Microplastics in sewage

In recent years, public attention is increasingly focussed on the topic of microplastic residues in water bodies. The reason for this is that the load on surface waters continues to rise and microplastics are detected in an increasing number of organisms of the food chain, which are also partly used for human consumption. The resulting health risks have not been explored yet. Methods for the enrichment and analysis of microplastic particles are neither standardized nor applicable for on-site analysis.

The aim of our work is the research and development of a practical on-site method for determining the mass of microplastic particles directly on filters. This method of determination is to be used in the monitoring of the effluent of sewage treatment plants.

 

The Raman method used is based on the scanning of the filter by means of a process Raman device. Therefore, no particles are counted but an average spectrum of all the particles present on the filter and the filter material are generated. The counting of individual particles and the Raman spectroscopic analysis of these particles requires the high apparatus-complexity of a Raman microscope, which is not practical in process analysis. Since the Raman spectrum of the loaded filter contains contribution from the Raman spectra of all substances on the filter and the filter material itself, a mathematical separation is necessary. For this purpose, the mathematical statistical method of partial least squares regression (PLS) is tested. A major challenge still remaining is to analyse and compensate the effects caused by the sample matrix.

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Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen e.V. (LLG)

Contact person:

Head of Department
Dr. Hainer Wackerbarth
"Photonic Sensor Technologies"

Tel.: +49(0)551/5035-58
FAX: +49(0)551/5035-99
hainer.wackerbarth(at)llg-ev.de