It’s snowing plastic

EurekAlert  March 17, 2021
The quantification of micro/nanoplastics in complex environmental matrices is still a major challenge, notably for soluble ones. Researchers in Canada coupled laboratory-built nanostructures (zinc oxide, titanium oxide and cobalt) to mass spectrometry techniques to quantify micro/nanoplastics in water and snow matrices at picogram levels without sample pre-treatment. In parallel, they developed a technique to quantify micro/nanoplastics based on nanostructured laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (NALDI-TOF-MS), at ultra-trace levels. The detection limit is ∼5 pg for ambient snow. Soluble polyethylene glycol and insoluble polyethylene fragments were observed and quantified in fresh falling snow. Complementary physicochemical studies of the snow matrices and reference plastics using laser-based particle sizers provided information on morphology and composition of the micro/nano-plastic particles…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

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