Extraction and identification of microplastics from mussels: Method development and preliminary results

  • Raffaelina Mercogliano Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Naples, Italy.
  • Serena Santonicola | serena.santonicola@unina.it Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.
  • Gennaro Raimo Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.
  • Maurizio Gasperi Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.
  • Giampaolo Colavita Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.


Microplastics (MPs) are an emerging threat to marine ecosystems. One of the primary environmental risks is their bioavailability for aquatic organisms. Some fish and bivalves are of particular interest because their feeding strategies expose them to particles present in the water column. The aim of the study was to assess an extraction method in order to isolate and quantify MPs from fish gastrointestinal tract (n.8) and muscle (n.4), and bivalves (n.8) samples. The accuracy of the method was assessed through the calculation of the recovery percentage in samples spiked with a known number of MPs using microscopic observation. Successively, the extraction was preliminarily applied on n.20 mussels collected from mariculture plants of the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic Sea. The results of the digestion protocol showed an average extraction yield of 80% in fish gastrointestinal tracts, 90% in fish muscle samples, and 95% in mussels. Preliminary analysis carried out on farmed mussels showed an average abundance of 3.8 items/individual, and 0.5 items/g of tissue, among those black, was the most represented color.



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Original Articles
Microplastics, Digestion method, Engraulis encrasiculos,, Mytilus galloprovincialis
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How to Cite
Mercogliano R, Santonicola S, Raimo G, Gasperi M, Colavita G. Extraction and identification of microplastics from mussels: Method development and preliminary results. Ital J Food Safety [Internet]. 2021Mar.11 [cited 2021Apr.19];10(1). Available from: https://pagepressjournals.org/index.php/ijfs/article/view/9264