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A preliminary analysis of microplastics in edible versus non-edible tissues from seafood samples.

Akoueson, F; Sheldon, L; Danopoulos, E; Morris, S; Hotten, J; Chapman, E; Li, J; Rotchell, J


F Akoueson

L Sheldon

E Danopoulos

S Morris

J Hotten

E Chapman

J Li


Plastics have been widely reported to be present in the environment yet there are still many questions regarding the extent of this and the impacts these may have on both the environment and human health. The purpose of this investigation is to determine levels of micro and mesoplastic (MP), in the 1-5000 μm range, in commercially important species of finfish and shellfish. Additionally, to determine and compare the relative MP levels in edible versus non-edible tissues, and consider the wider implications in terms of human health concerns with a preliminary risk identification approach. For several fish species, samples taken from typically non-edible (gills, digestive system) and edible (muscle) flesh, and were analysed separately. Scallops, where all tissues are edible, were analysed whole. Significant differences were observed in the number of particles isolated from the finfish gills and digestive tissues relative to the control samples, but not in the edible flesh. For scallop, the abundance of particles in the Scottish samples did not vary significantly from the control, while the Patagonian scallops displayed significantly higher numbers of MPs. Characterisation of MPs by FTIR microscopy found that 16-60% (depending on species) were polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene (PE) in origin. The risk identification results validate MPs as an emerging risk in the food chain and establish seafood as a vector for the exposure and uptake of MPs through the ingestion route for humans. Levels of MPs in seafood, and a direct link to the human food chain, suggests that their quantification be included as one food safety measure.


Akoueson, F., Sheldon, L., Danopoulos, E., Morris, S., Hotten, J., Chapman, E., …Rotchell, J. (2020). A preliminary analysis of microplastics in edible versus non-edible tissues from seafood samples. Environmental pollution, 263, pt. A(August), Article 114452.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 27, 2020
Publication Date 2020-08
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2020
Publicly Available Date Mar 28, 2021
Journal Environmental pollution
Print ISSN 0269-7491
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 263, pt. A
Issue August
Article Number 114452
Keywords Microplastics; Seafood; Edible flesh; Risk
Public URL
Publisher URL


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