CT scanning and spectroscopy characterise microplastics in the sea environment
Plastic debris is a major source of anthropogenic pollution, with over 5 trillion fragments of microplastic in the world's oceans, leading to harmful and often fatal consequences when ingested by seabirds and marine animals, including hormonal disruption, chemical toxicity, or obstruction of the digestive tract. The EU-funded PLASTICSCAN project will develop a standard method to characterise plastic fragments in the environment, using micro-CT scanning FTIR and Raman spectroscopy to measure physical parameters and chemical properties of individual fragments. The methodology will be applied to an existing collection of over 10 000 plastic fragments extracted from living and dead seabirds over 10 years, and will identify which properties of ingested plastics have the greatest negative impact on seabird physiology and health.
Fields of science
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