Since the beginning of mass production of plastic in the mid-20th century, environmental contamination by this anthropogenic material has been growing and is becoming increasingly apparent, and is even considered a potential geological indicator in the Anthropocene. Microplastics is a term used to group a range of different polymeric synthetic materials of size < 5 mm. These materials have been reported by several studies in different environmental matrices globally and present physical and chemical risk to organisms at the base of the food chain. However, in Brazil, interest in the subject is relatively new and few studies have been published in recent years. Here we present an overview of the plastic industry, microplastics as contaminants in the Anthropocene and review the literature on microplastic contamination in Brazilian environmental matrices with their respective methodologies.
Recebido em 1/12/99; aceito em 11/7/00 THE IDENTIFICATION OF SEWAGE ADDITION TO GUANABARA BAY SURFICIAL SEDIMENTS AS INDICATED BY COPROSTANOL (5β(H)-CHOLESTAN-3β-OL) DISTRIBUTION. A critical evaluation is presented on the use of faecal sterols for the identification of sewage contamination in Guanabara Bay. Sediments were collected from 8 stations in the bay selected as representative of different contamination levels. GC/MS determination of faecal sterols gave: coprostanol, 335-40000 ng g-1 ; coprostanone, 112-4136 ng g-1 ; cholesterol, 1407-7800 ng g-1 ; cholestanol, 2011-10900 ng g-1 and cholestanone, 655-7954 ng g-1. The observed concentration is in accordance with the presence of known pollution sources, however, concentration ratios of different sterols species produced unclear results evidently influenced by primary production and microbial processes.
In the present work, we evaluated the origin of organic matter in the tropical estuarine-lagoon system of Mundaú-Manguaba, NE Brazil, by considering the bulk (organic carbon and chlorophyll-a) and lipidic (n-alcohols and sterols) composition of suspended particles. Water samples were collected in August 2006 from 24 stations covering the salinity gradient from the rivers down to the sea outlet. Chlorophyll-a (Chl-a) varied from 22.7 to 134.1 lg L -1 in the lagoons, indicating eutrophic to hypertrophic conditions at the time of sampling. The high correlation between Chl-a and phytol together with the molar C:N ratio indicated the presence of fresh and recently produced autochthonous particulate organic matter throughout the system, except for the river samples. The elevated concentrations of short-chain n-alcohols and phytosterols, mainly 24-methylcholesta-5,24(28)-dien-3b-ol, also corroborated the predominance of autochthonous organic matter in the lagoons but were generated by distinct sources: cianobacteria in the freshwater Manguaba lagoon and diatoms in the brackish Mundaú lagoon compartments. Input of terrestrial organic matter was only detected in the rivers themselves or at the upper river-lagoon interfaces. Coprostanol indicated contamination by sewage in Mundaú lagoon and in some rivers, but at lower levels when compared to other Brazilian coastal lagoons and estuaries.
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