Challenges in Microplastics Analysis: From Routine Laboratory Testing to Pushing the Boundary on Particle Sizes

Microplastic pollution is emerging as a critical environmental issue in the 21st century. As larger microplastic particles degrade into submicron-sized (< 5µm) particles, their prevalence in the environment is expected to rise fivefold. On the other hand, microplastic analysis is still a developing field with many challenges. In this webinar, we will hear from two speakers addressing very diverse but widely prevalent challenges. By sharing their experiences, the speakers aim to contribute to the broader understanding of microplastic analysis, supporting informed decision-making and environmental management strategies to mitigate the environmental impacts of microplastics.
To accurately comprehend the fate of microplastics and their impact, it becomes imperative to employ an analytical approach that precisely detects and quantifies the submicron-sized microplastics. Micro-spectroscopic techniques that combine the detection of particles with the identification of their chemical composition remain the most precise method for microplastic analysis. However, the accuracy of this approach varies depending on particle size, with detection capabilities diminishing as the particles reach the submicron scale. Our first speaker, Dr. Gbotemi Adediran from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will explore the following topics:

  • Opportunities and challenges in analyzing Sub-micron-sized (< 5µm) microplastics.
  • Practical demonstration of analyzing microplastics (< 5µm) in both air and tap water while highlighting the analytical limitations.
  • Use of Laser Direct Infrared (LDIR) chemical imaging to detect and quantify submicron-sized microplastics.