A closer look at plastics from fulmar stomachs

Published on
March 9, 2015

In its studies of fulmars and marine litter, IMARES aims for cooperative intiatives to broaden the understanding of the marine plastic litter problem.

Photo: In October 2014, CARAT and SHIMADZU participated in the annual Fulmar workshop 2014, analyzing plastics from fulmar stomachs on the spot using a FT-IR (Fourier Transform Infrared) Spectrometer: the photo shows Marion Egelkraut-Holtus (Shimadzu) and Magdalene Langset (NINA Norway) working with the spectrometer.

For example, a close cooperation has grown between IMARES and the companies CARAT  (Control And Research Analysis Thermoplastics) which is specialized in plastic quality control, and SHIMADZU, a company developing laboratory instruments.  For these companies, there is a benefit in developing knowledge on degradation of all types of plastic in nature, in seawater, on the beach and in stomachs of birds. Degrading plastics change in their chemical composition and may not be easily identified and analysed using the standard industrial techniques. From its research on marine plastics, IMARES can provide all sorts of degrading plastics from the natural environment. The bonus for our research is that we obtain the best possible information on which types of plastics are eaten by wildlife and the special risks connected to those plastics. First products of this fruitful cooperation have recently appeared, and we hope many more will follow.

Monitoring Plastic Waste
Marion Egelkraut-Holtus (Shimadzu) and Albert van Oyen (CARAT) working with an FT-IR (Fourier-Transform-InfraRed) spectrometer.
Marion Egelkraut-Holtus (Shimadzu) and Albert van Oyen (CARAT) working with an FT-IR (Fourier-Transform-InfraRed) spectrometer.