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Microplastics – News and Features

Colored nanoparticles under a microscope.

Nanoplastics Create an Environment for Parkinson’s To Develop, Study Suggests

The way in which nanoplastics and a specific brain protein, α-synuclein, interact could create changes in the body that give rise to Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other related dementias, a new study suggests.
Fish swimming amongst microplastics.

Most Animals Living in River Mouths Have Ingested Microplastics

All aquatic species in the river mouths flowing into the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean are contaminated with microplastics, with molluscs being the most affected due to their ability to filter water.
Rain clouds.

Microplastics Found in Clouds Could Be Affecting the Weather

Researchers have analyzed microplastics in clouds above mountains. They suggest that these tiny particles could play a role in cloud formation and, in turn, affect weather.
An image of a rotifer, with a close up of its' chewing apparatus.

Zooplankton Can Chew Microplastics Down to Nanoplastics

Rotifers, a kind of microscopic zooplankton common in both fresh and ocean water around the world, are able to chew apart microplastics, breaking them down into nanoplastics.
A recycling bin with the triangle recycling logo on the front.

Plastic-Eating Bacteria Turn Waste Into Useful Materials

Researchers have engineered a strain of E. coli that can digest polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics and transform them into adipic acid – a useful feedstock for nylon materials, drugs and fragrances.
Plastic waste on a beach.

Microplastics’ Shape Determines How Far They Travel in the Atmosphere

Researchers have developed a model to simulate the atmospheric transport of microplastic fibers and found that their shape plays a crucial role in how far they travel.
Plastic pollution in the ocean.

Safely Removing Nanoplastics From Water Using “Prussian Blue”, a Pigment Used To Dye Jeans

Prussian blue, a pigment used to dye jeans, could be the basis of a new, environmentally friendly way to effectively remove microplastics from water.
Plastic waste in a river.

Biodegradable Plastics Are Still Damaging to Fish

Biodegradable plastics may not be the solution to plastic pollution many hoped for, with a University of Otago study showing they are still harmful to fish.
Microplastics in the sea with a school of fish.

Microplastics Found in the Artic Could Be Due to Ice Melt and Increasing Tourism

Scientists measured microplastic concentrations in the highly productive Barents Sea and suggest that ocean circulation, ice melt, tourism, inadequate waste management, shipping and fishing are all likely contributors.
Small fungi growing from a tree trunk.

“Vacuum Cleaner” Effect in Fungi Can Keep Nanoplastics at Bay

Using micro-engineered soil models, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have investigated the effect of tiny polystyrene particles on bacteria and fungi.