Research studies on the effects of microlitter on marine biota have become more and more frequent the last few years. However, there is strong evidence that scientific results based on microlitter analyses can be biased by contamination from air transported fibres. This study demonstrates a low cost and easy to apply methodology to minimize the background contamination and thus to increase results validity. The contamination during the gastrointestinal content analysis of 400 fishes was tested for several sample processing steps of high risk airborne contamination (e.g. dissection, stereomicroscopic analysis, and chemical digestion treatment for microlitter extraction). It was demonstrated that, using our methodology based on hermetic enclosure devices, isolating the working areas during the various processing steps, airborne contamination reduced by 95.3%. The simplicity and low cost of this methodology provide the benefit that it could be applied not only to laboratory but also to field or on board work.
Torre Michele, Nikoletta Digka, Aikaterini Anastasopoulou, Catherine Tsangaris, Chryssi Mytilineou, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 113, Issues 1–2, 15 December 2016, Pages 55–61