Focal plane array detector-based micro-Fourier-transform infrared imaging for the analysis of microplastics in environmental samples

The pollution of the environment with microplastics (plastic pieces <5 mm) is a problem of increasing concern. However, although this has been generally recognised by scientists and authorities, the analysis of microplastics is often done by visual inspection alone with potentially high error rates, especially for smaller particles. Methods that allow for a fast and reliable analysis of microplastics enriched on filters are lacking. Our study is the first to fill this gap by using focal plane array detector-based micro-Fourier-transform infrared imaging for analysis of microplastics from environmental samples. As a result of our iteratively optimised analytical approach (concerning filter material, measuring mode, measurement parameters and identification protocol), we were able to successfully measure the whole surface (>10-mm diameter) of filters with microplastics from marine plankton and sediment samples. (…)

Martin Günter Joachim Löder, Mirco Kuczera, Svenja Mintenig, Claudia Lorenz and Gunnar Gerdts, Environmental Chemistry, 12 (5), 563-581, August 2015

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