New Wave Media

January 3, 2019

OSIL Unveils Microplastics Sampler

(Photo: OSIL)

(Photo: OSIL)

Oceanic microplastic pollution is a growing concern across the globe as new and existing marine litter continues to degrade and fragment through physical and chemical processes.

Global environmental monitoring experts Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) has developed a new Microplastics Sampler for the collection of water samples for the analysis of plastic particles smaller than 5 mm including fragments, films, pellets/nurdles, granules/beads, filaments and foams.

The unique device 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 often have issues with pressure waves affecting the different sizes of microplastics resulting in over- or under-reporting of concentrations. OSIL says its 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.

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 liters can be drawn off to be sampled for positively buoyant plastics, with the next 40 liters 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 analysed 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.

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