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Fields & Applications Environmental, Spectroscopy

Breath of Fresh… Plastic?

Microplastic particles are widespread in our atmosphere, but the remote ocean was thought to be beyond the reach of such polluting influences – until now. Using micro-Raman spectroscopy, a team of researchers have proven that not even the remotest seas are safe from microplastics.

The team analyzed a collection of ambient aerosol samples taken from the North Atlantic Ocean in 2016. A range of plastic compounds were revealed, including polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polysilicone. Shockingly, the team believes their results are actually an underestimation of the particles’ true spread because they only measured microplastics larger than 5 µm. Our oceans’ plastic problem is already dire – but it now seems that these ubiquitous tiny particles are creating an even worse situation than previously believed. 

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  1. M Trainic et al., Commun Earth Environ, 1, 64 (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s43247-020-00061-y.

About the Author

Lauren Robertson

By the time I finished my degree in Microbiology I had come to one conclusion – I did not want to work in a lab. Instead, I decided to move to the south of Spain to teach English. After two brilliant years, I realized that I missed science, and what I really enjoyed was communicating scientific ideas – whether that be to four-year-olds or mature professionals. On returning to England I landed a role in science writing and found it combined my passions perfectly. Now at Texere, I get to hone these skills every day by writing about the latest research in an exciting, creative way.

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