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Classification and Quantification of Microplastics (<100 μm) Using a Focal Plane Array–Fourier Transform Infrared Imaging System and Machine Learning

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  • Vitor Hugo da Silva
  • Fionn Murphy
  • ,
  • José Amigo, University of the Basque Country, Basque Foundation for Science, Spanien
  • Colin Stedmon, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Danmark
  • Jakob Strand
Microplastics are defined as microscopic plastic particles in the range from few micrometers and up to 5 mm. These small particles are classified as primary microplastics when they are manufactured in this size range, whereas secondary microplastics arise from the fragmentation of larger objects. Microplastics are widespread emerging pollutants, and investigations are underway to determine potential harmfulness to biota and human health. However, progress is hindered by the lack of suitable analytical methods for rapid, routine, and unbiased measurements. This work aims to develop an automated analytical method for the characterization of small microplastics (<100 μm) using micro-Fourier transform infrared (μ-FTIR) hyperspectral imaging and machine learning tools. Partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) and soft independent modeling of class analogy (SIMCA) models were evaluated, applying different data preprocessing strategies for classification of nine of the most common polymers produced worldwide. The hyperspectral images were also analyzed to quantify particle abundance and size automatically. PLS-DA presented a better analytical performance in comparison with SIMCA models with higher sensitivity, sensibility, and lower misclassification error. PLS-DA was less sensitive to edge effects on spectra and poorly focused regions of particles. The approach was tested on a seabed sediment sample (Roskilde Fjord, Denmark) to demonstrate the method efficiency. The proposed method offers an efficient automated approach for microplastic polymer characterization, abundance numeration, and size distribution with substantial benefits for method standardization.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftAnalytical Chemistry
Vol/bind92
Nummer20
Sider (fra-til)13724-13733
Antal sider10
ISSN0003-2700
DOI
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2020

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