Microplastics in Ecosystems: From Current Trends to Bio-Based Removal Strategies

Catégorie : Collecte et Nettoyage des Débris Plastiques marins et aquatiques
Date :2 octobre 2020
Magalhaes, Solange; Alves, Luis; Medronho, Bruno; Romano, Anabela; Rasteiro, Maria da Graca.
Molecules : 25 (DocId: 17)
Plastics are widely used due to their excellent properties, inexpensiveness and versatility leading to an exponential consumption growth during the last decades. However, most plastic does not biodegrade in any meaningful sense; it can exist for hundreds of years. Only a small percentage of plastic waste is recycled, the rest being dumped in landfills, incinerated or simply not collected. Waste-water treatment plants can only minimize the problem by trapping plastic particles of larger size and some smaller ones remain within oxidation ponds or sewage sludge, but a large amount of microplastics still contaminate water streams and marine systems. Thus, it is clear that in order to tackle this potential ecological disaster, new strategies are necessary. This review aims at briefly introducing the microplastics threat and critically discusses emerging technologies, which are capable to efficiently clean aqueous media. Special focus is given to novel greener approaches based on lignocellulose flocculants and other biomaterials. In the final part of the present review, it was given a proof of concept, using a bioflocculant to remove micronized plastic from aqueous medium. The obtained results demonstrate the huge potential of these biopolymers to clean waters from the microplastics threat, using flocculants with appropriate structure.