Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 9, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

Identification methods in microplastic analysis: a review

Author affiliations


Microplastics have become a major global environmental issue in recent decades due to their ubiquity in the oceans, bioavailability and ability to carry toxic chemicals. Analysis of microplastics in environmental and experimental samples has become increasingly common. We conducted a literature survey to review the current identification methods for microplastics. The advantages and limitations of each identification method were compared to indicate the best methods for microplastic analysis. Identification of microplastics is based on the physical and chemical characterisation of isolated particles in mixtures of inorganic and organic remnant particles after the extraction and clean-up steps. In addition, novel methods which may possibly be applied to microplastic identification were suggested. Microscopic identification by itself has a high risk of producing both false positive and false negative results in analyses of small microplastics. At present, combinations of physical (e.g., microscopy) and chemical (e.g., spectroscopy) analyses are widely used. However, there is a need to improve and develop new methods to reduce the identification time and effort and to detect sub-micron plastics in environmental samples.

Graphical abstract: Identification methods in microplastic analysis: a review

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 12 Sep 2016, accepted on 20 Nov 2016 and first published on 21 Nov 2016

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C6AY02558G
Anal. Methods, 2017,9, 1384-1391

  •   Request permissions

    Identification methods in microplastic analysis: a review

    W. J. Shim, S. H. Hong and S. E. Eo, Anal. Methods, 2017, 9, 1384
    DOI: 10.1039/C6AY02558G

Search articles by author