Preliminary screening for microplastic concentrations in the surface water of the Ob and Tom Rivers in Siberia, Russia

Yulia A. Frank, Egor D. Vorobiev, Danil S. Vorobiev, Andrey A. Trifonov, Dmitry V. Antsiferov, Tina Soliman Hunter, Scott P. Wilson, Vladimir Strezov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
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To date, the largest Russian rivers discharging to the Arctic Ocean remain a “blank spot” on the world map of data on the distribution of microplastics in freshwater systems. This study characterizes the abundance and morphology of microplastics in surface water of the Ob River and its large tributary, the Tom River, in western Siberia. The average number of particles for the two rivers ranged from 44.2 to 51.2 items per m3 or from 79.4 to 87.5 μg per m3 in the Tom River and in the Ob River, respectively. Of the recovered microplastics, 93.5% were less than 1 mm in their largest dimension, the largest group (45.5% of total counts) consisted of particles with sizes range 0.30–1.00 mm. Generally, microfragments of irregular shape were the most abundant among the Ob and Tom samples (47.4%) and exceeded microfibers (22.1%), microfilms (20.8%), and microspheres (9.74%) by average counts. Results from this study provide a baseline for understanding the scale of the transport of microplastics by the Ob River system into the Arctic Ocean and add to currently available data on microplastics abundance and diversity in freshwater systems of differing global geographic locations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number80
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • microplastic abundance
  • microplastic cycle
  • freshwater
  • rivers


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