Use of indicator chemicals to characterise the plastic fragments ingested by Laysan albatross

Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) ingest plastic marine debris of a wide range of shape, sizes and sources. To better characterise this plastic and provide insights regarding its provenance and persistence in the environment, the authors developed a simple method to classify plastic fragments of unknown origin according to the resin codes used by the Society of Plastics Industry. Known plastics were analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) to identify indicator chemicals characteristic of each plastic resin. Application of this method to fragments of ingested plastic debris from boluses of Laysan albatross from Kure Atoll, Hawai’i, yielded proportions of 0.8% High Density Polyethylene, 6.8% Polystyrene, 8.5% Polyethylene Terephthalate, 20.5% Polyvinyl Chloride and 68.4% Polypropylene. Some fragments were composed of multiple resin types. The authors concluded that these results suggest that infrequently recycled plastics are the dominant fragments ingested by albatross, and that these are the most prevalent and persistent resin types in the marine environment.

Authors: Nilsen F, David Hyrenbach K, Fang J, Jensen B. ;Full Source: Marine Pollution Bulletin. 2014 Aug 16. pii: S0025-326X(14)00514-1. doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.07.055. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Epub ahead of print] ;[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]