Leaching behaviors of dissolved organic matter from face masks revealed by fluorescence EEM combined with FRI and PARAFAC.

Publication date: Mar 05, 2024

Despite numerous studies investigating the occurrence and fate of microplastics, no effort has been devoted toward exploring the characteristics of dissolved organic matter (DOM) leached from face masks mainly made of plastics and additives used in large quantities during the COVID-19 pandemic. By using FTIR, UV-vis, fluorescence EEM coupling with FRI and PARAFAC, and kinetic models of leaching experiments, we explored the leaching behaviors of face mask-derived DOM (FM-DOM) from commonly used face masks including N95, KN95, medical surgical masks, etc. The concentration of FM-DOM increased quickly at early 0-48 h and reached equilibrium at about 48 h measured in terms of dissolved organic carbon and fluorescence intensity. The protein-like materials ranged from 80. 32 % to 89. 40 % of percentage fluorescence response (P) were dominant in four types of FM-DOM analyzed by fluorescence EEM-FRI during the leaching experiments from 1 to 360 h. Four fluorescent components were identified, which included tryptophan-like components, tyrosine-like components, microbial protein-like components, and fulvic-like components with fluorescence EEM-PARAFAC models. The multi-order kinetic model (R 0. 975-0. 999) fitted better than the zero-order and first-order kinetic model (R 0. 936-0. 982) for all PARAFAC components of FM-DOM based on equations derived by pseudo kinetic models. The leaching rate constants (k) ranged from 0. 058 to 30. 938 and the half-life times (T) ranged from 2. 73 to 24. 87 h for four FM-DOM samples, following the solubility order of fulvic-like components (C4) > microbial protein-like components (C3) > tryptophan-like components (C1) > tyrosine-like components (C2) for FM-DOM from four types of face masks during the leaching experiment from 0 to 360 h. These novel findings will contribute to the understanding of the underappreciated environment impact of face masks in aquatic ecosystems.

Concepts Keywords
Fluorescence Dissolved organic matter
Plastics Face mask
Surgical Fluorescence EEM-FRI
Underappreciated Fluorescence EEM-PARAFAC
Kinetic model


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
drug DRUGBANK Activated charcoal
drug DRUGBANK L-Tryptophan
drug DRUGBANK L-Tyrosine
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide

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