Preparation and test of a reference mixture of eleven polymers with deactivated inorganic diluent for microplastics analysis by pyrolysis-GC–MS

Analytical pyrolysis coupled to gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (Py-GC–MS) can provide both qualitative and quantitative data on polymer mixtures, but no standardized protocols are available yet for the application of this technique in the field of environmental microplastics analysis. In this paper, we describe the preparation of a mixture of eleven common polymers, that could be used as reference sample for microplastics analysis in environmental samples by Py-GC–MS. The mixture is obtained combining two solutions with a total of nine polymers, and a solid mixture of two polymers with an inorganic diluent. First, a set of characteristic pyrolysis products and m/z signals is proposed as markers to perform semi-quantitative calculations. Then, changes in the pyrolytic yields of characteristic products due to secondary reactions in the pyrolytic environment are systematically evaluated. The characteristic pyrolysis product of polyurethane (PU), 4,4’-diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI), was found to be highly susceptible to hydrolysis by the inorganic diluent, except when deactivated silica was used. Finally, the performance of the reference mixture using the silica diluent is evaluated in terms of reproducibility and linearity of response. Relative standard deviations lower than 10% and good linearity of the integrated areas (r2 > 0.96) were obtained for all polymers except PU and polyethylene terephthalate. The results show that the proposed mixture could be used in Py-GC–MS analyses of microplastics as a reliable reference material for at least nine of the eleven investigated polymers.


Latest Posts

Policy Brief: Role of chemicals and polymers of concern in the global plastics treaty

This policy brief provides arguments on and insights into why and how plastic chemicals and polymers of concern should be integrated in the global plastics treaty. The document is an output of the Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty (SCEPT working group on chemicals, polymers and products) and aims at policymakers involved in the Intergovernmental Negotiation Committee[…]

Characteristics of microplastics in the beach sediments of Marina tourist beach, Chennai, India

The paper provides new insights into marine environments and human activities and suggests plastic waste should be controlled through laws that regulate waste sources and plastic additives in order to solve the problem of plastic accumulation in the oceans.

Microplastic pollution in coastal ecosystem off Mumbai coast, India

The paper strengthens the evidence that microplastics are present in the studied biota, suggesting that they are transferred between trophic levels through the interconnected food chain/web. The presence of micro plastics in fish guts highlights the need for further research on processing interventions for reducing microplastic contamination.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) pollution driven by the COVID-19 pandemic in coastal environment, Southeast Coast of India

PPE (face masks and gloves) were surveyed at six Indian beaches. There were 496 PPE counted with an average density of 1.08 × 10−3 PPE m−2. Previous studies found similar PPE density. Face masks accounted for 98.39% of all PPE recorded, while gloves accounted for only 1.61%. As a result of the increase in vaccination[…]

Effects of Marine Littering and Sustainable Measures to Reduce Marine Pollution in India

The research seeks to depict and reduce marine plastic pollution in India. A GIS map has been created to show plastic input from different river basins. In order to address the challenges of marine litter in India, a guiding model has been developed. According to the predictive model, India produces 536 thousand tons of municipal[…]