Analyze Your Results
Able to collect and extract microplastics? Awesome! Now you are one step closer to submitting valuable data to build on our knowledge of microplastics in the Hudson River. Please view the ID checklist below when analyzing your samples. This can be done using a simple microscope or in one found in a standard science classroom. If your samples are particularly laden with organic material [algae this is visibly floating], you can use Bleach to help breakdown this plant material. Don't worry, the plastics will remain intact.
We then used a simple density-separation using to concentrate our microplastics. By using salt, microplastics that were less dense than the saline water solution would float to the top, while heavier particles would sink to the bottom. Following this process, we then used vacuum filtration to drain any excess water, leaving us with a piece of filter paper with microplastics. The Checklist below can be useful when analyzing your samples, and identifies things we commonly found during our analysis. Step-by-step procedure below. Please click on the embedded links for more detailed information on DIY bleach digestion, density separation, and microscopy.