A whale of a plastic tale: A plea for interdisciplinary studies to tackle micro- and nanoplastic pollution in the marine realm - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Science of the Total Environment Year : 2022

A whale of a plastic tale: A plea for interdisciplinary studies to tackle micro- and nanoplastic pollution in the marine realm

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Abstract

Plastic is one of the most ubiquitous sources of both contamination and pollution of the Anthropocene, and accumulates virtually everywhere on the planet. As such, plastic threatens the environment, the economy and human well-being globally. The related potential threats have been identified as a major global conservation issue and a key research priority. As a consequence, plastic pollution has become one of the most prolific fields of research in research areas including chemistry, physics, oceanography, biology, ecology, ecotoxicology, molecular biology, sociology, economy, conservation, management, and even politics. In this context, one may legitimately expect plastic pollution research to be highly interdisciplinary. However, using the emerging topic of microplastic and nanoplastic leachate (i.e., the desorption of molecules that are adsorbed onto the surface of a polymer and/or absorbed into the polymer matrix in the absence of plastic ingestion) in the ocean as a case study, we argue that this is still far from being the case. Instead, we highlight that plastic pollution research rather seems to remain structured in mostly isolated monodisciplinary studies. A plethora of analytical methods are now available to qualify and quantify plastic monomers, polymers and the related additives. We nevertheless show though a survey of the literature that most studies addressing the effects of leachates on marine organisms essentially still lack of a quantitative assessment of the chemical nature and content of both plastic items and their leachates. In the context of the ever-increasing research effort devoted to assess the biological and ecological effects of plastic waste, we subsequently argue that the lack of a true interdisciplinary approach is likely to hamper the development of this research field. We finally introduce a roadmap for future research which has to evolve through the development of a sound and systematic ability to chemically define what we biologically compare.
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Dates and versions

hal-03876467 , version 1 (29-11-2022)

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Laurent Seuront, Gerardo I Zardi, Marine Uguen, Vincent M P Bouchet, Camille Delaeter, et al.. A whale of a plastic tale: A plea for interdisciplinary studies to tackle micro- and nanoplastic pollution in the marine realm. Science of the Total Environment, 2022, 846, pp.157187. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.157187⟩. ⟨hal-03876467⟩
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