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Microplastic contamination in gudgeons (Gobio gobio) from Flemish rivers (Belgium)
Slootmaekers, B.; Catarci Carteny, C.; Belpaire, C.; Saverwyns, S.; Fremout, W.; Blust, R.; Bervoets, L. (2019). Microplastic contamination in gudgeons (Gobio gobio) from Flemish rivers (Belgium). Environ. Pollut. 244: 675-684. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.09.136
In: Environmental Pollution. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0269-7491; e-ISSN 1873-6424, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keywords
    Fauna > Aquatic organisms > Aquatic animals > Fish
    Ingestion
    Water > Fresh water
    Fresh water
Author keywords
    Microplastics; Gudgeon

Authors  Top 
  • Slootmaekers, B., more
  • Catarci Carteny, C., more
  • Belpaire, C., more
  • Saverwyns, S.
  • Fremout, W.
  • Blust, R., more
  • Bervoets, L., more

Abstract
    Plastic pollution is continuously growing on a global scale and emerging as a major environmental hazard. Smaller-sized plastics, so-called microplastics (<5 mm), are considered as being omnipresent throughout the aquatic environment, yet freshwater ecosystems have received little attention so far and are still largely unstudied. Present study aims to expand the current knowledge on microplastics in freshwater systems by documenting the occurrence in the digestive system of fish from 15 rivers at 17 locations in Flanders, Belgium. To increase inter-study comparability and identification accuracy, a more standardized protocol was combined with a conservative approach towards acceptance of microplastic particles. Four rivers were found to have fish containing microplastics. However, no significant differences could be established between the sampling sites. In total 78 specimens of gudgeon (Gobio gobio) have been investigated, 9% of which had ingested at least one microplastic item, thus showing that contamination appears to be limited. Microscopic and spectroscopic analysis showed the microplastics to be from various sources with a diverse range of physical characteristics. Out of the eight items identified as microplastics, seven different polymer types were identified. Although further detailed research is necessary, this preliminary study shows that gudgeons from several Flemish rivers are contaminated with microplastics.

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