Details of Microplastic in sediment from Denmark 2012-2013


Dataset identification

Title of datasetMicroplastic in sediment from Denmark 2012-2013
Narrative summary of datasetThis study is a first attempt in Denmark on assessing the presence of microplastics in our open & coastal waters from Baltic to North Sea. The occurrence and impact of microplastics have in the Danish initial assessment for EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) been identified as a relevant indicator for describing “Good Environmental Status” (GES) for descriptor 10 on Marine Litter. Microplastic particles in marine waters, which consist of synthetic polymer materials, origin mainly from secondary microplastics, i.e. fragments of litter like solid waste, fishing gear, paint flakes etc. from either sea- or land based sources. Primary microplastics (engineered) are not expected to be as common as secondary microplastics. Microplastics can origin from both local sources and from long-range transport with ocean or air currents.
Summary of processing methodologyMicroplastic particles have been isolated from a100g sediment sample, which has been digested for 2 hours with 200 ml solution of KOH and NaOCl for reducing the amounts of natural organic materials. The remaining sample was when washed two times with a saturated NaCl solution. Particles were collected using sediment test sieves in following size fractions I) 38 µm – 1 mm , II) 1 – 5 mm and III) >5 mm Particles, regarded as of synthetic origin, were with microscope isolated, counted and characterized according to their colour and shape/structure, i.e. as fibres, flakes, granules or spherules. FT-IR spectroscopy was applied to identify specific polymers in some selected flakes and granules with size larger than 0.5 x 0.5mm, i.e. fibres were too small to study. Particles of the polymers polypropylene, acrylate, and polyester/alkyd were identified. About 50% of the selected particles could with our FTIR database not be matched on synthetic materials. Normalisation to adequate sediment characters can reduce the variability caused by natural heterogeneity between samples and increase the power of identifying more or less affected areas. Strong relationships between the content of microplastics and both %TOC and fine fraction (<63µm) in sediments were found throughout the area supporting that microplastic will accumulate in sedimentary depositional areas – i.e. with parallels to organic pollutants sorped to organic materials. Strong correlations were also established to PAH and to lesser extent to alkylphenols & phthalates in sediments probably due to co-variation with sources and TOC.
Project/programmeSYMBIOSE project
Start date2012-10-08
End date2013-04-25

Responsible organisations

Organisation nameAarhus University,Danish Centre for Environment and Energy
Role of organisationOriginator of Dataset

Dataset availability

Original dataset download link
Dataset formatDelimited
Text or Plaintext
Public accessNo limitations
License for useODC-By


Latitude north boundary57.88289773916
Longitude east boundary13.250469524273
Latitude south boundary53.556805562622
Longitude west boundary6.3510554617731
Coordinate reference systemWorld Geodetic System 84
Sea areaSkagerrak
North Sea
Baltic Sea
The Sound
Wadden Sea

Data types, collection and processing

Observation typeRock and sediment physical properties
ParameterDissolved organic carbon concentrations in sediment pore waters
Micro-litter in sediments
Sediment water content, porosity and surface area
Instrument typeunconsolidated sediment corers
Instrument nameUnspecified box corer
Platform typeship
Data quality processing informationSampling of sediments have been coordinated with the national monitoring (NOVANA) of contaminants in Denmark in 2012 and an additional sampling campaign in 2013. In addition to data for various contaminants groups in sediments, also data on general sediment characteristics are generated on the same samples.

Process information

Submitting organisationAarhus University, Department of Bioscience, Marine Ecology Roskilde
Submission identifier (UUID)725a196f-4d98-449a-94e9-a67bc8a83bd7
Date of dataset creation2013-09-23
Date of metadata creation2019-03-07
Date of metadata latest revision2019-05-22
Date of publishing2019-05-24
Processing data centreAarhus University, Department of Bioscience, Marine Ecology Roskilde
Summary record-ID518