Microplastics in the benthic invertebrates from the coastal waters of Kochi, Southeastern Arabian Sea

This study examined microplastic particles present in the benthic invertebrates Sternaspis scutata, Magelona cinta (deposit feeders) and Tellina sp. (suspension feeder) from the surface sediments of off-Kochi, southwest coast of India. The microplastic particles and thread-like fibres detected in these organisms were identified to be polystyrene by using DXR Raman microscope. Examination of the microplastic particle in Sternaspis scutata by epifluorescent microscopy showed fragmentation marks on the surface suggesting that the microplastic particle was degraded/weathered in nature. The study provides preliminary evidence of the presence of microplastics in benthic fauna from the coastal waters of India. However, further studies are required to understand the sources, distribution, fate and toxicity of the different types of microplastics in benthic invertebrates in order to identify any potential threats to higher trophic level organisms.

S. A. Naidu, V. Ranga Rao, K. Ramu, Environmental Geochemistry and Health,  pp 1–7, 01/2018

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Ingestion of microplastics and natural fibres in Sardina pilchardus (Walbaum, 1792) and Engraulis encrasicolus (Linnaeus, 1758) along the Spanish Mediterranean coast

The ingestion of microplastics and natural fibres (<5 mm) was assessed for two commercial fish species in the western Mediterranean Sea: Sardina pilchardus and Engraulis encrasicolus. Gastrointestinal tracts from 210 individuals from 14 stations were examined with 14.28–15.24% of the small pelagic fish S. pilchardus and E. encrasicolus having ingested microplastics and natural fibres. A latitudinal increase in condition index (Fulton’s K) of S. pilchardus gave an indication that larger individuals with better physical condition are less likely to ingest microplastics and natural fibres. Fibres were the most frequent particle type (83%) and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis indicated polyethylene terephthalate was the most common microplastics material (30%). Results from this study show that both microplastics and natural fibres of anthropogenic origin are common throughout the pelagic environment along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.

M. Compa, A. Ventero, M. Iglesias and al., Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 128, March 2018, Pages 89–96

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Characterization of microplastic litter in the gastrointestinal tract of Solea solea from the Adriatic Sea

Micro-plastic particles in the world’s oceans represent a serious threat to both human health and marine ecosystems. Once released into the aquatic environment plastic litter is broken down to smaller pieces through photo-degradation and the physical actions of waves, wind, etc. The resulting particles may become so small that they are readily taken up by fish, crustaceans and mollusks. There is mounting evidence for the uptake of plastic particles by marine organisms that form part of the human food chain and this is driving urgent calls for further and deeper investigations into this pollution issue.

The present study aimed at investigating for the first time the occurrence, amount, typology of microplastic litter in the gastrointestinal tract of Solea solea and its spatial distribution in the northern and central Adriatic Sea. This benthic flatfish was selected as it is a species of high commercial interest within the FAO GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) area 37 (Mediterranean and Black Sea) where around 15% of the overall global Solea solea production originates.

The digestive tract contents of 533 individuals collected in fall during 2014 and 2015 from 60 sampling sites were examined for microplastics. These were recorded in 95% of sampled fish, with more than one microplastic item found in around 80% of the examined specimens. The most commonly found polymers were polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, and polyamide, 72% as fragments and 28% as fibers. The mean number of ingested microplastics was 1.73 ± 0.05 items per fish in 2014 and 1.64 ± 0.1 in 2015. PVC and PA showed the highest densities in the northern Adriatic Sea, both inshore and off-shore while PE, PP and PET were more concentrated in coastal areas with the highest values offshore from the port of Rimini.

G. Pellini, A. Gomiero, T. Fortibuoni and al., Environmental Pollution, Volume 234, March 2018, Pages 943–952

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Synthetic microfibers in the marine environment: A review on their occurrence in seawater and sediments

The objective of this review is to summarize information on microfibers in seawater and sediments from available scientific information.

Microfibers were found in all reviewed documents. An heterogeneous approach is observed, with regard to sampling methodologies and units. Microfibers in sediments range from 1.4 to 40 items per 50 mL or 13.15 to 39.48 items per 250 g dry weight. In the case of water, microfibers values ranges from 0 to 450 items·m− 3 or from 503 to 459,681 items·km− 2. Blue is the most common color in seawater and sediments, followed by transparent and black in the case of seawater, and black and colorful in sediments.

Related with polymer type, polypropylene is the most common in water and sediments, followed by polyethylene in water and polyester in water and sediments. Some polymers were described only in water samples: high-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene and cellophane, whilst only rayon was reported in sediments.

J. Gago, O. Carretero, A.V. Filgueiras, L. Viñas, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 127, February 2018, Pages 365–376

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Proceedings of the International Conference on Microplastic Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea

This book focuses on different aspects of microplastic pollution, offering authors and readers the opportunity to share their knowledge, identify issues and propose solutions and actions to face this environmental threat. Although plastic pollution is a well-known global problem, the recent discovery of microplastics and nanoplastics in seas and oceans represents a very alarming new environmental challenge. The book offers comprehensive insights into the origins of the problem, its impact on marine environments, particularly the Mediterranean Sea and coasts, and the current research trends aimed at finding technical solutions to mitigate the phenomenon.

Part of the Springer Water book series (SPWA). Editors : Mariacristina Cocca, Emilia Di Pace, Maria Emanuela Errico, Gennaro Gentile, Alessio Montarsolo, Raffaella Mossotti, 2018

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Assessing the relationship between the abundance and properties of microplastics in water and in mussels

Microplastic pollution is increasingly becoming a great environmental concern worldwide. Microplastics have been found in many marine organisms as a result of increasing plastic pollution within marine environments. However, the relationship between micoplastics in organisms and their living environment is still relatively poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated microplastic pollution in the water and the mussels (Mytilus edulis, Perna viridis) at 25 sites along the coastal waters of China. We also, for the first time, conducted an exposure experiment in parallel on the same site using M. edulis in the laboratory. A strong positive linear relationship was found between microplastic levels in the water and in the mussels. Fibers were the dominant microplastics. The sizes of microplastics in the mussels were smaller than those in the water. During exposure experiments, the abundance of microbeads was significantly higher than that of fibers, even though the nominal abundance of fibers was eight times that of microbeads. In general, our results supported positive and quantitative correlations of microplastics in mussels and in their surrounding waters and that mussels were more likely to ingest smaller microplastics. Laboratory exposure experiment is a good way to understand the relative impacts of microplastics ingested by marine organisms. However, significant differences in the results between exposure experiments and field investigations indicated that further efforts are needed to simulate the diverse environmentally relevant properties of microplastics.

Xiaoyun Qu, Lei Su, Hengxiang Li, Mingzhong Liang, Huahong Shi, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 621, 15 April 2018, Pages 679–686

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Quantifying shedding of synthetic fibers from textiles; a source of microplastics released into the environment

Microplastics in the environment are a subject of intense research as they pose a potential threat to marine organisms. Plastic fibers from textiles have been indicated as a major source of this type of contaminant, entering the oceans via wastewater and diverse non-point sources. Their presence is also documented in terrestrial samples. In this study, the amount of microfibers shedding from synthetic textiles was measured for three materials (acrylic, nylon, polyester), knit using different gauges and techniques. All textiles were found to shed, but polyester fleece fabrics shed the greatest amounts, averaging 7360 fibers/m−2/L−1 in one wash, compared with polyester fabrics which shed 87 fibers/m−2/L−1. We found that loose textile constructions shed more, as did worn fabrics, and high twist yarns are to be preferred for shed reduction. Since fiber from clothing is a potentially important source of microplastics, we suggest that smarter textile construction, prewashing and vacuum exhaustion at production sites, and use of more efficient filters in household washing machines could help mitigate this problem.

Bethanie M. Carney Almroth, Linn Åström, Sofia Roslund, Hanna Petersson, Mats Johansson, Nils-Krister Persson, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, pp 1–9,

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