Section III: Plastics in Food


: Microplastics and Nanoplastics in Food

Mohammed Asadullah Jahangir, Sadaf Jamal Gilani, Abdul Muheem and Syed Sarim Imam


  • 6.1 Introduction 84
  • 6.2 Classification of Fragmented Plastics 84
  • 6.2.1 Microplastics 84
  • 6.2.2 Nanoplastics 85
  • 6.3 Impact of Micro- and Nanoplastics on Aquaculture and Its Products 86
  • 6.4 Sources of Human Consumption of Fragmented Plastics 86
  • 6.4.1 Marine Source of Consumption 86
  • 6.4.2 Non-Marine Source of Consumption 87
  • 6.4.3 Inhalation Exposure to Fragmented Plastics 87
  • 6.4.4 Uptake and Translocation of Fragmented Plastics 87
  • Uptake in Respiratory Tract by Endocytosis 87
  • Uptake in Gastrointestinal Tract by Endocytosis 88
  • Uptake by the Persorption Method 88
  • 6.5 Fragmented Plastics in Food and Food Packaging 88
  • 6.6 Health Hazards Caused by Fragmented Plastics 90
  • 6.6.1 Toxicological Pathways of Fragmented Plastics 90
  • 6.6.2 Inflammatory and Immune Response by Fragmented Plastics 91
  • 6.6.3 Effect on the Airway and Gastrointestinal Tract 91
  • 6.6.4 Effect of Adsorbed and Endogenous Chemical Pollutants 91
  • 6.6.5 Effect on Microbiome 91
  • 6.7 Current Methods of Detection, Identification and Quantification of Micro-

arid Nanoplastics in Food and Other Samples 92

  • 6.7.1 Filtration Technique 92
  • 6.7.2 Floatation or Sedimentation Technique 92
  • 6.7.3 Matrix Dissolution Technique 92
  • 6.7.4 Oil Extraction 93
  • 6.7.5 Optical Vibrational Spectroscopy 93
  • 6.7.6 Thermal Analysis 93
  • 6.7.7 Fluorescent Tagging with Nile Red 93
  • 6.7.8 Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) 93
  • 6.8 Conclusion and Future Prospective 94

References 94


Plastics were first produced in the early 20th century. The most common form of plastics, that is, polyethylene soon became a boon for mankind, though this assumption did not last for long. As soon as it was realized that plastics do not decompose naturally, the environmental issues and its health hazards started rising. Because of their enormous popularity, plastics can now be found everywhere. Being an integral part of almost everyone’s life, plastics became the worst manmade environmental issue of all time. Being present in almost every household, plastics helped humans in preserving foods, etc. However, its overuse caused millions of tons of plastic wastes every year [1].

Pollution by plastic component is quite evident. It can be easily seen at landfills and seashores. Although plastics wastes cause environmental issues, the real threat comes from the minute fragments which are produced from the breakdown of large fragments of plastics. These small fragments are usually classified into micro- and nanoplastics. Being in the size range of a few micrometers, they are hard to be recognized by the naked eyes. It is very difficult to isolate them from their micro-environment by simple methods [1].

As per an estimate by the UN in the year 2017, there are about 51,000 billion particles of plastics in the sea, a number which is almost 500 times more than the total number of stars present in our Milky Way galaxy [2]. Plastic in its fragmented form is adversely affecting the marine ecosystem. A global interest has arisen to tackle the hazards of plastic wastes in seas and waterways which are adversely affecting wildlife and natural habitats. The floating plastics or plastic soups cause debris to be formed which are fragmented into micro- and nanoplastics.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >