A Simple Method for Quantification of Polyhydroxybutyrate and Polylactic Acid Micro-Bioplastics in Soils by Evolved Gas Analysis
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Conventional plastics are being slowly replaced by biodegradable ones to prevent plastic pollution. However, in the natural environment, the biodegradation of plastics is usually slow or incomplete due to unfavorable conditions and leads to faster micro-bioplastic formation. Many analytical methods were developed to determine microplastics, but micro-bioplastics are still overlooked. This work presents a simple method for determining poly-3-hydroxybutyrate and polylactic acid micro-bioplastics in soil based on the thermogravimetry-mass spectrometry analysis of low molecular gases evolved during pyrolysis. For the method development, model soils containing different soil organic carbon contents were spiked with micro-bioplastics. Specific gaseous pyrolysis products of the analytes were identified, while the ratio of their amounts appeared to be constant above the level of detection of the suggested method. The constant ratio was explained as a lower soil influence on the evolution of the gaseous product, and it was suggested as an additional identification parameter. The advantages of the presented method are no sample pretreatment, presumably no need for an internal standard, low temperature needed for the transfer of gaseous products and the possibility of using its principles with other, cheaper detectors. The method can find application in the verification of biodegradation tests and in the monitoring of soils after the application of biodegradable products.
Document typePeer reviewed
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SourceMOLECULES. 2022, vol. 27, issue 6, p. 1-16.