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Assessing the Behavior of Microplastics in Fluvial Systems : Infiltration and Retention Dynamics in Streambed Sediments

Title data

Boos, Jan-Pascal ; Dichgans, Franz ; Fleckenstein, Jan ; Gilfedder, Benjamin Silas ; Frei, Sven:
Assessing the Behavior of Microplastics in Fluvial Systems : Infiltration and Retention Dynamics in Streambed Sediments.
In: Water Resources Research. Vol. 60 (2024) Issue 2 . - e2023WR035532.
ISSN 1944-7973

Project information

Project financing: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Abstract in another language

Microplastics (MPs) have been detected ubiquitously in fluvial systems and advective transfer has been proposed as a potential mechanism for the transport of (sub-) pore-scale MPs from surface waters into streambed sediments. However, the influence of particle and sediment properties, as well as the hydrodynamic flow regime, on the infiltration behavior and mobility of MPs in streambed sediments remains unclear. In this study, we conducted a series of flume experiments to investigate the effect of particle size (1–10 μm), sediment type (fine and coarse sand), and flow regime (high/low flow) on particle infiltration dynamics in a rippled streambed. Quantification of particles in the flume compartments (surface flow, streambed interface, and in the streambed) was achieved using continuous fluorescence techniques. Results indicated that the maximum infiltration depth into the streambed decreased with increasing particle size (11, 10, and 7 cm for 1, 3, and 10 μm). The highest particle retardation was observed in the fine sediment experiment, where 22% of the particles were still in the streambed at the end of the experiment. Particle residence times were shortest under high flow conditions, suggesting that periods of increased discharge can effectively flush MPs from streambed sediments. This study provides novel insights into the complex dynamics of MP infiltration and retention in streambed sediments and contributes to a better understanding of MPs fate in fluvial ecosystems. Quantitative data from this study can improve existing modeling frameworks for MPs transport and assist in assessing the exposure risk of MPs ingestion by benthic organisms.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2024 07:04
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 07:04