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Toxics Webinar | Microplastics Distribution, Fate and Effects on the Environment

Part of the MDPI Toxics Webinars series
14 Jan 2021, 00:00

Toxicity, Environmental Monitoring, Microplastics, Plastic Contamination
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Webinar Information

3rd Webinar of Toxics - an Open Access Journal

Microplastics Distribution, Fate and Effects on the Environment

Since the decade of the 1950s the world production of plastic products has increased exponentially, reaching 359 million metric tons in 2018 and, as a direct consequence of industrial activities, consumption habits and a poor waste management, plastic wastes have been found in the environment worldwide. Due to their persistence in the environment, plastic pollution has become a large-scale phenomenon, posing a serious threat to the marine environment, where about 8 million tons of these materials are released annually.

Microplastics, defined as plastic particles >5 mm in diameter, include primary microplastics, produced in small size to be used in plastics production, cleaning, cosmetic or medical products, and secondary microplastics, resulting from the fragmentation of larger items in the environment. After a decade of intense research effort on this field, numerous studies have shown the widespread distribution of microplastics over the planet and their effects on the ecosystems. However, there is still a general lack of understanding on several aspects that need to be addressed, including the incorporation of microplastics and associated pollutants into food webs, the joint potential impact of microplastics with other stressors in the environment, the lack of standardized sampling methodologies needed to quantify the global abundance of microplastics, or the distribution and impact of the lowest particle sizes.

This webinar will discuss some of the current challenges in microplastic research, aiming to contribute to the development of strategies for assessing the distribution, fate and effects of microplastics in ecosystems and, ultimately, for achieving sustainable development goals.

Date: 14 January 2021

Time: 15:30pm (CET) | 9:30 am (EDT) | 22:30 pm (CST Asia)

Chair: Prof. Dr. Juan Bellas

Webinar ID: 860 7927 9263

Prof. Dr. Juan Bellas

Juan Bellas has a PhD in Marine Sciences, specializing in ecotoxicology and marine pollution. He is Professor of Research at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO). His main research focuses on the study of the biological effects of pollutants (including microplastics) and the integrated assessment of marine pollution. He is the Chief Investigator of the Marine Pollution Program of the IEO, and he was Coordinator of the scientific activities for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in Spain from 2010 to 2018. He has participated in various international committees and working groups of the European Commission, groups of the OSPAR Commission and of the International Council for the Protection of the Sea (ICES). He is currently chairman of the ICES Working Group on Biological Effects of Contaminants (WGBEC). He is an advisor to the Ministry of Ecological Transition of Spain, and is a member of the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Littoral Development (Campus do Mar). He has participated in several oceanographic cruises, including 3 cruises in Antarctica. He has participated in more than 30 projects and research contracts (leader in 10), and has published over 90 scientific papers (>60 in SCI journals) and several book chapters. He has been granted three patents, on the use of embryo-larval bioassays for the evaluation of the efficacy of antifouling compounds, on the cryopreservation of sea urchin embryos, and on a submergible mussel-caging device for marine pollution analysis.

The following experts will present and speak:

Prof. Dr. Roberta Bettinetti

Roberta Bettinetti (born in 1969) is Professor of Ecology at the University Insubria, Italy since 2002. Her current researches are the the fate of microplastics in the foodwebs, particularly in freshwater and their possible ecotoxicological effects and interactions with dissolved contaminants. She also works on other kind of contaminants/foodwebs and she is involved in several projects even in marine environments (DJibouti area, Mediterranean Sea).

Prof. Dr. José Manuel Andrade-Garda

Dr. Jose Andrade is a Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of A Coruña (Spain) since 2011. His current interests are the infrared analysis of microplastics, FTIR applications to accelerate industrial quality control, and data mining. He also works in petrochemical and natural gas analysis. He participated in dedicated training courses at several industrial laboratories and various universities.

Prof. Dr. Ad M.J. Ragas

Ad Ragas (1964) studied biology and obtained his PhD at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He currently holds a position as a full professor in Environmental Natural Sciences at the Open University in Heerlen (The Netherlands) and as an associate professor at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. His main expertise is the modelling of human and ecological risks of chemicals with a focus on chemicals of emerging concern such as microplastics.


The webinar will start at 15:30 pm (CET) and will last 2 hours.

Speaker & Presentation


Introduction: Prof. Dr. Juan Bellas

15:30 – 15:35

Prof. Dr. Roberta Bettinetti

Microplastics in Freshwater Environments.

15:35 – 16:05

Prof. Dr. José Manuel Andrade-Garda

Some Hints to Measure Microplastics by Mid-IR Spectrometry.

16:05 – 16:35

Prof. Dr. Ad M.J. Ragas

Modelling Microplastics: From Sources to Effects.

16:35 – 17:05

Q&A moderated by Prof. Dr. Juan Bellas (Chair)

Attendees are welcome to type in their questions in the Zoom Q&A section.

Discussion and concluding remarks

17:05 – 17:30

Webinar Content

The third Toxics webinar, entitled “Microplastics Distribution, Fate and Effects on the Environment”, was held on Thursday 14 January 2020. This online seminar was chaired by Prof. Dr. Juan Bellas and discussed some of the current challenges in microplastic research.

Three experts presented their findings. Dr. Gilberto Binda from the University of Insubria started covering the topic of microplastics in freshwater environments. Prof. Dr. José Manuel Andrade-Garda from the University of A Coruña followed giving some hints to measure microplastics by Mid-IR spectrometry. Finally, Prof. Dr. Ad M.J. Ragas from Open University in Heerlen and Radboud University in Nijmegen spoke about microplastics modelling. A Q&A session was conducted at the end to answer any questions submitted by live online audience.

The webinar was offered via Zoom, and registration was required for attendance. The full recording can be found below.

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Relevant Special Issues

Special Issues in Toxics

2021: Solid Waste: Assessment, Monitoring, and Management
Guest Editors:
Prof. Dr. William Frederick Ritter
Accepting submissions until 30 April 2021

2021: Ecological and Human Health Risk Assessment of Micro- and Nanoplastics
Guest Editors:
Dr. Thava Palanisami, Dr. Scott P. Wilson and Dr. Bhavani Narayanaswamy
Accepting submissions until 31 March 2021

2021: Fate and Effects of Micro- and Nanoplastics in Soil and Aquatic Ecosystems
Guest Editors:
Dr. Andreu Rico and Prof. Dr. Roberto Rosal
Accepting submissions until 31 January 2021

2021: New and Novel Analytical Approaches to Measurement of Emerging Environmental Contaminants
Guest Editors:
Dr. James Longstaffe
Accepting submissions until 31 January 2021

2020: Prevalence, Fate and Effects of Plastic in Freshwater Environments
Guest Editors:
Dr. Farhan Khan

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