Characterisation of an unexplored group of microplastics from the South China Sea : Can they be caused by macrofaunal fragmentation?

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number111151
Journal / PublicationMarine Pollution Bulletin
Online published25 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


Research on plastics fragmentation is important for the estimation of amount of microplastics but the biological causes for fragmentation have not been acknowledged. From microplastics collected in the beaches of Hong Kong, we revealed an abnormal type of fragment which has not been reported before. These fragments, composing about 6% of the microplastics (pellet, foam, bead, fragment) collected, were interestingly triangular in shape with at least two of the three sides being characteristically straight and resembling a cut made by compression. Objective observations have distinguished these “trimmed triangular fragments” to those triangular fragments that were fractured randomly. By comparing with additional evidence, we proposed that these trimmed fragments were the daughter pieces of macrofaunal biting. If this was so, there would be wide implications on fragmentation modeling studies for microplastics since active biting of large plastic debris has generally not been considered as a factor of plastics fragmentation.

Research Area(s)

  • Bite mark, Fragmentation, Macrofaunal degradation, Microplastics, Plastics predation

Citation Format(s)