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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Presence of nanoplastics in rural and remote surface waters

Materic, Dusan; Peacock, Mike; Dean, Joshua; Futter, Martyn; Maximov, Trofim; Moldan, Filip; Rockmann, Thomas; Holzinger, Rupert


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 mu g 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 mu g 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.


nanoplastics; PTR-MS; TD-PTR-MS; microplastics

Published in

Environmental Research Letters
2022, volume: 17, number: 5, article number: 054036
Publisher: IOP Publishing Ltd

Authors' information

Materic, Dusan
Utrecht University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Dean, Joshua
University of Bristol
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Maximov, Trofim
Institute for Biological Problems of Cryolithozone
Moldan, Filip
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute
Röckmann, Thomas
Utrecht University
Holzinger, Rupert
Utrecht University

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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