The analytical quest for sub-micron plastics in biological matrices

Fazel Abdolahpur Monikh, Martina G. Vijver, Denise M. Mitrano, Heather A. Leslie, Zhiling Guo, Peng Zhang, Iseult Lynch, Eugenia Valsami-Jones, Willie J.G.M. Peijnenburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current debate on hazards associated with sub-micron sized plastics is hampered by a lack of quantitative data on the uptake and biological fate of plastics in organisms. Analytical methods should be developed to identify, characterize, and quantify sub-micron particulate plastic in biota to understand their biological fate in terms of biodistribution, localization, bioaccumulation and clearance. Here we give a perspective on a promising workflow of sample preparation methods and techniques that could enable analysis of sub-micron plastics in biological matrices and discuss their application for biological fate studies of particulate plastic in organisms. We also expect these methods to be largely transferrable to studies considering sub-micron plastics in food, consumer products, human and some environmental compartments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101296
Number of pages8
JournalNano Today
Early online date23 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the University of Eastern Finland, Finland water research program (the Saastamoinen Foundation), H2020 project RiskGONE, UK ( 814425 ), H2020 project ACEnano, UK ( 720952 ), the Swiss National Science Foundation, Switzerland , Ambizione grant number PZP002_168105 and Eccellenza grant number PCEFP2_186856 , and the H2020 supported project PLASTICFATE, Netherlands (grant agreement number 965367 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Characterization
  • Identification
  • Metal-doped tracking
  • Nanoplastics
  • Particle extraction
  • Sample preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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