Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water

Pittcon 2022 Conference Highlights – Plastic Pollution: Advancing The Science To Better Manage Micro- And Nano-Plastics

Pittcon is a space for collaborative science, and even though we had to place this year’s in-person Pittcon on hold, we still want to share with you the opportunity to connect live with your peers, free of charge , through our virtual Pittcon 2022 Conference Highlights .

We present to you our top speakers, researchers, and awardees, accessible from the comfort of your home, office, or laboratory – it’s the Pittcon experience you know and value, even though it might look a little different this year.


Thursday, April 14, 2022 ◉ 1:00 pm EST
Organizer: Ruth Marfil-Vega, Shimadzu

Plastic Pollution: Advancing The Science To Better Manage Micro- And Nano-Plastics

Presentation 1
Analysis of Microplastics in Water: Focus on Sampling, Sample Preparation and Green Analytical Protocols
Damia Barcelo, Catalan Institute for Water Research

The sampling, sample preparation and analysis of microplastics (MPs) pollution in water is identified as one major problem the world is currently facing. Consequently, there is an urgent need to establish analytical protocols for MPs in water [1]. MPs are not homogeneously distributed in the water column but depending on MPs characteristics (density, shape, size) and environmental variables (type of water, streams, waves). Three approaches nets, sieves, or pumps are commonly used. Net-based sampling devices with different mesh sizes including bongo nets (>500 μm), clean blanket (>300 μm), and net plankton (>200 and >400 μm) to filtration of grab samples (0.45 μm) established that MP concentrations using net-based methods were ∼3 orders of magnitude less than those obtained by filtration of 1 L grab samples. Mesh size is a critical point that determines the minimum size and the number of MPs detected. Furthermore, synthetic fibers and particles (as nanoplastics) having dimensions< 25 μm easily bypass these devices. One point that needs to be emphasized is that there is an absolute lack of standardized method or guidelines to sampling water for MPs. Green Analytical Chemistry examines analytical methods from the point of view of their toxicity to both the environment and humans. [2]- This will be related to the 12 principles of green analytical chemistry. Examples of MPs determination in water of the channels and ponds that conduct residual water in two most important cities of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and Al-Jubail will be reported. Infrared spectral analysis revealed that most of the selected particles were identified as MPs of polypropylene and polyethylene (48.3%) [3]. References [1] Y. Picó, D. Barceló, ACS Omega, 4, 6709-6719 (2019) [2] Y. Picó, D. Barceló, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, 31, 100503 (2021) [3 ] Y. Picó, V. Soursou, AH Alfarhan, MA El-Sheikh, D. Barceló, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 416, 125747 (2021)