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Akvaplan-niva AS

Year: 2019
Project manager: Claudia Halsband
Project code: pa102018

The project will establish a joint microplastic lab at the Fram Centre in Tromsø. This initiative will bring together of the most prominent microplastic research group in the Arctic by combining the strengths of ApN, NIVA, NILU and NP. This will create regional capacity to do microplastic analysis with state-of-the-art equipment and methods. A microplastic lab at the Fram Centre will serve much needed microplastic research in the Artic. Local capacity will strengthen research and reduce the risk of contamination during transport. The Fram Centre microplastic lab will also serve existing Arctic infrastructure including microplastic samplers integrated in so called ‘ferry box’ systems on commercial ferries or research vessels.

The project will build microplastic analysis capacity at the Fram Centre by organizing 2 analytical training workshops and 1 quality assurance and quality control workshop involving world experts in the field of microplastic analysis. In addition, a certified reference material, one of the first of its kind, will be made available for continues quality control. The project will enable microplastic experts from ApN, NILU, NP and NIVA to work together and to support and develop new projects together. The training and QA/QC exercises will not only include visual analysis of microplastic but also confirmatory analysis using Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FTIR). A bench top FTIR instrument will be bought and placed at the Fram Centre in Tromsø.


The consortium has conducted the first workshop on meso-and microplastics analysis with the newly established FTIR particle analyser at NILU (Agilent Cary ATR-FTIR). All participating institutes took part with one or several representatives.


The principles and basics of the method were described and discussed, together with presentations on sample collection, preparation and analysis from different environmental matrices (seawater, sediments and biota). The theoretical session was followed by a practical exercise, where all participants could analyse selected plastic pieces and compare the FTIR readings with visual identifications. Possible uncertainties in the readings based on the underlying polymer database(s) used together with the instrument and software were discussed.

The use of self-dissolving tablets with different defined microplastics content in different size ranges and concentrations have shown large potential to be used in QA/QC studies. The project will use these as a standard reference material after certification. This kind of measure is expected to enhance the quality of microplastic data as well as the comparability of different studies.


Vitenskaplig publisering

Halsband, C., Herzke, D. (in press). Plastic litter in the European Arctic: what do we know? Emerging Contaminants (link)

Bråte, I.L.N., Hurley, R., Buenaventura, N, Lusher, A., Hultmann, M., Halsband, C., Green, N. (in press). Microplastics in marine bivalves from the Nordic environment. NIVA Report to Miljødirektoratet

Microplastic sample collection onboard a ferrybox equipped MS “Norbjørn” at a transect Tromsø-Longyearbyen in June 2019. E. Yakushev, B. van Bavel, Amy Lorraine Lusher, Svetlana Pakhomova. Svalbard Science Conference 2019. Book of abstracts.

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