Inorganic-doped nano and micro plastics as model materials for multifunctional detection

, La Spina Rita, Cassano Domenico, Facchetti Samantha, Ponti Jessica, Fumagalli Francesco Sirio, Ricciardi Nicoletta, Gilliland Douglas.

The large amount of plastic produced, and therefore its degradation into nano and micro plastics and its accumulation in water, soil and air has opened a debate on possible harmful effects on the environment and humans. To date, both representative materials and effective methods for the extraction, identification and quantification of nano and micro plastics from complex matrices are still lacking. In this study, we present the synthesis of polypropylene (PP) nanoparticles (NPs), being PP amongst the most commonly detected plastic debris throughout the environment. In addition, the traceability of the PP has been achieved by introducing selected markers into PP NPs such as inorganic and/or fluorescent dyes. A similar approach has been used for Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics, which is the third most widely produced synthetic polymer (ca. 40 million tons/year) and widespread for its various applications. The synthesis of fluorescent and platinum-labelled PVC microparticles was optimized and the as produced microplastics were administered to freshwater mussels. The latter are widely used in absorption and bioaccumulation studies of microplastics.

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