Microplastics in sediments of the river Rhine—A workflow for preparation and analysis of sediment samples from aquatic river systems for monitoring purposes

Yosri Wiesner, Thomas Hoffmann, David Range, Korinna Altmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Microplastics (MP) can be detected in all environmental systems. Marine and terrestrial aquatic systems, especially the transported suspended solids, have often been the focus of scientific investigations in the past. Sediments of aquatic river systems, on the other hand, were often ignored due to the time-consuming sample preparation and analysis procedures. Spectroscopic measurement methods counting particle numbers are hardly suitable as detection methods, because there are plenty of natural particles next to a small number of MP particles. Integral methods, such as thermoanalytical methods are determining the particle mass independently of the inorganic components. In this study, a workflow for sample preparation via density separation and subsequent analysis by thermal extraction desorption-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is presented, which leads to representative and homogeneous samples and allows fast and robust MP mass content measurements suitable for routine analysis. Polymers were identified and quantified in all samples. Polyethylene and styrene-butadiene rubber are the dominant polymers, besides polypropylene and polystyrene. Overall, total polymer masses between 1.18 and 337.0 µg/g could be determined. Highest MP concentrations in riverbed sediment are found in sites characterized by low flow velocities in harbors and reservoirs, while MP concentrations in sandy/gravelly bed sediments with higher flow velocities are small.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200125
JournalApplied Research
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Applied Research published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.

Keywords

  • Rhine river
  • TED-GC/MS
  • aquatic sediments
  • microplastics
  • monitoring workflow
  • river sediments
  • sample preparation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Microplastics in sediments of the river Rhine—A workflow for preparation and analysis of sediment samples from aquatic river systems for monitoring purposes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this