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Identification of chemicals in edible fish containing microplastics as potential source for human exposure

Project description

Novel microplastic detection in marine organisms

The threat posed by microplastics (MPs) is widespread, and we are seeing a continuous increase in its scope and impact. Many marine organisms have been found to ingest MPs, leading to the adsorption and absorption of chemicals from the environment. This has led to a high concentration of MPs in fish and shellfish that ultimately reach human consumers. The EU-funded ChemFishPlast project is working to establish a methodology for the detection and identification of MPs and associated chemicals. It will employ a combination of supramolecular solvents and liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry. The project will assess chemical-microplastic contamination in edible Mediterranean marine species, investigate the relationship between chemicals and MPs, and compile a list of chemicals for monitoring purposes.


Microplastics (MPs) are extremely persistent, ubiquitous and have the ability to adsorb/absorb chemicals from the surrounding environment. Marine organisms ingest microplastics and the chemicals are transferred through the food chain, and may potentially reach humans through the consumption of fish and shellfish. Therefore, the identification of chemicals arising from this potential human exposure source is of great interest for ensuring food safety and establishing the appropriate legislative framework. FishConPlastic proposes a simple and robust methodology, based on the combination of supramolecular solvents (SUPRASs) with liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS), that will allow to detect and identify chemicals associated with the intake of microplastics in edible marine species through suspect and non-target analysis. FishConPlastic will provide the first overview on chemical-microplastic contamination in edible marine species from the Mediterranean Sea. In a second stage, the relationship between the chemical present in marine organisms and the microplastics will be investigated. For this, the quantity, size, integrity and polymer-type of the microplastics found in the marine species analysed will be determined. Finally, all the identified chemicals will be prioritised in a list according to the level of confidence of the identification, frequency of detection, human risk exposure to chemicals and toxicity. FishConPlastic will offer to public authorities a comprehensive list of chemicals to be monitored for ensuring food safety, which is expected to have a positive impact on net fishery exports in the European Community. FishConPlastic is in line with the European Mission on healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters, deepening the knowledge of the mechanisms of chemicals migration and microplastics contribution to the marine species contamination.


Net EU contribution
€ 181 152,96
14005 Cordoba

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Sur Andalucía Córdoba
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data