Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Nanoplastics pollution in the Ocean

Overlooked but high impact potential

The nanoscale of the ocean plastic problem is a truly new discovery. The existence of ocean nanoplastics has been shown, but we lack knowledge of the processes that drive plastic pollution to the nanoscale and the impacts on microbiology. Until recently there was no analytical technique to measure this type of pollution. In this project, we make use of a new analytical technique to map nanoplastics abundance in the Ocean, and we will study the uptake of nanoplastics by micro-organisms. Microbial degradation of nanoplastics could be an important, yet unassessed sink for ocean nanoplastics.


The novelty and uniqueness of our combined approach will result in a long-lasting UU-NIOZ collaboration with the potential for ground-breaking discoveries

    Rupert Holzinger, Helge Niemann

 Project team

Virtually nothing is known about the abundance and distribution of nanoplastics in the marine realm. Photo: Tunatura

Connected themes

  • Ocean of Discovery
NIOZ project page