Alternate Title

Detection of Adsorbed Chlordecone on Microplastics in Marine Sediments in Guadeloupe: A Preliminary Study

Document Type

Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Partnership


Plastic pollution in the oceans is recognized as a worldwide problem. Since the 1950s, the production of plastics has been increasing and the first reports of microplastics (particles < 500 μm) in the marine environment began to appear in the 1970s. These particles represent a growing environmental problem due to their dispersion in seawater and marine organisms. Additionally, microparticles in general can adsorb pollutants that will then become bioavailable to organisms by being desorbed during digestion, which could be an important pathway for the contamination of organisms. In Guadeloupe and Martinique, an organochlorine pesticide called “chlordecone” was used from 1972 to 1993 in banana plantations and this very persistent pollutant contaminates soils, rivers, and coastal marine areas and accumulates in marine foodwebs. To examine these issues, we had two goals: 1) to assess the contamination of marine sediments by microplastics surrounding Guadeloupe; and 2) to determine the ability of microplastics to adsorb chlordecone, as has been demonstrated for other organochlorine pollutants. To do so, marine sediments were collected in triplicate from 12 sites in coral reef environments around the island. Microplastics from each sample were then enumerated by size, color and shape under a binocular microscope. The results indicate that microplastics are found in all the studied sites and that their distribution could be linked to marine currents or proximity to areas of significant human activities (port activities, agglomeration, etc.). Finally, our preliminary results indicated that chlordecone could be adsorbed onto microplastics, with a concentration ranging from 0.00036—0.00173 µg/µg of microfilter.

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