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Special Issue "Organic Contaminants and Microplastics: Analytical Methodologies"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Analytical Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. João P. da Costa

Guest Editor
Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM) & Department of Chemistry, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: development of analytical methodologies fit for purpose; (bio)sensors, plastics; microplastics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Microplastics may result from their intentional production or due to the fragmentation of larger plastics. Their rising accumulation and persistence in the aquatic environment may lead to deleterious environmental consequences, which may stem not only from their physical impacts, but also from their role as source or carrier of hazardous chemicals to marine environments and organisms. Nonetheless, research on chemicals associated with microplastics has been scarce and, therefore, many efforts have been made to identify and quantify chemicals in marine microplastics. Still, the analytical strategies and methodologies used have not been discussed in detail. Hence, manuscripts of all aspects related to the chemical analysis of microplastics and plastic debris obtained from samples collected from the field or deployed in the field, within environmentally relevant concentration levels, as well as detailed analytical methodologies for sampling, characterization, analysis and ecotoxicological evaluation of such mixtures, in the form of either research or review papers, are welcome.

Dr. Teresa A. P. Rocha-Santos
Dr. João P. da Costa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Microplastics
  • analytical chemistry
  • pollution
  • organic contaminants
  • environment

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Systematic Development of a Simultaneous Determination of Plastic Particle Identity and Adsorbed Organic Compounds by Thermodesorption–Pyrolysis GC/MS (TD-Pyr-GC/MS)
Molecules 2020, 25(21), 4985; - 28 Oct 2020
Micro-, submicro- and nanoplastic particles are increasingly regarded as vectors for trace organic chemicals. In order to determine adsorbed trace organic chemicals on polymers, it has usually been necessary to carry out complex extraction steps. With the help of a newly designed thermal [...] Read more.
Micro-, submicro- and nanoplastic particles are increasingly regarded as vectors for trace organic chemicals. In order to determine adsorbed trace organic chemicals on polymers, it has usually been necessary to carry out complex extraction steps. With the help of a newly designed thermal desorption pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-Pyr-GC/MS) method, it is possible to identify adsorbed trace organic chemicals on micro-, submicro- and nanoparticles as well as the particle short chain polymers in one analytical setup without any transfers. This ensures a high sample throughput for the qualitative analysis of trace substances and polymer type. Since the measuring time per sample is only 2 h, a high sample throughput is possible. It is one of the few analytical methods which can be used also for the investigation of nanoplastic particles. Initially adsorbed substances are desorbed from the particle by thermal desorption (TD); subsequently, the polymer is fragmented by pyrolysis (PYR). Both particle treatment techniques are directly coupled with the same GC-MS system analyzing desorbed molecules and pyrolysis products, respectively. In this study, we developed a systematic and optimized method for this application. For method development, the trace organic chemicals phenanthrene, α-cypermethrin and triclosan were tested on reference polymers polystyrene (PS), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and polyethylene (PE). Well-defined particle fractions were used, including polystyrene (sub)micro- (41 and 40 µm) and nanoparticles (78 nm) as well as 48-µm sized PE and PMMA particles, respectively. The sorption of phenanthrene (PMMA << PS 40 µm < 41 µm < PE < PS 78 nm) and α-cypermethrin (PS 41 µm < PS 40 µm < PE < PMMA < PS 78 nm) to the particles was strongly polymer-dependent. Triclosan adsorbed only on PE and on the nanoparticles of PS (PE < PS78). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Contaminants and Microplastics: Analytical Methodologies)
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