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New versus naturally aged greenhouse cover films: Degradation and micro-nanoplastics characterization under sunlight exposure


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  • 2024
Published in:
  • Science of The Total Environment. - Amsterdam : Elsevier BV. - 2024, vol. 918, p. 1-8
English The understanding of microplastic degradation and its effects remains limited due to the absence of accurate analytical techniques for detecting and quantifying micro- and nanoplastics. In this study, we investigated the release of nanoplastics and small microplastics in water from low-density polyethylene (LDPE) greenhouse cover
films under simulated sunlight exposure for six months. Our analysis included both new and naturally aged (used) cover films, enabling us to evaluate the impact of natural aging. Additionally, photooxidation effects were assessed by comparing irradiated and non-irradiated conditions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) confirmed the presence of particles below 1 μm in both irradiated and nonirradiated cover films. NTA revealed a clear effect of natural aging, with used films releasing more particles than new films but no impact of photooxidation, as irradiated and non-irradiated cover films released similar amounts of particles at each time point. Raman spectroscopy demonstrated the lower crystallinity of the released PE nanoplastics compared to the new films. Flow cytometry and total organic carbon data provided evidence of the release of additional material besides PE, and a clear effect of both simulated and natural aging, with photodegradation effects observed only for the new cover films. Finally, our results underscore the importance of studying the aging processes in both new and used plastic products using complementary techniques to assess the environmental fate and safety risks posed by plastics used in agriculture.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
AMI - Bio-Nanomatériaux
  • English
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