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Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

MICROPLASTICS IDENTIFICATION IN LANDFILL LEACHATES BY DIFFERENT SPECTROSCOPIC TECHNIQUES

  • Camilla Simongini - Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials & Environment (DICMA), University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy
  • Milda Pucetaite - Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden
  • Silvia Serranti - Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials and Environment (DICMA), University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy
  • Martijn van Praagh - Centre for enivornmental and climate science, Lund University, Sweden - Ensucon AB, Sweden
  • Edith Hammer - Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden - Centre for enivornmental and climate science, Lund University, Sweden
  • Giuseppe Bonifazi - Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials & Environment (DICMA), University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy

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Abstract

Discovered more than 40 years ago, microplastics have become a major environmental issue. With increasing global plastic production, microplastics are of growing concern. Landfills have been pinpointed as primary sources of microplastics to surface waters and they have, in fact, been identified and quantified as such. Due to their small size, different polymers and interfering non-plastic materials, microplastics are difficult to analyse in a complex matrix such as leachate. To elucidate the impact of pre-treatment on the performance of the most common microspectroscopical analytical methods employed, i.e., FT-IR and Raman, we re-examined previously pre-treated and analysed leachate samples. Additionally, we subjected duplicates of previously analysed samples to different concentrations of H2O2 with varied reaction times to digest and remove non-plastic organic matter. The pre-treated samples were subjected density separation and (re-)analysed by means of FT-IR and Raman microspectroscopy. Larger particles were also analysed by near-infrared (NIR) hyperspectral imaging. We found the concentration of H2O2 to impact the possibility of identifying and quantifying PET particles, with Raman scattering microspectroscopy enabling more particles to be counted than with FT-IR. This is likely due to the increased detectable particle size range, from around 50 μm for FT-IR to 1 μm for Raman scattering microspectroscopy. Optimized H2O2 concentration with subsequent density separation enabled to clearly identify numerous PE particles, but also PP, PS, and PET particles and carbon compounds with Raman scattering microspectroscopy. Hyperspectral imaging performed well for particles larger than 30 μm.

Keywords


Editorial History

  • Received: 14 Dec 2021
  • Revised: 22 Mar 2022
  • Accepted: 24 Mar 2022
  • Available online: 31 Mar 2022

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