From: University of Warwick
Published November 27, 2017 11:31 AM

'Lost' 99% of Ocean Microplastics to be Identified With Dye?

  • Smallest microplastics in oceans – which go largely undetected - identified more effectively with innovative and cheap new method, developed by University of Warwick researchers
  • New method can detect microplastics as small as the width of a human hair, using a fluorescent dye
  • Previous scientific field work surveys report that only 1% of the plastic waste in the oceans has been found – this new research could lead to discovering the missing 99%

?The smallest microplastics in our oceans – which go largely undetected and are potentially harmful – could be more effectively identified using an innovative and inexpensive new method, developed by researchers at the University of Warwick.

New research, led by Gabriel Erni-Cassola and Dr. Joseph A. Christie-Oleza from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, has established a pioneering way to detect the smaller fraction of microplastics – many as small as 20 micrometres (comparable to the width of a human hair or wool fibre) - using a fluorescent dye.

The dye specifically binds to plastic particles, and renders them easily visible under a fluorescence microscope. This allows scientists to distinguish microplastics amongst other natural materials and makes it easy to accurately quantify them.

Read more at University of Warwick

Image: Smaller ocean microplastics (below 1mm) made visible with fluorescent dye -- viewed through a microscope. (Credit: University of Warwick)

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

2018©. Copyright Environmental News Network