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Analysis of microplastics in wetland samples from coastal Ghana using the Rose Bengal stain

Authors
  • Gbogbo, Francis1
  • Takyi, James Benjamin1
  • Billah, Maxwell Kelvin1
  • Ewool, Julliet1
  • 1 University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana , Accra (Ghana)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Mar 03, 2020
Volume
192
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-020-8175-8
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

The use of optical microscope remains the most commonly used technique for microplastic identification and quantification despite major limitations with misidentifications and biases. We evaluated the use of the 1% Rose Bengal stain in improving the identification of microplastics after a standard microplastic isolation process. The stain discriminated organic materials from potential microplastics with significant differences between numbers observed before (6.65 ± 5.73) and after staining (2.91 ± 3.43). Numbers of potential microplastics observed under the conventional method (without staining) in sediment, feacal matter of shorebirds and the lagoon water were respectively 3.55 g−1, 0.8 g−1 and 0.13 ml−1 but reduced to 1.85 g−1 of sediment, 0.35 g−1 of feacal material and 0.09 ml−1 of water after staining. Colour composition of potential microplastics under the conventional method was brown (31.0%), black (26.5%), white (20.2%), translucent (16.7%) and red (5.6%). After staining, brown (49,2%), black (30.5%) white (2.3%) and translucent (18.0%) were retained but distinction could not be made between stained organic items and red-coloured microplastics. It was clear that the stain has the potential in improving microplastic identification but requires further investigations.

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