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Title: Particle size analysis, quantification and identification of microplastics in selected consumer products: A critical comparison of methods and analytical techniques
Authors: Renner, Kofi Omare
Advisors: Scrimshaw, M
Routledgem, E
Keywords: Microscopy;Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy;Imaging flow cytometry;Density separation;Kitchen scourers
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Microplastics are particles that are < 5 mm in size and come from a wide range of sources. The global distribution in terrestrial and aquatic environments indicates they are likely to cause harm to living organisms. They are used in a variety of personal care products and kitchen scourers. To advance further studies, different approaches have been developed in recent years. In this research, a comparison of methods and analytical techniques were applied to characterise microplastics in two toothpastes and two facial scrubs. The analysis of microplastics was determined using light microscopy, laser diffraction, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy.This research reports for the first time, the application of Imaging flow cytometry to characterise microplastics, and was explored to characterise smaller sized particles in each product. The methods developed where validated by characterising particles abraded from kitchen scourers. Two market leading and three chain store brands of kitchen scourers were utilised for the characterisation of microplastics. The application of the different techniques indicated differences in the size, number and morphological characteristics of the particles analysed. The different approaches developed for particle extraction, and the analytical techniques had an apparent influence on the results produced. Currently, there are no universally accepted laboratory protocol and analytical techniques to characterise microplastics. However, this research can serve as a reference point to promote more studies on laboratory methods and analytical techniques to characterise microplastics, with the hope of understanding better these complex particles.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Environment
Institute for the Environment

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