Researchers reporting in Environmental Science & Technology have analyzed antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) on five types of microplastics at different locations along the Beilun River in China, finding much higher abundances in urban than rural regions.
GEOMAR study points to possible major changes in the marine ecosystem
Pollution from miniscule pieces of plastic, or microplastics, have been a growing concern for scientists, public health advocates and environmentalists as these nondegradable items have increasingly made their way into waterways and even the air we breathe. Now, scientists are showing that they might be altering cellular function.
Plastics cycle through the oceans and roadways and become plastic dust, which rides the jet stream across continents.
Rutgers scientists for the first time have pinpointed the sizes of microplastics from a highly urbanized estuarine and coastal system with numerous sources of fresh water, including the Hudson River and Raritan River. Their study of tiny pieces of plastic in the Hudson-Raritan Estuary in New Jersey and New York indicates that stormwater could be an important source of the plastic pollution that plagues oceans, bays, rivers and other waters and threatens aquatic and other life.
Micro- and nanoplastics were not absorbed by plant cells but did attach to the root cap. This could bode well for future cleanup of contaminated environments, but not well for root crops, like carrots.
Scientists examined cell abundances, size, cellular carbon mass, and how photosynthetic cells differ on polymeric and glass substrates over time, exploring nanoparticle generation from plastic like polystyrene and how this might disrupt microalgae. Conservative estimates suggest that about 1 percent of microbial cells in the ocean surface microlayer inhabit plastic debris globally. This mass of cells would not exist without plastic debris in the ocean, and thus, represents a disruption of the proportions of native flora in that habitat.
Engineers from Cornell University and North Carolina State University have proposed a creative solution: an army of swimming, self-propelled biomaterials called ‘microcleaners’ that scavenge and capture plastics so they can be decomposed by computationally-engineered microorganisms.
When plastic breaks down, tiny fragments can get into the environment. Scientists now report that they are among the first to examine micro- and nanoplastics in human organs and tissues. They will present their results today at the American Chemical Society Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo.
Companies seeking to commercialize seafood products made from the cells of fish or shellfish should use the term “cell-based” on product labels, according to a Rutgers study – the first of its kind – in the Journal of Food Science. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture require food products to have a “common or usual name” on their labels so consumers can make informed choices about what they’re purchasing.
A new study from the University of Delaware found high concentrations of microplastics in so-called convergence zones, the areas where the fresher water from the Delaware River meets the saltier water of the Atlantic Ocean and the surface currents converge. They found the distribution of plastics also depends on the force of the winds.
Researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have linked microplastics in China’s Beibu Gulf with heavy fishing activities.