Advancement and Challenges of Microplastic Pollution in the Aquatic Environment: a Review

  • Yue Yu
  • Dongren Zhou
  • Zhanming Li
  • Cheng Zhu


As a new persistent environmental pollutant, microplastic pollution has attracted great interest recently. Microplastic particles are distributed widely throughout the world’s freshwaters, oceans, and seas, including the water column and sediments reaching as far as the deep sea. However, the practical considerations and protocols for microplastic pollution have, to the best of our knowledge, not been reviewed properly with regard to assessing their distribution, biotoxicity, sampling, and identification in the aquatic environment. In this review, the implications of microplastic pollution, including its wide distribution, biotoxicity threats, sampling, and identification challenges in the aquatic environment, were discussed and evaluated. The challenges and perspective of the related research are also presented to identify knowledge gaps and to prioritize future research needs.

Graphical abstract

In this review, the implications of microplastic pollution, including its wide distribution, biotoxicity threats, sampling, and identification challenges in the aquatic environment, were discussed and evaluated. The challenges and perspective of the related research are also presented to identify knowledge gaps and to prioritize future research needs.


Microplastic Aquatic environment Sampling Identification Biotoxicity threats Challenge 


Funding Information

This work was financially supported by the Open Fund of Zhejiang Institute of Freshwater Fisheries (Grant No. ZJK201805), Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province, China (Grant No. LQ17C200002), and Open Fund of Huzhou Vocational and Technical College (Grant No. 2018JC01).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11270_2018_3788_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (205 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 204 kb)


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Huzhou Vocational and Technical CollegeHuzhouChina
  2. 2.College of Life SciencesChina Jiliang UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Agriculture Ministry Key Laboratory of Healthy Freshwater Aquaculture, Key Laboratory of Fish Health and Nutrition of Zhejiang ProvinceZhejiang Institute of Freshwater FisheriesHuzhouChina

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