JAN 02, 2019 11:40 AM PST

A "Nu" Way to Study the Impact of Microplastics

Microplastics particles (MP), often in the forms of fibers, beads, and pellets, are fragments broken off plastic waste. With a size no more than 5.0 millimeter (or 0.2 inches) across, and the world-wide spread, MPs pose an immense threat to the safety of the global ecosystem, particularly organisms living in the ocean and freshwater.

Unlike visible, relatively intact debris, MPs may be mistaken for plankton and consumed by small marine animals, such as mussels, clams, and shrimps. Following the food chain, the particles can end up in the bodies of large marine mammals, and humans as well.  

Researchers at the IAEA Environment Laboratories located in Monaco uses nuclear and isotopic techniques such as radiotracers to track the accumulation route and the biodistribution of microplastics. 

They also use simulation to find out to what extent microplastics absorb other environmental pollutants, and how they can act as a vector for these contaminants to marine organisms and eventually to humans. 

The information generated from their research would be used to inform governments about the risk and enable evidence-based policies toward better waste management and seafood safety. 

Source: IAEA via Youtube 

About the Author
  • With years of experience in biomedical R & D, Daniel is also very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles.
You May Also Like
NOV 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 14, 2018
Barnard's Star May Host an Exoplanet After All...
At six light-years away from Earth, Barnard’s Star holds the title of the second-closest stellar neighbor to our solar system. Astronomers have long...
NOV 16, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 16, 2018
Liquid Fuel That Stores Solar Energy
A solar panel is a great power generating system because it doesn't release greenhouse gas, but storing solar energy requires lots of high capacity lit...
NOV 18, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2018
All About NASA's Plan to Drill Deeper Into Mars Than Ever Before
When NASA’s InSight lander arrives at Mars, it will land near the planet’s equator at Elysium Planitia. This location is flat, which is ideal f...
DEC 05, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 05, 2018
Stretchable Ultrathin Electronic Skin Produced from a Desktop Printer
Electronic tattoos or e-tattoos are flexible polymer patches that can sense and transmit electrical signals. e-tattoos have great potential in advancing medical prosthetics and human-machine...
DEC 12, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2018
Bennu is a Moist and Rocky World, OSIRIS-REx Finds
After a two-year journey through space, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mis...
DEC 19, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 19, 2018
Novel Imaging Technique Enables Real-time Monitoring of Drug-induced Protein-protein Interaction
Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are a common cellular phenomenon in which two or more protein molecules have close, specific physical contact that's driven by the electrostatic forces. PI...
Loading Comments...