According to recent estimates, we cannot account for ~99% of plastic waste that escapes into the oceans. A significant portion of this missing plastic is hypothesized to result from plastic degradation products, so-called nanoplastics. Due to their small size (< 1000 nm), they often fall below the detection limits of commonly available collection and identification methods, while those are crucial to assess the behaviour of nanoplastics in aquatic systems and their toxicology.
To extend our knowledge on nanoplastics, the aim of this project is to characterize their chemical composition, size and structure by using a toolbox of various spectroscopic methods. In addition, sampling and concentration protocols for the characterization of aquatic, environmental samples will be developed.
This project is part of a consortium with a complementary expertise, in which chemistry, physics and biology are bridged. In this interdisciplinary team we work closely with researchers from Utrecht University, Leiden University, NIOZ, and the University of Amsterdam.