Development and validation of analytical methods for detecting and identifying microplastics in salts, soy sauce, and salted pollock roe

Jinwoo Kim, Dat Thanh Pham, Hee Jin Park, Min young Chae, Sang Hwa Lee, Soonki Hong, Ju Yang Kim, Jaehak Jung, Byung Tae Lee, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


One of the main routes of human exposure to microplastics is food consumption; therefore, the quantitative analysis of microplastics in foods is important. Researchers have reported the occurrence of microplastics in different ways, necessitating the validation and standardization of analytical methods. In this study, we optimized pretreatment methods for three representative foods (i.e., salts, soy sauce, and salted pollock roe) and verified analytical methods, including material identification using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, in four independent laboratories based on blind tests. We prepared custom-made cylindrical reference materials, visually identifiable under a microscope, using five plastic materials (polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene, and polyamide-6). Each food sample was spiked with a randomized number of reference materials and sent to testing laboratories for analysis without notifying them the material type and number of reference materials. The average recovery rates of the reference materials for salt, soy sauce, and salted pollock roe were 73.2%, 76.9%, and 86.2%, respectively. Two-way analysis of variance of the experimental results demonstrated that the recoveries of the reference materials did not depend on any of the five plastic materials or the participating laboratories, indicating that the proposed methods are capable of reliably determining microplastics greater than 100 µm in selected foods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104856
JournalJournal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( 20162MFDS029 ) from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of Korea in 2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Food analysis
  • Food composition
  • FT-IR
  • Method validation
  • Microplastics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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