Sequential quantification of number and mass of microplastics in municipal wastewater using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and pyrolysis gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

So Young Lee, Jiyul An, Jung Hwan Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Plastic pollution is a significant environmental concern because microplastics (MPs) accumulate in various ecosystems; therefore, the accurate identification and quantification of MPs in environmental samples is crucial. This study presents a new sequential analytical method that combines Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Pyr-GC/MS) to characterize and quantify MPs. FTIR with a microscope allows the identification of the polymer type and physical dimensions of MPs, whereas Pyr-GC/MS enables determining the chemical composition of MPs with plastic additives. Pretreated wastewater influent samples spiked with reference MPs were filtered through an Al2O3 disk for FTIR analysis, and the surface contents were collected and subjected to Pyr-GC/MS analysis. The mass of the reference MPs estimated using FTIR were in good agreement but were slightly lower than those obtained using Pyr-GC/MS. This finding supports the notion that the proposed sequential method can be used to determine both the number and the mass of MPs in environmental samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122452
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume336
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government ( Ministry of Science and ICT ) (No. RS-2023-00209242 ) and by the Korea Environment Industry and Technology Institute ( KEITI ) through the “Development of methods measuring cumulative exposure to hazardous chemicals under the use of consumer products using passive samplers,” funded by the Korea Ministry of Environment (MOE) (No. 2021002970002 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • FTIR
  • Microplastics
  • Pyrolysis-GC/MS
  • Quantitative analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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