Handheld FT-IR spectroscopy for the triage of micro- And meso-sized plastics in the marine environment incorporating an accelerated weathering study and an aging estimation

Pik Leung Tang, Rodney Forster, Rick McCumskay, Mike Rogerson, Cath Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Debris in the marine environment can be either natural, such as floating vegetation or volcanic ash deposits, or man-made. The man-made sources cover the whole gamut of material types, such as sewage, glass, mineral, fabric, and, of increasing concern, plastic or polymeric materials. Virtually all plastics absorb infrared (IR) light in a highly selective manner, making their infrared spectra a useful qualitative diagnostic. The triage of the visible micro- (~1 mm to 5 mm), meso-, macro- or mega-sized plastic particles with handheld Fourier Transform IR (FT-IR) enables rapid determination of the material on-site, and reduces time wasted on non-polymers on-site or at site. Four of the most prevalent neustonic plastic types, and their FT-IR spectral changes correlated with accelerated weathering, were successfully examined chronologically, detailing significant differences in aging profiles and chemical changes. Subsequently, a small spectroscopically identifiable degraded piece of plastic found in Greenland was correlated to the appropriate aging profile. Finally, a targeted methodology for quantification of submillimeter microplastic in dried estuarine sediment was evaluated to ascertain the potential limit of detection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalSpectroscopy (Santa Monica)
Volume34
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Handheld FT-IR spectroscopy for the triage of micro- And meso-sized plastics in the marine environment incorporating an accelerated weathering study and an aging estimation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this