Matching Items (4)

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Movement of Marine-Based Microplastics from Seabird Guano to Terrestrial Ecosystems

Description

Microplastics are defined as small pieces of plastics that are less than five millimeters in size. These microplastics can vary in their appearance, are known to be harmful to aquatic

Microplastics are defined as small pieces of plastics that are less than five millimeters in size. These microplastics can vary in their appearance, are known to be harmful to aquatic life and can threaten life cycles of marine organisms because of their chemical make-up and the toxic additives used in their manufacture. Although small in size, it is hypothesized that microplastics can serve as an example of how human activities can alter ecosystems near and far. To investigate the implications and determine the potential impact of microplastics on a protected atoll’s ecosystems, red-footed booby (Sula sula) guano samples from six locations on Palmyra Atoll were acquired from North Carolina State University via The Nature Conservancy and were inspected for the presence of microplastics. Each of the guano samples were weighed and prepared via wet oxidation. Microplastic fibers were detected via stereoscope microscopy and analyzed for chemical composition via Raman spectroscopy. All six sampling locations within Palmyra Atoll contained microplastic fibers identified as polyethylene terephthalate, with North-South Causeway and Eastern Island having the highest average number of microplastic fibers found per gram of guano sample (n = 0.611). These data provide evidence that seabirds can serve as vectors for the spread of microplastic pollution. This research lends context to the widespread impact of plastic pollution and states possible implications of its presence in delicate ecosystems.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Examining Biofouling on Pristine and Aged Microplastics Exposed to Tempe Town Lake Water

Description

This study investigated the difference in biofilm growth between pristine polypropylene microplastics and aged polypropylene microplastics. The microplastics were added to Tempe Town Lake water for 4 weeks. Each week

This study investigated the difference in biofilm growth between pristine polypropylene microplastics and aged polypropylene microplastics. The microplastics were added to Tempe Town Lake water for 4 weeks. Each week the microplastic biofilms were quantified. Comparing the total biofilm counts, the results showed that the aged microplastic biofilms were larger than the pristine each week. By week 3 the aged microplastic counts had almost doubled in size increasing from 324 to 626 Colony Forming Units per gram in just one week. There was a significant difference in the diversity found from week 1 to week 4. About 40% of the diversity for the pristine microplastic biofilm was seen as light-yellow dots and about 60% of these dots were seen on the aged microplastic biofilms in both weeks. As the microplastics were submerged in the lake water, new phenotypes emerged varying from week 1 to week 4 and from pristine to aged microplastic biofilms. Generally, it was found that as the microplastics stay in the environment there is more biofilm on the particles. The aged microplastics have a larger amount of biofouling, and the pristine microplastic biofilms were found to have more diversity of phenotypes.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Analysis of Chlorination & UV Effects on Microplastics Using Raman Spectroscopy.

Description

Microplastics are emerging to be major problem when it comes to water pollution and they pose a great threat to marine life. These materials have the potential to affect a

Microplastics are emerging to be major problem when it comes to water pollution and they pose a great threat to marine life. These materials have the potential to affect a wide range of human population since humans are the major consumers of marine organisms. Microplastics are less than 5 mm in diameter, and can escape from traditional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) processes and end up in our water sources. Due to their small size, they have a large surface area and can react with chlorine, which it encounters in the final stages of WWTP. After the microplastics accumulate in various bodies of water, they are exposed to sunlight, which contains oxidative ultraviolet (UV) light. Since the microplastics are exposed to oxidants during and after the treatment, there is a strong chance that they will undergo chemical and/or physical changes. The WWTP conditions were replicated in the lab by varying the concentrations of chlorine from 70 to 100 mg/L in increments of 10 mg/L and incubating the samples in chlorine baths for 1–9 days. The chlorinated samples were tested for any structural changes using Raman spectroscopy. High density polyethylene (HDPE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP) were treated in chlorine baths and observed for Raman intensity variations, Raman peak shifts, and the formation of new peaks over different exposure times. HDPE responded with a lot of oxidation peaks and shifts of peaks after just one day. For the degradation of semi-crystalline polymers, there was a reduction in crystallinity, as verified by thermal analysis. There was a decrease in the enthalpy of melting as well as the melting temperature with an increase in the exposure time or chlorine concentration, which pointed at the degradation of plastics and bond cleavages. To test the plastic response to

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UV, the samples were exposed to sunlight for up to 210 days and analyzed under Raman spectroscopy. Overall the physical and chemical changes with the polymers are evident and makes a way for the wastewater treatment plant to take necessary steps to capture the microplastics to avoid the release of any kind of degraded microplastics that could affect marine life and the environment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Meta-analysis of error sources in the determination of micro- and nanoplastics

Description

The occurrence of micro-and nanoplastic (MNP) debris in the environment is a research area of considerable public health concern. Various combinations of methods for extraction, isolation, and quantification of MNP

The occurrence of micro-and nanoplastic (MNP) debris in the environment is a research area of considerable public health concern. Various combinations of methods for extraction, isolation, and quantification of MNP have been applied but literature studies evaluating the appropriateness and efficacy of these protocols are lacking. A meta-analysis of the literature (n=134; years 2010-2017) was conducted to inventory and assess the appropriateness of methodologies employed. Some 30.6% of studies employed visual identification only, which carried a calculated misidentification error of 25.8-74.2%. An additional 6.7% of studies reported counts for particles smaller than the cutoff value of the selected collection pore size, and 9.7% of studies utilized extraction solution densities which exclude some of the polymers commonly occurring in the environments investigated. A composite value of data vulnerability of 43.3% was determined for the sample, indicating considerable weaknesses in the robustness of information available on MNP occurrence and type. Additionally, the oxidizing solutions documented in the literature frequently were deemed unsuccessful in removing interfering organic matter. Whereas nanoplastics measuring <1 µm in diameter are likely principal drivers of health risk, polymer fragments reported on in the literature are much larger, measuring 10+ µm in diameter due to lack of standardized methods. Thus, current inventories of MNP in the environmental MNP feature data quality concerns that should be addressed moving forward by using more robust and standardized techniques for sampling, processing and polymer identification to improve data quality and avoid the risk of misclassification.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018