Fish ingestion of microplastic has been widely documented throughout freshwater, marine, and estuarine species. While numerous studies have quantified and characterized microplastic particles, analytical methods for polymer identification are limited. This study investigated the applicability of pyr-GC/MS for polymer identification of microplastics extracted from the stomach content of marine fish from the Texas Gulf Coast. A total of 43 microplastic particles were analyzed, inclusive of 30 fibers, 3 fragments, and 10 spheres. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) were the most commonly identified polymers (44.1%), followed by nylon (9.3%), silicone (2.3%), and epoxy resin (2.3%). Approximately 42% of samples could not be classified into a specific polymer class, due to a limited formation of pyrolytic products, low product abundance, or a lack of comparative standards. Diethyl phthalate, a known plasticizer, was found in 16.3% of the total sample, including PVC (14.3%), silicone (14.3%), nylon (14.3%), and sample unknowns (57.2%).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the C. Gus Glasscock Jr. Endowed Fund for Excellence in Environmental Science .
The authors would like to thank the C. Gus Glasscock Jr. Endowed Fund for Excellence in Environmental Science for their funding support and the Usenko Laboratory (Baylor University) and Zach Winfield for the use of their NIST Library.
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