Polymer identification of plastic marine debris can help identify its sources, degradation, and fate. We optimized and validated a fast, simple, and accessible technique, attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR FT-IR), to identify polymers contained in plastic ingested by sea turtles. Spectra of consumer good items with known resin identification codes #1–6 and several #7 plastics were compared to standard and raw manufactured polymers. High temperature size exclusion chromatography measurements confirmed ATR FT-IR could differentiate these polymers. High-density (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) discrimination is challenging but a clear step-by-step guide is provided that identified 78% of ingested PE samples. The optimal cleaning methods consisted of wiping ingested pieces with water or cutting. Of 828 ingested plastics pieces from 50 Pacific sea turtles, 96% were identified by ATR FT-IR as HDPE, LDPE, unknown PE, polypropylene (PP), PE and PP mixtures, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and nylon.
|Title||Validation of ATR FT-IR to identify polymers of plastic marine debris, including those ingested by marine organisms|
|Authors||Melissa R. Jung, F. David Horgen, Sara V. Orski, Viviana Rodriguez, Kathryn L. Beers, George H. Balazs, T. Todd Jones, Thierry M. Work, Kayla C. Brignac, Sarah-Jeanne Royer, David K. Hyrenbach, Brenda A. Jensen, Jennifer M. Lynch|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Marine Pollution Bulletin|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||National Wildlife Health Center|