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Project

Analysis techniques for quantifying nano-and microplastic particles and their degradation in the marine environment (ANDROMEDA)

Main research question/goal

Andromeda aims to develop and validate analytical methods for microplastics analysis. There is a need for cost-efficient methods that allows the identification of a broad range of microplastic polymers with acceptable accuracy. Advanced methods need further development in order to push the limit of detectability for smaller sizes of nano- and microplastics and improve their ability to analyse MP types that are currently difficult to analyse by microspectroscopy. To study plastic degradation mechanisms over a reasonable time frame, lab-based accelerated degradation approaches are required that mimic natural fragmentation and additive chemical leaching.

 


Research approach

Within Andromeda, methods will be developed or optimised to analyse micro- and nanoplastics. Different techniques will be applied, including the detection of chemical markers, the use of hyperspectral imaging, detection of fluorochromes and the use of µFTIR, Raman and electron microscopy. Special attention will go to the detection of tire wear particles and paint flakes. Method comparison and validation, applying real samples, is a central topic within Andromeda. Accelerated degradation of microplastics will be studied, using photo-, thermos-, bio- and chemical oxidation techniques.


Relevance/Valorisation

The Andromeda project aims to deliver a range of quality controlled methods to determine micro- and nanoplastics in different matrices of the marine environment: water, sediment, biota and air. Also the development of methods to study microplastic degradation is an important topic within the project. The features, strengths and limits of the optimized methods will be listed, which will allow researchers to select the most appropriate method, depending on their research goals: from citizen science, monitoring or large-scale research projects to analyses of small micro- and nanoplastics.


Funding provider(s)
Belspo - Belgian Science Polycy
External partner(s)
VLIZ
Date:1 Apr 2020 →  Today