Automated Analysis of µFTIR Imaging Data for Microplastic Samples

sebastian.primpke [ at ]


The pollution of the oceans with plastic particles smaller than 5 mm, called microplastics is moving into the focus of science and governments. To determine the amount of microplastics several steps are necessary, starting with the sampling, work up and finally analysis. Each step has its own challenges due to small size of the particles. For analysis the imaging with µFTIR microscopy is a powerful tool allowing the analysis of complete filters. Systematic screening for optimal conditions and filter materials have already been performed. This method has a high time demand regarding the measurement and data interpretation. While the measurement is performed mostly by the spectrometer, the interpretation has to be made by hand on the basis of false color images. To overcome the manual part we developed a novel approach based on the Bruker OPUS© Software to decrease the high time demand for the analysis of microplastics. With this approach it was possible to analyze measurement files from focal plane array (FPA) FTIR mapping containing up to 1.8 million single spectra. These spectra were compared with a database of different synthetic and natural polymers by various methods. By benchmark tests their performance was monitored with the focus on accuracy and data quality. After optimization high quality data was generated, which allowed image analysis. Based on these results an approach for image analysis was developed, giving information for the particle size distribution for each polymer type, particle distribution on the filter and polymer distribution for the particles. It was possible to collect all data with relative ease even for complex sample matrices. This approach has significantly decreased the time demand for the interpretation of FTIR-imaging data and increased the generated data quality.

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DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-812271-6.00092-2

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Primpke, S. , Lorenz, C. , Rascher-Friesenhausen, R. and Gerdts, G. (2016): Automated Analysis of µFTIR Imaging Data for Microplastic Samples / J. Baztan , B. Jorgensen , S. Pahl , R. Thompson and J. Vanderlinden (editors) , Fate and Impact of Microplastics in Marine Ecosystems, Elsevier . doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-812271-6.00092-2

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