Sorption behaviors of phenanthrene, nitrobenzene, and naphthalene on mesoplastics and microplastics

  • Juan Wang
  • Xinhui LiuEmail author
  • Guannan LiuEmail author
Research Article


The occurrence of plastic particles in aquatic environment has led to enormous concern in the past few years. The sorption behaviors of harmful organic compounds by plastic particles can increase their concentrations by several orders of magnitude influencing their global transport in the marine environment. Five types of mesoplastics (5–20 mm) and five types of microplastics (< 5 mm) were selected to investigate the sorption behaviors of three typical organic compounds (phenanthrene, nitrobenzene, and naphthalene). For phenanthrene, most microplastics have stronger sorption ability than that of mesoplastics due to the higher specific surface area (SSA). However, the sorption ability of nitrobenzene on low-density polyethylene (LDPE) mesoplastics was higher than that on LDPE microplastics, and the sorption ability of naphthalene on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mesoplastics was higher than that on PVC microplastics, which were attributed to the presence of functional groups on the surface of mesoplastics, induced by adding slip agents, lubricant, plasticizer, stabilizer, etc. during film production. Talcum-filled polypropylene (PP) microplastics had strongest sorption ability to nitrobenzene and naphthalene due to the presence of talcum and high SSA. For unmodified microplastics, the sorption abilities of phenanthrene, nitrobenzene, and naphthalene were all followed the order of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) > polystyrene (PS) > LDPE > PVC after SSA normalization. Thus, SSA and the functional groups on the surface of plastic particles should be considered when the sorption behaviors of harmful organic compounds on plastic particles are studied.


Microplastics Sorption Phenanthrene Nitrobenzene Naphthalene 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21677013 and 21876012).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4735_MOESM1_ESM.docx (583 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 582 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Research Center for Eco-environmental EngineeringDongguan University of TechnologyDongguanChina
  3. 3.MNR Key Laboratory of Metallogeny and Mineral AssessmentInstitute of Mineral Resources, CAGSBeijingChina

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