About this Research Topic
Plastics and microplastics are ubiquitous in all ecosystems and, in the last decade, they are a big concern for all humanity. Unfortunately, only a small part is actually recycled (6 -26%), while the remaining part ends up in landfills or is released directly into the environment. Microplastics (MPs) can be primary, that is particles originally manufactured at those sizes, or secondary (the majority in the marine environment) that are large pieces transformed into tiny fragments, classified as microplastics (MPs) (< 5 mm), mesoplastics (5 -25 mm) and macroplastics (> 25 mm). MPs vary in size, shape, color, specific density, and chemical composition. A growing concern linked to the presence of MPs in seawater is related to the potential impact of these particles in the marine trophic food web, through the ingestion by marine organisms, ranging from zooplankton to top predators.
In the Mediterranean Sea, a large amount of plastic as well as microplastic and nanoplastic debris has been found. It is necessary to study the extent and the impact of this phenomenon, if there are differences both in the size and in the chemical composition of the microplastics found in the different areas of the Mediterranean, how this type of pollution affects the marine environment, what are the possible effects on marine flora and fauna, how plastics travel through the marine food web, and finally, what possible repercussions exist for humans. At the moment it is known that microplastics act as carriers for several chemicals, microorganisms and heavy metals dangerous for animal and human health so is important to know what are the most affected Mediterranean areas, what are the main effects related to the presence of microplastics, which bacteria adhere to microplastics, if antibiotics can be absorbed on microplastics and what are the most frequently found contaminants on microplastics in the Mediterranean.
The scope of this special issue is to understand the fate, behavior and toxicity of microplastics, including nanoplastics, in the Mediterranean Sea. In this special issue, articles, reviews, and short communications covering the scope of the Topic are welcome.
Keywords: microplastics, environment, aquatic pollution, marine fauna, Mediterranean Sea
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