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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2673-8929
Published by MDPI Homepage  [249 journals]
  • Microplastics, Vol. 2, Pages 39-59: Microplastics in Freshwaters:
           Implications for Aquatic Autotrophic Organisms and Fauna Health

    • Authors: Madalina Andreea Badea, Mihaela Balas, Anca Dinischiotu
      First page: 39
      Abstract: Microplastics (MPs) represent small plastic particles with sizes between 1 μm and 5 mm, are insoluble in water, andclassified as primary (these are originally produced in small sizes) or secondary (the result of the degradation of plastic) types. MPs accumulate in all ecosystems, including freshwater environments, where they are subjected to degradation processes. Due to their ubiquitous nature, freshwater ecosystems, which have a vital importance in human life, are permanently subjected to these small plastic particles. In this context, MPs pollution is considered to be a global issue, and it is associated with toxic effects on all the elements of the freshwater environment. In this review, we present, in detail, the main physical (density, size, color, shape, and crystallinity) and chemical (chemical composition and modification of the MPs’ surface) properties of MPs, the mechanism of biodegradation, and the consequences of autotrophic organisms and fauna exposure by focusing on the freshwater environment. The toxicity mechanisms triggered by MPs are related to the critical parameters of the particles: size, concentration, type, and form, but they are also dependent on species exposed to MPs and the exposure route.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2023-01-11
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics2010003
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2023)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 2, Pages 60-61: Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of
           Microplastics in 2022

    • Authors: Microplastics Editorial Office Microplastics Editorial Office
      First page: 60
      Abstract: High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...]
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2023-01-18
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics2010004
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2023)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 2, Pages 62-77: The Complex Dynamics of Microplastic
           Migration through Different Aquatic Environments: Subsidies for a Better
           Understanding of Its Environmental Dispersion

    • Authors: Marcelo Pompermayer de Almeida, Christine Gaylarde, Fabiana Cunha Pompermayer, Leonardo da Silva Lima, Jessica de Freitas Delgado, Danniela Scott, Charles Vieira Neves, Khauê Silva Vieira, José Antônio Baptista Baptista Neto, Estefan Monteiro Fonseca
      First page: 62
      Abstract: Microplastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems has drawn attention not only because microplastics are likely to accumulate anywhere but also because they cause negative impacts both to aquatic biota and, indirectly, to public health, as a result of their presence. The understanding of the distribution and accumulation patterns of this “new contaminant” is fundamental for the calibration of environmental risk studies. However, research on its migration pattern and consequent distribution is still limited. The present study has focused on the peculiar physical characteristics of plastic microparticles and the response to environmental factors such as hydrodynamics and physical chemistry of water on the diffusion dynamics of these pollutant agents. Therefore, we examined information about the vertical abundance distribution, the composition, and the sizes of microplastics, along with the varied aquatic environments existing on Earth. This study provides valuable evidence for the accumulation trend of microplastics across the environment and the peculiar particle characteristics that dictate their distribution patterns. The present study concluded that detailed studies should be carried out in order to add information about the behavior of plastic microparticles in aquatic environments and thus subsidize the calibration of existing information, thus increasing its accuracy in understanding the diffusion patterns of these polluting agents.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2023-01-19
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics2010005
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2023)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 2, Pages 78-92: Microplastics Scoping Review of
           Environmental and Human Exposure Data

    • Authors: Gaston Casillas, Brian Charles Hubbard, Jana Telfer, Max Zarate-Bermudez, Custodio Muianga, Gregory M. Zarus, Yulia Carroll, April Ellis, Candis M. Hunter
      First page: 78
      Abstract: Scientific studies of microplastics have expanded since 2015, propelling the topic to the forefront of scientific inquiry. Microplastics are ubiquitous in the environment and pose a potential risk to human health. The purpose of this review is to organize microplastics literature into areas of scientific research, summarize the state of the literature and identify the current data gaps in knowledge to promote a better understanding of human exposure to microplastics and their potential health effects. We searched for published literature from eight databases. Our search focused on three categories: (1) microplastics in the environment, (2) adsorption and absorption of chemicals to microplastics, and (3) human exposure to microplastics in the environment. We screened all abstracts to select articles that focused on microplastics. We then screened the remaining articles using criteria outlined in a questionnaire to identify and assign articles to the three scoping review categories. After screening abstracts, we selected 1186 articles (19%) to thoroughly assess their appropriateness for inclusion in the final review. Of the 1186 articles, 903 (76.1%) belonged to the environmental category, 268 (22.6%) to the adsorption and absorption category, and 16 (1.3%) to the human exposure category. Water was the most frequently studied environmental medium (440 articles). Our assessment resulted in 572 articles selected for the final review. Of the 572 publications, 268 (48.2%) included a geographic component and 110 (19.2%) were the product of literature reviews. We also show that relatively few publications have investigated human health effects associated with exposures to microplastics.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2023-01-23
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics2010006
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2023)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 2, Pages 1-26: Microplastics: A Review of Policies and

    • Authors: Davi R. Munhoz, Paula Harkes, Nicolas Beriot, Joana Larreta, Oihane C. Basurko
      First page: 1
      Abstract: Although (micro)plastic contamination is a worldwide concern, most scientific literature only restates that issue rather than presenting strategies to cope with it. This critical review assembles the current knowledge on policies and responses to tackle plastic pollution, including peer-reviewed scientific literature, gray literature and relevant reports to provide: (1) a timeline of policies directly or indirectly addressing microplastics; (2) the most up-to-date upstream responses to prevent microplastics pollution, such as circular economy, behavioral change, development of bio-based polymers and market-based instruments as well as source-specific strategies, focusing on the clothing industry, tire and road wear particles, antifouling paints and recreational activities; (3) a set of downstream responses tackling microplastics, such as waste to energy, degradation, water treatment plants and litter clean-up strategies; and examples of (4) multifaceted responses focused on both mitigating and preventing microplastics pollution, e.g., approaches implemented in fisheries and aquaculture facilities. Preventive strategies and multifaceted responses are postulated as pivotal to handling the exacerbated release of microplastics in the environment, while downstream responses stand out as auxiliary strategies to the chief upstream responses. The information gathered here bridges the knowledge gaps on (micro)plastic pollution by providing a synthesized baseline material for further studies addressing this environmental issue.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-12-23
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics2010001
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 2, Pages 27-38: Effect of Polystyrene Microplastics in
           Different Diet Combinations on Survival, Growth and Reproduction Rates of
           the Water Flea (Daphnia magna)

    • Authors: Melek Isinibilir, Kamil Mert Eryalçın, Ahmet Erkan Kideys
      First page: 27
      Abstract: Microplastic pollution is a problem not only in the marine environment but also in freshwater ecosystems. Water flea (Daphnia magna) is one of the most common omnivorous cladocerans in freshwater ecosystems. In this study, the potential effects of microplastics (fluorescent polystyrene beads with dimensions of 6 microns) on the survival, growth and reproduction of Daphnia magna were examined during 21 days of laboratory experiments. Microplastics (MPs) were observed to be ingested alone or along with either the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris (Cv) or baker’s yeast (By). D. magna fed exclusively with microplastics showed a drastic decline in survival similar to that in the starving group. The least growth in total length or width was observed in Daphnia specimens fed only MPs and the starved groups. Daphia fed with a mixture of MPs/Cv or MPs/By produced a significantly (p < 0.05) lower number of ephippia. Our results show that high concentrations of microplastics adversely affect Daphnia magna populations.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-12-23
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics2010002
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 572-586: Detection and Analysis of
           Microfibers and Microplastics in Wastewater from a Textile Company

    • Authors: Sinem Hazal Akyildiz, Rossana Bellopede, Hande Sezgin, Ipek Yalcin-Enis, Bahattin Yalcin, Silvia Fiore
      First page: 572
      Abstract: Textile wastewater is polluted by inorganic/organic substances, polymers, dyes, and microfibers (MFs), which are microplastics (MPs) and natural fibers. This work is aimed at the preliminary investigation of MFs and MPs in textile industrial wastewater, and at evaluating the removal efficiency of an on-site wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Ten samples of inflows and outflows of the WWTP of a textile company (applying a physic-chemical process) have been analyzed. Firstly, the samples underwent a pretreatment with 15% hydrogen peroxide at 25 °C for 5 days to remove organic compounds. Secondly, the MFs were recovered from the aqueous phase by pre-screening centrifugation, density separation, and filtration as alternative options. Filtration obtained the best performances, compared to the other recovery processes. Thirdly, the MFs were counted through optical microscopy and the MPs were identified through micro-FTIR. The MFs amount in the inflow samples was in the range of 893–4452 MFs/L. The outflow samples (310–2404 MFs/L) exhibited a 38–65% reduction compared to the inflows, demonstrating that up to 62% of residual MFs can enter the sewer network or the receiving water body. Cotton and wool, and numerous MPs (acrylic, polyester, polypropylene, polyamide, and viscose/rayon) were identified in the inflow and outflow samples (with the only exception of “dense” viscose (rayon), not detected in the outflows, and probably retained by the WWTP with the sludge). This study, even if just preliminary, offers interesting hints for future research on MFs/MPs detection in textile wastewater, and on the performance of a full-scale WWT process for their removal.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-10-03
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1040040
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 4 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 587-609: Effects of Silica Fume and Micro
           Silica on the Properties of Mortars Containing Waste PVC Plastic Fibers

    • Authors: Rawa Ahmed Mahmood, Niyazi Ugur Kockal
      First page: 587
      Abstract: Investigations on the usability of waste plastics as a new generation of construction materials have become one of the main concerns of researchers and engineers in recent decades. Waste plastics can be used either as aggregate replacement or as fiber reinforcement to enhance the properties of cementitious mixtures. This study focuses on the properties of waste PVC fiber-reinforced mortars containing silica fume and micro silica. Plastic fibers were added to the mortar mixes by volume fractions of 0%, 1%, 2%, and 3%. Cement was replaced by micro silica and silica fume by 5%, 10%, and 15% by weight of cement, respectively. In total, 28 different groups of mortars were produced. The results showed an enhanced ductility and deformation behavior of mortars upon the addition of waste PVC plastic fibers. It can be seen that fibers restricted crack propagation and maintained integrity, hence improving the ductility of the mortars. On the other hand, the addition of fibers led to a reduction in the physical and mechanical properties of the mortar samples. The compressive strength of the mortar samples decreased gradually by increasing the fiber content. Cement replacement by silica fume improved mechanical and microstructural properties of the mortars. The results also demonstrated that silica fume significantly decreased the porosity and water absorption capacity of mortar samples.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-10-07
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1040041
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 4 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 610-625: Opening Space for Plastics—Why
           Spatial, Soil and Land Use Data Are Important to Understand Global Soil
           (Micro)Plastic Pollution

    • Authors: Collin J. Weber, Moritz Bigalke
      First page: 610
      Abstract: After five years of research on microplastic pollution of soils it becomes obvious that soil systems act as a reservoir for microplastics on global scales. Nevertheless, the exact role of soils within global microplastic cycles, plastic fluxes within soils and environmental consequences are so far only partly understood. Against the background of a global environmental plastic pollution, the spatial reference, spatial levels, sampling approaches and documentation practices of soil context data becomes important. Within this review, we therefore evaluate the availability of spatial MP soil data on a global scale through the application of a questionnaire applied to 35 case studies on microplastics in soils published since 2016. We found that the global database on microplastics in soils is mainly limited to agricultural used topsoils in Central Europe and China. Data on major global areas and soil regions are missing, leading to a limited understanding of soils plastic pollution. Furthermore, we found that open data handling, geospatial data and documentation of basic soil information are underrepresented, which hinders further understanding of global plastic fluxes in soils. Out of this context, we give recommendations for spatial reference and soil context data collection, access and combination with soil microplastic data, to work towards a global and free soil microplastic data hub.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-10-08
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1040042
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 4 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 626-639: Microfibers: Environmental Problems
           and Textile Solutions

    • Authors: Judith S. Weis, Francesca De Falco
      First page: 626
      Abstract: Microplastics have become a topic of considerable concern and intensive study over the past decade. They have been found everywhere in the oceans, including the deepest trenches and remotest parts of the Arctic. They are ingested by many animals and some are incorporated into tissues. There is considerable effort in studying what effects they have on marine life. It has become clear that when water samples are collected in ways that prevent most long thin particles from escaping through pores of a net, the most abundant type of microplastics found in water and sediments are microfibers (fibers with dimensions less than 5 mm). The major source of these pollutants is synthetic textiles, such as polyester or polyamides, which shed microfibers during their entire life cycle. Microfibers are released during textile manufacturing, everyday activities (e.g., washing, drying, wearing) and final disposal. The complexity of microfiber release mechanisms and of the factors involved make the identification and application of ways to reduce the inputs of microfibers very challenging. A comprehensive approach is strongly needed, taking into account solutions at a number of levels, such as re-engineering textiles to minimize shedding, applying washing machine filters, developing advanced wastewater treatment plants and improving the management of textile wastes. To harmonize and make mandatory the solutions identified, a variety of potential government policies and regulations is also needed.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-11-01
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1040043
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 4 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 640-650: State of the Art Offshore In Situ
           Monitoring of Microplastic

    • Authors: Daniele Calore, Nicola Fraticelli
      First page: 640
      Abstract: Microplastics make up a significant amount of the overall quantity of plastic debris that is present in seawater. However, their detection and monitoring at sea is cost-inefficient and challenging; typically, it consists of water sampling with special manta nets, followed by long (i.e., weeks) laboratory analysis to obtain valid results. The analysis of the state-of-the-art technologies capable of monitoring/detecting microplastics in the sea (typically in coastal areas) presented in this paper shows that there are currently no specific tools to obtain quick measurements. The classic multiparametric probes are useless and the contribution of their relative chemical–physical parameters to determine the presence of microplastics in water is insignificant. The evolution in the last decade of hardware and software tools for capturing hologram images and related post-processing seems to be one of the most effective methods available currently for the rapid detection of microplastics in seawater. In particular, some results of monitoring campaigns carried out in the Adriatic Sea using this type of technology are reported. The acquired data are analyzed and discussed, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, with indications of the possible methodologies that could be used to improve these systems.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-11-02
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1040044
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 4 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 651-668: Macroplastics and Microplastics in
           Intertidal Sediment of Vinces and Los Tintos Rivers, Guayas Province,

    • Authors: Rebecca Talbot, Maritza Cárdenas-Calle, James M Mair, Franklin López, Guillermo Cárdenas, Beatríz Pernía, Mark G. J. Hartl, Miguel Uyaguari
      First page: 651
      Abstract: The composition, abundance and distribution of macroplastics (MAPs) and microplastics (MPs) in the Vinces and Los Tintos rivers were determined in three sites (Pueblo Nuevo, Santa Marianita, Los Tintos) from the low basin in the coastal province of Guayas, Ecuador. MAPS were recorded by visual census, covering a total distance of 140 m, and MPs were extracted in the intertidal sediments via density separation using a saturated NaCl solution, and these were counted using a stereomicroscope. A total of 940 plastic items were identified. The predominant debris was plastic with 85.2%, followed by manufactured materials and metals. The Vinces River contained the highest abundance of plastic in the locality of Pueblo Nuevo. The most abundant plastic was MPs. The most common MAPs were plastic bags (23%), food packaging (17%) and foamed plastic (8%). MP size classes quantified between 0.15 and 2.52 mm in intertidal, very fine sandy sediment and decreased in abundance with increasing grain size. The most common MPs were fibres (65.2%) (black (43.8%) and blue (25.8%)), and their distribution has a high correlation with population density and water flow direction: Santa Marianita 5.55 g−1, Pueblo Nuevo 7.39 g−1, Los Tintos 8.17−1. A significant abundance of fibres was identified in Pueblo Nuevo. The plastic spatial distribution revealed major plastic pollution in areas where recreational and tourism activities have been developed. Therefore, we recommend implementing awareness campaigns by educating businesses, residents and tourists on managing solid waste (especially plastic) and wastewater. Our results can serve as a baseline for future plastic monitoring in the area.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-12-07
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1040045
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 4 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 322-333: Microfiber Contamination in Potable
           Water: Detection and Mitigation Using a Filtering Device

    • Authors: Michela Volgare, Roberto Avolio, Rachele Castaldo, Maria Emanuela Errico, Hakim El Khiar, Gennaro Gentile, Andreja Sinjur, Danilo Susnik, Andrej Znidarsic, Mariacristina Cocca
      First page: 322
      Abstract: In recent years, microfibers released from synthetic fabrics have been identified as the main contributor to primary microplastic pollution. These pollutants have been detected in several products for human consumption. This work aims to evaluate the efficiency of a specific device used with the purpose to monitor and reduce this anthropogenic pollution in potable water. The device was tested using potable water from several cities in Slovenia by mounting the device containing the porous membrane directly to the faucet in private and public buildings. The results highlight the effectiveness of the applied device in removing natural and synthetic microfibers from tap water and confirm the abundance of microfibers as a contaminant of potable water.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-06-22
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030024
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 334-345: Impaired Growth Performance of Wami
           Tilapia Juveniles (Oreochromis urolepis) (Norman, 1922) Due to
           Microplastic Induced Degeneration of the Small Intestine

    • Authors: John J. Mbugani, John F. Machiwa, Daniel A. Shilla, Dativa Joseph, Wahabu H. Kimaro, Farhan R. Khan
      First page: 334
      Abstract: Microplastics-induced histopathological changes in gastrointestinal tracts of fish have been widely reported. However, the translation of adverse effects in the gut to impacts on growth are understudied. This study investigated the effect of MP-induced small intestinal histomorphological changes on growth performance of Oreochromis urolepis juveniles. Sixty larvae were exposed in control (0), 1, 10, and 100 polyethylene microplastic particles (PE MPs)/mL treatment groups. On day 65, juveniles were euthanized, dissected, and biometric data were taken. Small intestine histomorphological lesion index (HLI) was calculated following histological preparation using routine hematoxylin and eosin procedure. Results showed increase in HLI proportional to PE MPs exposure dose. These deteriorations equally reduced growth in final weight, weight gain and total length (One-Way ANOVA, p > 0.05), and Specific Growth Rate (SGR) (Kruskal–Wallis Test, p > 0.05), though there were insignificant differences between treatment groups. Condition factors of fishes in control and 1 PE MPs differed significantly and with other treatment groups (Tukey HSD, p < 0.05). Small intestines HLI correlated significantly with growth pattern (Spearman, r = 1.00, p = 0.01), condition factors (Pearson, r = −0.995, p < 0.05), final weight, weight gain, and total length (Spearman, r = −1.00, p = 0.01) but not with SGR. The allometric growth pattern changed towards isometric corresponding to increasing HLI. These findings suggest that MPs damaged small intestine structure and thus impaired digestion and nutrients absorption functions which disrupted growth. Such effects may impair juveniles’ ability to escape enemies, find food, and eventually reproduce, and therefore require further study.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-06-28
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030025
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 346-358: Adsorption of PAHs and PCDD/Fs in
           Microplastics: A Review

    • Authors: Juan A. Conesa
      First page: 346
      Abstract: The presence of microplastics (MPs) in the environment, and the effects that the ingestion of these materials can have on organisms, can be aggravated by the adsorption of harmful substances on the surface or inside the MPs. Of special relevance are the studies that have been carried out on the adsorption and transport of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as well as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs). This review will delve into the research carried out to date regarding the adsorption by conventional and biodegradable MPs of dangerous organic compounds such as those mentioned. In general, the presence of MPs is considered a vector for the entry of these contaminants into living beings, since their capacity to adsorb contaminants is very high and they are ingested by different organisms that introduce these contaminants into the trophic chain.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-07-13
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030026
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 359-376: Know What You Don’t Know:
           Assessment of Overlooked Microplastic Particles in FTIR Images

    • Authors: Jana Weisser, Teresa Pohl, Natalia P. Ivleva, Thomas F. Hofmann, Karl Glas
      First page: 359
      Abstract: Assessing data analysis routines (DARs) for microplastics (MP) identification in Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) images left the question ‘Do we overlook any MP particles in our sample'’ widely unanswered. Here, a reference image of microplastics, RefIMP, is presented to answer this question. RefIMP contains over 1200 MP and non-MP particles that serve as a ground truth that a DAR’s result can be compared to. Together with our MatLab® script for MP validation, MPVal, DARs can be evaluated on a particle level instead of isolated spectra. This prevents over-optimistic performance expectations, as testing of three hypotheses illustrates: (I) excessive background masking can cause overlooking of particles, (II) random decision forest models benefit from high-diversity training data, (III) among the model hyperparameters, the classification threshold influences the performance most. A minimum of 7.99% overlooked particles was achieved, most of which were polyethylene and varnish-like. Cellulose was the class most susceptible to over-segmentation. Most false assignments were attributed to confusion of polylactic acid for polymethyl methacrylate and of polypropylene for polyethylene. Moreover, a set of over 9000 transmission FTIR spectra is provided with this work, that can be used to set up DARs or as standard test set.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-07-14
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030027
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 377-392: End-of-Life of Composite Materials
           in the Framework of the Circular Economy

    • Authors: Georgia Chatziparaskeva, Iliana Papamichael, Irene Voukkali, Pantelitsa Loizia, Georgia Sourkouni, Christos Argirusis, Antonis A. Zorpas
      First page: 377
      Abstract: Composite materials constitute an appealing choice in many industrial sectors, due to their unique composition and characteristics, such as low maintenance requirements, light weight, corrosion resistance, and durability. However, the sustainable management of end-of-life composite materials remains a challenge. Recovery strategies, design aspects, and their interconnection are currently largely unexplored, while technologies involved in the circular economy (reuse, reduce, recycle, refurbish, etc.) could be improved. The current paper provides an overview of the existing methods of composite material waste management, while presenting new circular economy prospects for end-of-life strategies and providing a brief roadmap towards circularity for industries. Finally, existing circular economy practices in regard to composites are presented in different European countries to present the applicability of composite material end-of-life waste management.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-07-20
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030028
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 393-405: A Practical Valorization Approach
           for Mitigating Textile Fibrous Microplastics in the Environment:
           Collection of Textile-Processing Waste Microfibers and Direct Reuse in
           Green Thermal-Insulating and Mechanical-Performing Composite Construction

    • Authors: Beatrice Malchiodi, Erika Iveth Cedillo-González, Cristina Siligardi, Paolo Pozzi
      First page: 393
      Abstract: Microplastic (MP) contamination is an urgent environmental issue to address. Fibrous microplastics (FMPs) are the principal MP type in the air and have already been found in human stool and lung tissues. FMPs are generated from the lifecycle of synthetic and blended textiles and are expected to increase due to fast fashion. Among textile processes, the finishing of fabrics is estimated to generate 5000 t/year of textile waste fibers in Italy, including FMPs. To limit FMPs spread, this paper suggests, for the first time, the direct collection of blended finishing textile waste microfibers and reuse in designing thermal-insulating and mechanical-performing fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (FRCs). The microfibers were thoroughly characterized (size, morphology, composition, and density), and their use in FRCs was additionally evaluated by considering water absorption and release capacity. Untreated, water-saturated, and NaOH-treated microfibers were considered in FRCs up to 4 wt%. Up to a +320% maximum bending load, +715% toughness, −80% linear shrinkage, and double-insulating power of Portland cement were observed by increasing microfiber contents. NaOH-treated and water-saturated microfibers better enhanced toughness and linear shrinkage reduction. Therefore, green and performant composite construction materials were obtained, allowing for the mitigation of more than 4 kg FMPs per ton of cement paste. This is a great result considering the FMP contamination (i.e., 2–8 kg/day fallout in Paris), and that FRCs are promising and shortly-widely used construction materials.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-07-22
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030029
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 406-427: Honey Quality and Microplastic
           Migration from Food Packaging: A Potential Threat for Consumer Health'

    • Authors: Klytaimnistra Katsara, George Kenanakis, Eleftherios Alissandrakis, Vassilis M. Papadakis
      First page: 406
      Abstract: In ancient Greece, people said that “honey is the Food of the Gods”, and they were right. They believed that honey fell from the sky, with the morning dew, on the flowers and leaves, and from this point, the bees collected it. Honey is one of the most nutritious food products, which can be found in most homes. A lot of honey products are stored in different types of packaging materials, including plastics. Plastic packaging has been studied for the migration of plasticizers, chemical compounds, and MPs and NPs in foodstuffs. Most of them have been achieved through food simulations, while some studies managed to detect and isolate MPs/NPs. Recent studies presented evidence for the presence of MPs/NPs in honey products but not directly connected to food packaging or to the different types of honey and their properties (viscosity, pH value, and moisture content) or their storing conditions (temperature, humidity, light, and time). Spectroscopic and analytical techniques like Raman, FTIR, HPLC, and GC-MS are in the foreground for MP/NP detection and identification, but a universal way of isolation, detection, characterization, and quantification has not yet been found. This leaves an open field for more work to be done to clarify the factors affecting the migration of plastic packaging material in honey.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-08-08
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030030
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 428-439: Low-Density Polyethylene Migration
           from Food Packaging on Cured Meat Products Detected by Micro-Raman

    • Authors: Klytaimnistra Katsara, George Kenanakis, Eleftherios Alissandrakis, Vassilis M. Papadakis
      First page: 428
      Abstract: Food packaging has been demonstrated as a crucial issue for the migration of microplastics (MPs) into foodstuffs, concerning human health risk factors. Polymeric materials called plastics are continuously utilized in food packaging. Polyethylene (PE) is commonly used as a food packaging material, because it offers easy handling during transportation and optimal storage conditions for food preservation. In this work, three types of cured meat products of different fat compositions and meat processing methods—bacon, mortadella, and salami—were studied using spectroscopic methods (Raman and FT–IR/ATR) to determine the migration of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) from plastic packaging to the surface of the meat samples. The experimental duration of this study was set to be 28 days owing to the selected meat samples’ degradation, which started to become visible to the human eye after 10 days of storage in vacuum LDPE packaging, under refrigerated conditions at 4 °C. Spectroscopic measurements were performed at 0, 3, 9, 12, 15, and 28 days of storage to obtain comparative results. We demonstrated that the Raman spectral peaks of LDPE firstly appeared as a result of polymeric migration on day 9 in Bacon, on day 15 in Salami, and finally on day 28 in Mortadella. On day 28, all meat samples were tainted, with a layer of bacterial outgrowth developed, as proven by bright–field microscopic observation. Food packaging migration to the surface of cured meat samples was validated using Raman vibrational spectroscopy. To ensure minimal consumption of MPs in cured meat products stored in plastic packaging, while at the same time maintaining good food quality, they should be kept in refrigerated conditions and consumed within a short period of time. In this work, the migration of MPs from food packaging to the surface of cured meat samples was observed using micro-Raman spectroscopy.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-08-12
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030031
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 440-455: Intra-Laboratory Calibration
           Exercise for Quantification of Microplastic Particles in Fine-Grained
           Sediment Samples: Special Focus on the Influence of User Experience

    • Authors: Manuela Piccardo, Gabriele Salvatore Priami, Serena Anselmi, Stanislao Bevilacqua, Monia Renzi
      First page: 440
      Abstract: An intra-laboratory calibration to quantify microplastic in fine-grained marine sediments was performed with two objectives: (a) to determine the recovery rate of self-produced microplastics characterized by a size ranging from 220 µm to 5 mm and differing in color (pink, orange, gray, yellow, silver), shape (fragments, filaments, spheres, films), and chemical composition (polystyrene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, polypropylene, poly(methyl methacrylate)) artificially introduced into real samples; and (b) to analyze whether operator experience can be a key factor in the quality of the results. To answer this question, the same protocol was assigned to an experienced and an inexperienced operator. The results of this comparison are detailed in terms of root mean square and percent error. Possible strategies to increase the recovery rate are presented, and an ad hoc category, namely “glitter”, was created to adjust the results with respect to this unique type of microplastic usually ignored and excluded from the analysis.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030032
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 456-476: Investigating the Physicochemical
           Property Changes of Plastic Packaging Exposed to UV Irradiation and
           Different Aqueous Environments

    • Authors: Wihann Conradie, Christie Dorfling, Annie Chimphango, Andy M. Booth, Lisbet Sørensen, Guven Akdogan
      First page: 456
      Abstract: A wide range of weathering processes contributes to the degradation of plastic litter items which leads to the formation of microplastics that may be detrimental to marine ecosystems and the organisms inhabiting them. In this study, the impact of UV exposure on the degradation of clear polypropylene (CPP), black polypropylene (BPP), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) packaging materials was investigated over a period of 6 weeks under dry air conditions representing the terrestrial environment. The exposure was conducted using differently sized and shaped samples at irradiation intensities of 65 W/m2 and 130 W/m2. Results indicated that UV irradiation led to changes in the properties of PET, BPP, and CPP that were proportional to the intensity delivered, leading to a higher level of mass loss, carbonyl indices, crystallinities, and microhardness in all polymer types at 130 W/m2 relative to 65 W/m2. However, material shape and size did not have a significant influence on any property for any of the test materials. Increased mass loss over time was accompanied by considerable increases in carbonyl index (CI) for both PPs. Clear PP (CPP) underwent the most severe degradation, resulting in the highest mass loss, increase in crystallinity, and CI. BPP was less degraded and modified by the UV irradiation than the CPP, indicating that the colorant, carbon black, provided some degree of protection to the bulk polymer material. PET was the least degraded of the three materials, suggesting this polymer type is more resistant to UV degradation. The differences in the degradation behaviours of the three test materials under dry environmental conditions indicate that the UV exposure history of plastic litter might play an important role in its potential for further degradation once it reaches the marine environment. Furthermore, analysis of samples exposed to UV in aqueous media reveals a more irregular set of trends for most material properties measured. Overall, the degree of degradation resulting from UV irradiation in dry environments was more pronounced than in aqueous environments, although the most significant property changes were observed for materials without previous UV exposure histories. Samples with previous UV histories showed higher resistance to further crystallinity changes, which appeared to be due to crosslinking in the pretreatment exposures inhibiting chain alignment into crystalline structures. The effect of solution medium was insignificant, although the presence of water allowed hydrolytic degradation to proceed simultaneously with UV degradation for PET. The reduction of CI in pretreated materials in the aqueous exposures, combined with the mass loss, suggest that the degraded surface layer erodes or products dissolve into surrounding solution medium, leaving a fresh surface of plastic exposed.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-08-17
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030033
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 477-493: Differential Presence of
           Microplastics and Mesoplastics in Coral Reef and Mangrove Fishes in Isla
           Grande, Colombia

    • Authors: Valeria Jimenez-Cárdenas, Andrea Luna-Acosta, Luis David Gómez-Méndez
      First page: 477
      Abstract: This study aims to determine whether differences exist between the presence of microplastics and mesoplastics in fishes of coral reef and mangrove ecosystems, in Isla Grande, Colombian Caribbean. The collection of three species of coral reef (Centropomus undecimalis, Caranx hippos, and Lutjanus synagris) and three species of mangrove from coral reef (Centropomus undecimalis, Eugerres plumieri, and Archosargus rhomboidalis) were found to have ingested microplastics and mesoplastics, with a significantly higher in the mangrove species than in the coral reef species (1.9 vs. 1.6 items/individual). Furthermore, the average abundance and weight of microplastics and mesoplastics were significantly higher in females than in males (p < 0.05) and the abundance of microplastics and mesoplastics in the intestines was significantly higher than in the stomach (p < 0.05). PE, polyester, PVC, and PET were the most abundant polymers among common plastics found in species of the two habitats. Our findings highlight the importance of more rigorous plastic waste management strategies in areas nearby the coast and mangrove habitats.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-08-29
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030034
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 494-504: Assessment of Polyester Fabrics,
           Effluents and Filtrates after Standard and Innovative Washing Processes

    • Authors: Tanja Pušić, Branka Vojnović, Mirjana Čurlin, Ivica Bekavac, Tea Kaurin, Katia Grgić, Kristina Šimić, Zorana Kovačević
      First page: 494
      Abstract: Textile materials from polyester fibres are sensitive to washing, especially at higher temperatures, due to their thermoplastic properties, hydrophobic nature and sensitivity to the alkaline medium. The issue of microplastic fibres’ (MFs’) release from polyester textiles is a topic that attracts the attention of researchers from different scientific fields, since microplastics are now among the serious environmental risks. In this study, two washing protocols, a standard and an innovative procedure, were presented, aiming to preserve the properties of polyester fabrics and reduce the pollution of washing effluents. The standard procedure followed HRN EN ISO 6330, while the innovative procedure was a modification of the standard that involved gradually cooling the bath before rinsing. The effects of these washing protocols were studied based on the physicochemical properties of the fabrics compared to the unwashed material, the composition of the effluents, and the filtrates after 10 cycles. The characterisation parameters of the fabrics, effluents and filtrates according to the standard and the innovative washing protocols showed differences in the observed parameters during the 10 washing cycles. The obtained results show the usefulness of the proposed concept of cooling the bath before rinsing in order to preserve the properties of polyester fabrics and reduce the load of washing effluents. Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) also confirmed differences in pH, conductivity and turbidity for effluents and filtrates from standard and innovative washing protocols.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-09-02
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030035
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 505-519: Polystyrene Microplastics Modulate
           the Toxicity of the Hydrophilic Insecticide Thiacloprid for Chironomid
           Larvae and Also Influence Their Burrowing Behavior

    • Authors: Stefanie Krais, Nils Anthes, Sven Huppertsberg, Thomas P. Knepper, Katharina Peschke, Aki S. Ruhl, Hannah Schmieg, Tabea Schwarz, Heinz-R. Köhler, Rita Triebskorn
      First page: 505
      Abstract: As there is still little knowledge of interactions between microplastics (MP) and hydrophilic compounds, we propose ways the toxicity of hydrophilic pesticides can be modulated by MP, when sorption can be excluded. Larvae of Chironomus riparius were exposed to thiacloprid (TH, 1 µg/L) and polystyrene microplastic particles (PS; <50 µm; 150,000 and 1,000,000 particles/L) for 96 h, solely or in co-exposure. Burrowing behavior and mortality were observed. Larvae in treatments containing PS established themselves quicker in the sediment and kept the ability to rebury for a longer time compared to control and TH, respectively. While TH elevated the mortality, exposure to PS alone did not affect the survival of the larvae. In co-exposure of TH and PS, a concentration of 150,000 particles/L significantly reduced the toxicity of 1 µg/L TH after 96 h, an effect that was not observed at 1,000,000 particles/L. Therefore, we hypothesize that this modulation of the toxicity of TH eventually may have resulted from a combination of a ‘protective MP layer’ in the gut and a higher retention time of particles in larvae exposed to 150,000 particles/L than in those exposed to 1,000,000 particles/L due to the lower number of ingestible particles in the former.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-09-04
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030036
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 520-535: Interaction between Microplastics
           and Pharmaceuticals Depending on the Composition of Aquatic Environment

    • Authors: Maris Klavins, Linards Klavins, Olena Stabnikova, Viktor Stabnikov, Andrii Marynin, Linda Ansone-Bertina, Marcis Mezulis, Ashok Vaseashta
      First page: 520
      Abstract: A large amount of the globally produced plastics are not treated and are eventually released into landfills or natural environments, including surface waters. The plastics that enter the aquatic environment are very often microplastics, which are produced in households by the slow degradation or abrasion of plastic products, or as whole plastic products, which eventually degrade (abrasion, photodegradation). Together with microplastics, other pollutants such as pharmaceuticals of various kinds enter surface waters—both of these counterparts can interact with each other as well as with organic and inorganic molecules available in the natural environment. The aim of this study was to identify the interaction of microplastics with pharmaceuticals, especially under conditions that are common in inland waters as well as the seas and oceans that the rivers feed their water into. It was found that salinity has a great impact on the sorption capacity of microplastics and pharmaceuticals. The sorption of naturally occurring humic substances (humic and fulvic acids) can greatly increase when the microplastic–pharmaceutical complex is formed; however, the priority of the interaction happens with pharmaceuticals and humic substances. Such complexes can influence the organisms that feed on small organic-matter particles, as they can be mistaken for food and thus be transferred throughout the food chain.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-09-05
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030037
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 536-553: Assessing Microplastic Prevalence
           and Dispersion from Saigon Urban Canals via Can Gio Mangrove Reserve to
           East Sea by Raman Scattering Microscopy

    • Authors: Vo Thi Kim Khuyen, Dinh Vu Le, Hung Anh Le, Axel René Fischer, Christina Dornack
      First page: 536
      Abstract: Plastic pollution is one of the significant environmental concerns due to the threefold increase in global plastic waste. Marine microplastics, including petroleum-based plastic pieces and synthetic and artificial fibers smaller than 5 mm, are not only ubiquitous in natural water but also high in wastewater streams due to the direct discharge, transfer and breakdown of plastic items. This research aims to investigate the presence and dispersion of microplastics in the downtown area and coastal suburban area of Ho-Chi-Minh City by using Raman microscopy. As a result, the most common plastics (PE, PET, PA, PP, PVC, PS and PMMA) were detected, and most of them were fibrous shorter than 500 μm. The total microplastics decreased gradually from the urban waterborne (up to 220 MPs/L) via Can Gio UNESCO Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (10 MPs/L) and to the East Sea (3 MPs/L), which reveals the potential role of the mangrove in reducing marine contaminants including microplastics. This study provides important insights into microplastic pollution in the Western Pacific Region, especially the Saigon-Dong Nai river systems, supporting useful data for natural water resources management.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-09-05
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030038
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 554-571: Marine Litter Impact on Sandy Beach
           Fauna: A Review to Obtain an Indication of Where Research Should
           Contribute More

    • Authors: Leonardo Lopes Costa, Lucia Fanini, Mohamed Ben-Haddad, Maurizio Pinna, Ilana Rosental Zalmon
      First page: 554
      Abstract: In order to identify how research contributes to the knowledge of marine litter as a pressure on beaches, we reviewed interactions of beach fauna with this pollutant. Entanglement of pinnipeds in fishing gear, negative correlations between macroinvertebrates abundance and sediment pollution, and the presence of plastic surrounding burrows were primary evidence of beach fauna interacting with stranded litter. Ingestion represents the main body of research; microplastic uptake by invertebrates has been studied by laboratory experiments and field collections to report the presence of polymers in tissues. In the natural context, the higher the urbanization surrounding beaches and sediment pollution, the higher the concentration of microplastics in organs of bivalves. This approach currently constitutes the main research direction, but ecotoxicological assays are emerging prospects to assess the effects of exposure to microplastics. Beached macroplastics entangle and entrap invertebrates and vertebrates, and studies have reported increasing negative interactions with seals and sea turtles. Changes in nesting and feeding behavior of resident and transient organisms have been shown as typical early warning indicators of marine litter impacts. The focus on fauna–litter interactions holds terrific potential for research and citizen science projects, which finally becomes a powerful driver towards environmental awareness on sandy beaches.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-09-09
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1030039
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 3 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 229-239: Quantification of Microplastics by
           Pyrolysis Coupled with Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry in
           Sediments: Challenges and Implications

    • Authors: Nadia Bouzid, Christelle Anquetil, Rachid Dris, Johnny Gasperi, Bruno Tassin, Sylvie Derenne
      First page: 229
      Abstract: Pyrolysis-GC/MS is increasingly used to quantify microplastics (MP) in environmental samples. In general, prior to analysis, purification steps are carried out to reduce the environmental matrix in sediment samples. The conventionally used protocol of density separation followed by digestion of organic matter does not allow for complete isolation of MP from the associated organic and mineral matter. Among the pyrolysis products used as indicator compounds for plastic polymers, some may originate from other substances present in the environmental samples. In this paper, the indicator compounds are reviewed for the most common polymers: PE, PP, PS, PET and PVC and selected taking into account potential interactions with substances present in environmental matrices. Even after a purification step, a residual mineral fraction remains in a sediment sample, including matrix effects. This effect may be positive or negative, depending on the investigated polymer and is thus important to consider when using Pyr-GC/MS for the quantification of MP in sediment samples. It also shows that no external calibration can be used to reliably quantify MP in such samples and that the use of internal standards is compulsory.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-03-28
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020016
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 240-253: Histomorphological Damage in the
           Small Intestine of Wami Tilapia (Oreochromis urolepis) (Norman, 1922)
           Exposed to Microplastics Remain Long after Depuration

    • Authors: John J. Mbugani, John F. Machiwa, Daniel A. Shilla, Wahabu Kimaro, Dativa Joseph, Farhan R. Khan
      First page: 240
      Abstract: The histopathological effects of microplastics (MPs) in the gastrointestinal tracts of fish following long-term exposure and depuration are relatively understudied. This study investigated histomorphological damage in the small intestine of Oreochromis urolepis larvae following 65 d exposure to 38–45 μm of polyethylene microspheres (PE MPs) and after a recovery period of 60 d. Larval fish were assigned to each treatment group (control, 1, 10 and 100 PE MPs), where ingestion and degenerative changes in the small intestine were examined using a routine hematoxylin and eosin staining technique. The results highlighted significant PE MPs ingestion and retention proportional to exposure dose (χ2 = 49.54; df = 2). Villi height and width and epithelial cell height were significantly affected and differed between treatment groups. Indices of damage to the small intestine organ (χ2 = 47.37; df = 2; p < 0.05) and reaction patterns of villi, epithelial, goblet and cryptic glandular cells, leucocytic infiltration and blood congestion revealed significant occurrence of alteration as PE MPs exposure dose increased. After the recovery period, no PE MPs were observed, and villi height, width and epithelial cells showed recovery with no significant difference between treatment groups. Organ indices declined (χ2 = 12; df = 2; p < 0.05) but remained significantly different between treatment groups, largely due to leucocytic infiltration (χ2 = 9.08; df = 2; p < 0.05). The study demonstrated that microplastics induced small intestinal wall degeneration, but recovery in young fish occurred slowly. The damage likely compromised its digestive function, which may affect growth and reproduction. This requires further research.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-04-11
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020017
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 254-262: Characterization of Ingested Plastic
           Microparticles Extracted from Sea Turtle Post-Hatchlings at Necropsy

    • Authors: Keon Beigzadeh, Julie M. Rieland, Catherine B. Eastman, David J. Duffy, Brian J. Love
      First page: 254
      Abstract: Inadvertent consumption of latent microplastics is a lethal challenge for developing creatures in aquatic environments. There are compelling needs to classify which kinds of plastics are most likely to be encountered by sea creatures and to develop mitigation strategies to reduce exposure. We analyzed an ensemble of microplastic particle fragments isolated from sea turtle post-hatchlings to identify their composition and other features and attributes. These microplastic particles were likely consumed by post-hatchlings because of the adsorbed biofilm formation mimicking normal food sources. Of the hundreds of particles that were collected, 30 were selected for analysis using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and density assessment to identify them compared with other compositional libraries. These thermophysical measurements were also compared with observational assessments via optical microscopy. Of the particles tested, nearly all were polyolefins such as polyethylene and polypropylene. The melting points of the extracted polymers were typically lower than for product grades of these resins, indicative of some level of degradation. Spectral analysis by FTIR often showed absorption indicative of new chemistries likely from both hydrolysis and biofilm growth observed on the surface that was subsequently investigated through surface abrading. Separate assessments of density of these particles were conducted and tended to reinforce identification via FTIR and DSC. The density results can be misleading if additives, fillers or biofilms that form alter the particle density relative to those of the neat resins. We suggest that since post-hatchlings commonly feed in the neritic or nearshore environment, less dense polymers are more likely to convey, thereby threatening sea turtle hatchlings who consume them inadvertently.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-04-13
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020018
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 263-281: The Raman Spectroscopy Approach to
           Different Freshwater Microplastics and Quantitative Characterization of
           Polyethylene Aged in the Environment

    • Authors: Sylwia Rytelewska, Agnieszka Dąbrowska
      First page: 263
      Abstract: The aim of this paper is to contribute to the investigation of microplastics reaching the Baltic Sea with freshwater input. The scope of the paper was to analyze samples from several locations with different environmental characteristics. First, samples from urban areas differing in their degree of urbanization, a forest, a river and its watercourse were examined. Secondly, the ageing quantitative and qualitative characterization is discussed. Spectral techniques are crucial in identifying polymers, but the signal itself constitutes a valuable source of the crystallinity and density parameters of the polyethylene materials. The study indicates that polypropylene, polyethylene, polycarbonate and polystyrene are the most common types of microplastics in the investigated areas.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-04-24
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020019
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 282-290: COST Action PRIORITY: An EU
           Perspective on Micro- and Nanoplastics as Global Issues

    • Authors: Stefania Federici, Zahida Ademovic, Mónica J. B. Amorim, Moritz Bigalke, Mariacristina Cocca, Laura Eleonora Depero, Joydeep Dutta, Wolfgang Fritzsche, Nanna B. Hartmann, Gabriela Kalčikova, Nicolas Keller, Thomas C. Meisel, Denise M. Mitrano, Liam Morrison, Jean-Marie Raquez, Aleksandra Tubić, Milica Velimirovic
      First page: 282
      Abstract: Plastic fragments, weathered into or released in the form of micro- and nanoplastics, are persistent and widespread in the environment, and it is anticipated that they have negative environmental impacts. This necessitates immediate efforts for management strategies throughout the entire plastics lifecycle. This opinion paper was initiated by the EU COST Action CA20101 PRIORITY, which focuses on the need to develop an effective global networking platform dealing with research, implementation, and consolidation of ways to address the worldwide challenges associated with micro- and nanoplastics pollution in the environment.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-05-05
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020020
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 291-302: Microplastics’ Occurrence in
           Edible Fish Species (Mullus barbatus and M. surmuletus) from an Italian
           Marine Protected Area

    • Authors: Serena Felline, Manuela Piccardo, Giuseppe Egidio De Benedetto, Cosimino Malitesta, Antonio Terlizzi
      First page: 291
      Abstract: This study reports on the presence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tracts and livers of demersal fish (the mullet, Mullus spp.) from a Marine Protected Area (Porto Cesareo) along the Ionian Sea coast (Apulia, Southern Italy). The results showed microplastic ingestion in more than 60% of specimens analyzed with an average of three items per fish and average levels in red mullets being almost twice as high as the average in the congeneric striped red mullets. The dominant polymers identified by Attenuated Total ReflectanceFourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and Prolysis Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (Py-GCMS) analysis were polyethylene and polystyrene. Results can be used to set baseline levels for the assessment of microplastic pollution useful for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) descriptor 10 in the Italian coast of Ionian Sea.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-05-18
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020021
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 303-318: Accumulation Evaluation of Potential
           Microplastic Particles in Mytilus galloprovincialis from the Goro Sacca
           (Adriatic Sea, Italy)

    • Authors: Federica Pizzurro, Sara Recchi, Eliana Nerone, Romolo Salini, Nadia Beatrice Barile
      First page: 303
      Abstract: Microplastics (MPs; <5 mm) are present throughout the marine environment and are recognized as an emerging threat to aquatic ecosystems. Filter feeding organisms, such as mussels, are considered as bioindicators of MP pollution and are useful to evaluate the potential risks of MPs to human health. The work presented shows data on potential MPs found in Mytilus galloprovincialis samples collected from the Adriatic Sea during two sampling sections (1st sampling: December 2019 and 2nd sampling: May 2020). The mussels were subjected to digestion with H2O2 individually and filtered and the MP elements found were observed using a stereomicroscope and ultimately categorized by shape, size class and color, with the aid of a digital camera and data acquisition software. The highest MP concentrations were observed in the mussels collected in December 2019 (1.11 microplastic items per gram wet weight of mussels’ tissue), highlighting the possible influence of the following two main factors: greater river discharges following adverse weather events and higher river water pollution due to industrial activities. Indeed, the second sampling was performed after the Italian lockdown, due to the COVID-19 emergency. MP fibers (50–80%) were the most abundant type of MPs identified, followed by fragments (10–40%), granules (1.5–2.5%), non-categorized shape (1–2%) and foam (<1%). The color black (50–70%) and sizes smaller than 500 µm were the most dominant characteristics recorded both in the 1st sampling (50–70%) and the 2nd survey (30–50%). These data could be overestimated, due to the lack of polymer identification. The results of this study provide further data on the importance of bivalves as environmental bioindicators with regard to the pollution of MPs in the Adriatic Sea, supporting their instrumental role as environmental bioindicators for MP pollution.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-06-11
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020022
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 319-321: Communicating Threats and Potential
           Opportunities to Reduce Microplastic Pollution with Key Stakeholders

    • Authors: Tony R. Walker
      First page: 319
      Abstract: Plastic pollution has attracted considerable media attention from the public, governments, and industry in the past decade resulting in increased awareness of the direct environmental, economic and human health impacts [...]
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-06-15
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1020023
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 2 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 67-84: Quantification and Characterisation of
           Pre-Production Pellet Pollution in the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai,
           Aotearoa-New Zealand

    • Authors: Emma Caitlin Hunter, Raquelle de Vine, Olga Pantos, Phil Clunies-Ross, Fraser Doake, Hayden Masterton, Robert A. Briers
      First page: 67
      Abstract: Plastic pollution is threatening aquatic ecosystems and wildlife. Understanding the characteristics and extent of plastic pollution is the first step towards improving management and therefore the environmental impacts. Pre-production pellets are used in the manufacture of a range of consumer items. The Avon–Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai in Aotearoa–New Zealand, an important wildlife habitat, was assessed for the presence and characteristics of pre-production pellets. Following a visual survey of the estuary’s perimeter to establish overall levels, seven accumulation hotspots were identified, and surveyed in more detail. The enumeration and characterisation of pellet colour, size, morphology, degree of weathering and polymer type was undertaken. A total of 3819 pellets were identified, with pellets present at all sites. The pellets were predominantly clear (86%), 3 mm in size (54%), cylindrical in shape (62%), showed moderate weathering (41%) and were made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) (53%). Pellet abundance and characteristics varied between sites. Accumulation and abundance may be influenced by river inflows along which plastic manufacturers are located, weather conditions, locality to stormwater outlets and pellet characteristics. Pellet pollution is a notable problem in the Avon–Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai and it highlights the need to better understand the sources and improve best management practices.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-01-17
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010005
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 85-101: Nanoplastic Generation from Secondary
           PE Microplastics: Microorganism-Induced Fragmentation

    • Authors: Katerina Karkanorachaki, Panagiota Tsiota, Giorgos Dasenakis, Evdokia Syranidou, Nicolas Kalogerakis
      First page: 85
      Abstract: Concern regarding the pollution of the marine environment with plastics has been rising in recent years. Plastic waste residing in and interacting with the environment fragments into secondary particles in the micro- and nanoscale, whose negative impacts on the environment are even greater than those of the parent items. In this work, secondary high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) microplastics were produced by irradiation of virgin films following mechanical fragmentation. The fragments with size ranging from 250 μm to 2 mm were selected for subsequent microcosm experiments. Incubation for 120 days in seawater inoculated with two marine communities, Agios, acclimatized to utilizing plastics as a carbon source, and Souda, as was collected at the Souda bay (Crete, Greece), resulted in biofilm formation by polyethylene (PE) degraders. Monthly FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy) examination of the samples revealed changes in the chemical structure of the surface of the polymers. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) was employed and nano- and microparticles with sizes in the range between 56 nm and 4.5 μm were detected in the seawater of inoculated microcosms. It was thus demonstrated that weathered plastics particles can biodeteriorate and biofragment as a result of biofilm attachment, resulting in the production of nanoplastics due to microbial activity.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-01-21
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010006
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 102-120: Microplastics and Potentially Toxic
           Elements: Potential Human Exposure Pathways through Agricultural Lands and
           Policy Based Countermeasures

    • Authors: Avanthi Deshani Igalavithana, Mahagama Gedara Y. L. Mahagamage, Pradeep Gajanayake, Amila Abeynayaka, Premakumara Jagath Dickella Gamaralalage, Masataka Ohgaki, Miyuki Takenaka, Takayuki Fukai, Norihiro Itsubo
      First page: 102
      Abstract: Microplastics (MPs) have been identified as an emerging soil pollutant and a global environmental concern. Scientists have recently paid attention to the contamination of soil by MPs as their detrimental impacts on soil systems are largely unknown. MPs are considered to be vectors for other soil contaminants, such as potentially toxic elements (PTEs) and organic contaminants. PTEs are persistent contaminants and are often released into soils in large quantities. MPs adsorb PTEs, mainly via electrostatic attraction and surface complexation, and increase their mobility in soils. These complexes can be easily absorbed by plants; hence, the accumulation of PTEs in plants can be enhanced in both microplastic and PTE contaminated soils. Furthermore, there is a high risk of food chains contamination by PTEs due to crops grown in both microplastic and PTE-contaminated soils. Consequently, countermeasures including policy- and governance-based approaches that target circular economy as well as reduce, reuse, recycle (3R) applications are being discussed around the world to minimize the environmental contamination of MPs.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-01-21
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010007
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 121-140: Lack of Evidence for Microplastic
           Contamination from Water-Soluble Detergent Capsules

    • Authors: Javier Bayo, Belén Ramos, Joaquín López-Castellanos, Dolores Rojo, Sonia Olmos
      First page: 121
      Abstract: This study investigates the ability of water-soluble detergent capsules to effectively release microplastics from their composition. A total of 39 different brands of water-soluble capsulated detergents were tested, 20 of them for washing machines and 19 for dishwashers, from four different countries in the EU, i.e., Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Italy, as well as two different devices for microplastic recovery from laundry wastewater. Wastewater samples from all laundry capsules reported microplastics, mainly as entangled fibers from PET blankets, although none could be associated to capsule itself. This paper displays, through a calculated rate for microplastics, that fiber shedding from clothing maybe related to different detergent characteristics. Wastewater from both catching devices reported microplastics after their use, although samples from Guppyfriend bag displayed less fibers than those collected after the use of Cora Ball. Eventually, wastewater samples form dishwashing detergent capsules were much less contaminated with microplastics than those from laundry ones.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-02-01
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010008
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 141-155: Assessment of Microplastics
           Distribution in a Biological Wastewater Treatment

    • Authors: Stefano Castelluccio, Clara Bretas Alvim, María Amparo Bes-Piá, José Antonio Mendoza-Roca, Silvia Fiore
      First page: 141
      Abstract: Full-scale wastewater treatment facilities are not able to prevent microplastics (MPs) from discharging into natural waters and they are also associated with the land application of the sludge. This study evaluates the distribution of microfibers (MFs) in a lab-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) fed by synthetic wastewater (SW) for 93 days. The MFs were analyzed through optical microscopy in the mixed liquor (ML) and the effluent, and sulfuric acid digestion was applied to discriminate between natural and synthetic MFs (i.e., MPs). The results of the optical microscopy analyses were further validated through FTIR spectroscopy. A model describing the evolution over time of the MF concentration in the ML was created, accounting for the MFs entering the system through the SW and atmospheric deposition. The ratio between the MF concentration in the ML and the effluent was 1409 ± 781, demonstrating that MFs settle with the sludge. Consistently, in the ML, 64.9% of the recovered MFs were smaller than 1000 µm (average size 968 µm), while in the effluent, 76.1% of MFs were smaller than 1000 µm (average size 772 µm). Overall, 72% of MFs recovered from the ML were natural fibers and sulfuric acid digestion was successful in eliminating the natural MFs.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-02-01
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010009
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 156-166: Microplastics and Macroplastic
           Debris as Potential Physical Vectors of SARS-CoV-2: A Hypothetical
           Overview with Implications for Public Health

    • Authors: Juan José Alava, Ana Tirapé, Karly McMullen, Miguel Uyaguari, Gustavo A. Domínguez
      First page: 156
      Abstract: COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, was declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020 by the World Health Organization. The pandemic has triggered an unprecedented increase in the production, consumption and disposal of multiple types of plastic-based personal protective equipment (PPE) as a measure to reduce the infection. Recent research shows that plastic surfaces can serve as a fomite for coronavirus transmission as it can remain stable and be viable on polypropylene for up to 72 h or on other plastic surfaces for up to 9 days. While it is unknown whether or to what extent macroplastic debris and ubiquitous microplastics emitted into the environment can serve as physical vectors or fomites of pathogenic viruses, recent studies have reported that both macroplastic and microplastics can serve as vectors for harmful pathogens and invasive species (biological pollution). Here, hypothetical scenarios based on the weight of evidence are proposed to plausibly state the role of plastic debris (e.g., single-use-plastics), discarded PPE supplies, including facemasks, sanitizer bottles, gloves, and plastic bags, as well as microplastics as potential physical vectors of SARS-CoV-2, serving as a route of exposure to humans and wildlife in the terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-02-01
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010010
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 167-185: Microplastics Occurrence in Two
           Mountainous Rivers in the Lowland Area—A Case Study of the Central
           Pomeranian Region, Poland

    • Authors: Paulina Piskuła, Aleksander Maria Astel
      First page: 167
      Abstract: Because of the increasing worldwide awareness concerning the occurrence of microplastics (MPs) in aquatic ecosystems, our goal was to analyze for the first time the quality and abundance of MPs and assess their seasonal variation in two unique rivers flowing through the low-land area in northern Poland. Their uniqueness is due to the fact they flow through landscape parks and urbanized zones, possess mountainous characteristics, and are aquatic habitats for sea trout (Salmo trutta m. trutta) and salmon (Salmo salar). In this pioneering study, the morphological types, geometric dimensions, and color of MP particles were analyzed by the use of an optical microscope. MPs particles were detected in 62.5% of the river water samples, while the average abundance was 3.6–4.2 items per sample. In terms of general seasonality, the sum of MPs items found in investigated river water samples decreased in the following order: spring (75 items) > summer (64 items) > autumn (52 items). Neither the total MPs abundance nor any morphological MPs types were statistically different between rivers according to single seasons. The quantity of MPs present in the river water was higher downstream of the wastewater treatment plant studied, which confirms that treated sewage effluent is a key source of MPs in an aquatic environment. Among the morphological types, fragments were prevalent among granules and fibers, while their average length not exceeding 1.0 mm enabled them to be classified as small. MPs were classified into nine colors, however, the bright colors were dominating only in the case of granule. In the case of the fragments and fibers, the dominating colors were transparent, white, blue, and black. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was performed on a small sample of microplastics (21.0%) due to their small size. Polymers containing polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, polyester, and polystyrene were identified.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-02-02
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010011
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 186-197: Ingested Microplastics in 18 Local
           Fish Species from the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    • Authors: Mel Constant, Mathieu Reynaud, Lisa Weiss, Wolfgang Ludwig, Philippe Kerhervé
      First page: 186
      Abstract: Plastic waste and its fragments (microplastics, <5 mm) are a global, persistent, and ubiquitous threat for land and marine ecosystems. We have investigated the occurrence and composition of microplastics within 18 coastal fish species of the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Digestive tracts were digested using hydrogen peroxide, and residues were observed under a stereo-microscope. Suspected microplastics were analyzed with a Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectrometer to confirm its plastic nature and to identify the polymer type. A rigorous blank control and FTIR correction was applied, leading to the removal of 78% of the initially sorted and suspected particles. Corrected concentrations range from 0.00 to 5.15 items per fish, a result within the same range than this has been reported for other coastal species previously investigated in this area. Fibers, made of polyester (PES), polyamide (PA), acrylic (A) and polypropylene (PP), largely dominate the microplastic shapes (91%). A single driving force could not be identified, but several species traits (morphology, feeding, and habitat) may influence the number of ingested microplastics.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-03-01
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010012
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 198-210: Modelling the Photodegradation of
           Marine Microplastics by Means of Infrared Spectrometry and Chemometric

    • Authors: Carmen Sorasan, Fernando E. Ortega-Ojeda, Antonio Rodríguez, Roberto Rosal
      First page: 198
      Abstract: This work investigated the structural and chemical changes of plastics undergoing accelerated ageing upon irradiation that simulated the ultraviolet component of solar radiation for a five-year period. The plastics selected were polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) microplastic debris sampled from a sandy beach as well as pure pellets and fragments of objects made of the same polymers. We recorded Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectra at prescribed intervals during the irradiation procedure. The spectra were used to study the evolution of the absorption peaks usually associated with the environmental ageing of polyolefins, namely the peaks of hydroxyl and carbonyl stretching, the peaks relating to the presence of double bonds, and those associated with the crystallinity of PE and the tacticity of PP. The results showed that none of the usual degradation indexes followed a clear trend with increasing exposure and that the evolution of absorption peaks was not consistent among different fragments. We used the Orthogonal Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis (OPLS-DA) method to process the whole information contained in the FTIR spectra in response to the chemical changes occurring during photochemical ageing. The results showed that the FTIR spectra contained sufficient information to cluster samples according to the irradiation received. Variable Importance of the Projection (VIP) analyses showed that the information for discriminating among different exposures was mainly contained in the absorption peaks corresponding to the hydroxyl and carbonyl stretching absorptions. The chemometric models had large determination coefficients, despite the large number of variables involved and could be applied to assess the environmental fate of plastics under environmental stressors.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-03-04
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010013
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 211-220: Relationship of Microplastics to
           Body Size for Two Estuarine Fishes

    • Authors: Ahmed K. Gad, Stephen R. Midway
      First page: 211
      Abstract: In the northern Gulf of Mexico, microplastics are reported in very high concentrations, which are thought to be partly sourced from the Mississippi River. This study sought to quantify microplastics across body size in two fish species, the hardhead catfish (Ariopsis felis) and southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma), common to Gulf of Mexico estuaries. We hypothesized that counts of ingested microplastics would be higher in smaller fishes than larger fishes. Fish were sampled in 2018 and 2019 across coastal Louisiana and represented a balanced range of length classes. Both species in our study ingested microplastics—25% of southern flounder and 15% of hardhead catfish. There was a significant positive effect of total length on microplastic loads in hardhead catfish. Due to the biological importance and management relevance of fish length, the study of microplastic loads and effects on fish may need to move beyond aggregating a species to considerations of individual size.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-03-06
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010014
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
  • Microplastics, Vol. 1, Pages 221-228: Do We Speak the Same Language for
           Reference Particles in Microplastic Research'

    • Authors: Thomas Senfter, Andreas Walter, Lukas Dür, Florian Alber, Martin Pillei
      First page: 221
      Abstract: Despite the high number of scientific publications on related topics, such as sustainability, pollution control, etc., research on microplastic (MP) is still in its infancy. To advance the quality of future MP investigations, scientists have recently called for harmonization regarding the definition and categorization of MP, as well as for consensus in sampling and investigations methodologies. The application of standardized and fully characterized MP particles, which are commercially available on a large scale but rarely characterized by manufacturers, could add another piece to that mosaic. This publication aims to introduce ten low-priced MP powders that can be used as reference particles in future MP studies. The physical parameters shape, particle density and particle size distribution were examined, and results compared to technical information reports and data sheets, available. Particle densities were almost in line with the manufacturer’s information. However, significant leaks could be revealed for particle size specifications, thus underlining the demand for an accurate description of the particle size distribution, e.g., D50 or D90.
      Citation: Microplastics
      PubDate: 2022-03-09
      DOI: 10.3390/microplastics1010015
      Issue No: Vol. 1, No. 1 (2022)
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