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Details of a science project

Plastic particles in polar water systems of southeastern Svalbard


We aim to investigate transport and occurrence of microplastics on Edgeøya (Svalbard). We plan to sample soil and surface water at 10-15 locations (including Rosenbergdalen) during the SEES 2022 expedition. In the lab (VU Amsterdam) the samples will be analysed using pyrolysis gas-chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (py-GC-MS) to assess the concentration and identity of microplastics. Py-GC-MS enables the identification of the plastic polymer types and quantifies the total amount of microplastics (per polymer type) in a sample expressed on a mass base (e.g. ng/gram), which is a different, complementary metric to particle counts that are determined using e.g. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) approaches (as in Bergmann et al., 2019). Although the sampling procedure is designed to prevent contamination, possible background contamination is determined by taking and analysing control samples.

In parallel, additional samples will be taken (at the same locations) for organic matter analysis (content, type, quality) to follow up on earlier work performed by Vonk et al. on SEES2015 (Kellerman et al. 2021). To further characterize the presence of chemicals from anthropogenic origin (Chemicals of Emerging Concern), suspect and non-target screening using high resolution mass spectrometry will be done using dedicated workflows incorporating a novel annotation database.

People involved in the project Jim Boonman.

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