Microplastics found in gut of animal on one of the most remote islands of the world

The researchers used infrared spectroscopy to detect microplastics in the "Cryptopygus antarcticus."

(CNN)Microplastics have been discovered in the gut of an animal on a remote island in the Antarctic, raising concerns that plastic pollution could be prevalent in the region's ecosystem.

A new study by researchers in Italy and Ireland found traces of contamination inside the gut of the "Cryptopygus antarcticus," a small invertebrate that lives in the soil of the Antarctic.
The tiny creature is also known as a springtail and it is less than 1 millimeter in length, according to the scientists.
    In a statement ahead of the release of their study, the researchers said their findings constituted the "first field-based evidence of contamination by microplastics in Antarctic terrestrial animals."
    A graph showing the levels of plastic pollution found in the gut of the "Cryptopygus antarcticus."
    They made their discovery after testing 18 animals which had been found on a large piece on polystyrene foam in 2016 on the shore of King George Island, situated north of the Antarctic continent.
    Elisa Bergami, a researcher at the University of Siena who led the project, told CNN that she saw the plastic material while she was on a field trip in the "relatively highly polluted area."
    Explaining her decision to bring it to Italy for testing, Bergami said: "I was anxious about plastic debris stranded along the coast because we wanted to understand the pathways of plastic in this remote environment."
    The research team then used infrared spectroscopy at Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, a research center in Italy, to detect the presence of microplastics inside the animals.
    Bergami added that the creatures must have ingested the plastic as they ate the algae, moss and lichen that coated the polystyrene block.
    She also noted that microplastics can transport pathogens and contaminants which are harmful to the animals they tested, as well as to other species in the ecosystem's food chain.
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