Oral Presentation Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Australasia 2021

Taking CONTROL of microplastics data (#93)

Amanda Dawson 1 , Marina Santana 1 , Cherie A Motti 1
  1. Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, QLD, Australia

After more than a decade of research the harmonisation of methods has become an international priority in the field of environmental monitoring for microplastics. This harmonisation has focused predominantly on extraction and isolation methods, identification of microplastics and, more recently reporting. However, less emphasis has been placed on the appropriate use of controls, both positive and negative, and a what stages within the workflow these must be applied. A mini review of 10 papers on environmental microplastic contamination published in 2020, revealed no consensus on how the data generated from controls was used to correct the sample data. Control strategies employed include mean subtraction from totals, and specific particle subtraction, while several papers did not correct their datasets at all. Some researchers have proposed calculating the Limits of Detection and Limits of Quantification to improve microplastic quantification. Here we examine these four control strategies determine their suitability and reliability to microplastics datasets.