Is there any consistency between the microplastics found in the field and those used in laboratory experiments?

The ubiquitous presence and persistency of microplastics (MPs) in aquatic environments are of particular concern since they represent an increasing threat to marine organisms and ecosystems. Great differences of concentrations and/or quantities in field samples have been observed depending on geographical location around the world. The main types reported have been polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene. The presence of MPs in marine wildlife has been shown in many studies focusing on ingestion and accumulation in different tissues, whereas studies of the biological effects of MPs in the field are scarce. If the nature and abundance/concentrations of MPs have not been systematically determined in field samples, this is due to the fact that the identification of MPs from environmental samples requires mastery and execution of several steps and techniques. For this reason and due to differences in sampling techniques and sample preparation, it remains difficult to compare the published studies. (…)

Nam Ngoc Phuong, Aurore Zalouk-Vergnoux, Laurence Poirier and al., Environmental Pollution, Volume 211, April 2016, Pages 111–123

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