Scientists are "probing" for ways of tackling microplastics in the sea.


Researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands have developed a method that is capable of monitoring and absorbing contaminants in water. In his doctoral thesis, Mateo del Río, part of the chemical materials research group, presented a system of magnetic properties from the MOF-74 metal-organic framework which, when combined with carbon porosity and metal-organic functionality in water, can extract contaminants such as microplastics or colourants used by the textile industry.

In explaining their work on Monday, the head of the research group, Gemma Turnes, said that the MOF-74 metal-organic framework is a highly stable and hybrid material with a magnetic component that is capable of extracting various contaminants from water in the space of ten minutes.

This chemical process can be used to clean small samples of contaminated water and to monitor environmental contamination activity and control the level. Del Río observed that science is "probing and probing" means of tackling environmental contaminants. The method, he suggested, could be used to analyse samples in the bay of Palma in order to assess levels of contamination. "We need to identify where there are problems and act as soon as possible in order to avoid disasters."