Different partition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon on environmental particulates in freshwater: Microplastics in comparison to natural sediment
Abstract Microplastics pollution in the aquatic ecosystems has aroused increasing concerns in recent years. Though microplastics are known to sorb organic contaminants from water, the interaction mechanisms between microplastics and organic chemicals are not yet well understood. Here we investigated the partition characteristics of phenanthrene (Phe) in three mass-produced plastic particles, including polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinylchloride (PVC)， and one natural sediment, as a comparison. The sorption kinetics of Phe onto microplastics and natural sediment were successfully described by the pseudo-second-order model (R 2 > 0.992), while the equilibrium data were best-fitted to the Langmuir isotherm (R 2 > 0.995). Compared with natural sediment, microplastics exhibited higher capacities for Phe which followed an order of PE > PS > PVC. As the aqueous concentration of pyrene (Pyr) increased, both uptakes and distribution coefficients ( K d ) of Phe within the solids decreased, with natural sediment giving the largest decline. Although proportions of Phe desorbed from the contaminated microplastics were low, due to the high Phe uptake, microplastics released larger amounts of the sorbed Phe to water than the natural sediment during the desorption process. Given their minimal abundance relative to natural sediment, microplastics may play a less important role in the transport of organic pollutants in a natural aquatic environment. Highlights Sorption kinetics of phenanthrene on solid phases followed pseudo-second-order model. Sorption isotherm data best fitted to Langmuir model. Sorption capacities followed polyethylene > polystyrene> polyvinylchloride > sediment. Solid uptake of phenanthrene decreased with increasing addition of pyrene. Microlastics released larger amounts of phenanthrene than sediment during desorption. Graphical abstract [DISPLAY OMISSION]
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