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Microplastic in field, river and sea

Lead Institute FI Institute of Fisheries Ecology
Involved Institutes LR Institute of Rural Studies AT Institute of Agricultural Technology

© BLE/Peter Meyer

Microplastic in field, river and sea

Plastic litter and small plastic particles is a global problem and can be found from urban centers, rural areas and fields to the aquatic environment such as lakes, rivers and seas. Only little is known on concentration, fate and possible effects of plastic particles on environment and organisms including humans.

Background and Objective

The Thünen Institute investigates several aspects of the topic "plastic in the environment" in different areas of expertise. There are up to now no standardized protocols to analyze plastic in the environment. This leads to the situation that results from different studies could not be easily compared to each other. Some research questions therefore remain still unanswered. This interdisciplinary project aims to unite existing competences and experience on "plastic in the environment".


Communication on Thünen projects on microplastic

Data and Methods

Investigations include collection of quantitative data on contamination status of different terrestial and aquatic ecosystems, modelling of transport processes within the ecosystems and possible impact of microplastic on organisms. With this a general view on the the fate of plastic in the environment will be possible.

Our Research Questions


The Project is an internal communication platform for the above mentioned projects on micro plastic. Regarding this goal it has been successfull.

For detailed results we refer to the above mentioned single projects.


  1. 0

    Brandes E, Braun M, Rillig MC, Leifheit EF, Steinmetz Z, Fiener P, Thomas D (2020) (Mikro-)Plastik im Boden : Eintragspfade, Risiken und Handlungsoptionen. Bodenschutz 25(3):121-125, DOI:10.37307/j.1868-7741.2020.03.10

  2. 1

    Schütze B, Thomas D, Brunotte J (2020) Density separation of microplastics from artificial soil and compost. 2 p

  3. 2

    Brandt J, Bittrich L, Fischer F, Kanaki E, Tagg A, Lenz R, Labrenz M, Brandes E, Fischer D, Eichhon K-J (2020) High-throughput analyses of microplastic samples using fourier transform infrared and raman spectrometry. Appl Spectrosc 74(9):1185-1197, DOI:10.1177/0003702820932926

  4. 3

    Brandes E, Cieplik S, Fiener P, Henseler M, Herrmann F, Klasmeier J, Kreins P, Piel S, Shiravani G, Wendland F, Wurpts A (2020) Modellbasierte Forschung zu Mikroplastik in der Umwelt : Synthesepapier ; Im Rahmen des Forschungsschwerpunktes Plastik in der Umwelt, Quellen - Senken - Lösungsansätze. 26 p

  5. 4

    Thomas D, Schütze B, Heinze WM, Steinmetz Z (2020) Sample preparation techniques for the analysis of microplastics in soil - a review. Sustainability 12(21):9074, DOI:10.3390/su12219074

  6. 5

    Brandes E, Henseler M, Kreins P, Herrmann F, Wendland F, Tagg A, Labrenz M (2019) Estimating the spatial distribution of microplastics in agricultural soils - a topdown approach. In: GfÖ 2019 : Science meets practice ; 49th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland ; University of Münster, 9 - 13 September 2019 ; book of abstracts. Berlin: Gesellschaft für Ökologie, p 249

  7. 6

    Rovers AK, Bartsch J, Zander K, Storz H (2019) Herausforderungen und Perspektiven beteiligter Akteure beim Einsatz von bioabbaubaren biobasierten Kunststoffen. In: Perspektiven wertebasierter Wertschöpfungsketten : 29. Jahrestagung der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Agrarökonomie ; Tagungsband 2019, Universität Innsbruck, 19.-20. September 2019. Wien: Österreichische Gesellschaft für Agrarökonomie, pp 91-92

  8. 7

    Brandes E, Henseler M, Kreins P (2019) Identifying regional hot-spots for microplastic immissions into agricultural soils - a top-down approach for Germany. In: DBG 2019: Annual Meeting of the Soil Science Society of Switzerland and the German Soil Science Society; University of Bern, 24.-29. August 2019; book of abstracts. p 166

  9. 8

    Henseler M, Brandes E, Kreins P (2019) Microplastics in agricultural soils: a new challenge not only for agro-environmental policy? : paper prepared for presentation at the 172nd EAAE Seminar "Agricultural Policy for the Environment or Environmental Policy for Agriculture?" ; May 28-29, 2019, Brussels. 16 p, DOI:10.22004/ag.econ.289746

  10. 9

    Henseler M, Brandes E, Kreins P (2019) Mikroplastik-Emissionen aus der Landwirtschaftlichen Produktion in Deutschland. In: Lampe I (ed) Nachhaltigkeit in gartenbaulichen und landwirtschaftlichen Prozessen – Recycling, Verpackung, Mikroplastik : Tagungsband zur 48. GKL-Jahrestagung 24.-25. September 2019 in Dernbach (Westerwald). Neustadt an der Weinstraße: Gesellschaft für Kunststoffe im Landbau eV

  11. 10

    Kammann U, Aust M-O, Bahl H, Lang T (2018) Marine litter at the seafloor - abundance and composition in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Mar Pollut Bull 127:774-780, DOI:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.09.051

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