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Validation of a method to quantify microfibres present in aquatic surface microlayers

Validation of a method to quantify microfibres present in aquatic surface microlayers
Validation of a method to quantify microfibres present in aquatic surface microlayers
Many of the methods for microplastics quantification in the environment are criticised creating problems with data validity. Quantification of microplastics in the surface microlayer of aquatic environments using glass plate dipping holds promise as a simple field method, but its efficiency has yet to be validated. We tested a standard glass plate dipping method to assess recovery of four common polymer microfibres and two common natural fibres, under three different salinities (freshwater, brackish water, saltwater). Overall recovery rates were low (26.8 ± 1.54%) but higher recoveries were observed under saltwater treatments (36.5 ± 3.01%) than brackish water (24.5 ± 1.92%) or freshwater (19.3 ± 1.92%). The fibre types showed different recovery rates, with acrylic yielding significantly higher recovery rates (37.0 ± 2.71%) than other fibres across treatments. No clear relationship between the density of the fibres and the recovery efficiency was seen. We suggest that, where this method is used for monitoring microplastics, the results will typically underestimate the total amount present, but that recovery is sufficiently consistent to allow comparison of differences between sampling locations. When comparing data across river-estuarine or similar transects salinity should be monitored to account for salinity-induced differences in sampling recovery.
2045-2322
Birkenhead, Joshua
8015d34f-d114-462c-ba01-8304156a2e83
Radford, Freya
f43f5d73-b100-424a-9021-8f17f7715e35
Stead, Jessica Laura
abd3bc01-cf97-4692-a191-cd3ce2fb79f7
Cundy, Andy
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Hudson, Malcolm
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55
Birkenhead, Joshua
8015d34f-d114-462c-ba01-8304156a2e83
Radford, Freya
f43f5d73-b100-424a-9021-8f17f7715e35
Stead, Jessica Laura
abd3bc01-cf97-4692-a191-cd3ce2fb79f7
Cundy, Andy
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Hudson, Malcolm
1ae18506-6f2a-48af-8c72-83ab28679f55

Birkenhead, Joshua, Radford, Freya, Stead, Jessica Laura, Cundy, Andy and Hudson, Malcolm (2020) Validation of a method to quantify microfibres present in aquatic surface microlayers. Scientific Reports, 10, [17892].

Record type: Article

Abstract

Many of the methods for microplastics quantification in the environment are criticised creating problems with data validity. Quantification of microplastics in the surface microlayer of aquatic environments using glass plate dipping holds promise as a simple field method, but its efficiency has yet to be validated. We tested a standard glass plate dipping method to assess recovery of four common polymer microfibres and two common natural fibres, under three different salinities (freshwater, brackish water, saltwater). Overall recovery rates were low (26.8 ± 1.54%) but higher recoveries were observed under saltwater treatments (36.5 ± 3.01%) than brackish water (24.5 ± 1.92%) or freshwater (19.3 ± 1.92%). The fibre types showed different recovery rates, with acrylic yielding significantly higher recovery rates (37.0 ± 2.71%) than other fibres across treatments. No clear relationship between the density of the fibres and the recovery efficiency was seen. We suggest that, where this method is used for monitoring microplastics, the results will typically underestimate the total amount present, but that recovery is sufficiently consistent to allow comparison of differences between sampling locations. When comparing data across river-estuarine or similar transects salinity should be monitored to account for salinity-induced differences in sampling recovery.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 22 September 2020
Published date: 21 October 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444773
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444773
ISSN: 2045-2322
PURE UUID: d4c4eb0b-3e60-4352-9bf8-a315045dd46b
ORCID for Freya Radford: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9742-279X
ORCID for Andy Cundy: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4368-2569

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:33

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