Thermogravimetry coupled with mass spectrometry successfully used to quantify polyethylene and polystyrene microplastics in organic amendments

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Title: Thermogravimetry coupled with mass spectrometry successfully used to quantify polyethylene and polystyrene microplastics in organic amendments
Authors: Martín de la Fuente, Alba | Marhuenda Egea, Frutos Carlos | Ros, Margarita | Pascual, José Antonio | Sáez-Tovar, José Antonio | Martínez Sabater, Encarnación | Peñalver, Rosa
Research Group/s: Grupo de Fotoquímica y Electroquímica de Semiconductores (GFES)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Agroquímica y Bioquímica | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Thermogravimetry-mass spectrometry | Microplastic detection | Organic amendments | Polyethylene | Polystyrene
Knowledge Area: Bioquímica y Biología Molecular
Issue Date: 9-Jun-2022
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Environmental Research. 2022, 213: 113583.
Abstract: The global consumption of plastic is growing year by year, producing small plastic pieces known as microplastics (MPs) that adversely affect ecosystems. The use of organic amendments (compost and manure) polluted with MPs affects the quality of agricultural soils, and these MPs can be incorporated into the food chain and negatively impact human health. Current European legislation only considers large plastic particles in organic amendments. There is no information regarding MP pollution. Thus, the development of a methodology to support future legislation ensuring the quality of agricultural soils and food safety is necessary. This proposed methodology is based on thermogravimetry coupled with mass spectrometry to quantify polyethylene and polystyrene (PE and PS) MPs through their mass spectrometry signal intensity of characteristic PE (m/z 41, 43 and 56) and PS (m/z 78 and 104) ions. This method has been validated with several organic amendments where the MP content ranged from 52.6 to 4365.7 mg kg−1 for PE-MPs and from 1.1 to 64.3 mg kg−1 for PS-MPs. The proposed methodology is a quick and robust analytical method to quantify MPs in organic amendments that could support new legislation.
Sponsor: The authors thank the Spanish MICINN (PGC 2018-098363-B-I00) and the European Commission (FEDER/ERDF) for their funding as well as the Grupo operativo EI-AGRI Expedient N 20190020007482. The research was also funded by the RECOVER project (BBI H2020 grant agreement No 887648). The authors also wish to thank the Technological Research Assistance Service of the Technical University of Cartagena (Spain) for their help.
ISSN: 0013-9351 (Print) | 1096-0953 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113583
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license (
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - GFES - Artículos de Revistas
Research funded by the EU

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