*WINNER* Determination of microplastic content in western Tennessee lakes
Studies have shown that plastics degrade into microplastics with a diameter of 5mm or less. Many studies have been completed on the presence of microplastics in marine environments, with fewer studies on freshwater environments. This study attempts to determine the content of microplastics in two freshwater lakes in Tennessee that have varying degrees of human activity near the lake — Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River and Maple’s Creek Lake isolated in the Natchez Trace State Park. Samples were collected from various locations within the two lakes via bulk sampling. The size of the microplastics were determined with a particle size analyzer, and then the chemical composition of the particles was determined by FT-IR.