Presence of nanoplastics in rural and remote surface waters

Dušan Materić, Mike Peacock, Joshua Dean, Martyn Futter, Trofim Maximov, Filip Moldan, Thomas Röckmann, Rupert Holzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


It is now established that microplastics are a pervasive presence in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The same is assumed to be true for nanoplastics but data are lacking due to technical difficulties associated with sample analysis. Here, we measured nanoplastics in waterbodies at two contrasting sites: remote Siberian Arctic tundra and a forest landscape in southern Sweden. Nanoplastics were detected in all sampled Swedish lakes (n = 7) and streams (n = 4) (mean concentration = 563 µg l−1) and four polymer types were identified (polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate). In Siberia nanoplastics were detected in 7/12 sampled lakes, ponds and surface flooding, but only two polymer types were detected (PVC and polystyrene) and concentrations were lower (mean 51 µg l−1). Based on back-calculation of air mass trajectories and particle dispersion, we infer that nanoplastics arrive at both sites by aerial deposition from local and regional sources. Our results suggest that nanoplastics may be a near-ubiquitous presence even in remote ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number054036
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Netherlands Earth System Science Centre (NESSC) research network (Grant Number 024.002.001)

Funding Information:
Dutch Research Council (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek—NOW) project ‘Plastic Air’ (Grant Number OCENW.XS.066) and project ‘Nanoplastics: hormone- mimicking and inflammatory responses?’ (Grant Number OCENW.XS2.078).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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