Shellfish provide inspiration for bioderived microplastic coagulants
Plastics are ubiquitous. These organic polymers are used in packaging, building construction, automobiles, electronics, sports equipment and healthcare, to name but a few. With the widespread use of plastics comes the increasing presence of extremely small pieces of plastic (microplastics) in aquatic environments, largely due to the inability to filter them at wastewater treatment plants. It may be possible to help aquatic organisms and their environments with a polysaccharide common in aquatic and other organisms. Chitosan is a derivative of chitin, an abundant biopolymer found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans and insects. The EU-funded MinusMicro project is analysing ways to produce chitosan and evaluating its potential for use as a microplastic coagulant enabling recovery and, potentially, reuse in construction materials.
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