Quantification of Microplastics In Soil Samples - Method Development

Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Sara Dick


Arts and Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


Plastic accumulation has increased drastically in the last decade, due to plastics not being able to degrade on a usable scale. Microplastics are small bits of plastic that can be ingested by organisms, but not digested. These plastics mimic biological chemicals, like hormones. It is critical to be able to measure the microplastic content of natural samples so we can evaluate load, and the success of any interventions. We have created standards of 5 microplastics to use to develop methods for quantification of microplastics in soil. We plan to use a spectrophotometer to measure the fluorescence of Nile-Red stained microplastics in the standards and spiked soil samples. Once these methods are established, we will be able to quantify the microplastics in environmental samples. Overall, our goal is to use a microbial community to degrade microplastics, and these methods will allow us to determine whether microplastics are being degraded in our experimental samples.

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