In this article of our four-part series on the detection of microplastics, the focus is on our Wasser 3.0 detect process. In the first part we described why we are working on this. How it can be used will be the topic of parts 3 and 4.
With Wasser 3.0 detect, we have developed an easy-to-use, fast and inexpensive method for the detection of microplastics in water in the last few months.
continuous detection of microplastics in various types of water
(fresh water, drinking water, waste water, sea water). We have already characterized many new molecules that show very good interactions with different polymers.
- the key to continuous detection of microplastics in the environment?
Fluorescence microscopy is a detection method that provides quick results. In a simple step particles are marked with a solvatochromic, i.e. fluorescent, dye. The use of a lipophilic dye to color microplastics was first proposed in 2010. Since then various Nile Red-based staining protocols have been described for fluorescent labeling of microplastics.
We also work with
Many years ago we began to use different methods to put microplastic detection in a different light. It has been known for many years that Nile Red is a good starting point for bringing microplastic detection to a standardized procedure. But there is still no uniform methodology.
is an approach that we are also following with regard to quantification. In combination, particle counting and labeled polymers are key to a fast method. It literally enables one to separate the "wheat from the chaff" and thus to
distinguish synthetic particles from natural particles
and count them at the same time.
Wasser 3.0 in a clean room laboratory environment
For our lastest publication on fluorescence microscopy we took a closer look at the problem of sample susceptibility described in the first article of our four-part series on microplastic detection.
We cleaned, filtered the air, bought particle-free clothing, cleaned all glass appliances several times and checked them to ensure that they were free of particles. We have defined this process as a scientific standard to find out how many
microplastic particles really could be detected
in the sample and, above all, found again. Because reliable values can only be generated with careful quality control.
Quantum leap No 1
In the first part of our detection series we described the extent to which conventional detection methods do not meet our requirements in terms of efficiency and sustainability. An important aspect of this was time. With Wasser 3.0 detect we are now able to reduce the time for sample preparation and measurements from days to hours. Sometimes we only need between 10 and 30 minutes.
With Wasser 3.0 detect costs are also significantly lower than with conventional methods.
Fact is: Wasser 3.0 detect is easy-to-use, quick and inexpensive. It enables us to closely monitor and optimize our processes. From our point of view, a real quantum leap for microplastic detection, efficiency in removal rates, the use of materials in processes, and health and environmental protection.
described in the first part of our detection series, we come to the following consideration:
If we have developed an easy-to-use, fast and inexpensive method, would it not be suitable as a new standard for the
worldwide collection of data on microplastic pollution
? That would be quantum leap No. 2 for Wasser 3.0 detect and
waters without microplastics
We are only a few steps away from setting Wasser 3.0 detect into the status 'market-ready'.
We are therefore looking for investors and sponsors in order to record and evaluate our validation cycles even faster, more effectively and at the same time science-based.
In the course of this, we rely on cross-evaluation. This means that we evaluate with up to four different methods and can make statistical evaluations of the values obtained. Hereby we get away from random samples and are able to make fact-and data-based statements about
actual loads of microplastics
quickly and inexpensively and to monitor our processes continously.
In the next part of our detection series, we will answer the question why it is high time for a standardized detection method for microplastics. The fact that so little has been done so far to stop the further distribution of microplastics in and via the water cycle is directly related to this.