Session 4 - Microplastics in the marine environment

There is a growing concern and increasing evidence that microplastics in the World’s rivers and oceans are having an affect on marine environments; and ultimately into the food chain. Infrared Spectroscopy and Microscopy are well- established analytical techniques for defining, identifying and categorising of plastic materials. However, it is also good to remember that microplatics is a term that consists of diverse chemicals of all shapes, sizes, coulour etc. Increasingly collating research and information on these materials has become of great importance as they are been added as priority contaminants to monitor by various governments. This presentation reviews the recent scientific findings in the microplastics applications in order to sharpen our understanding of their affects in our marine environments.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:15 to 09:30
Oral presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment
[CEST2019_00000] "Aboard the "Typhoon": Surveying marine litter in the Saronic Gulf. A funder's perspective"
by Dr Angeliki Kosmopoulou Executive Director Athanasios C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation
Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:00 to 09:15
Oral presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

Microplastics (MPs) extraction from sediment, sand and soil samples is a challenge that the scientific community is facing nowadays; currently there are no standardized and validated protocols and the most common methods rely on density separation techniques, often unable to separate high density polymers. The aim of the present work was to develop a non-density based, efficient and cost effective method. We tested an oil based extracting technique exploiting the oleophilic properties of plastic. Soil and marine and freshwater sand samples were spiked with 11 different kind of polymers: Polypropylene (PP), low density Polyethylene (LDPE), high density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyurethane (PU), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Polystyrene (PS), Polycarbonate (PC), Polyamide (PA), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). FTIR preliminary results show high recovery rates for almost all polymers except for PTFE. Further developments of this promising method are currently in progress.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:36 to 10:39
Flash presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

Here, we introduce OMCEC, a laboratory-based system that simultaneously measures the material composition, geometric properties, and motion of individual suspended aggregates in a non-invasive and non-destructive way. OMCEC consists of a full-color high-resolution optical system and real-time algorithms for material segmentation based on light spectra emission analysis, quantification of various geometrical properties, and motion detection with particle tracking velocimetry (PTV). We show applications of OMCEC for the composition analysis of aggregates made of biological matter and (i) mineral and (ii) microplastics.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:00 to 10:15
Oral presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

In this study, we investigate photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy with UV excitation as an alternative method for the detection and identification of plastic materials. The PL is excited at 266 nm. Spectra of the most widely used plastic materials are analyzed. Based on these results, it should be possible to develop a method to reliably identify different plastic materials in environmental samples solely based on their PL emission. In addition, this technique is inherently non-destructive and fast.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:33 to 10:36
Flash presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

This paper studies the dynamics of an economy specialized in fisheries facing a rising marine litter problem. We present a dynamic optimization model to explain the mechanism through which marine litter causes inefficiencies in the fishery sector. We study the dynamic properties of the model when the externality of marine litter is not taken into account and when it is internalized via the price of fish. We find that when the litter is internalized through the price of fish, the ocean quality is improved but fish catch decreases. We explore the possibility of introducing an incentive scheme where marine litter can be traded on a hypothetical market. The introduction of a market removes the inefficiencies caused by marine litter and provides the right incentive for fishermen to maximize the overall welfare.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:15 to 10:30
Oral presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

When microplastics enter aquatic ecosystems they are submitted to environmental aging which change their properties. Especially colonization by microorganisms alter their properties in term of density and adsorption properties. Hence the aim of the study was to evaluate the adsorption and leaching properties of virgin and aged microplastics. Silver (in form of silver nitrate) was selected as a model metal used for adsorption study. Results showed that silver is quickly adsorbed on both types of microplastics while aged microplastics adsorbed significantly more silver than virgin ones. However, also leaching of silver from aged particles proceeds much faster - after 48 hours in Steinberg medium (pH = 5.8), only 23.7% of silver was leached out from virgin microplastics in comparison to 45.6% leached out from aged microplastics. In OECD medium (pH = 7.3) leaching was minimal. Our results showed that aging of microplastics and development of biofilm can significantly alter their properties and thus it is necessary to enhance our knowledge about microplastics’ aging in the aquatic environment, which is still far from well-understood.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:30 to 10:33
Flash presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

µ-FTIR spectroscopy is a widely used tech¬¬nique in microplastics research. It allows to simultane¬ously characterize the material of the small particles, fibers or fragments, and to specify their size distribution and shape. Modern detectors offer the possibility to perform two-dimensional imaging of the sample providing detailed information. However, data sets are often too large for manual evaluation calling for automated microplastic identification. Library search based on the comparison with known reference spectra has been proposed to solve this problem.
To supplement this ‘targeted analysis’, an exploratory ap¬proach was tested. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to drastically reduce the size of the data set while maintaining the significant information. Groups of similar spectra in the prepared data set were identified with cluster analysis. Members of different clusters could be assigned to different polymer types whereas the variation observed within a cluster gives a hint on the chemical variability of microplastics of the same type. Spectra labeled according to the respective cluster can be used for supervised learning. The obtained classification was tested on an independent data set and results were compared to the spectral library search approach.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:45 to 10:00
Oral presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment

The number of publications reporting the amount of microplastic (MP) all over the world increased rapidly. Methods used so far are very time consuming and not able to provide information on total contents. As harmonised sampling, sample preparation and analysis strategies are missing different studies can hardly be compared and quantitative data, including identification and mass contents of the polymers found, are missing. This leads to a lack of comprehensive understanding of MP occurrence, source and entry pathways into the environment.
We developed a method, Thermal Extraction/Desorption-Gaschromatography-Massspectrometry, as a fast screening method for MP analysis. Solid residues of water samples are heated up to 600 C under a N2 atmosphere without any sample preparation. The collected decomposition gases are separated in a gas chromatography system and detected in a mass spectrometer. Mass contents of the identified polymers can be calculated.
In this presentation we will show first results from the influent of the wastewater treatment plant Kaiserslautern (Germany) and its combined sewage system as possibly entry pathway. In order to determine the relevance of wastewater split streams analysis of grey water will be conducted. Samples are fractionally filtered by a sieve cascade with mesh sizes of 500, 100, 50 µm.

Session: 4, Room: D, at Thu, 09/05/2019 - 09:30 to 09:45
Oral presentation in Microplastics in the marine environment