Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 9, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

Sampling, isolating and identifying microplastics ingested by fish and invertebrates

Author affiliations

Abstract

Microplastic debris (<5 mm) is a prolific environmental pollutant, found worldwide in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems. Interactions between biota and microplastics are prevalent, and there is growing evidence that microplastics can incite significant health effects in exposed organisms. To date, the methods used to quantify such interactions have varied greatly between studies. Here, we critically review methods for sampling, isolating and identifying microplastics ingested by environmentally and laboratory exposed fish and invertebrates. We aim to draw attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the suite of published microplastic extraction and enumeration techniques. Firstly, we highlight the risk of microplastic losses and accumulation during biotic sampling and storage, and suggest protocols for mitigating contamination in the field and laboratory. We evaluate a suite of methods for extracting microplastics ingested by biota, including dissection, depuration, digestion and density separation. Lastly, we consider the applicability of visual identification and chemical analyses in categorising microplastics. We discuss the urgent need for the standardisation of protocols to promote consistency in data collection and analysis. Harmonized methods will allow for more accurate assessment of the impacts and risks microplastics pose to biota and increase comparability between studies.

Graphical abstract: Sampling, isolating and identifying microplastics ingested by fish and invertebrates

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 27 Aug 2016, accepted on 22 Oct 2016 and first published on 24 Oct 2016


Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C6AY02415G
Anal. Methods, 2017,9, 1346-1360
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Sampling, isolating and identifying microplastics ingested by fish and invertebrates

    A. L. Lusher, N. A. Welden, P. Sobral and M. Cole, Anal. Methods, 2017, 9, 1346
    DOI: 10.1039/C6AY02415G

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements