REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0498.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Microplastics (MPs); Nanoplastics (NPs); Drinking Water
Online: 19 April 2021 (14:31:09 CEST)
Microplastics (MPs) are small pieces of plastics. They are ubiquitous in the environment and can enter the freshwater environment from surface run-off and wastewater effluent (treated and untreated), industrial effluent, degraded plastic waste, and atmospheric deposition. They are not usually destroyed but convert into one phase to another. They are a source of air pollution, occurring in dust and airborne fibrous particles. Mostly MPs are non-biodegradable while some MPs are biodegradable, which can be decomposed in the presence of ultraviolet (UV) light or by the action of microorganisms. Popular methods: chemical, spectroscopic, and thermo-analytical are available for the determination of the chemical composition and size of plastic particles. This chapter discusses the uses, health hazards, sources, and transport of MPs particles.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201901.0227.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences Keywords: Microplastics, Nanoplastics, Optical Tweezers, Raman Spectroscopy
Online: 22 January 2019 (18:00:37 CET)
Our understanding of the fate and distribution of micro- and nano- plastics in the marine environment and their impact on the biota compartment is limited by the intrinsic difficulties of conventional analytical techniques (light scattering, FT-IR, Raman, optical and electron microscopies) in the detection, quantification and chemical identification of small particles in liquid samples. Here we propose the use of optical tweezers, a technique awarded in 2018 with the Nobel prize, as an analytical tool for the study of micro- and nano- plastics in sea water. In particular, we exploit the combination of optical tweezers with Raman spectroscopy (Raman Tweezers, RTs) to optically trap plastic particles with sizes from tens of µm down to 90 nm and unambiguously reveal their chemical composition. RTs applications are shown on particles made of the most common plastic pollutants, including polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon and polystyrene, that are artificially fragmented and aged directly in seawater. RTs allow us to assess the size and shapes of microparticles (beads, fragments, fibers) and can be applied to investigate particles covered with organic layers. Furthermore, operating at the single particle level, RTs enable unambiguous distinction of plastic particles from marine microorganisms and seawater minerals, overcoming the capacities of standard Raman spectroscopy in liquid, limited to average measurements. Coupled to suitable extraction and concentration protocols, RTs could have a strong impact in the study of the fate of micro and nanoplastics in marine environment, as well as in the understanding of the fragmentation processes on a multi-scale level.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0544.v1
Subject: Materials Science, Nanotechnology Keywords: microplastics; nanoplastics; TiO2; crystallinity; film; photocatalysis; degradation; mitigation; microplastic pollution.
Online: 30 January 2023 (07:06:32 CET)
Microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) are distributed and transferred among the four major environmental compartments (air, water, soil, and biota) and have been already found in humans, making crucial to develop remediation technologies to tackle this kind pollution. Photocatalysis can be used to eliminate MPs present in contaminated wastewater effluents before their discharge into waterbodies. In this work, several green TiO2-based semiconductors were prepared using the extrapallial fluid (EPF) of Mytilus edulis sea water mussels as doping precursor. The semiconductors were then used as films or powders to photocatalytically degrade polystyrene (PS) NPs and MPs and polyethylene (PE) MPs. It was found that the obtention of green TiO2-based semiconductors with good characteristics for photocatalytic purposes (anatase crystalline phase, presence of porosity, activity in visible light and high surface area) seems not enough to achieve high degradation efficiency. The operational conditions of the reaction system should be also taken into account. For instance, the convenience of using semiconductors in the form of films can be overcome by their limited exposed surface area or the null adsorption of the semiconductor in the MPs particles. Additionally, crystallinity of the semiconductor can be a more determinant factor to take into account when performing photocatalysis of MPs.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0189.v1
Subject: Materials Science, Polymers & Plastics Keywords: nanoplastics; nanoparticles; seawater; colloids; static light scattering; dynamic light scattering
Online: 12 March 2020 (02:56:34 CET)
Static (SLS) and dynamic (DLS) light scattering techniques are assessed for their capacity to detect colloidal particles with diameters between d = 0.1 and 0.8 µm at very low concentrations in seawater. The detection limit of the apparatus was determined using model monodisperse spherical polystyrene latex particles with diameters 0.2 µm and 0.5 µm. It is shown that the concentration and size of colloids can be determined down to about 10-6 g/L. Seawater obtained from different locations in western Europe was characterized using light scattering. It was found that seawater filtered through 0.45 µm pore size membrane filters was within the experimental error the same as that of ultrapure Milli-Q water containing the same amount of sea salt and no colloids could be detected with DLS. When the seawater was filtered through 0.8 µm pore size filters, colloidal particles were detected. The measurements show that the concentration of colloids in the seawater samples is not higher than 10-6 g/L and that they have an average diameter of about 0.6 µm. We stress that these particles are not necessarily nanoplastics.