Low incidence of microplastic contaminants in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas Thunberg) from the Salish Sea, USA
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Low incidence of microplastic contaminants in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas Thunberg) from the Salish Sea, USA

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  • Journal Title:
    Science of The Total Environment
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    Plastic pollution is a threat to marine life with long term impacts to ecosystems and organisms in the sea. In this study, we quantified the presence of microparticles in wild populations of Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) from the Salish Sea, Washington State. Examination under a dissecting microscope revealed 63% of oysters contained microparticles (~1.75 microparticles per oyster) and microfibers were the dominant type of particles. Using Raman microspectroscopy (RMS) and Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy (μ-FTIR) we found that only ~2% of these microparticles were synthetic and included polymers such as polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, poly(bisphenol A carbonate), rayon, and polyacrylate. It is important to note that of the 447 microparticles analyzed with RMS, 41% showed fluorescence interference, impeding the determination of their identification. The remaining microparticles were cellulose derivatives, shell fragments, biological or proteinaceous material, salts, minerals, and gypsum. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy equipped with a diamond attenuated total reflectance accessory (ATR-FTIR) showed the presence of sorbitan derivatives in all samples examined (n = 213). These findings provide the first baseline for microplastic and other particles in oysters from the west coast of the United States integrating results from ATR-FTIR, μ-FTIR, and RMS, in addition to visual sorting. These results suggest there is low retention of plastic particles in Pacific oysters from the Salish Sea, but further research is needed to determine the composition of microparticles with fluorescence interference.
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    Science of The Total Environment, 715, 136826
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    Accepted Manuscript
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