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Perspective

Field-Portable Microplastic Sensing in Aqueous Environments: A Perspective on Emerging Techniques

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MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, Cambridge and Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
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Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
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Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Emergency Response Office, Superfund Division, U.S. EPA Region 9, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Kamilo, Inc., Former U.S. EPA Region 9, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
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Independent Researcher, Boston, MA 02131, USA
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Draper, Bioengineering Division, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Ocean P3 Systems, Former U.S. EPA Region 9, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Vittorio M. N. Passaro, Assefa M. Melesse, Alexander Star, Eduard Llobet, Guillermo Villanueva, Mehmet Rasit Yuce and Leonhard Reindl
Sensors 2021, 21(10), 3532; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103532
Received: 31 March 2021 / Revised: 27 April 2021 / Accepted: 28 April 2021 / Published: 19 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors: 20th Anniversary)
Microplastics (MPs) have been found in aqueous environments ranging from rural ponds and lakes to the deep ocean. Despite the ubiquity of MPs, our ability to characterize MPs in the environment is limited by the lack of technologies for rapidly and accurately identifying and quantifying MPs. Although standards exist for MP sample collection and preparation, methods of MP analysis vary considerably and produce data with a broad range of data content and quality. The need for extensive analysis-specific sample preparation in current technology approaches has hindered the emergence of a single technique which can operate on aqueous samples in the field, rather than on dried laboratory preparations. In this perspective, we consider MP measurement technologies with a focus on both their eventual field-deployability and their respective data products (e.g., MP particle count, size, and/or polymer type). We present preliminary demonstrations of several prospective MP measurement techniques, with an eye towards developing a solution or solutions that can transition from the laboratory to the field. Specifically, experimental results are presented from multiple prototype systems that measure various physical properties of MPs: pyrolysis-differential mobility spectroscopy, short-wave infrared imaging, aqueous Nile Red labeling and counting, acoustophoresis, ultrasound, impedance spectroscopy, and dielectrophoresis. View Full-Text
Keywords: microplastics; plastic pollution; sensors; analytical chemistry; environment; water; ocean; marine pollution; polymers; freshwater; aqueous solutions microplastics; plastic pollution; sensors; analytical chemistry; environment; water; ocean; marine pollution; polymers; freshwater; aqueous solutions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Blevins, M.G.; Allen, H.L.; Colson, B.C.; Cook, A.-M.; Greenbaum, A.Z.; Hemami, S.S.; Hollmann, J.; Kim, E.; LaRocca, A.A.; Markoski, K.A.; Miraglia, P.; Mott, V.L.; Robberson, W.M.; Santos, J.A.; Sprachman, M.M.; Swierk, P.; Tate, S.; Witinski, M.F.; Kratchman, L.B.; Michel, A.P.M. Field-Portable Microplastic Sensing in Aqueous Environments: A Perspective on Emerging Techniques. Sensors 2021, 21, 3532. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103532

AMA Style

Blevins MG, Allen HL, Colson BC, Cook A-M, Greenbaum AZ, Hemami SS, Hollmann J, Kim E, LaRocca AA, Markoski KA, Miraglia P, Mott VL, Robberson WM, Santos JA, Sprachman MM, Swierk P, Tate S, Witinski MF, Kratchman LB, Michel APM. Field-Portable Microplastic Sensing in Aqueous Environments: A Perspective on Emerging Techniques. Sensors. 2021; 21(10):3532. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103532

Chicago/Turabian Style

Blevins, Morgan G., Harry L. Allen, Beckett C. Colson, Anna-Marie Cook, Alexandra Z. Greenbaum, Sheila S. Hemami, Joseph Hollmann, Ernest Kim, Ava A. LaRocca, Kenneth A. Markoski, Peter Miraglia, Vienna L. Mott, William M. Robberson, Jose A. Santos, Melissa M. Sprachman, Patricia Swierk, Steven Tate, Mark F. Witinski, Louis B. Kratchman, and Anna P.M. Michel 2021. "Field-Portable Microplastic Sensing in Aqueous Environments: A Perspective on Emerging Techniques" Sensors 21, no. 10: 3532. https://doi.org/10.3390/s21103532

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