Increased testing capacity will provide greater understanding of microplastics contamination in the environment
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced the release of its enhanced 8700 LDIR Chemical Imaging System, which has been further optimized for the analysis of microplastics in environmental samples. This newly improved package includes Clarity 1.5 software – a significant upgrade that advances the speed of analysis, enhances spectral acquisition, transformation, and library matching, and provides automated workflows for direct analysis of microplastics on a filter substrate. An innovative, redesigned sample holder allows the on-filter sample to be presented to the instrument more easily and consistently.
The prevalence of microplastics in the environment is a growing concern worldwide, prompting greater scrutiny from governments and increased monitoring of rivers and oceans by environmental agencies. Adequately assessing the prevalence of microplastics in the environment requires researchers to determine the size, shape, and chemical identity of plastic particles in a sample. As smaller particles are thought to be the most biologically relevant, this analysis must extend to particles on the micron scale.
Slow and complex analysis solutions are a major challenge to microplastics analysis and have hindered studies of real-world systems. Additionally, method variability limits the comparability of studies, making trends difficult to assess. Vibrational spectroscopy methods such as FTIR and Raman microscopy provide a useful alternative, but each faces limitations due to the excessive time of analysis and method complexity.
The Agilent 8700 LDIR brings high-speed analysis and ease of use to infrared spectroscopy and has rapidly emerged as the benchmark technique for the analysis of microplastics particles. The development of on-filter analysis for this platform marks another leap forward in speed and throughput. The ability to significantly increase testing volumes will allow a greater understanding of the extent of microplastics contamination in the environment and will help facilitate the development of appropriate standards and regulations.
Geoff Winkett, vice president and general manager for Agilent’s Molecular Spectroscopy Division, discussed the announcement’s impact. "When I speak with microplastics researchers, a recurring question is how to make testing faster and easier, as there is a real concern that the limited sample numbers that can be realistically processed may be masking the true nature of the issue," he said. "The fact is that other currently available techniques are too slow and cannot capture the extent of the microplastics load in drinking and environmental waters. Fast and easy-to-use analysis methods such as the 8700 LDIR provide an essential and much-needed alternative that enables researchers to increase sampling over area or time to address these limitations."
As a leading provider of analytical solutions for food and environmental analysis, Agilent is committed to delivering technology that improves user outcomes for academic research settings and commercial testing facilities. The release of the enhanced 8700 LDIR is expected to strengthen its leadership position in this growing market.
About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global leader in the life sciences, diagnostics, and applied chemical markets, delivering insight and innovation that advance the quality of life. Agilent’s full range of solutions includes instruments, software, services, and expertise that provide trusted answers to our customers' most challenging questions. The company generated revenue of $6.32 billion in fiscal 2021 and employs 17,000 people worldwide. Information about Agilent is available at www.agilent.com. To receive the latest Agilent news, please subscribe to the Agilent Newsroom. Follow Agilent on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.