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Open AccessArticle

From the Well to the Bottle: Identifying Sources of Microplastics in Mineral Water

1
Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science, Group of Water Systems Technology, Technical University of Munich, Maximus-von-Imhof-Forum 2, D-85354 Freising, Germany
2
Institute of Hydrochemistry, Chair of Analytical Chemistry and Water Chemistry, Technical University of Munich, Elisabeth-Winterhalter-Weg 6, D-81377 Munich, Germany
3
Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics, Vienna University of Technology, Getreidemarkt 9, AT-1060 Vienna, Austria
4
Purency GmbH, Walfischgasse 8/34, AT-1010 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Fernando António Leal Pacheco
Water 2021, 13(6), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060841
Received: 8 February 2021 / Revised: 15 March 2021 / Accepted: 17 March 2021 / Published: 19 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Aquatic Systems—Quality and Contamination)
Microplastics (MP) have been detected in bottled mineral water across the world. Because only few MP particles have been reported in ground water-sourced drinking water, it is suspected that MP enter the water during bottle cleaning and filling. However, until today, MP entry paths were not revealed. For the first time, this study provides findings of MP from the well to the bottle including the bottle washing process. At four mineral water bottlers, five sample types were taken along the process: raw and deferrized water samples were filtered in situ; clean bottles were sampled right after they left the bottle washer and after filling and capping. Caustic cleaning solutions were sampled from bottle washers and MP particles isolated through enzymatic and chemical treatments. The samples were analyzed for eleven synthetic and natural polymer particles ≥11 µm with Fourier-transform infrared imaging and random decision forests. MP were present in all steps of mineral water bottling, with a sharp increase from <1 MP L−1 to 317 ± 257 MP L−1 attributed to bottle capping. As 81% of MP resembled the PE-based cap sealing material, abrasion from the sealings was identified as the main entry path for MP into bottled mineral water. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastics; mineral water; ground water; bottle washer; FPA-FTIR imaging; random decision forest microplastics; mineral water; ground water; bottle washer; FPA-FTIR imaging; random decision forest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Weisser, J.; Beer, I.; Hufnagl, B.; Hofmann, T.; Lohninger, H.; Ivleva, N.P.; Glas, K. From the Well to the Bottle: Identifying Sources of Microplastics in Mineral Water. Water 2021, 13, 841. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060841

AMA Style

Weisser J, Beer I, Hufnagl B, Hofmann T, Lohninger H, Ivleva NP, Glas K. From the Well to the Bottle: Identifying Sources of Microplastics in Mineral Water. Water. 2021; 13(6):841. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060841

Chicago/Turabian Style

Weisser, Jana; Beer, Irina; Hufnagl, Benedikt; Hofmann, Thomas; Lohninger, Hans; Ivleva, Natalia P.; Glas, Karl. 2021. "From the Well to the Bottle: Identifying Sources of Microplastics in Mineral Water" Water 13, no. 6: 841. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13060841

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