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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Collaborative Research Centre 1357 Microplastics

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Behaviour and migration in and between environmental compartments

B01: Physico-chemical mechanisms of interactions on and with microplastic particles in aqueous solution

B01 investigates within the CRC 1357 the following key hypotheses: 1) the presence of an Eco-Corona (EC) alters the timescales and mechanisms of microplastic (MP) weathering. Depending on the composition, the EC can have a passivating effect on UV weathering as well as photo- or redoxchemically activate aging. 2) Aging of MP particles gives rise to final water-soluble oligomers that can interact with natural aquatic components. The objectives of B01 are to determine and identify i) the interaction of aged MP particles with the aquatic environment, ii) the time scales and compositional influence (active/passive) of EC for photochemical weathering of MP iii) the importance of iron redox chemistry for MP particle aging and dynamics, iv) the interaction of MP with natural environmental particles.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Stefan Peiffer, Prof. Georg Papastavrou, Prof. Jürgen Senker,

B02: Transport behaviour of microplastics in lentic systems: Influence of hydrodynamic conditions and aggregation on microplastic residence times and spatial distribution patterns of microplastics.

B02 focuses within the CRC 1357 on using laboratory and field experiments to quantify the processes effecting chemically complex microplastic (MP) transport and it’s spatial distribution in lentic environments. The complexity and representativeness of the plastic polymers used in these experiments will be significantly increased compared to the 1. FP and more truly represent the processes happing in nature. The project is divided into three work packages, encompassing interactions between MP and existing lake particles to form aggregates (WP1), the influence of turbulence generated by abiotic and biotic processes on MP transport in the water column (WP2) and incorporating experimental data into a range of modelling environments to quantify the processes effecting MP transport in the water column and its spatial distribution in lake systems (WP3)(whole lake simulations).

Principal Investigators: Dr. Ben Gilfedder, Prof. Vadym Aizinger

B03: Behaviour of microplastics in the running water/hyporheic zone system

In the 2nd funding period the B03 will investigate within the CRC 1357 the impact of more natural, transient flow regimes on the transport and retention of microplastic (MP) in streams. This includes research on sedimentation an erosion of different MP-particles (pristine and aged) in interaction with moving bedforms. We will test, under which conditions streambed sediments act as either source or sink for MP. Furthermore, the transfer of streamborne MP into the riparian zone during flood events (interface between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems) at a key field site as well as the impacts of interactions between MP and the model organism Dreissena bugensis on MP-transport will be investigated.

Principal Investigators:  Dr. Sven Frei, Prof. Jan Fleckenstein

B05: Behaviour and effect of microplastics in the land surface-atmosphere system

B05 investigates and evaluates within the CRC 1357 the environmental relevance of atmospherically aged and transported microplastic (MP). To this end, the method already developed in the 1st funding period for the quantitative and reproducible detection of MP in the wind tunnel will be used to determine resuspension rates of realistic MP particles (e.g. fibres, aged MP, and MP with Eco-Corona) from naturally structured surfaces. In addition, ageing is simulated for the first time on the same selection of MP particles under typical atmospheric conditions, i.e., weathering under exposure to atmospheric radicals (ozone and OH), and characterised via the outgassing of volatile hydrocarbon compounds. Finally, an integrative methodological component is the implementation of the experimental results on transport behaviour and ageing in turbulence-based atmospheric modelling and thus the possibility to investigate questions relevant to the entire SFB 1357, e.g., water or soil mesocosms.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Christoph Thomas, Prof. Anke Nölscher

B06: Behaviour and transport of microplastics in disturbed and undisturbed soils

B06 investigates the transport of chemically complex and realistic microplastic (MP) particles on soil surfaces and in soil through water and bioturbation in natural disturbed and undisturbed soils in CRC 1357. The project thus provides essential data for understanding the transport and accumulation mechanisms of different environmentally relevant types of MP particles. The findings on potential accumulation areas and thus on the exposure probability for organisms form the basis for a realistic ecological risk assessment.

Principal Investigators: Prof. Christina Bogner, Prof, Stephan Gekle, Dr. Martin Löder

Webmaster: Dr.rer.nat. Melanie Pöhlmann

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