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Validation of a method to quantify microfibres present in aquatic surface microlayers

Birkenhead, Joshua; Radford, Freya; Stead, Jessica L.; Cundy, Andrew B.; Hudson, Malcolm D.

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Authors

Joshua Birkenhead

Freya Radford

Jessica L. Stead

Andrew B. Cundy

Malcolm D. Hudson



Abstract

Many of the methods for microplastics quantification in the environment are criticised creating problems with data validity. Quantification of microplastics in the surface microlayer of aquatic environments using glass plate dipping holds promise as a simple field method, but its efficiency has yet to be validated. We tested a standard glass plate dipping method to assess recovery of four common polymer microfibres and two common natural fibres, under three different salinities (freshwater, brackish water, saltwater). Overall recovery rates were low (26.8 ± 1.54%) but higher recoveries were observed under saltwater treatments (36.5 ± 3.01%) than brackish water (24.5 ± 1.92%) or freshwater (19.3 ± 1.92%). The fibre types showed different recovery rates, with acrylic yielding significantly higher recovery rates (37.0 ± 2.71%) than other fibres across treatments. No clear relationship between the density of the fibres and the recovery efficiency was seen. We suggest that, where this method is used for monitoring microplastics, the results will typically underestimate the total amount present, but that recovery is sufficiently consistent to allow comparison of differences between sampling locations. When comparing data across river-estuarine or similar transects salinity should be monitored to account for salinity-induced differences in sampling recovery.

Citation

Birkenhead, J., Radford, F., Stead, J. L., Cundy, A. B., & Hudson, M. D. (2023). Validation of a method to quantify microfibres present in aquatic surface microlayers. Scientific Reports, 10(1), Article 17892. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74635-3

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Oct 21, 2020
Publication Date 2023-01
Deposit Date Jan 25, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 25, 2023
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 1
Article Number 17892
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-74635-3
Keywords Multidisciplinary; Environmental sciences; Ocean sciences
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/10382510
Publisher URL https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-74635-3

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