A portable purification system for the rapid removal of microplastics from environmental samples

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Jing Zhang
  • Advait Bhingarde
  • Tanzia Matotek
  • Justine Barrett
  • Britta D. Hardesty
  • Mark M. Banaszak Holl

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number132614
Journal / PublicationChemical Engineering Journal
Volume428
Online published24 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022

Abstract

The use of plastic products has become an indispensable part of our lives. However, due to improper discharge into the ocean and their prevalence in food storage use, humans ingest microplastics (MP) from consuming seafood or drinking water, which poses safety hazards. Furthermore, the existing MP separation methods, such as density separation and filtration, are limited by low efficiency. For micro-particle separation, inertial microfluidics using spiral channels has attracted great interest because of its excellent ability to concentrate particles of specific sizes with the balance of inertial lift force and Dean drag force in a fully enclosed system. Here, we designed and optimized an MP concentrator (MPC) to simultaneously enrich and remove MP for environmental research and water purification. The MPC achieves >90% recovery of MPs from seawater samples and polypropylene food container extracts and also obtained MP counts (per gram wet sediment) for environmental ocean floor samples within the range previously achieved via filtration methods. Moreover, the MPC can purify the sample by concentrating MP to a minimal volume at an output by introducing a feedback loop. Overall, our study provides an innovative technology that simultaneously enriches and filters MP from various samples with minimal equipment requirements, thereby providing a low-cost and convenient method compatible with on-site applications, and has the potential for routine use in MP research, especially for areas with limited resources.

Research Area(s)

  • Food safety, Inertial focusing, Microfluidics, Microplastics removal, Water purification

Citation Format(s)

A portable purification system for the rapid removal of microplastics from environmental samples. / Chen, Chun Kwan; Zhang, Jing; Bhingarde, Advait; Matotek, Tanzia; Barrett, Justine; Hardesty, Britta D.; Banaszak Holl, Mark M.; Khoo, Bee Luan.

In: Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol. 428, 132614, 15.01.2022.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review