Following publications have been announced by our department Marine Bioanalytical Chemistry:
Lorenz, C., Roscher, L., Meyer, M.S., Hildebrandt, L., Prume, J., Löder, M.G.J., Primpke, S., & Gerdts, G. (2019): Spatial distribution of microplastics in sediments and surface waters of the southern North Sea. Environmental Pollution, Volume 252, Part B, 2019, Pages 1719-1729, doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2019.06.093
Microplastic pollution within the marine environment is of pressing concern globally. Accordingly, spatial monitoring of microplastic concentrations, composition and size distribution may help to identify sources and entry pathways, and hence allow initiating focused mitigation. Spatial distribution patterns of microplastics were investigated in two compartments of the southern North Sea by collecting sublittoral sediment and surface water samples from 24 stations. Large microplastics (500−5000 μm) were detected visually and identified using attenuated total reflection (ATR) Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The remaining sample was digested enzymatically, concentrated onto filters and analyzed for small microplastics (11−500 μm) using Focal Plane Array (FPA) FTIR imaging. Microplastics were detected in all samples with concentrations ranging between 2.8 and 1188.8 particles kg−1 for sediments and 0.1–245.4 particles m−3 for surface waters. On average 98% of microplastics were <100 μm in sediments and 86% in surface waters. The most prevalent polymer types in both compartments were polypropylene, acrylates/polyurethane/varnish, and polyamide. However, polymer composition differed significantly between sediment and surface water samples as well as between the Frisian Islands and the English Channel sites. These results show that microplastics are not evenly distributed, in neither location nor size, which is illuminating regarding the development of monitoring protocols.
Zimmermann, T., Mohamed, A.F., Reese, A., Wieser, M.E., Kleeberg, U., Pröfrock, D., & Irrgeher, J. (2019): Zinc isotopic variation of water and surface sediments from the German Elbe River. Science of The Total Environment, 2019, 135219, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135219
Recent studies suggested the use of the isotopic composition of Zn as a possible tracer for anthropogenic Zn emissions. Nevertheless, studies mainly focused on sampling areas of a few km2 with well-characterized anthropogenic Zn emissions. In contrast, this study focused on analyzing a large sample set of water and sediment samples taken throughout the course of the Elbe River, a large, anthropogenically impacted river system located in Central Europe. The primary objective was to evaluate the use of the isotopic composition of Zn to trace anthropogenic Zn emission on a large regional scale. In total 19 water and 26 surface sediment samples were investigated, covering the complete course of over 700 km of the German Elbe between the German/Czech border and the German North Sea, including six tributaries. Stable isotope abundance ratios of Zn were assessed by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC ICP-MS) in water filtrates (<0.45 µm) and total digests of the sieved surface sediment fraction (<63 µm) after analyte/matrix separation using Bio-Rad AG MP-1 resin via a micro-column approach and application of a 64Zn/67Zn double spike. Measured isotopic compositions of δ66Zn/64ZnIRMM-3702 ranged from -0.1 ‰ to 0.3 ‰ for sediment samples, and from -0.5 ‰ to 0.4 ‰ for water samples. In comparison to historical data some tributaries still feature high mass fractions of anthropogenic Zn (e.g. Mulde, Triebisch) combined with δ66Zn/64ZnIRMM-3702 values higher than the lithogenic background. The dissolved δ66Zn/64ZnIRMM-3702 values showed a potential correlation with pH. Our results indicate that biogeochemical processes like absorption may play a key role in natural Zn isotopic fractionation making it difficult to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic processes.