Though plastics show good chemical inertness, they could sorb polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other toxic pollutants from the surrounding environment. Thus, ingestion of microplastics by marine organisms potentially enhances the transport and bioavailability of toxic chemicals. However, there is lack of studies on the sorption capacity, mechanism and factors affecting the sorption behavior. Here, sorption of PCBs by microplastics in the simulated seawater was studied using the batch oscillation equilibration technique, in which polypropylene (PP) and 3,3′,4,4′-tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB77) acted as model plastic and PCB, respectively. Factors including particle size, temperature and solution environment were investigated. Results showed that, equilibrium sorption time is about 8 h and sorption capacity increase with decreasing particle size and temperature. Different sorption capacity in three solution environments was observed. Equilibrium data in three solution environments fitted very well to the Langmuir sorption model, indicating chemical sorption is the predominant mechanism.
Zhiwei Zhan, Jundong Wang, Jinping Peng and al., Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 110, Issue 1, 15 September 2016, Pages 559–563