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Article

Comparison of Different Procedures for Separating Microplastics from Sediments

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Piazza della Scienza 1, 20126 Milano, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sarper Sarp
Water 2021, 13(20), 2854; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202854
Received: 26 September 2021 / Revised: 6 October 2021 / Accepted: 7 October 2021 / Published: 13 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano and Micro Plastic Detection and Identification in Water)
The separation of microplastics from environmental matrices is still challenging, especially for sediments where microplastics can accumulate affecting benthic organisms. Many authors have adopted different procedures, but their effectiveness has been rarely compared. The present study aims to compare the recovery rate of three different methodologies for the separation of dense microplastics from fine sediments and provide insights about contamination processes occurring in microplastic separation techniques. The protocols tested are a density separation method with NaCl and NaI, a density separation with NaI followed by a centrifugation step, and a digestion method with 10%KOH (m/v). The recovery yields of two high-density polymers of three different dimensional classes were tested. The highest recovery rate was reported for the first protocol. However, this method proved to be expensive, and unsatisfactory results were found when using merely NaCl. The digestion method was the one that was proven to be simple, reproducible, and affordable. The contamination tests highlighted as multiple filtration steps can increase the number of fibers deriving from airborne contamination. Since a unified approach for microplastic separation from sediments is still not selected, this study is of paramount importance as it provides data about the reliability of different methods widely adopted. View Full-Text
Keywords: density separation; digestion method; recovery rate; method validation; plastic methodology density separation; digestion method; recovery rate; method validation; plastic methodology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nava, V.; Leoni, B. Comparison of Different Procedures for Separating Microplastics from Sediments. Water 2021, 13, 2854. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202854

AMA Style

Nava V, Leoni B. Comparison of Different Procedures for Separating Microplastics from Sediments. Water. 2021; 13(20):2854. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202854

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nava, Veronica, and Barbara Leoni. 2021. "Comparison of Different Procedures for Separating Microplastics from Sediments" Water 13, no. 20: 2854. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202854

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