EXPLOPE (2021-2023)

Exploring the environmental occurrence and links between organophosphate esters additives and micro-plastics in sediments and benthic organisms from the Loire estuary

Coordination Ifremer

Type de projet


 Durée du projet


J. Castro-Jiménez


Ifremer DS (Politique de Site)


Organophosphate ester (OPE) flame retardants and plasticizers are organic plastic additives and contaminants of emerging concern. Due to their physical-chemical properties, most OPEs exhibit a strong tendency to bind with carbon-rich suspended particulate matter, accumulating in sediments. Marine sediments are also final repositories of micro-plastics (MPs). Determining the environmental occurrence in sediments of both MPs and their additives thus becomes crucial to better understand their current stocks, potential transfer to benthic communities, and possible impacts on the global functioning of marine ecosystems. The Loire estuary represents an ecosystem of high ecological value as well as an ocean/land interface for sea trade and associated industrial activities. Despite the presence of major cities and other potential sources in the catchment area, the presence of MPs is poorly documented in the area, and no data on the occurrence and environmental levels of OPEs is available in the Loire estuary sediments and/or benthos.

The main objectives of the project EXPLOPE are:

  1. to determine the current concentrations of OPEs and micro-plastics (MPs) in sediments and benthic organisms from the estuary;
  2. to investigate the OPE bioaccumulation (transfer sediment-benthos);
  3. to explore the links between MPs abundance and OPE concentrations in both compartments.

Personnels Ifremer
Les partenaires

CCEM  : Y. Aminot, C. Pollono, N. Bely, B. Idjaton
LER-MPL : L. Bizzozero, O. Pierre-Duplessix

Université Gustave Eiffel : J. Gasperi


Résultats attendus :

First sampling campaigns to be conducted in April and September 2021. Major expected results are : (1) to provide the first evaluation on the environmental occurrence of OPEs (and selected degradation metabolites), and MPs in sediments and benthic organisms subject to different anthropogenic pressures; (2) the estimation of the OPE field-derived biota-sediment accumulation factors (BSAFs); (3) the elucidation of the potential role of MPs as significant sources of OPE contamination in filter-feeders; (4) the evaluation of the suitability of major OPE degradation metabolites as markers of environmental exposure of OPEs.