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Tackling the Challenge of Extracting Microplastics from Soils : A Protocol to Purify Soil Samples for Spectroscopic Analysis

Title data

Möller, Julia N. ; Heisel, Ingrid ; Satzger, Anna ; Cseperke Vizsolyi, Eva ; Oster, Simon David Jakob ; Agarwal, Seema ; Laforsch, Christian ; Löder, Martin G. J.:
Tackling the Challenge of Extracting Microplastics from Soils : A Protocol to Purify Soil Samples for Spectroscopic Analysis.
In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. (23 February 2021) .
ISSN 1552-8618
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5024

Official URL: Volltext

Project information

Project title:
Project's official titleProject's id
MiKoBo BWMK18007BWMK18007
SFB 1357 MikroplastikSFB1357
PLAWES – The Journey of Microplastics from the River Weser to the North SeaBMBF Project PLAWES, grant 03F0789A

Project financing: Ministerium für Umwelt, Klima und Energiewirtschaft Baden-Württemberg
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Bundesministerium für Forschung und Bildung

Abstract in another language

Microplastic pollution in soils is an emerging topic in the scientific community, with researchers striving to determine the occurrence and the impact of microplastics on the soil's health, ecology and functionality. However, information on the microplastic contamination of soils is limited, due to a lack of suitable analytical methods. As micro-Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (µ-FTIR), next to Raman spectroscopy, is one of the few methods that allow the determination of the number, polymer type, shape and size of microplastic particles, this study addresses the challenge of purifying soil samples sufficiently to allow a subsequent µ-FTIR analysis. A combination of freeze-drying, sieving, density separation and a sequential enzymatic-oxidative digestion protocol enables the removal of the mineral mass (>99.9% DW) and an average reduction of 77% DW of the remaining organic fraction. Additional to visual integrity, attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) showed that polyamide, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate and polyvinyl chloride in the size range of 100-400µm were not affected by the approach. However, the biodegradable polylactic acid showed visible signs of degradation and reduced molecular weight distribution after the protease treatment. Nevertheless, the presented purification protocol is a reliable and robust method to purify relatively large soil samples of around 250 g DW for spectroscopic analysis in microplastic research, and has been shown to recover various microplastic fibers and fragments down to a size of 10 µm from natural soil samples.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Microplastics; Soil contamination; Analytical chemistry; Purifcation protocol; Enzymatic-oxidative digestion; µ-FTIR
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Macromolecular Chemistry II
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Polymer and Colloid Science
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Ecology and the Environmental Sciences
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Faculties
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 500 Natural sciences
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences, geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2021 10:52
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2021 08:49
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/63568