We'd like to tell you lots of things about the things we've learned about micropastics, but our time resources are limited. Below is a list of some of the great articles and scientific research on the subject - updated once in a while. Enjoy! ◎ܫ◎
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Plastic microfiber hotspots are in ocean biodiversity hotspots
A new study has found that microplastics are falling to the seafloor, being carried by bottom currents, and accumulating at certain points in the ocean - “microplastic hotspots”. Microplastic hotspots contain up to 1.9 million pieces of plastic per square meter, the highest concentration of plastic ever recorded on the seafloor. The most common microplastic found in the ocean is microfibers from textiles, which enters the ocean through domestic and industrial waste water systems. The study suggests that microplastics are ending up in biodiversity hotspots in the ocean, where they can easily enter and disrupt the marine ecosystem.
Mongabay Article - In ocean biodiversity hotspots, microplastics come with the currents | Scientific Research - Seafloor microplastic hotspots controlled by deep-sea circulation
Caddis fly larvae are now constructing their protective cases from microplastic leading to various negative consequences
Caddis fly larvae typically construct protective cases out of sand grains and silk. Now they're also using microplastic particles. Caddis fly larvae work an important gig hoovering up aquatic vegetation, keeping a river from getting overgrown, but they now choose plastic instead. As they use the case for respiration they also intake microplastic through their gills. Moreover, plastic collapses more easily and their flesh becomes exposed to predators. As flying adults, they serve as a critical food source for bats, frogs, and spiders.
Wired Article - This Bizarre Insect Is Building Shelters Out of Microplastic | Scientific Research - Microplastics of different characteristics are incorporated into the larval cases of the freshwater caddisfly Lepidostoma basale
Study shows that release of microfibers to air from wearing clothes equals to release of microfibers to water from washing
Scientific Research - Microfiber Release to Water, Via Laundering, and to Air, via Everyday Use: A Comparison between Polyester Clothing with Differing Textile Parameters
Microplastics are contaminating the fruit and vegetables we eat, according to two separate scientific studies published this week.
1) According to the first peer-reviewed study by University of Catania scientist Margherita Ferrante, apples are the most contaminated fruit while carrots are the vegetables most affected. Scientific article.
2) A second peer-reviewed study out this week will reveal plastic is being sucked up with water through the root systems of food crops. The study was performed jointly by Dr. Lianzhen Li of the Yanthai Institute of Coastal Zone Research in China and Professor Willie Peijnenburg from Leiden University in the Netherlands and is to be published in the journal Nature Sustainability. Professor Peijnenburg found microplastics are penetrating the roots of lettuce and wheat plants, after which they are transported to the edible above-ground plant parts.
There may be twice as many microplastics in the ocean than previously thought. “We find 3700 microplastics in one cubic meter of seawater, much more than the number of zooplankton in the same quantity. (…)’. It’s the very smallest microplastics that make it easy to ingest plankton" Researcher Penelope Lindeque of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory says
There could be more than 3700 microplastics in one cubic meter of seawater. These and other findings were made by using nets with different mesh sizes and comparing the results. The research was carried out at two English universities and was recently published in the scientific journal Environmental Pollution.
Study finds a correlation between the presence of small synthetic fibers and the prevalence of worms in the guts of sardines and anchovies, two of the most commercialized species.
Researchers found that fish with microplastics in their digestive system also had parasites such as larvae, trematodes and nematodes (a type of worm) and generally had a worse overall body condition. “This is the first time that we prove such a clear correlation between parasites and microplastics in fish,” says Coll.
In a recent article published in Environmental Pollution, Spanish researchers noted that over 65% of deep-sea shrimp on the Catalan coast have synthetic fibers in their stomachs and intestinal tracts. As for anchovies, it was proven last year that 83.3% of analyzed individuals had ingested microplastics in the eastern Mediterranean, while an earlier study found 90% of analyzed anchovies in the Adriatic Sea had plastics in their stomachs.
Plastic microfibers in the ocean affect larval lobsters' feeding & respiration, and they could even prevent some larvae from reaching adulthood. When larvae were exposed to high levels of fibers, the youngest larvae were the least likely to survive.
"Plastic rain" that pulls microfibers from the sky may be much more widespread than formerly thought. These microplastics pose health & environmental risks, which brings up the question, could COVID19 be among them?