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JOURNAL ARTICLE

New techniques for the detection of microplastics in sediments and field collected organisms

Michiel Claessens, Lisbeth Van Cauwenberghe, Michiel B Vandegehuchte, Colin R Janssen
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2013 May 15, 70 (1): 227-33
23601693
Microplastics have been reported in marine environments worldwide. Accurate assessment of quantity and type is therefore needed. Here, we propose new techniques for extracting microplastics from sediment and invertebrate tissue. The method developed for sediments involves a volume reduction of the sample by elutriation, followed by density separation using a high density NaI solution. Comparison of this methods' efficiency to that of a widely used technique indicated that the new method has a considerably higher extraction efficiency. For fibres and granules an increase of 23% and 39% was noted, extraction efficiency of PVC increased by 100%. The second method aimed at extracting microplastics from animal tissues based on chemical digestion. Extraction of microspheres yielded high efficiencies (94-98%). For fibres, efficiencies were highly variable (0-98%), depending on polymer type. The use of these two techniques will result in a more complete assessment of marine microplastic concentrations.

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