A freeware tool for the manufacturer independent analysis of microplastics: Systematic Identification of MicroPLastics in the Environment (siMPle)

, Vollertsen Jes, Primpke Sebastian, Vianello Alvise, Gerdts Gunnar.

The harmonization of microplastics analysis is a challenging field due to the various steps involved ranging from sampling, sample extraction to analysis. Each of these steps has its challenges and, in addition, different analytical methods based on spectroscopy or thermo-analysis are available, each one providing different data quality and comparability. State of the art FTIR imaging allows the analysis of complete filter areas independently from human bias in a relatively short amount of time. For the development of standardized operational protocols (SOPs), comparable data determination is hampered by the different manufacturer software and commercial software available. To overcome this challenge and allow the harmonization of data analysis, we developed the tool siMPle. It allows the analysis of datasets measured on different instruments from the manufacturers Agilent, Bruker, Perkin Elmer and Thermo Fisher Scientific (further imports in development). Here, every spectrum can either be selected individually or analyzed via two pipelines for the automated analysis, the original MPhunter- and the widely applied automated analysis pipeline. Large datasets with more than 3.2 million can be handled by it with relative ease and moreover, siMPle significantly reduces the calculation time to perform Pearson's correlation. In fact, a dataset containing 1 million spectra can be analyzed in around 2h instead of ¿ 24h. The generated data was benchmarked and validated in accordance with the original automated analysis approach using Bruker OPUS to allow a harmonized comparison of results. This new tool is available as freeware and allows the harmonization of MP data analysis for spectroscopic data for future research.

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