ALS Scandinavia has since 2017 been able to offer analysis of microplastics. We have developed new methods to be able to analyse microplastics in several complex sample types. At our laboratory in Danderyd, Sweden, we prepare and analyze microplastics in environmental-, biota- and food samples. Our methods and our large reference library allow us to analyze up to 60 types of plastics and several types of rubber.
Microplastics - a large problem in microscopic scale
Microplastics are spread in the environment in different ways, typically from road wear and abrasion of tyres, artificial turfs, antifouling paint and litter. Larger plastic waste degrades into smaller plastic particles that eventually can be found in sediment and soil. When, for example, sewage sludge is used to return the nutrient phosphor to the ground, microplastics in the sludge are spread to soil and water.
Sample preparation and analysis
The sample preparation to separate microplastics from the rest of the sample has a major impact of the final result of the analysis. The sample preparation determines which particles that are quantified and identified.
Analysis of microplastic in complex samples types such as sludge, sediment and soil demands extensive sample preparation to separate the microplastics from other organic and inorganic material. The separation technique depends on the sample type. Generally, inorganic and organic material is removed before filtration. Inorganic material such as mineral particles are removed from the sample by density separation using zinc chloride (density 1.7 g/cm3). By using a separation liquid with high density, heavier particles as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and styrenebutadiene rubber (SBR) can be identified. Organic material is degraded by enzymatic treatment and/or oxidation (hydrogen peroxide or Fenton´s reagent). Identification and quantification is performed by μ-FTIR. Our reference library is extensive and we can identify a large number of plastics.
Black particles and rubber particles from for example abrasion of tyres and artificial turfs, are analysed using an ATR crystal in conjunction with the IR-instrument, The analysis includes particles that usually can be found in tyres and granules; butadiene rubber (BR), isoprene rubber (IR), styrenebutadiene rubber (SBR) and ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber (EPDM rubber).
We offer analysis of microplastics in following sample types:
- Water (pure water, e.g. drinking water and contaminated water e.g. wastewater)
- Soil, sludge, sediment
- Biota (e.g. mussels, fish)
- Food (e.g. sea salt, powdered milk, beer, tea)
Sample preparation and analysis is performed at our laboratory in Danderyd, Sweden. You are always welcome to contact us if you have questions or to discuss your project with us.
You can find more information about our analyses and analytical packages here:
Please contact us for more information:
Phone: +46 (0)8 527 752 00