Mussels Sold in Supermarkets Contain Microplastics

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Mussels are a classic favorite in any seafood dish, but they can also pose health risks.

A study presented in the journal Environmental Pollution revealed that mussels contained microplastics. Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch of the University of Bayreuth supported this claim. Their team examined and reported that the four mussel species which are commonly sold in supermarkets contain loads of microplastic.

PP and PET in Contaminated Mussels

In the study, the researchers used four species of mussels’ sample which includes European blue mussel, the greenshell mussel, the undulate venus, and the Pacific venus clam.

The mussels were purchased from the supermarket. It was discovered that all the mussel samples contained microplastic and it was identified that there were nine varieties of plastic present.

The common types of plastic found on these mussels are polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). These types of plastic are commonly used in our daily lives.

Based on the study, one gram of mussel meat has between 0.13 and 2.45 microplastic particles. In addition to this, most mussels that are contaminated can be traced from North Atlantic and South Pacific. Contamination of these mussels is brought by the pollution of their areas.

Micro-FTIR and Raman Spectroscopy for Analysis

Dr. Martin Löder, head of the research division under Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research, explained how the analysis was done in identifying the microplastic present in the samples.

The methods applied were Micro-Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (micro-FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy. These processes that work best for a special enzymatic purification and chemical analysis produced reliable results.

The microplastic particles identified in the mussels were of a size of between 3 and 5,000 micrometers. This range is extremely tiny, as it is between 0.003 and 5 millimeters.

Advanced Technology in Detecting Microplastic Particles

The earlier studies and research on organisms with microplastics were limited due to the methods used. The new study headed by Dr. Laforsch, spokesperson of the Microplastics Collaborative Research Centre at the University of Bayreuth, showed an advancement in the methodology.

Dr. Laforsch said that with the latest technology and the results obtained, it will be immensely helpful in the future. With the correct evaluation, the risk of spreading microplastics in the environment will be reduced.

Mussels are rich in zinc and other minerals. With the advancements in medical technology, you can still enjoy eating them without consuming microplastics that you don’t see.

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