In the last 50 years, plastics have conquered the world and today we are literally drowning in organic polymers that come in forms no one ever dreamed of. From packaging, bags, and fibers in synthetic clothing to water bottles, cosmetics, and even toothpaste, plastics and microplastics are everywhere and in everything… including our own bodies. Microplastics are becoming a subject of high environmental and societal concern on an international level, with increasing alarm about the amount of plastic materials observed floating in the world’s rivers, seas and oceans. However, a major problem is the size of these polymer debris particles, too small to be visible to the naked eye, that are entering into the river and marine environments and ultimately into the food chain.
This is why the impact of microplastic pollution is growing day by day and why many organizations are working on a solution for this enormous problem through characterizing and quantifying microplastics and their origin and impact on the environment and food chain.
For all scientists studying microplastics who need to identify and quantitate microplastics and the organic and bacterial pollutants hosted by them, or to measure the biological impact on the marine and freshwater ecosystem and the food chain, our complete range of innovative solutions, together with over 70 years of expertise in method development support can help you obtain accurate and reliable results.
For your microplastics research needs, including identification of microplastics and associated pollutants, and eco-toxicological studies on marine bio-organisms together with genomic and proteomic effects, today you can partner with just one supplier.
Choose the research area of your interest below to learn more:
One of the principal analytical techniques for identifying polymers is infrared (IR) spectroscopy.
Today we offer a family of advanced instruments from the Spotlight+ 200i and 400 IR imaging systems to the portable, fast, and easy-to-use Spectrum Two™ IR system. Outfitted with ready-made protocols, a materials library, and the unique Spectrum Touch™ software, these are the instruments of choice among researchers involved in the identification and quantification of synthetic polymer microbeads as well as for analyzing other compounds in water that range in size from visible plastic to below 100 µm.
An important factor in identifying the source of a microplastic particle is the additives that are added to enhance the polymer performance. A common technique is thermal analysis or pyrolysis combined with GC/MS for high sensitivity analysis of polymers and their organic additives (as well as characterizing particles below 100 µm). Finally ICP-MS analysis is used for identification and analysis of inorganic additives in the plastic.
Typical applications are:
It is known that microplastics concentrate organic pollutants, such as pesticides, on the biofilms that build up on their surface. The fear is that these pollutants are consumed by marine organisms causing them harm, and passed up the food chain to our dinner tables. Chromatography and mass spectrometry allow identification and measurement of these pollutants. Plus, automation of sample preparation steps, such as solid-phase extraction (SPE), can make the whole process more efficient. Furthermore, genomic techniques such as next-generation sequencing are used to characterize bacteria attracted to the biofilm.
Typical applications are:
Concern is growing about the impact of microplastics on the marine and freshwater ecosystem, and in particular the effect on the food chain. In addition to leaching harmful additives, it is known that microplastics generate a surface biofilm which concentrates organic pollutants such as pesticides. The biofilm also attracts potentially harmful bacteria. The fear is that these biota are consumed by marine organisms with potentially harmful consequences for the organisms themselves, the food chain and human health. Issues such as how microplastics affect reproduction, growth and productivity of bio-organisms are important and changes in immune response can lead to increased susceptibility to infection, all of which may disrupt the food chain. In terms of physical harm, there is evidence of tiny particles penetrating into tissue or into the brain causing behavioral changes. Such research demands cellular imaging and assay technologies, gene sequencing and proteomic tools.
Typical applications are:
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The EnSight™ multimode plate reader combines labeled, label-free* & image-based cytometry technologies in a single benchtop platform. Imaging & online data analysis is fast: a 384-well plate can be imaged in less than 5 mins. The system’s modular design, combined with workflow-based Kaleido™ data acquisition & analysis software, gives a truly versatile plate reader that gets users productive quickly.
*Label free detection module of EnSight Plate Reader is available outside the EU. Please contact your local representative for further details.
Choose the Frontier™ range of Fourier Transform IR spectrometers for superior spectroscopic performance in demanding applications. Powerful and adaptable, the Frontier meets all your current analysis needs and can be expanded as your research goals evolve. An exceptional signal-to-noise ratio and photometric performance assures optimal spectral quality to ensure best-in-class sensitivity. This configurable platform provides dependable and consistent operation through years of service.