Microplastics are small plastic particles, globally distributed throughout the oceans. To properly study them, all the methodologies for their sampling, extraction, and measurement should be standardized. For heterogeneous samples containing sediments, animal tissues and zooplankton, several procedures have been described. However, definitive methodologies for samples, rich in algae and plant material, have not yet been developed. The aim of this study was to find the best extraction protocol for vegetal-rich samples by comparing the efficacies of five previously described digestion methods, and a novel density separation method. A protocol using 96% ethanol for density separation was better than the five digestion methods tested, even better than using H2O2 digestion. As it was the most efficient, simple, safe and inexpensive method for isolating microplastics from vegetal rich samples, we recommend it as a standard separation method.
Alicia Herrera, Paloma Garrido-Amador, Ico Martínez and al., Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 129, Issue 1, April 2018, Pages 61–69