Preparation of a DIN specification for the analysis of microplastics in food (DIN technical committee NA057-08-05-AA)
Project code: MRI-MF-08-1050 DIN Mikroplastik
Contract period: 01.12.2019 - 31.12.2021
Purpose of research: Experimental development
In recent years, numerous studies documented the ubiquitous presence of small plastic particles – called microplastics - in the environment. Resulting from waste water, drainage and run-off aquatic ecosystems are containing particularly high amounts of microplastic. Due to the particles’ small size, they can be ingested by aquatic organisms. Especially in the gastrointestinal tracts of marine organisms, including species regularly used as seafood, the presence of microplastics was documented. Therefore, seafood products are currently suspected to be among the most relevant sources for the dietary intake of microplastics in hu-mans. However, due to the large number of non-validated, different analytical approaches applied in these studies, the reliability and comparability of data often is low. Consequently, standardized methods of sample preparation (i.e. for the isolation of microplastic particles from the surrounding food matrix), subsequent analysis and data evaluation are required. Within the scope of workshops of the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), an evaluation of current methods was carried out with regard to the measurement parameters to be analyzed. Minimum requirements are the determination of the particle number and their size (distribution) or the relative mass of microplastics in the sample and the plastic origin or polymer identity. Suitable methods with regard to the minimum requirements are thermogravimetric methods such as pyr-GC-MS or TED-GC-MS, FTIR and Raman spectroscopy. For these methods specifications or draft standards for the determination of microplastics in food are being developed in the technical committee "Microplastics in Food" of the DIN Standards Committee "Food and Agricultural Products". The specification will describe general methods for the determination of microplastics in the size ranges 1 μm to 1000 μm (microplastics) and 1 mm to 5 mm (large microplastics). European and international activities in this field are taken into account. The work within the project includes literature research, participation in meetings and collaboration on the specifications or draft standards of the working committee. The institute MF contributes to the DIN committee especially by sharing their expertise regarding microplastic analysis in the edible parts of seafood products.