Development and Optimization of a Standard Method for Extraction of Microplastics in Mussels by Enzyme Digestion of Soft Tissues


Ana I Catarino, Richard Thompson, William Sanderson, Theodore B. Henry


The authors compared procedures for digestion of mussel soft tissues and extraction of microplastics. Complete tissue digestion was achieved with 1M NaOH, 35% HNO3 , and protease at 9.6 UHb/mL (unit hemoglobin per mL); but use of HNO3 caused unacceptable destruction of some microplastics. Recovery of microplastics spiked into mussels was similar (93 ± 10%) for NaOH and enzyme digestions. The authors recommend use of industrial enzymes based on digestion efficiency, microplastic recovery, and avoidance of caustic chemicals. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:947-951.

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Catarino AI, Thompson R, Sanderson W, Henry TB. 2017. Development and optimization of a standard method for extraction of microplastics in mussels by enzyme digestion of soft tissues. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 36:947-951.