Microplastics and plastic additives discovered in ascidians all along Israel's coastline

phys.org | 1/3/2019 | Staff
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A new Tel Aviv University study finds that microplastics—tiny pieces of plastic ingested by aquatic life—are present in solitary ascidians all along the Israeli coastline. Ascidians are sac-like marine invertebrate filter feeders. The research also confirmed the presence of plastic additives, i.e. "plasticizers," in ascidians. Plasticizers are substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity.

The research was led by Prof. Noa Shenkar of the School of Zoology at TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences and The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and published in the January 2019 issue of Marine Pollution Bulletin. The study was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Dror Avisar, Head of the Water Research Center at TAU's Faculty of Exact Sciences, and Aviv Kaplan, a postgraduate student in Prof. Avisar's TAU laboratory.

Study - Contamination - Organisms - Mediterranean - Red

"This is the first study that examines plastic additive contamination in marine organisms in the Eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea," says Gal Vered, co-author of the study and a Ph.D. student in Prof. Shenkar's laboratory at TAU. "Solitary ascidians are highly efficient filter feeders and are excellent examples of the state of pollution that affects many other marine organisms. Our findings are extremely disturbing. Even in protected beaches, there was evidence of microplastics and plastic additives in ascidians. In fact, at every sampling site, we discovered varying levels of these pollutants."

"This is a direct result of human use of plastic," Prof. Shenkar says. "It may seem that plastic bags and bulky plastic products that we notice floating in...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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