Uptake and Release Kinetics of Organic Contaminants Associated with Micro- and Nanoplastic Particles

Town, Raewyn M.; Leeuwen, Herman P. van


A generic theoretical framework is presented for describing the kinetics of uptake and release of organic compounds that associate with plastic particles. The underlying concepts account for the physicochemical features of the target organic compounds and the plastic particles. The developed framework builds on concepts established for dynamic speciation analysis by solid-phase microextraction and the size-dependent reactivity features of particulate complexants. The theoretical framework is applied to interpretation of literature data, thereby providing more rigorous insights into previous observations. The presented concepts enable predictions of the sink/source functioning of plastic particles and their impact on the dynamic chemical speciation of organic compounds in aqueous environmental media and within biota. Our results highlight the fundamental influence of particle size on the uptake and release kinetics. The findings call for a comprehensive description of the physicochemical features of plastic particles to be provided in experimental studies on micro- and nanoplastics in different types of aquatic environmental media.