Quantitative Analysis of Selected Plastics in High-Commercial-Value Australian Seafood by Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry

Journal: Environmental Science and Technology

Published: 2020-07-09

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c02337

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 11

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Research Highlight

Chemical analysis reveals microplastic concentrations in seafood

© Javier Zayas Photography/Getty

© Javier Zayas Photography/Getty

Chemical analysis of key commercial seafood species has revealed sardines have one of the highest concentrations of microplastic contamination.

Microplastics in seafood samples are usually studied by microscopy or spectroscopy, but both methods are limited when it comes to smaller particles of plastic.

A team of researchers, led by a scientist from the University of Queensland, bought prawns, squid, oysters crabs and sardines from a seafood market. They then used a chemical analysis technique called pyrolysis−gas chromatography mass spectrometry to determine the concentrations of five types of plastics in them.

The researchers found varying amounts of plastics in all samples studied. Sardines contained the highest concentration of polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene and plastics overall, while crabs contained the highest concentration of polyvinyl chloride. Oysters also contained polyvinyl chloride. Squid and prawns had the lowest concentrations of all plastics.

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  1. Environmental Science and Technology 54, 9408–9417 (2020). doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c02337
Institutions Share
The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia 0.82
University of Exeter, United Kingdom (UK) 0.14
University of Amsterdam (UvA), Netherlands 0.05