A systems approach to understand microplastic occurrence and

variability in Dutch riverine surface waters.


Assessment methods on data quality and environmental variability are lacking for microplastics (MP).Here we assess occurrence and variability of MP number concentrations in two Dutch rivers. Strict QA/QCprocedures were applied to identify MP using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy followed bystate of the art automated image analysis. For a series of randomly selected, yet ever smaller subareas offilters, we assessed how accurately MP numbers and polymer types are represented during partialfilteranalysis. Levels of uncertainty were acceptable when analysing 50% of afilter during chemical mapping,and when identifying at least a subset of 50 individual particles with attenuated total reflection (ATR)-FTIR. Applying these guidelines, MP number concentrations between 67 and 11532 MP m3weredetected in Dutch riverine surface waters. Spatial differences caused MP number concentrations to varyby two orders of magnitude. Temporal differences were lower and induced a maximum variation of oneorder of magnitude. In total, 26 polymer types were identified, the most common were polyethylene(23%), polypropylene (19.7%) and ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber (18.3%). The highest di-versity of polymer types was found for small MPs, whereas MP larger than 1 mm was scarce and almostexclusively made of polyethylene or polypropylene. Virtually all sampling locations revealed MP numberconcentrations that are considerably below known effect thresholds for anticipated adverse ecologicaleffects


Given the societal concern about the presence of nano- and microplastics in the environment, our nescience with respect to in situ effects is disturbing. Data on long-term implications under ecologically realistic conditions are particularly important for the risk assessment of nano- and microplastics. Here, we evaluate the long-term (up to 15 months) effects of five concentrations of nano- and microplastics on the natural recolonization of sediments by a macroinvertebrate community. Effects were assessed on the community composition, population sizes and species diversity. Nano- and microplastics adversely affected the abundance of macroinvertebrates after 15 months, which was caused by a reduction in the number of Naididae at the highest concentration (5% plastic per sediment dry weight). For some other taxa, smaller but still significant positive effects were found over time, altogether demonstrating that nano- and microplastics affected the community composition.


Environmental microplastic is a highly diverse material and therefore considered complex. Characteristics of microplastic particles such as their size, shape, and density are essentially continuous, which means that discrete classifications will never be satisfactory. Therefore, we propose to describe these microplastic characteristics via a continuous three dimensional (3D) probability distribution with size, shape and density as dimensions. Parametrizations for the distributions are provided based on empirical data, which results in an approximate yet realistic representation of “true” environmental microplastic. This new approach to simplifying microplastic provides opportunities for rescaling of environmental concentrations, for reading across effect studies, and for probabilistic fate modelling. We demonstrate how 3D probability distributions for environmental versus ingested microplastic can be helpful in understanding the bioavailability of microplastic in nature. Finally, the article explains how the concept of simplified microplastic will be helpful in probabilistic risk modelling. This will greatly enhance our understanding of the risk that microplastic particles pose to the environment and human health.


Microplastics have recently been detected in drinking water as well as in drinking water sources. This presence has triggered discussions on possible implications for human health. However, there have been questions regarding the quality of these occurrence studies since there are no standard sampling, extraction and identification methods for microplastics. Accordingly, we assessed the quality of fifty studies researching microplastics in drinking water and in its major freshwater sources. This includes an assessment of microplastic occurrence data from river and lake water, groundwater, tap water and bottled drinking water. Studies of occurrence in wastewater were also reviewed. We review and propose best practices to sample, extract and detect microplastics and provide a quantitative quality assessment of studies reporting microplastic concentrations. Further, we summarize the findings related to microplastic concentrations, polymer types and particle shapes. Microplastics are frequently present in freshwaters and drinking water, and number concentrations spanned ten orders of magnitude (1 × 10−2 to 108 #/m3) across individual samples and water types. However, only four out of 50 studies received positive scores for all proposed quality criteria, implying there is a significant need to improve quality assurance of microplastic sampling and analysis in water samples. The order in globally detected polymers in these studies is PE ≈ PP > PS > PVC > PET, which probably reflects the global plastic demand and a higher tendency for PVC and PET to settle as a result of their higher densities. Fragments, fibres, film, foam and pellets were the most frequently reported shapes. We conclude that more high quality data is needed on the occurrence of microplastics in drinking water, to better understand potential exposure and to inform human health risk assessments.


Freshwater systems provide key pathways for microplastic (MP) pollution, and although existing studies have demonstrated the susceptibility of freshwater biota to ingestion, translocation, and trophic transfer, specific challenges pertaining to methodological standardization remain largely unresolved, particularly with respect to isolating, characterizing, and assessing MPs. Here, a critical review is performed outlining the challenges and limitations currently faced by freshwater MP researchers, which may well apply across the MP research spectrum. Recommendations are provided for methodological standardization, particularly in MP characterization, quality assurance, and quality control (QA/QC) procedures as well as reporting. Considerations for the assessment of MPs in freshwater biota as a means of improving comparisons between studies are discussed. Technological advancements, including the improvement of laboratory infrastructure for identifying MPs within the smaller size range as well as methodological standardization are essential in providing policy makers with tools and measures necessary to determine the distribution of MPs within freshwater ecosystems, while also allowing for comparability and providing compliance for future monitoring requirements. Current methodologies in the isolation, characterization, and assessment of microplastics (MPs) within freshwater biota are reviewed. The challenges and limitations currently faced by MP researchers who work in this area are discussed, while recommendations are made for improvements needed to advance this particular field.


Nanoplastics are recognized as able to interact with other pollutants including heavy metals, and with natural organic matter, with implications for the potential risks to biota. We investigated the interaction of carboxylated polystyrene nanoparticles (PS–COOH NPs) with copper (Cu) and algal exudates (EPS) and how such interaction could affect Cu toxicity towards the freshwater microalga Raphidocelis subcapitata. PS–COOH NPs behavior in the presence of Cu and EPS was determined by dynamic light scattering (DLS), while PS–COOH NPs surface interaction with Cu ions and EPS was investigated by fluorimetric analysis. ICP-MS was used to test Cu ion adsorption to PS–COOH NPs in the presence and absence of algae. The interaction between PS–COOH NPs and the algal cell wall was assessed by fluorescence microscopy. Short- and long-term toxicity tests were carried out in parallel to assess the impact of PS–COOH NPs on algal growth. Results showed altered nanoparticle surface charge and hydrodynamic diameter following algal EPS exposure, supporting the hypothesis of a protein corona formation. In contrast, no absorption of Cu ions was observed on PS–COOH NPs, either in the presence or absence of algae. No differences on algal growth inhibition were observed between exposure to Cu only, and to Cu in combination with PS–COOH NPs, in short-term as well as long-term tests. However, after 72 h of exposure, the adsorption of PS-COOH NPs to algal cell walls appeared to correspond to morphological alterations, revealing potential disturbances in the mitotic cycle. Our findings confirm the ability of PS–COOH NPs to interact with EPS as shown for other nanomaterials. Environmentally realistic exposure scenarios are thus needed for evaluating nanoplastic toxicity, as nanoparticles will not maintain their pristine nature once released into natural media. Prolonged exposure and use of different end-points such as cell morphological changes and EPS production seem more reliable for the investigation of nanoplastic/algal cell interactions which can drive food chain transfer of nanoplastics and ultimately toxicity.


Diverse effects of nano- and microplastic (NMP) have been demonstrated in the laboratory. We provide a broad review of current knowledge on occurrence, measurement, modeling approaches, fate, exposure, effects, and effect thresholds as regard to microplastics in the aquatic environment. Using this information, we perform a ‘proof of concept’ risk assessment for NMP, accounting for the diversity of the material. New data is included showing how bioturbation affects exposure, and exposure is evaluated based on literature data and model analyses. We review exposure and effect data and provide a worst case risk characterization, by comparing HC5 effect thresholds from ‘all inclusive’ Species Sensitivity Distributions (SSDs) with the highest environmental concentrations reported. HC5 values show wide confidence intervals yet suggest that sensitive aquatic organisms in near-shore surface waters might be at risk.


Plastic debris of all sizes has been detected in marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats. Effects of plastic debris on macrophytes have hardly been studied, despite their importance in aquatic ecosystems. We provide the first experimental study exploring nano- and microplastic effects on the growth of sediment-rooted macrophytes. Myriophyllum spicatumand Elodea sp. were exposed to sediments amended with six doses of polystyrene (PS) nanoplastic (50–190 nm, up to 3% sediment dry weight) and PS microplastic (20–500 μm, up to 10% dry weight) under laboratory conditions. Both macrophyte species were tested for changes in root and shoot dry weight (DW), relative growth rate (RGR), shoot to root ratio (S:R), main shoot length and side shoot length. Microplastics did not produce consistent dose-effect relationships on the endpoints tested, except that main shoot length was reduced for M. spicatum with increasing microplastic concentration. Nanoplastic significantly reduced S:R for both macrophytes as a result of increased root biomass compared to shoot biomass. Nanoplastic also caused a decrease in M. spicatum main shoot length; however, shoot biomass was not affected. Elodea sp. side shoot length, root and shoot biomass and RGR were positively correlated to the nanoplastic concentration. All effects occurred at higher than environmentally realistic concentrations, suggesting no immediate implications for ecological risks. Our study did not aim for the elucidation of the exact mechanistic processes that cause the effects, however, particle size seems to play an important factor.


Micronized particles released from car tires have been found to contribute substantially to microplastic pollution, triggering the need to evaluate their effects on biota. In the present study, four freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates were exposed for 28 days to tread particles (TP; 10-586 µm) made from used car tires at concentrations of 0, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3 and 10% sediment dry weight. No adverse effects were found on the survival, growth and feeding rate of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus, the survival and growth of Tubifex spp., and the number of worms and growth of Lumbriculus variegatus. A method to quantify TP numbers inside biota was developed and here applied to G. pulex. In bodies and faces of G. pulex exposed to 10% car tire TP, averages of 2.5 and 4 tread particles per organism were found, respectively. Chemical analysis showed that, although car tire TP had a high intrinsic zinc content, only small fractions of the heavy metals present were bioavailable. PAHs in the TP-sediment mixtures also remained below existing toxicity thresholds. This combination of results suggests that real in situ effects of TP and TP-associated contaminants when dispersed in sediments are probably lower than those reported after forced leaching of contaminants from car tire particles.


The Water Science for Impact Conference organised by Wageningen University included a session named "Technologies for the Risk Assessment of Micro and Nanoplastics". This session, chaired by Annemarie van Wezel, focused on the analytical challenges, understanding of fate and behaviour of the plastics in the water cycle including the removal in various water treatment technologies, effects of the plastics in the ecosystem, model development and ultimately risk assessment. In this session we presented results and future plans and activities of this project and the view of stakeholders.

Pictures of Bart Koelmans, Paula Redondo-Hasselerharm and Merel Kooi giving oral presentations at the Water Science for Impact Conference.


Data on ingestion of microplastics by marine biota are quintessential for monitoring and risk assessment of microplastics in the environment. Current studies, however, portray a wide spread in results on the occurrence of microplastic ingestion, highlighting a lack of comparability of results which might be attributed to a lack of standardisation of methods. We critically review and evaluate recent microplastic ingestion studies in aquatic biota, propose a quality assessment method for such studies, and apply the assessment method to the reviewed studies. The quality assessment method uses ten criteria: Sampling method and strategy, Sample size, Sample processing and storage, Laboratory preparation, Clean air conditions, Negative controls, Positive controls, Target component, Sample (pre-)treatment, and Polymer identification. The results of this quality assessment show a dire need for stricter quality assurance in microplastic ingestion studies. On average studies score 8.0 out of 20 points for ‘completeness of information’, and ‘zero’ for ‘reliability’. Alongside the assessment method, a standardised protocol for detecting microplastic in biota samples incorporating these criteria is provided.


Measuring concentrations and sizes of micro- and nanoplastics in the environment is essential to assess the risks plastic particles could pose. Microplastics have been detected globally in a variety of aquatic ecosystems. The determination of nanoplastics, however, is lagging behind due to higher methodological challenges.

Micro and nanoplastic sampling for the analytical evidence of the techniques described in the article.

For this reason, in the recently published article, named "Closing the gap between small and smaller: towards a framework to analyse nano- and microplastics in aqueous environmental samples", we propose a framework that can consistently determine a broad spectrum of plastic particle sizes in aquatic environmental samples. For this, analytical evidence is provided as proof of principle. FTIR microscopy is applied to detect microplastics. Nanoplastics are studied using field-flow-fractionation (FFF) and pyrolysis GC-MS, which provide information on particle sizes and polymer types. Pyrolysis GC-MS is shown to be promising for the detection of nanoplastics in environmental samples as a mass of approximately 100 ng is required to identify polystyrene. Pre-concentrating nanoplastics by crossflow ultrafiltration enables polystyrene to be identified when the original concentration in an aqueous sample is >20 μg L−1.

Finally, we present an approach to estimate polymer masses based on the two-dimensional microplastic shapes recorded during the analysis with FTIR microscopy. Our suite of techniques demonstrates that analysis of the entire size spectrum of plastic debris is feasible.


A new about microplastics has been released by NRC with the title "Filters with miniscule holes for plastic particles smaller than a grain of sand". Here, NRC describes the current situation of microplastic pollution and the possible solutions to the problem. For this purpose, a number of experts in the field of plastics were interviewed, including Bart Koelmans and Svenja Mintenig.

Plastic Pacific/Kim Preston (image ilustrating the new in


On the 16th of April, Ellen Besseling defended her PhD thesis, named "Micro and nanoplastic in the aquatic environment: from rivers to whales". Defence took place at Wageningen University and the committee was formed by Carolien Kroeze, Annemarie van Wezel, Anja Verschoor and Dick Vethaak.

How do plastic particles end up in whales from rivers? Ellen Besseling shows in her thesis how plastic particles are transported in a river. Partly they remain behind in the river, but partly they are also transported to the sea. With another model, she shows how particles from the sea end up in whales, with the example of the whale Johanna washed ashore on Texel.


All these plastic particles also carry toxic substances. How harmful are these for humans and animals? Besseling used innovative measurements and models for this and concludes that the same toxins are often already included through other routes, for example from water or food, and that the contribution from plastic is often small.


She also compared the measured concentrations in seawater in a systematic way with the concentrations known at the moment where an effect can be expected. "This type of quantitative analysis gives a lot of insight into the question of where the risks really lie, and where not," says supervisor Prof. Bart Koelmans. "Much of the research so far has been qualitative. With the new methods that Ellen has developed, we can specifically look at specific organisms and locations".

Elllen Besseling at her PhD thesis Defence together with the committee in the upper picture and with her promotor Bart Koelmans and co-promotor Edwin Foekema in the lower picture.


One of the aims of the TRAMP project is to assess the effects of microplastics on freshwater biota. In our recently published paper "Microplastic effect threshold for freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates", we determined the effect thresholds for a battery of six freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates with different species traits, using a wide range of microplastic concentrations. For this purpose, standardized 28 days single species bioassays were performed under environmentally relevant exposure conditions using polystyrene microplastics (20−500 μm) mixed with sediment at concentrations ranging from 0 to 40% sediment dry weight (dw).

Our results revealed that polystyrene microplastics caused no effects on the survival of Gammarus pulex, Hyalella azteca, Asellus aquaticus, Sphaerium corneum, and Tubifex spp. and no effects were found on the reproduction of Lumbriculus variegatus. No significant differences in growth were found for H. azteca, A. aquaticus, S. corneum, L. variegatus, and Tubifex spp. However, G. pulex showed a significant reduction in growth (EC10 = 1.07% sediment dw) and microplastic uptake was proportional with microplastic concentrations in sediment. These results indicate that although the risks of environmentally realistic concentrations of microplastics may be low, they still may affect the biodiversity and the functioning of aquatic communities which after all also depend on the sensitive species.

The Open Access book Freshwater Microplastics: Emerging Environmental Contaminants? is now available online. The book highlights that plastic pollution of freshwater ecosystems is as important as pollution in the oceans and deserves our attention.


We contributed a chapter to this book, focussing on transport and fate modelling of plastic debris in freshwaters. In this chapter, we discuss the unique features of plastic debris, how these features influence transport behaviour, and how different models could increase our understanding of transport and fate  of plastic debris. Also, we provide remcommendations on how to use these models for a tiered risk assessment for plastic debris. 


Risks of Plastic Debris: Unravelling Fact, Opinion, Perception, and Belief


Researcher and media alarms have caused plastic debris to be perceived as a major threat to humans and animals. However, although the waste of plastic in the environment is clearly undesirable for aesthetic and economic reasons, the actual environmental risks of different plastics and their associated chemicals remain largely unknown. Here we show how a systematic assessment of adverse outcome pathways based on ecologically relevant metrics for exposure and effect can bring risk assessment within reach. Results of such an assessment will help to respond to the current public worry in a balanced way and allow policy makers to take measures for scientifically sound reasons.

Outcomes of the TRAMP Project presented at the SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting in Brussels.


The latest results of the Tramp Project were shown at the SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting in Brussels, in which five sessions and more than 50 posters were dedicated to topics related to plastic. 

During the session named "Microplastics, nanoplastics and co-contaminants: Fate, effects and risk assessment for biota, the environment and human health (I)", Paula Redondo Hasselerharm presented her study about the chronic effects of polystyrene microplastics on freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates.

Merel Kooi presented the poster "Modeling the fate and transport of plastic debris in freshwaters: review and guidance", and Svenja Mintenig presented the poster "Retention of nanoplastics during the purification of drinking water". 

Besides the scientific pruposes of the Meeting, the SETAC Conference is also a yearly event that brings people together from all around the world working on the plastic topic. Some of the attendants met for a "plastic dinner", where they were able to share experiences, thoughts and concerns related to this field.

On the left, Merel Kooi stands next to her poster; on the right, Svenja Mintenig presents the poster to one of the attendants to the conference.

Some of the attendants of the Conference working on plastics meeting for dinner during the event.

TRAMP will be present at SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting in Brussels.


Project members will attend the SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting, which will be held at the SQUARE Conference Centre in Brussels between 7–11 May 2017. The abstracts submitted by TRAMP researchers are listed below:

Kooi, M., van Wezel, A., Kroeze C., Koelmans A.A. Modelling the fate and transport of plastic debris in fresh waters - review and guidance. 2017. SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting, Brussels (May 7-11).

Mintenig, S., Messina, R., Dekker, S., Koelmans, A.A., van Wezel, A. Explaining the behaviour and removal efficiency of microand nanoplastic by different drinking water technologies. 2017. SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting, Brussels (May 7-11).

Redondo-Hasselerharm, P., Falahudin D., Peeters E., Koelmans A.A. Chronic effects of polystyrene microplastics on freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates. 2017. SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting, Brussels (May 7-11).

Bellingeri, A., Redondo-Hasselerharm, P., Beekman-Lukassen, W., Gillissen, F., Corsi I., Koelmans A.A. Nanoplastics affect the toxicity of copper to the freshwater microalga Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata. 2017. SETAC Europe 27th Annual Meeting, Brussels (May 7-11).

TRAMP members attended the Workshop "Insights and Analytical Approaches in Microplastics Using Raman and FTIR Spectroscopy".


Paula Redondo and Svenja Mintenig at the Thermo Fisher facilities in Dreieich together with Alvise Vianello, one of the presenters at the workshop.

Last week, Svenja Mintenig and Paula Redondo participated in the workshop "Insights and Analytical Approaches in Microplastics Using Raman and FTIR Spectroscopy", organised by Thermo Fisher Scientific in Dreieich, Germany.

During the morning, five presentations were given by experts in the field. The talks were mainly focused on the pre-treatment and analysis of samples. In the afternoon, live measurements of microplastics were done using Raman and FTIR Spectroscopy. This allowed the participants to get an overview of the possibilities given by both techniques, as well as their advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of samples measured and the aim of the analysis.

Fate of nano- and microplastic in rivers explained


Very tiny plastic particles of micro and nano size are difficult to measure in the environment, which hampers the risk assessment of these particles. Wageningen researchers involved in the TRAMP project now provide the first mechanistic modelling study on the behaviour and fate of nano- and microplastic in surface waters. The model was developed in 2013-2014 and forms the basis of the modelling work in TRAMP.

Plastic debris has been detected in the oceans, in soils, sediments and surface waters worldwide. Emissions are expected to increase by an order of magnitude in the coming years. Fragmentation leads to smaller and smaller particles, eventually reaching the submicron scale. At these very small sizes, plastic particles may pose unforeseen risks. Yet they are hard to measure in the environment so that exposure assessments have to rely on modelling. Wageningen researcher Ellen Besseling: "We already knew that microplastics are transported in rivers and can reach the sediment, potentially affecting aquatic life. Now we have a theoretical tool that helps us to understand why/how this happens and that helps us to explain what we see. This is important in order to design mitigation strategies for plastic debris of all sizes, and to predict emissions of plastics to our oceans."

Monitoring microplastic concentrations in freshwater by WUR together with Waterboard Rivierenland.

Project Partners and Research Team meet on the occasion of the first year of the TRAMP Project


After one year from the start of the TRAMP Project, project partners and members of the research team met at Sinderhoeve experimental facilities, which are part of Wageningen University.


Among other things, Anja Verschoor presented the work done by RIVM regarding to plastic debris and the activities that are currently being carried out. Also, the PhDs involved in the project showed the main results obtained to date, as well as their plans for the coming months. All participants had the opportunity to share knowledge and expectations and interesting discussions arised during the talks.

At the end of the day, project partners were given a brief tour through the Sinderhoeve facilities, where some of the experiments included in the TRAMP Project are being performed.

Project partners and members of the research team at the Sinderhoeve experimental facilities, in Renkum.

Ellen Besseling and Bart Koelmans attended the 2016 International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Meeting


Ellen Besseling and Bart Koelmans participated in the 2016 meeting of the International Society of Exposure Science, which took place between the 9th and the 13th of October, in Utrecht, The Netherlands. 

In her presentation on the 12th of October, Ellen talked about the fate modeling of nano- and microplastic in freshwaters. The model that Ellen has developed forms the basis of the modeling work within the TRAMP project.  On the same day, Bart  talked about risk assessment of nanoplastic and nanoparticles, including how exposure and fragmentation models can inform risk assessments for these materials. 

Logo of the 2016 Meeting of the ISES.

Svenja Mintenig will be present at the 7th LSW of the WG: "Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment"


Logo of the WG, organiser of the 7th LSW.

Svenja Mintenig will attend the 7th Late Summer Workshop from the Water Chemistry Society (Wasserchemische Gesellschaft), called "Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment", which will take part between the 25th and the 28th of September in Haltern am See, Germany.

During the presentation, Svenja will explain further outcomes for the development of an analytical protocol for the detection of Micro and Nanoplastic in freshwater systems, which is one of the topics addressed in the TRAMP Project. The talk will be held on Tuesday 27th of September at 10.00 in the Conference room "Drusus/Caesar".

TRAMP as an example of how science on microplastic can inform policy


Bart Koelmans contributed to a recent Focus paper in the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, where the authors provide an analysis of how the current knowledge about plastic debris can be relevant to policy. This is done by summarizing the weight of evidence regarding contamination, fate, and effects of plastic debris. The Dutch research program TRAMP is mentioned as an example of how science has already been used to inform policy change and mitigation.

Water managers at a microplastic meeting in The Netherlands.

Svenja Mintenig wins Poster Award at MICRO 2016


PhD candidate Svenja Mintenig won the award for the most innovative Poster at the MICRO Conference 2016 in Arrecife (Lanzarote, Spain).


With the tittle Closing the gap between small and smaller: Towards an analytical protocol for the detection of Micro- and Nanoplastic in freshwater systems, this study provides the first overview of the analytical protocol that will be developed as part of Svenja's work in the TRAMP Project. This analytical protocol has the aim of covering the total range of environmentally relevant plastic particles, from nano to macroplastics, by combining several methods. Therefore, while particles bigger than 500 μm will be manually sorted and analysed using FTIR-ATR, particles between 20 - 500 μm will be mapped using micro-FTIR. Furthermore, the filtrates contaning particles in a range from a few nanometers to 20 μm will be fractionated according to size by applying Field-Flow-Fractionation (FFF). Subsequently, Pyrolysis GC-MS will be used to identify (nano)plastic in the individual size fractions.

Svenja Mintenig in front of her poster at MIICRO 2016 in Arrecife.

TRAMP will be present at SETAC Nantes and MICRO 2016


Logos of the SETAC Europe 26th Annual Meeting in Nantes and MICRO Conference 2016 in Arrecife.

Members of the TRAMP research team will attend the SETAC Europe 26th Annual Meeting in Nantes (France) and the MICRO Conference 2016 in Arrecife (Spain).


The first results obtained since the start up of the TRAMP project will be presented at both conferences, as well as other studies related to microplastics carried out by our research team members. The abstracts submitted in which the TRAMP team has participated are listed below:

Kooi, M, Reisser, J., Schmid, M., Ferrari, F., Cunsolo, S., Brambini, R., Noble, K, Sirks, L.-A., Linders, T., Slat, B. Koelmans, A.A. The depth profile of buoyant microplastics: how much is overlooked with sea surface sampling? MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27.

Kooi, M., Van Nes, E.H., Scheffer, M., Koelmans A.A. Ups and downs in the ocean: Modelling the effect of biofouling on the vertical transport of microplastics. MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27.

Koelmans, A.A., Kooi, M., Reisser, J. All is not lost: Fragmentation of Plastic at Sea. MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27.

Mintenig, S., Bauerlein, P., Koelmans, A.A., Dekker, S., van Wezel, A.  Closing the gap between small and smaller: Towards an analytical protocol for the detection of Micro- and Nanoplastic in freshwater systems. MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27.


Panti, C., Fossi, M.C., Baini, M., Koelmans, A.A. 2016. Microplastic as a vector of chemicals to baleen whales in the Mediterranean Sea: A model-supported analysis of available data. MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27.


Reisser, J., Lebreton, L., Ferrari, F., Saint-Rose, B., Cunsolo, S., Proietti, M., Debeljak, P., Schöneich-Argent, R. Levivier, A., Slat, B. Koelmans A.A.  The North Pacific accumulation zone: ocean plastic concentrations and impacts. MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27

Stuurman, L., Redondo Hasselerharm, P., Peeters E., Besseling, E., Koelmans A.A. Effects of microplastics on benthic macroinvertebrates in freshwater ecosystems. May 2016, SETAC Annual Meeting, Nantes, France.

Vroom, R., Besseling, E., Koelmans, A.A., Halsband C. Biofouling of microplastics promotes their ingestion by marine zooplankton: implications for food web magnification and experimental design. MICRO 2016 Conference, Lanzarote, Spain. May 25-27.

TRAMP in Media: Annemarie van Wezel and Svenja Mintenig are interviewed by RTV Utrecht.


Annemarie and Svenja beeing interviewed by RTV Utrecht.

A team from RTV Utrecht visited the laboratory of KWR, where Annemarie van Wezel and Svenja Mintenig are currently working on the identification of plastic particles with a size below 20 µm by using Field-Flow-Fractionation (FFF) and Pyrolysis GC-MS.


The TV programme addresses the issue of plastic pollution from a broader perspective and our TRAMP members contribute by explaining the potential hazards of micro and nanoplastics and the ways to analyze them.

The FTIR spectrometer has been installed


The Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer has been installed at the Food & Biobased Research Institute, in Wageningen University. This instrument is a key element for the TRAMP research team to be able to accomplish some of the tasks defined within the project.


The FTIR spectrometer is essential for the development of an analytical protocol to examine nano- and microplastics in samples from freshwater systems and will also be used for other purposes, such as the analysis of the presence of plastic particles in biological samples. 

Part of the Research Team during the first training day.

The TRAMP Project has officialy started


The first TRAMP internal meeting took part yesterday after the incorporation of the PhD candidates Svenja Mintenig and Paula Redondo Hasselerharm to the TRAMP team. 

With the aim of welcoming the new team members, a get-to-know meeting was celebrated at the University of Wageningen, which was followed by a dinner at the city centre. This meeting also means the official start-up of the project, where ideas and expectations where shared between the project members. A new PhD candidate will join the group in the beginning of 2016.

Members of the TRAMP team having dinner in Wageningen.