Flow-through quantification of microplastics using impedance spectroscopy

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Date
2021-01-09
Authors
Colson, Beckett C.
Michel, Anna P. M.
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DOI
10.1021/acssensors.0c02223
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Keywords
Microplastics
Plastics
Impedance spectroscopy
Dielectric properties
Instrumentation
Particle detection
Flow-through
Environmental sensing
Abstract
Understanding the sources, impacts, and fate of microplastics in the environment is critical for assessing the potential risks of these anthropogenic particles. However, our ability to quantify and identify microplastics in aquatic ecosystems is limited by the lack of rapid techniques that do not require visual sorting or preprocessing. Here, we demonstrate the use of impedance spectroscopy for high-throughput flow-through microplastic quantification, with the goal of rapid measurement of microplastic concentration and size. Impedance spectroscopy characterizes the electrical properties of individual particles directly in the flow of water, allowing for simultaneous sizing and material identification. To demonstrate the technique, spike and recovery experiments were conducted in tap water with 212–1000 μm polyethylene beads in six size ranges and a variety of similarly sized biological materials. Microplastics were reliably detected, sized, and differentiated from biological materials via their electrical properties at an average flow rate of 103 ± 8 mL/min. The recovery rate was ≥90% for microplastics in the 300–1000 μm size range, and the false positive rate for the misidentification of the biological material as plastic was 1%. Impedance spectroscopy allowed for the identification of microplastics directly in water without visual sorting or filtration, demonstrating its use for flow-through sensing.
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© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Colson, B. C., & Michel, A. P. M. Flow-through quantification of microplastics using impedance spectroscopy. ACS Sensors, 6(1), (2021): 238–244, doi:10.1021/acssensors.0c02223.
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Colson, B. C., & Michel, A. P. M. (2021). Flow-through quantification of microplastics using impedance spectroscopy. ACS Sensors, 6(1), 238–244.
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