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New method to identify trace amounts of plastic in seafood samples




A study of five different seafood found trace amounts of plastic in all tested samples.

Researchers purchased oysters, shrimp, squid, crabs and sardines from the Australian market and analyzed them using a newly developed method that simultaneously identifies and measures five different plastic types.

A study by the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland found plastic levels of 0.04 milligrams (mg) per gram of squid tissue, 0.07 mg for shrimp, 0.1 mg for oysters, 0.3 mg for crabs, and 2.9 mg for sardines.

Considering the average serving, seafood eaters can be exposed to approximately 0.7 mg of plastic when consuming an average serving of oysters or squid, and up to 30 mg of plastic when eating sardines, respectively. There is a possibility. For comparison, 30mg is the average weight of rice grain. Our findings show that the amount of plastic present varies greatly among species and varies among individuals of the same species.

Dr. Francis Cariveiro, Principal Writer, QUEX Institute

“It was a surprising result that the sardines had the highest plastic content from the seafood species tested.”

“We don’t fully understand the human health risks of ingesting plastic, but this new method makes discovery easier,” said Tamara Galloway, co-author of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute. I will.”

Researchers purchased raw seafood-5 wild blue crabs, 10 oysters, 10 farmed prawns, 10 wild squid, 10 wild sardines.

Next, we analyzed five different plastics that could be identified in new ways.

All plastics are commonly used in plastic packaging and synthetic fibers, and are commonly found in marine debris such as polystyrene, polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, and poly(methylmethacrylate).

The new method treats edible tissue with a chemical to dissolve the plastic contained in the sample. The resulting solution is analyzed using a sensitive technique called Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, which can simultaneously distinguish different types of plastics in a sample.

Polyvinyl chloride was detected in all samples, but the highest concentration of plastic detected was polyethylene.

Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic that pollute most of the earth, including the seas eaten by all types of marine life, from small larvae and planktonic organisms to large mammals.

Studies have shown that microplastics are found in our diet not only from seafood, but also from mineral water, sea salt, beer, honey, and even the soothing dust in our diet.

The new test method is a step to define the levels of microplastics that can be considered harmful and to assess the possible risks of ingesting microplastics in foods.


See journal:

Ribeiro, F., et al. (2020) Quantitative Analysis of Selected Plastics in High Commercial Value Australian Seafood by Pyrolysis Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry. Environmental science and technology.


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