Fish meal (FM) is an industrial product, mainly obtained from whole wild-caught fish, that is used as a high protein feedstuff component in aquaculture and intensive animal farming. Contamination of FM by microplastics (MPs), the synthetic polymer particles known to be nearly ubiquitous in the marine environment, is a likely consequence of their ingestion by zooplankton and other small marine animals that through the food chain end up in the fish commercialized not only for direct human consumption but also for the industrial production of FM. Unfortunately, analytical tools for quantifying contamination of FM by synthetic polymers are not available. A newly developed procedure described here allows quantification of the total amounts of polyolefins (including ethene and propene homo- and copolymers), polystyrene (PS), and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), respectively, in FM. The multi-step procedure involves a sequence of solvent extractions, hydrolytic treatments to remove the biogenic matrix mainly consisting of proteins and some lipids, and selective depolymerizations for PET. The gravimetric and SEC-UV techniques employed for the quantification of polyolefins and PS, respectively, only allowed to estimate their concentration in FM at around or below 100 mg/kg each, a more accurate quantification being prevented by the interference from the organic matrix and, in the case of polyolefins, by the limited sensitivity of the quantification by gravimetry. On the other hand, the contamination by PET MPs could accurately be quantified at 12.9 mg/kg based on the dry FM mass. Ways to overcome the sensitivity limitations for PS and polyolefins by using e.g. pyrolysis-GC/MS are highlighted.

Microplastics in fish meal: contamination level analyzed by polymer type, including polyester (PET), polyolefins, and polystyrene

Castelvetro, Valter
Primo
Writing – Review & Editing
;
Corti, Andrea
Secondo
Methodology
;
Bianchi, Sabrina
Investigation
;
Manariti, Antonella
Investigation
;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Fish meal (FM) is an industrial product, mainly obtained from whole wild-caught fish, that is used as a high protein feedstuff component in aquaculture and intensive animal farming. Contamination of FM by microplastics (MPs), the synthetic polymer particles known to be nearly ubiquitous in the marine environment, is a likely consequence of their ingestion by zooplankton and other small marine animals that through the food chain end up in the fish commercialized not only for direct human consumption but also for the industrial production of FM. Unfortunately, analytical tools for quantifying contamination of FM by synthetic polymers are not available. A newly developed procedure described here allows quantification of the total amounts of polyolefins (including ethene and propene homo- and copolymers), polystyrene (PS), and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), respectively, in FM. The multi-step procedure involves a sequence of solvent extractions, hydrolytic treatments to remove the biogenic matrix mainly consisting of proteins and some lipids, and selective depolymerizations for PET. The gravimetric and SEC-UV techniques employed for the quantification of polyolefins and PS, respectively, only allowed to estimate their concentration in FM at around or below 100 mg/kg each, a more accurate quantification being prevented by the interference from the organic matrix and, in the case of polyolefins, by the limited sensitivity of the quantification by gravimetry. On the other hand, the contamination by PET MPs could accurately be quantified at 12.9 mg/kg based on the dry FM mass. Ways to overcome the sensitivity limitations for PS and polyolefins by using e.g. pyrolysis-GC/MS are highlighted.
2021
Castelvetro, Valter; Corti, Andrea; Bianchi, Sabrina; Giacomelli, Giacomo; Manariti, Antonella; Vinciguerra, Virginia
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/1055548
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