pollutants and dissolved ozone were tested. Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, solid phase extraction, surface area and porosity, analytical tools were used to monitor the treatment efficiency and remaining sorption capacity of the spent adsorbent. The combination of advanced oxidation and adsorption processes was found to be the most effective, with the highest 90-99% and 89-95% molnupiravir and microplastics contaminants removal efficiency from the model wastewater. The research has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (project No 13.1.1-LMT-K-718-05-0014) under a grant agreement with the Research Council of Lithuania (LMTLT), and it was funded as part of the European Union’s measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: adsorption, hybrid reactor system, pharmaceuticals-microplastics, wastewater

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32 Role of Microplastics on Reducing Heavy Metal Pollution from Wastewater

Authors: Derin Ureten


Plastic pollution does not disappear, it gets smaller and smaller through photolysis which are caused mainly by sun’s radiation, thermal oxidation, thermal degradation, and biodegradation which is the action of organisms digesting larger plastics. All plastic pollutants have exceedingly harmful effects on the environment. Together with the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of plastic products such as masks and gloves flowing into the environment has increased more than ever. However, microplastics are not the only pollutants in water, one of the most tenacious and toxic pollutants are heavy metals. Heavy metal solutions are also capable of causing varieties of health problems in organisms such as cancer, organ damage, nervous system damage, and even death. The aim of this research is to prove that microplastics can be used in wastewater treatment systems by proving that they could adsorb heavy metals in solutions. Experiment for this research will include two heavy metal solutions; one including microplastics in a heavy metal contaminated water solution, and one that just includes heavy metal solution. After being sieved, absorbance of both mediums will be measured with the help of a spectrometer. Iron (III) chloride (FeCl3) will be used as the heavy metal solution since the solution becomes darker as the presence of this substance increases. The experiment will be supported by Pure Nile Red powder in order to observe if there are any visible differences under the microscope. Pure Nile Red powder is a chemical that binds to hydrophobic materials such as plastics and lipids. If proof of adsorbance could be observed by the rates of the solutions' final absorbance rates and visuals ensured by the Pure Nile Red powder, the experiment will be conducted with different temperature levels in order to analyze the most accurate temperature level to proceed with removal of heavy metals from water. New wastewater treatment systems could be generated with the help of microplastics, for water contaminated with heavy metals.

Keywords: microplastics, heavy metal, pollution, adsorbance, wastewater treatment

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31 Evaluation in Vitro and in Silico of Pleurotus ostreatus Capacity to Decrease the Amount of Low-Density Polyethylene Microplastics Present in Water Sample from the Middle Basin of the Magdalena River, Colombia

Authors: Loren S. Bernal., Catalina Castillo, Carel E. Carvajal, José F. Ibla


Plastic pollution, specifically microplastics, has become a significant issue in aquatic ecosystems worldwide. The large amount of plastic waste carried by water tributaries has resulted in the accumulation of microplastics in water bodies. The polymer aging process caused by environmental influences such as photodegradation and chemical degradation of additives leads to polymer embrittlement and properties change that require degradation or reduction procedures in rivers. However, there is a lack of such procedures for freshwater entities that develop over extended periods. The aim of this study is evaluate the potential of Pleurotus ostreatus a fungus, in reducing lowdensity polyethylene microplastics present in freshwater samples collected from the middle basin of the Magdalena River in Colombia. The study aims to evaluate this process both in vitro and in silico by identifying the growth capacity of Pleurotus ostreatus in the presence of microplastics and identifying the most likely interactions of Pleurotus ostreatus enzymes and their affinity energies. The study follows an engineering development methodology applied on an experimental basis. The in vitro evaluation protocol applied in this study focused on the growth capacity of Pleurotus ostreatus on microplastics using enzymatic inducers. In terms of in silico evaluation, molecular simulations were conducted using the Autodock 1.5.7 program to calculate interaction energies. The molecular dynamics were evaluated by using the myPresto Portal and GROMACS program to calculate radius of gyration and Energies.The results of the study showed that Pleurotus ostreatus has the potential to degrade low-density polyethylene microplastics. The in vitro evaluation revealed the adherence of Pleurotus ostreatus to LDPE using scanning electron microscopy. The best results were obtained with enzymatic inducers as a MnSO4 generating the activation of laccase or manganese peroxidase enzymes in the degradation process. The in silico modelling demonstrated that Pleurotus ostreatus was able to interact with the microplastics present in LDPE, showing affinity energies in molecular docking and molecular dynamics shown a minimum energy and the representative radius of gyration between each enzyme and its substract. The study contributes to the development of bioremediation processes for the removal of microplastics from freshwater sources using the fungus Pleurotus ostreatus. The in silico study provides insights into the affinity energies of Pleurotus ostreatus microplastic degrading enzymes and their interaction with low-density polyethylene. The study demonstrated that Pleurotus ostreatus can interact with LDPE microplastics, making it a good agent for the development of bioremediation processes that aid in the recovery of freshwater sources. The results of the study suggested that bioremediation could be a promising approach to reduce microplastics in freshwater systems.

Keywords: bioremediation, in silico modelling, microplastics, Pleurotus ostreatus

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30 Microfiber Release During Laundry Under Different Rinsing Parameters

Authors: Fulya Asena Uluç, Ehsan Tuzcuoğlu, Songül Bayraktar, Burak Koca, Alper Gürarslan


Microplastics are contaminants that are widely distributed in the environment with a detrimental ecological effect. Besides this, recent research has proved the existence of microplastics in human blood and organs. Microplastics in the environment can be divided into two main categories: primary and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are plastics that are released into the environment as microscopic particles. On the other hand, secondary microplastics are the smaller particles that are shed as a result of the consumption of synthetic materials in textile products as well as other products. Textiles are the main source of microplastic contamination in aquatic ecosystems. Laundry of synthetic textiles (34.8%) accounts for an average annual discharge of 3.2 million tons of primary microplastics into the environment. Recently, microfiber shedding from laundry research has gained traction. However, no comprehensive study was conducted from the standpoint of rinsing parameters during laundry to analyze microfiber shedding. The purpose of the present study is to quantify microfiber shedding from fabric under different rinsing conditions and determine the effective rinsing parameters on microfiber release in a laundry environment. In this regard, a parametric study is carried out to investigate the key factors affecting the microfiber release from a front-load washing machine. These parameters are the amount of water used during the rinsing step and the spinning speed at the end of the washing cycle. Minitab statistical program is used to create a design of the experiment (DOE) and analyze the experimental results. Tests are repeated twice and besides the controlled parameters, other washing parameters are kept constant in the washing algorithm. At the end of each cycle, released microfibers are collected via a custom-made filtration system and weighted with precision balance. The results showed that by increasing the water amount during the rinsing step, the amount of microplastic released from the washing machine increased drastically. Also, the parametric study revealed that increasing the spinning speed results in an increase in the microfiber release from textiles.

Keywords: front load, laundry, microfiber, microfiber release, microfiber shedding, microplastic, pollution, rinsing parameters, sustainability, washing parameters, washing machine

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29 Objective Assessment of the Evolution of Microplastic Contamination in Sediments from a Vast Coastal Area

Authors: Vanessa Morgado, Ricardo Bettencourt da Silva, Carla Palma


The environmental pollution by microplastics is well recognized. Microplastics were already detected in various matrices from distinct environmental compartments worldwide, some from remote areas. Various methodologies and techniques have been used to determine microplastic in such matrices, for instance, sediment samples from the ocean bottom. In order to determine microplastics in a sediment matrix, the sample is typically sieved through a 5 mm mesh, digested to remove the organic matter, and density separated to isolate microplastics from the denser part of the sediment. The physical analysis of microplastic consists of visual analysis under a stereomicroscope to determine particle size, colour, and shape. The chemical analysis is performed by an infrared spectrometer coupled to a microscope (micro-FTIR), allowing to the identification of the chemical composition of microplastic, i.e., the type of polymer. Creating legislation and policies to control and manage (micro)plastic pollution is essential to protect the environment, namely the coastal areas. The regulation is defined from the known relevance and trends of the pollution type. This work discusses the assessment of contamination trends of a 700 km² oceanic area affected by contamination heterogeneity, sampling representativeness, and the uncertainty of the analysis of collected samples. The methodology developed consists of objectively identifying meaningful variations of microplastic contamination by the Monte Carlo simulation of all uncertainty sources. This work allowed us to unequivocally conclude that the contamination level of the studied area did not vary significantly between two consecutive years (2018 and 2019) and that PET microplastics are the major type of polymer. The comparison of contamination levels was performed for a 99% confidence level. The developed know-how is crucial for the objective and binding determination of microplastic contamination in relevant environmental compartments.

Keywords: measurement uncertainty, micro-ATR-FTIR, microplastics, ocean contamination, sampling uncertainty

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28 Comparative Assessment of Microplastic Pollution in Surface Water and Sediment of the Gomati and Saryu Rivers, India

Authors: Amit K. Mishra, Jaswant Singh


The menace of plastic, which significantly pollutes the aquatic environment, has emerged as a global problem. There is an emerging concern about microplastics (MPs) accumulation in aquatic ecosystems. It is familiar to everyone that the ultimate end for most of the plastic debris is the ocean. Rivers are the efficient carriers for transferring MPs from terrestrial to aquatic, further from upstream to downstream areas, and ultimately to oceans. The root cause study can provide an effective solution to a problem; hence, tracing of MPs in the riverine system can illustrate the long-term microplastic pollution. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence and distribution of microplastic contamination in surface water and sediment of the two major river systems of Uttar Pradesh, India. One is the Gomti River, Lucknow, a tributary of the Ganga, and the second is the Saryu River, the lower part of the Ghagra River, which flows through the city of Ayodhya. In this study, the distribution and abundance of MPs in surface water and sediments of two rivers were compared. Samples of water and sediment were collected from different (four from each river) sampling stations in the river catchment of two rivers. Plastic particles were classified according to type, shape, and color. In this study, 1523 (average abundance 254) and 143 (average abundance 26) microplastics were identified in all studied sites in the Gomati River and Saryu River, respectively. Observations on samples of water showed that the average MPs concentration was 392 (±69.6) and 63 ((±18.9) particles per 50l of water, whereas the sediment sample showed that the average MPs concentration was 116 (±42.9) and 46 (±12.5) particles per 250gm of dry sediment in the Gomati River and Saryu River, respectively. The high concentration of microplastics in the Lucknow area can be attributed to human activities, population density, and the entry of various effluents into the river. Microplastics with fibrous shapes were dominated, followed by fragment shapes in all the samples. The present study is a pioneering effort to count MPs in the Gomati and Saryu River systems.

Keywords: freshwater, Gomati, microplastics, Saryu, sediment

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27 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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26 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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25 i-Plastic: Surface and Water Column Microplastics From the Coastal North Eastern Atlantic (Portugal)

Authors: Beatriz Rebocho, Elisabete Valente, Carla Palma, Andreia Guilherme, Filipa Bessa, Paula Sobral


The global accumulation of plastic in the oceans is a growing problem. Plastic is transported from its source to the oceans via rivers, which are considered the main route for plastic particles from land-based sources to the ocean. These plastics undergo physical and chemical degradation resulting in microplastics. The i-Plastic project aims to understand and predict the dispersion, accumulation and impacts of microplastics (5 mm to 1 µm) and nano plastics (below 1 µm) in marine environments from the tropical and temperate land-ocean interface to the open ocean under distinct flow and climate regimes. Seasonal monitoring of the fluxes of microplastics was carried out in (three) coastal areas in Brazil, Portugal and Spain. The present work shows the first results of in-situ seasonal monitoring and mapping of microplastics in ocean waters between Ovar and Vieira de Leiria (Portugal), in which 43 surface water samples and 43 water column samples were collected in contrasting seasons (spring and autumn). The spring and autumn surface water samples were collected with a 300 µm and 150 µm pore neuston net, respectively. In both campaigns, water column samples were collected using a conical mesh with a 150 µm pore. The experimental procedure comprises the following steps: i) sieving by a metal sieve; ii) digestion with potassium hydroxide to remove the organic matter original from the sample matrix. After a filtration step, the content is retained on a membrane and observed under a stereomicroscope, and physical and chemical characterization (type, color, size, and polymer composition) of the microparticles is performed. Results showed that 84% and 88% of the surface water and water column samples were contaminated with microplastics, respectively. Surface water samples collected during the spring campaign averaged 0.35 MP.m-3, while surface water samples collected during autumn recorded 0.39 MP.m-3. Water column samples from the spring campaign had an average of 1.46 MP.m-3, while those from the autumn recorded 2.54 MP.m-3. In the spring, all microplastics found were fibers, predominantly black and blue. In autumn, the dominant particles found in the surface waters were fibers, while in the water column, fragments were dominant. In spring, the average size of surface water particles was 888 μm, while in the water column was 1063 μm. In autumn, the average size of surface and water column microplastics was 1333 μm and 1393 μm, respectively. The main polymers identified by Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR) and micro-ATR Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy from all samples were low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The significant difference between the microplastic concentration in the water column between the two campaigns could be due to the remixing of the water masses that occurred that week due to the occurrence of a storm. This work presents preliminary results since the i-Plastic project is still in progress. These results will contribute to the understanding of the spatial and temporal dispersion and accumulation of microplastics in this marine environment.

Keywords: microplastics, Portugal, Atlantic Ocean, water column, surface water

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24 Marine Litter and Microplastic Pollution in Mangrove Sediments in The Sea of Oman

Authors: Muna Al-Tarshi, Dobretsov Sergey, Wenresti Gallardo


Marine litter pollution is a global concern that has wide-ranging ecological, societal, and economic implications, along with potential health risks for humans. In Oman, inadequate solid waste management has led to the accumulation of litter in mangrove ecosystems. However, there is a dearth of information on marine litter and microplastic pollution in Omani mangroves, impeding the formulation of effective mitigation strategies. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of marine litter and microplastics in mangrove sediments in the Sea of Oman. Our study measured the average abundance of marine litter, which ranged from 0.83±1.03 to 19.42±8.52 items/m2. Notably, plastics constituted the majority of litter, accounting for 73-96% of all items, with soft plastics being the most prevalent. Furthermore, we investigated microplastic concentrations in the sediments, finding levels ranging from 6 to 256 pieces /kg. Among the studied areas, afforested mangroves in Al-Sawadi exhibited the highest average abundance of microplastics (27.52±5.32 pieces/ kg), while the Marine Protected Area Al Qurum had the lowest average abundance (0.60±1.12 pieces /kg). These findings significantly contribute to our understanding of marine litter and microplastic pollution in Omani mangroves. They provide valuable baseline data for future monitoring initiatives and the development of targeted management strategies. Urgent action is needed to implement effective waste management practices and interventions to protect the ecological integrity of mangrove ecosystems in Oman and mitigate the risks associated with marine litter and microplastics.

Keywords: microplastics, anthropogenic marine litter, ftir, polymer, khawr, mangrove, sediment

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23 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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22 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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21 Dissolved Black Carbon Accelerates the Photo-Degradation of Polystyrene Microplastics

Authors: Qin Ou, Yanghui Xu, Xintu Wang, Kim Maren Lompe, Gang Liu, Jan Peter Van Der Hoek


Microplastics (MPs) can undergo the photooxidation process under ultraviolet (UV) exposure, which determines their transformation and fate in environments. The presence of dissolved organic matter (DOM) can interact with MPs and take participate in the photo-degradation of MPs. As an important DOM component, dissolved black carbon (DBC), widely distributed in aquatic environments, can accelerate or inhibit the sunlight-driven photo-transformation of environmental pollutants. However, the role and underlying mechanism of DBC in the photooxidation of MPs are not clear. Herein, the DBC (< 0.45 µm) was extracted from wood biochar and fractionated by molecular weight (i.e., <3 KDa, 3 KDa−30 KDa, 30 KDa−0.45 µm). The effects of DBC chemical composition (i.e., molecular weight and chemical structure) in DBC-mediated photo-transformation of polystyrene (PS) MPs were investigated. The results showed that DBC initially inhibited the photo-degradation of MPs due to light shielding. Under UV exposure for 6−24 h, the presence of 5 mg/L DBC decreased the carbonyl index of MPs compared to the control. This inhibitory effect of DBC was found to decrease with increasing irradiation time. Notably, DBC initially decreased but then increased the hydroxyl index with aging time, suggesting that the role of DBC may shift from inhibition to acceleration. In terms of the different DBC fractions, the results showed that the smallest fraction of DBC (<3 KDa) significantly accelerated the photooxidation of PS MPs since it acted as reactive oxygen species (ROS) generators, especially in promoting the production of ¹O₂ and ³DBC* and •OH. With the increase in molecular weight, the acceleration effect of DBC on the degradation of MPs was decreased due to the increase of light shielding and possible decrease of photosensitization ability. This study thoroughly investigated the critical role of DBC chemical composition in the photooxidation process, which helps to assess the duration of aging and transformation of MPs during long-term weathering in natural waters.

Keywords: microplastics, photo-degradation, dissolved black carbon, molecular weight, photosensitization

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20 Evidence of Microplastic Pollution in the Río Bravo/Rio Grande (Mexico/US Border)

Authors: Stephanie Hernández-Carreón, Judith Virginia Ríos-Arana


Microplastics (MPs) are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm that has been detected in soil, air, organisms, and mostly water around the world. Most studies have focused on MPs detection in marine waters, and less so in freshwater, such is the case of Mexico, where studies about MPs in freshwaters are limited. One of the most important rivers in the country is The Rio Grande/Río Bravo, a natural border between Mexico and the United States. Its waters serve different purposes, such as fishing, habitat to endemic species, electricity generation, agriculture, and drinking water sources, among others. Despite its importance, the river’s waters have not been analyzed to determine the presence of MPs; therefore, the purpose of this research is to determine if the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande is polluted with microplastics. For doing so, three sites (Borderland, Casa de Adobe, and Guadalupe) along the El Paso-Juárez metroplex have been sampled: 30 L of water were filtered through a plankton net (64 µm) in each site and sediments-composed samples were collected. Water samples and sediments were 1) digested with a hydrogen peroxide solution (30%), 2) resuspended in a calcium chloride solution (1.5 g/cm3) to separate MPs, and 3) filtered through a 0.45 µm nitrocellulose membrane. Processed water samples were dyed with Nile Red (1 mg/ml ethanol) and analyzed by fluorescence microscopy. Two water samples have been analyzed until January 2023: Casa de Adobe and Borderland finding a concentration of 5.67 particles/L and 5.93 particles/L, respectively. Three types of particles were observed: fibers, fragments, and films, fibers being the most abundant. These data, as well as the data obtained from the rest of the samples, will be analyzed by an ANOVA (α=0.05). The concentrations and types of particles found in the Río Bravo correspond with other studies on rivers associated with urban environments and agricultural activities in China, where a range of 3.67—10.7 particles/L was reported in the Wei River. Even though we are in the early stages of the study, and three new sites will be sampled and analyzed in 2023 to provide more data about this issue in the river, this presents the first evidence of microplastic pollution in the Rio Grande.

Keywords: microplastics, fresh water, Rio Bravo, fluorescence microscopy

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19 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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18 Assessing the Mass Concentration of Microplastics and Nanoplastics in Wastewater Treatment Plants by Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography−Mass Spectrometry

Authors: Yanghui Xu, Qin Ou, Xintu Wang, Feng Hou, Peng Li, Jan Peter van der Hoek, Gang Liu


The level and removal of microplastics (MPs) in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) has been well evaluated by the particle number, while the mass concentration of MPs and especially nanoplastics (NPs) remains unclear. In this study, microfiltration, ultrafiltration and hydrogen peroxide digestion were used to extract MPs and NPs with different size ranges (0.01−1, 1−50, and 50−1000 μm) across the whole treatment schemes in two WWTPs. By identifying specific pyrolysis products, pyrolysis gas chromatography−mass spectrometry were used to quantify their mass concentrations of selected six types of polymers (i.e., polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyamide (PA)). The mass concentrations of total MPs and NPs decreased from 26.23 and 11.28 μg/L in the influent to 1.75 and 0.71 μg/L in the effluent, with removal rates of 93.3 and 93.7% in plants A and B, respectively. Among them, PP, PET and PE were the dominant polymer types in wastewater, while PMMA, PS and PA only accounted for a small part. The mass concentrations of NPs (0.01−1 μm) were much lower than those of MPs (>1 μm), accounting for 12.0−17.9 and 5.6− 19.5% of the total MPs and NPs, respectively. Notably, the removal efficiency differed with the polymer type and size range. The low-density MPs (e.g., PP and PE) had lower removal efficiency than high-density PET in both plants. Since particles with smaller size could pass the tertiary sand filter or membrane filter more easily, the removal efficiency of NPs was lower than that of MPs with larger particle size. Based on annual wastewater effluent discharge, it is estimated that about 0.321 and 0.052 tons of MPs and NPs were released into the river each year. Overall, this study investigated the mass concentration of MPs and NPs with a wide size range of 0.01−1000 μm in wastewater, which provided valuable information regarding the pollution level and distribution characteristics of MPs, especially NPs, in WWTPs. However, there are limitations and uncertainties in the current study, especially regarding the sample collection and MP/NP detection. The used plastic items (e.g., sampling buckets, ultrafiltration membranes, centrifugal tubes, and pipette tips) may introduce potential contamination. Additionally, the proposed method caused loss of MPs, especially NPs, which can lead to underestimation of MPs/NPs. Further studies are recommended to address these challenges about MPs/NPs in wastewater.

Keywords: microplastics, nanoplastics, mass concentration, WWTPs, Py-GC/MS

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17 Thermal Decontamination of Soils Polluted by Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Microplastics

Authors: Roya Biabani, Mentore Vaccari, Piero Ferrari


Accumulated microplastic (MPLs) in soil pose the risk of adsorbing and transporting polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the food chain or bodies. PCBs belong to a class of man-made hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs) that are classified as probable human carcinogens and a hazard to biota. Therefore, to take effective action and not aggravate the already recognized problems, the knowledge of PCB remediation in the presence of MPLs needs to be complete. Due to the high efficiency and little secondary pollution production, thermal desorption (TD) has been widely used for processing a variety of pollutants, especially for removing volatile and semi-volatile organic matter from contaminated solids and sediment. This study investigates the fate of PCB compounds during the thermal remediation method. For this, the PCB-contaminated soil was collected from the earth-canal downstream Caffaro S.p.A. chemical factory, which produced PCBs and PCB mixtures between 1930 and 1984. For MPL analysis, MPLs were separated by density separation and oxidation of organic matter. An operational range for the key parameters of thermal desorption processes was experimentally evaluated. Moreover, the temperature treatment characteristics of the PCBs-contaminated soil under anaerobic and aerobic conditions were studied using the Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA).

Keywords: contaminated soils, microplastics, polychlorinated biphenyls, thermal desorption

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16 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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15 The Role of Microbe-Microplastics Associations in Marine Nematode Feeding Behaviors

Authors: A. Ridall, J. Ingels


Microplastics (MPs; < 5 mm) have been cited as exceptionally detrimental to marine organisms and ocean health. They can carry other pollutants and abundant microbes that can serve as food for other organisms. Their small particle size and high abundance means that non-discriminatory feeders may ingest MPs involuntarily and microbial colonization of the particles (a niche coined ‘Plastisphere’) could facilitate particle ingestion. To assess how marine nematodes, the most abundant member of the meiofauna (32-500 um), are affected by microbe-MP associations, an experiment was conducted with three MP concentrations (low, medium, and expected high values of MPs in a local bay system), and two levels of microbe-MP associations (absence or presence). MPs were introduced into sediment microcosms and treatments were removed at three distinct time points (0, 3, and 7 days) to measure mean MP consumption/individual nematode. The quantitative results from this work should inform on microbial facilitation of MP ingestion and MP effects on seafloor ecology. As most MP feeding experiments use straight-from-package or sterile MPs, this work represents an important step in realizing the effects of MPs and their plastispheres in coastal sediments where they likely accumulate microbial biofilms prior to their ingestion by marine metazoans. Furthermore, the results here convey realistic effects of MPs on faunal behaviors, as the MP concentrations used are based on field measurements rather than artificially high levels.

Keywords: ecosystem function, microbeads, plastisphere, pollution, polyethylene

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14 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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13 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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12 Understanding the Accumulation of Microplastics in Riverbeds and Soils

Authors: Gopala Krishna Darbha


Microplastics (MPs) are secondary fragments of large-sized plastic debris released into the environment and fall in the size range of less than 5 mm. Though reports indicate the abundance of MPs in both riverine and soil environments, their fate is still not completely understood due to the complexity of natural conditions. Mineral particles are ubiquitous in the rivers and may play a vital role in accumulating MPs to the riverbed, thus affecting the benthic life and posing a threat to the river's health. Apart, the chemistry (pH, ionic strength, humics) at the interface can be very prominent. The MPs can also act as potential vectors to transport other contaminants in the environment causing secondary water pollution. The present study focuses on understanding the interaction of MPs with weathering sequence of minerals (feldspar, kaolinite and gibbsite) under batch mode under relevant environmental and natural conditions. Simultaneously, we performed stability studies and transport (column) experiments to understand the mobility of MPs under varying soil solutions (SS) chemistry and the influence of contaminants (CuO nanoparticles). Results showed that the charge and morphology of the gibbsite played an significant role in sorption of NPs (108.1 mg/g) compared to feldspar (7.7 mg/g) and kaolinite (11.9 mg/g). The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy data supports the complexation of NPs with gibbsite particles via hydrogen bonding. In case of feldspar and kaolinite, a weak interaction with NPs was observed which can be due to electrostatic repulsions and low surface area to volume ration of the mineral particles. The study highlights the enhanced mobility in presence of feldspar and kaolinite while gibbsite rich zones can cause entrapment of NPs accumulating in the riverbeds. In the case of soils, in the absence of MPs, a very high aggregation of CuO NPs observed in SS extracted from black, lateritic, and red soils, which can be correlated with ionic strength (IS) and type of ionic species. The sedimentation rate (Ksed(1/h)) for CuO NPs was >0.5 h−1 in the case of these SS. Interestingly, the stability and sedimentation behavior of CuO NPs varied significantly in the presence of MPs. The Ksed for CuO NPs decreased to half and found <0.25 h−1 in the presence of MPs in all SS. C/C0 values in breakthrough curves increased drastically (black < alluvial < laterite < red) in the presence of MPs. Results suggest that the release of MPs in the terrestrial ecosystem is a potential threat leading to increased mobility of metal nanoparticles in the environment.

Keywords: microplastics, minerals, sorption, soils

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