Separating Microplastics from Solid Matrices

Microplastic separation from soil

James Hutton Institute scientists have developed a novel method for the separation of microplastics from soils and sediments, based on a unique high gradient magnetic separation technique.

The fully developed method offers many advantages over the commonly used density separation technique in terms of improved efficiency of extraction, reduced process times, reduced organic matter interference, and use of less toxic chemicals.  In brief:

  • The separation stage is followed by a mild digestion procedure.
  • Optical and Fluorescence Microscopy is used for morphological characterisation of microplastics and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) for polymer identification.
  • The team is currently in the process of using ImageJ software for automating microplastics enumeration and characterisation.

To find out more, please contact Dr Sandhya Devalla.