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Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1007/s00216-019-02311-1
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Title (Primary) Microplastic analysis—are we measuring the same? Results on the first global comparative study for microplastic analysis in a water sample
Author Müller, Y.K.; Wernicke, T.; Pittroff, M.; Witzig, C.S.; Storck, F.R.; Klinger, J.; Zumbülte, N.
Journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Year 2020
Department OEC
Volume 412
Issue 3
Page From 555
Page To 560
Language englisch
Keywords Microplastic; Comparative study; Method comparison;Standardization
Abstract This paper presents the results of the first international comparative study of commonly applied analytical methods for microplastic analysis. Although it was shown that the comparability between previously published studies is highly limited, there are ambitious efforts regarding the standardization of microplastic analysis. This comparative study serves as a first step to assess the suitability of frequently used methods in microplastic research. Furthermore, it highlights obstacles when conducting a comparative study for microplastics. Results from 17 laboratories from eight different countries are compared. Samples comprised of five different types of microplastic reference particles with diameters ranging from 8 µm to 140 μm suspended in ultrapure water. Microscopy, Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy (μ-FTIR), Raman microspectroscopy (μ-Raman), thermo-extraction-and-desorption- or pyrolysis- combined with gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (Σ-GC/MS), scanning electron microscopy and particle counter were compared regarding results on total particle number, polymer type, number of particles and/or particle mass for each polymer type. In the scope of this comparative study, for the identification of polymer type μ-Raman and Σ-GC/MS performed best. The quantification of polymer mass for identified polymer types was questionable for Σ-GC/MS, whereas other methods failed to determine the correct polymer mass. Quantification of particle number per identified polymer type was evaluated successful for μ-FTIR and the quantification of total particle numbers was best for microscopy and to a lesser extent for μ-FTIR. Remarkable was the large variance of results between the methods but also within the methods. The latter is likely due to individual interpretations of methods and preparation protocols, in particular in regard to the handling of blank values. Results strongly emphasize the need for standardization and validation of analytical methods in microplastic research both on a global scale as well as in the context of individual laboratories.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Müller, Y.K., Wernicke, T., Pittroff, M., Witzig, C.S., Storck, F.R., Klinger, J., Zumbülte, N. (2020):
Microplastic analysis—are we measuring the same? Results on the first global comparative study for microplastic analysis in a water sample
Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 412 (3), 555 - 560