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New study addresses microplastic fibers in effluents

October 14th, 2019 / By: / EcoNote

The Hohenstein Institute published a study this month describing a new analytical approach for the determination of fibers in effluents. 

The detection of shedded fibers in effluents from textile washing has attracted attention due to its reported contribution to microplastic pollution. Commonly used analytical methods for fiber detection in liquids are based on filtration with subsequent microscopic analysis and/or gravimetric weighing. These approaches are time-consuming and prone to errors. 

In this study, an approach based on dynamic image analysis was applied in order to set up an efficient method to analyze fibers in effluents from washing processes. In an initial validation step, reliable information on the counts of fibers and the morphological characteristics were confirmed. For wastewaters from polyester-cotton blends, the chemical nature of the fiber debris (natural vs.synthetic origin) was determined by combining the dynamic image analysis with a chemical pretreatment.

In this study, dynamic image analysis was revealed as a rapid, non-destructive, precise, and reliable technology for the characterization and quantification of the fiber debris, offering a promising approach for fiber analysis in liquids.

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