Analytical Methods for Microplastics in Environments: Current Advances and Challenges

Liu, Menting; Lu, Shibo; Chen, Yingxin; Cao, Chengjin; Bigalke, Moritz; He, Defu (2020). Analytical Methods for Microplastics in Environments: Current Advances and Challenges. In: He, Defu; Luo, Yongming (eds.) Microplastics in Terrestrial Environments - Emerging Contaminants and Major Challenges. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry: Vol. 95 (pp. 3-24). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer 10.1007/698_2019_436

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Numerous studies have shown the presence of microplastics (MPs) in the environment. As an emerging global contaminant, the concentrations of MPs need to be evaluated, to assess its impacts on ecosystems and humans. This chapter reviews the development of analytical approaches from sample collection to MP characterization and quantification. This chapter contains a critical overview and a comparative assessment of sampling and sample preparation procedures for water, soil,sediment, biological, and atmosphere samples. We discuss sample preparation techniques such as flotation, filtration, digestion of organic matter, and analytical techniques such as morphological and physical classification, identification, and quantification of MPs. Furthermore, we address the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques, compare MP assay methods for different environment matrices, and discuss the challenges in the establishment of standard methods. In future research, it will be important to develop efficient assay protocol, such as basing on fully or semiautomated analysis, and to improve the accuracy of identification and quantification for MPs, especially nanoplastics.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Soil Science
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Bigalke, Moritz


900 History > 910 Geography & travel
500 Science
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology


The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry






Milo Robin Jan Fieber

Date Deposited:

04 Feb 2020 14:49

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:36

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Digestion, Environment, Microplastics, Sampling, Separation




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