Microplastics research and analyses

Microplastics research and analyses [NI-SERV-2020-53]

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Sampling, detection, characterization and polymer analyses of microplastics in water, sediment, soil and biological matrices

Service/Expertise Overview

Microplastics are widely distributed in the environment and may have negative impacts towards ecosystems and human health. The need to characterize this type of pollution is crucial to avert its effects and promote prevention and mitigation strategies. At MARLab (MARE NOVA) we provide microplastics detection on water, sediments, soils and biological matrices and their analysis regarding types, size and polymers identification.

The services include field sampling, sample preparation for microplastic detection (particles and fibres), microscope sorting, manipulation, and purification for chemical analysis (Infra-Red spectroscopy – FTIR).

Competitive advantages

MARLab team pioneered microplastics research in Portugal in 2008. We have great expertise in microplastic sampling and analyses of particles and fibres sampling and analyses in several matrices (e.g. water, sediment and biota) using the latest available techniques and follow the most relevant developments in this field, in order to deliver state-of-art results and data interpretation. Along these years we have built transdisciplinary international partnerships to develop new approaches for better detection of microplastics and we have also participated in intercalibration exercises.


Microplstics detection and characterization studies have application in several areas and are of interest to entities such as municipal/local and regional administrations, as well as environmental, food and health institutions and academia R&D (from environmental monitoring to ecotoxicology and risk assessment).

Specific applications include microplastic detection, characterization and polymer identification in water (drinking water, treated water, river, seawater), sediments, soils and biological samples (including food items).

Further details


Research unit

MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre/Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

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