Evaluating the effectiveness of the MicroPlastic Sediment Separator (MPSS)

Effective laboratory methods are a requirement to obtain accurate data on the contamination of the environment with microplastics. However, current methods often lack specification and validation of performance. The aim of this work was to provide the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the c...

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Main Authors: Prume, Julia A., Laermanns, Hannes, Löder, Martin G. J., Laforsch, Christian, Bogner, Christina, Koch, Martin
Format: Article
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2024
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Summary:Effective laboratory methods are a requirement to obtain accurate data on the contamination of the environment with microplastics. However, current methods often lack specification and validation of performance. The aim of this work was to provide the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the commercially available MicroPlastic Sediment Separator (MPSS) operated with sodium chloride. We performed density separation experiments with pristine plastic particles spiked into both commercial sand (experiment I) and natural river sediments (experiment II) and with environmental microplastics contained in natural river sediments (experiment III). The natural sediments were taken from the Lahn River in Germany, a medium-scale central European tributary. The pristine test particles were ground polypropylene fragments, sieved in three different size classes: larger than 1 mm, 0.5–1 mm, and 0.3–0.5 mm. In experiment I, the mean recovery rate was 97 % for particles of the largest size class (standard deviation s = 6 % ; n = 30 per size class), but dropped to 75.33 % ( s = 21.29 % ) in the medium and to 54 % ( s = 25 % ) in the smallest size class. After density separation, 87 % of all unsuccessfully separated test particles were found at the inner walls of the MPSS. In experiment II, the recovery rate was not correlated with the particle size distribution of the natural river sediments. In experiment III, a subsequent second density separation step contributed on average 38 % ( s = 18 % ; n = 5 ) to the total number of extracted environmental microplastics. This study illuminates central aspects of a density separation and aims to contribute to quality improvements of recovery rate experiments and field studies for the generation of reliable data on microplastics in the environment.
Item Description:Gefördert durch den Open-Access-Publikationsfonds der UB Marburg.
DOI:10.1186/s43591-023-00073-3