I. Comnea-Stancu, K. Wieland, G. Ramer, A. Schwaighofer, B. Lendl:
"On the Identification of Rayon/Viscose as a Major Fraction of Microplastics in the Marine Environment: Discrimination between Natural and Man-made Cellulosic Fibers by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy";
Applied Spectroscopy, 71 (2017), 5; S. 939 - 950.

Kurzfassung englisch:
This work was sparked by the reported identification of man-made cellulosic fibers (rayon/viscose) in the marine environment as a major fraction of plastic litter by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) transmission spectroscopy and library search. To assess the plausibility of such findings, both natural and man-made fibers were examined using FT-IR spectroscopy. Spectra acquired by transmission microscopy, attenuated total reflection (ATR) microscopy, and ATR spectroscopy were compared. Library search was employed and results show significant differences in the identification rate depending on the acquisition method of the spectra. Careful selection of search parameters and the choice of spectra acquisition method were found to be essential for optimization of the library search results. When using transmission spectra of fibers and ATR libraries it was not possible to differentiate between man-made and natural fibers. Successful differentiation of natural and man-made cellulosic fibers has been achieved for FT-IR spectra acquired by ATR microscopy and ATR spectroscopy, and application of ATR libraries. As an alternative, chemometric methods such as unsupervised hierarchical cluster analysis, principal component analysis, and partial least squares-discriminant analysis were employed to facilitate identification based on intrinsic relationships of sample spectra and successful discrimination of the fiber type could be achieved. Differences in the ATR spectra depending on the internal reflection element (Ge versus diamond) were observed as expected; however, these did not impair correct classification by chemometric analysis. Moreover, the effects of different levels of humidity on the IR spectra of natural and man-made fibers were investigated, too. It has been found that drying and re-humidification leads to intensity changes of absorption bands of the carbohydrate backbone, but does not impair the identification of the fiber type by library search or cluster analysis.

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