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Detection of Microplastics in Human Colectomy Specimens: An Observational Study

Detection of Microplastics in Human Colectomy Specimens: An Observational Study

21 Aug 2021 17:56 17:58
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Tengku Ahmad Iskandar Tengku Alang1,2, Yusof Shuaib Ibrahim3, Sabiqah Tuan Anuar3, Alyza A Azmi3, Wan Mohd Afiq Wan Mohd Khalik3, Shumpei Lehata3, Siti Rabaah Hamzah3, Dzulkiflee Ismail.4, Zheng Feei Ma4,5, Andee Dzulkarnaen.1, Zaidi Zakaria.1,Nazri Mustaffa.1, Sharifah Emilia Tuan Sharif.1 and Yeong Yeh Lee1,2

1School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu, Malaysia, 2GI Function and Motility Unit, Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu, Malaysia, 3Microplastic Research Interest Group, Faculty of Science and Marine Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus, Malaysia, 4School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu, Malaysia, 5Department of Health and Environmental Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China

Background/Aims: Dietary exposure to microplastics is increasingly recognized but no evidence if microplastics remain in the digestive tract. We aimed to examine human colectomy specimens for microplastics and to report their characteristics as well as polymer composition of the particles.

Methods: Specimens were obtained from adults who had a colectomy for a medical reason. The samples were first digested, then filtrated, and finally dried. Microplastics were observed using a stereo dissecting microscope (model SZX7, Olympus Corp., Tokyo, Japan) for abundance and characteristics (length, shape, color). Composition of common polymer types (polycarbonate, polypropylene and polyamide) was determined using the Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) microscope (model LUMOS, Bruker Optics Inc., MA, USA).

Results: A total of 11 specimens was analyzed. Indications for colectomy were nine colorectal cancer, one bleeding AV malformation, and one perforated inflammatory bowel disease in one. Microplastics were detected in all 11 samples with an average of 331 particles/ individual specimen or 28.1±15.4 particles/g tissue. Filaments accounted for 96.1% of particles, and 73.1% of all filaments were transparent in color. Out of 40 random filaments from 10 specimens (one had indeterminate spectra patterns therefore excluded), 90% were polycarbonate, 50% were polyamide, and 40% were polypropylene.

Conclusion: Microplastics are detected in all colectomy specimens. Polycarbonate is the most common polymer found.

Keywords: cancer, colectomy, human, microplastic


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