Rapid Quantification of Microplastics using Smartphone
- Author(s): Leonard, Dona Jamie L
- Advisor(s): Mohanty, Sanjay K
- et al.
Rapid detection of microplastics is critical to understand the extent of microplasticcontamination in the environment and identify appropriate mitigation strategies. However, current methods for isolating and counting microplastics from environmental samples can take several hours to days and their efficiencies may vary widely. Herein a rapid method to detect microplastics is described, which involves staining them with Nile Red before taking picture using a mobile phone fitted with add-on camera. The method is capable of detecting and quantifying microplastics as small as 10 μm and identifying microplastics among other debris, thereby eliminating the need for time-consuming digestion steps using hazardous chemicals. The method is effective over a wide range of light-colored plastic polymers, including polystyrene, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate. This field deployable method can provide accessible and user-friendly tool to even citizen scientists and non-specialized labs to detect microplastics in environmental samples.