Monitoring of Microplastics in the Marine Environment

Changing Directions towards Quality Controlled Tailored Solutions

image of Monitoring of Microplastics in the Marine Environment

The need for harmonized monitoring protocols for marine microplastic has been discussed for many years, but how to reach this goal has not been agreed upon. Important questions addressed when microplastics are monitored are: how to carry out field sampling, how to eliminate other particulate matter from a sample without harming the microplastics, and how to accurately identify the particles, while also preventing and assessing potential sample contamination at each step from sampling to analyses. In the project HARMIC, Nordic scientist with long term experience in microplastic research, applied and evaluated different methods for sampling and sample preparation relevant for the establishment of common guidelines. The outcomes of the studies are discussed from a monitoring perspective, including aspects of quality assurance and quality control.



Pre-treatment of water and sediment samples prior to analyses

The extraction of microplastics may include both a step where natural organic material is degraded and rinsed off the sample and a step where mineral particles are removed through density separation with a saturated saline solution. In general, water samples only require the first step, the removal of organic material, whereas sediment samples need to go through the density separation step.


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