Roscher, Lisa and Halbach, Maurits and Nguyen, Minh Trang and Hebeler, Martin and Luschtinetz, Franziska and Scholz-Böttcher, Barbara M. and Primpke, Sebastian and Gerdts, Gunnar (2022) Microplastics in two German wastewater treatment plants: year-long effluent analysis with FTIR and Py-GC/MS. The science of the total environment, 817. p. 152619. ISSN 0048-9697 - 1879-1026

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Microplastics (MP) have been recorded in various environments around the globe. For a better understanding of distribution patterns and for providing a basis for risk assessments, detailed data on MP concentrations and polymer compositions are required. This study investigated the effluents of two German wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) monthly over one year, in order to better understand their temporal input of MP into the receiving river systems. MP item data down to 11 μm were obtained by means of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy under the application of an improved polymer database. Complementary mass data were obtained by pyrolysis gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS) (for one WWTP). Both FTIR and Py-GC/MS analysis revealed a homogeneous polymer composition over the year, with a general dominance of polyolefins. Elevated MP item and mass concentrations (maximum: 3×104 itemsm−3 and 3.8×103 μgm−3) were observed during winter months and were accompanied by either heavy rainfall (increased discharge and total organic carbon) or elevated turbidity values. These observations emphasize the need for the assessment of background parameters in future MP monitoring studies. By providing monthly data over one year on MP items and masses in WWTP effluents, this study helps enhancing the understanding of temporal MP dynamics and can act as a valuable reference point for future assessments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spectroscopic analysis; Microplastic pollution; Point source; Aquatic environment; Microplastic masses; Polymer database
Subjects: Science and mathematics > Chemistry
Science and mathematics > Earth sciences and geology
Science and mathematics > Life sciences, biology
Divisions: Faculty of Mathematics and Science > Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM)
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 13:03
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 13:03
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:715-oops-53866
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152619

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