Global environmental monitoring experts Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) has released a new Microplastics Sampler for the collection of water samples for the analysis of microplastics.

Oceanic microplastic pollution is an increasing concern in the worlds’ oceans, and continues to grow due to the degradation and fragmentation of existing marine litter through physical and chemical processes. “Microplastics” refers to plastic particles smaller than 5 mm and includes fragments, films, pellets/nurdles, granules/beads, filaments and foams.

The unique Microplastics Sampler from OSIL is a large volume water sampler that allows researchers to collect and characterize suspended and sinking particles in the water column. Traditional systems rely on towed nets which have issues with pressure waves affecting the different sizes of microplastics resulting in over/ under reporting of concentrations. The new sampler allows for very precise placement within the water column and provides a more accurate and reliable representation of the true concentration of microplastics in the water column than might be achieved by traditional collection systems.

The sampler collects 50 liters of water in a single sample and upon recovery the device remains upright on deck to allow dense particles to slowly sink to the bottom. The upper 5 litres can be drawn off to be sampled for positively buoyant plastics, with the next 40 litres slowly drained through a tap for neutrally buoyant materials. The bottom section of the water bottle, containing the remaining 5 liters of water and the dense plastic particles can then be disconnected from the main body. This lower section can then be analyzed in the laboratory where the flat bottom of the chamber offers an excellent backdrop for photographing/ and or subsampling using a wide-bore pipette for further analysis.

OSIL constantly strive to improve and develop our understanding of the oceans through innovative and unique products. The Microplastics Sampler is another step forward in terms of providing tools that help achieve this aim.

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