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Novel polymeric packaging materials susceptible to environmentally friendly decomposition appeared on the global market. The paper is devoted to an investigation of the impact of degradable polymer packaging on marine life. The chosen polymer was a commercial packaging based on thermoplastic starch (TPS over 85%). The microorganism chosen was Phaeodactylum tricornutum diatom (identified in many aquatic reservoirs, with a tendency to flow with seawater plankton in places of great saline oscillation). The packaging material was incubated both in natural seawater and in the presence of diatom population. The chlorophyll a content was determined as the criterion of diatom growth in the presence of tested polymers. The polymer surface and the colour changes in the diatom culture were recorded photographically. The presence of polymeric samples significantly changed the kinetic of diatom growth in seawater during incubation affecting its biological balance. During the experiment in seawater, diatom adhered to polymer surfaces and the polymer stimulated their growth.
In years 2006–2010 particulate matter analysis was undertaken for dust samples collected from Gdansk and London area in order to compare their morphology and composition. Part of those studies was devoted to analysis of particulate matter (PM) bearing metals. Characterization of the morphology and size of the particles collected onto the filters was performed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). Both electron microscopes were equipped with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometers to identify the elemental composition of the particles. On analysis of the X-ray spectra acquired by both TEM and SEM, the particles were divided into 10 groups as follows: Al-rich, Ba-rich, C-rich, Ca-rich, Cl-rich, Fe-rich, Mg-rich, Na-rich, S-rich, Si-rich. Speciation of the particles based on the major element and accompanying minor elements yielded 34 particle types. However, some pairs of elements repeat, for instance: Na-Cl and Cl-Na, Al-S and S-Al, Si-Al and Al-Si, S-Ca and Ca-S. These are undoubtedly the same types of particles; variation in peak heights of the major and minor elements is normal in a mixed particle population.
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