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Detection of ultrafine plastics ingested by seabirds using tissue digestion


Lavers, JL and Stivaktakis, G and Hutton, I and Bond, AL, Detection of ultrafine plastics ingested by seabirds using tissue digestion, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 142 pp. 470-474. ISSN 0025-326X (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Elsevier Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.04.001


Plastic debris is a major global threat to marine ecosystems and species. However, our knowledge of this issue may be incomplete due to a lack of a standardized method for quantifying ingested ultrafine particles (1 μm 1 mm) in wildlife. This study provides the first quantification of ultrafine plastic in seabirds using chemical and biological digestion treatments to extract plastic items from seabird gizzards. The alkaline agent, potassium hydroxide, outperformed the enzyme corolase, based on cost and efficiency (e.g., digestion time). Ultrafine plastics were observed in 7.0% of Flesh-footed Shearwater (Ardenna carneipes) gizzards collected from Lord Howe Island, Australia and accounted for 3.6% of all plastic items recovered (13 out of 359 items). Existing methods for extracting ingested plastic from seabirds do not account for ultrafine particles, therefore our results indicate current seabird plastic loads, and the associated physical and biological impacts, are underestimated.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:marine debris, plastic pollution, seabird ecology, ultrafine particles, microplastic, extraction methods
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in marine environments
UTAS Author:Lavers, JL (Dr Jennifer Lavers)
UTAS Author:Stivaktakis, G (Ms Georgina Stivaktakis)
UTAS Author:Bond, AL (Dr Alexander Bond)
ID Code:131802
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-04-08
Last Modified:2020-01-06

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