Cross-Cutting Topic 1

Dr. Ulrike Braun
(Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung; RUSEKU)
Dr. Gunnar Gerdts
(Alfred-Wegener-Institut; PLAWES)
Dr. Natalia P. Ivleva
(Technical University of Munich; SubμTrack)
Dr. Jens Reiber

Contacts PlastikNet
Ulf Stein
(Ecologic Institute)
Hannes Schritt
(Ecologic Institute)

Cross-Cutting Topic 1: Analytics and Reference Materials


  • to harmonise the analytics of microplastics (sampling, preparation, detection) in complex environmental matrices within the research focus for better comparability of the results obtained
  • to plan and participate in workshops as well as to establish professional networks
  • to prepare a joint document (discussion paper with continous updating) to harmonise the analytics of microplastics for the internal and external presentation of results
  • to conceive, plan and carry out comparative tests for microplastics analytics with defined reference materials

Status of work

As part of the cross-cutting topic, the discussion paper "Microplastic Analytics: Sampling, Preparation and Detection Methods" was published in German and English. The discussion paper was developed based on the state of research and discussions within the research focus. It constitutes a solution-oriented decision-making aid for the selection of methods. It emphasizes that the selection of analytical methods should not only be guided by performance parameters, but by the research question. The paper thus serves as a guideline for dealing with microplastics and provides recommendations for the analytical process , in particular for the analysis of water samples. Besides, it proposes a classification into microplastic size classes, which intends to simplify technical and analytical process steps and to improve the comparability of results. Two workshops with extensive discussions and specific technical contributions were carried out for the development of the discussion paper. In addition to the joint research projects of the research focus, external projects (e.g. MiWa, MiPAq, MiKaMi) also contributed their experience.

A ring trial on "spectroscopic detection methods for microplastic detection" is currently being implemented. Furthermore, members exchange regularly on sampling in the field of urban water management.


Currently, air and biota are added as new media to the discussion paper. A workshop in autumn 2019 is planned to concretise the open suggestions for further cooperation (e.g. sampling of soils, sediments and secondary raw material fertilizers such as sewage sludge and composts) and to evaluate the ring trail.

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