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Dezember 2020

WITec in Japan and the Chiba Institute of Technology, Japan, cooperate to analyze microplastics (< 20 µm)

WITec GmbH, the German manufacturer of high-performance Raman, AFM, SNOM, and correlative nano-analytical microscopy systems, announces a new cooperation in Japan for particle analysis.

Dr. Yutaka Kameda, Associate Professor at the Chiba Institute of Technology (CIT) in Japan, and his team have been working very successfully for several years on the analysis of microplastics in the environment. One example is the development of a unique interactive mapping system for microplastics that uses sea water collected from all over the world by tankers from Nippon Yusen Kaisha with a standardized sampling method that ensures reproducible results. These projects focus on particles with a size of 20 µm or larger. However, it is expected that much smaller microplastics, down to a size of 1 µm, are most problematic for all organisms.

WITec has developed the technology necessary for the highly efficient and precise analysis of these tiny particles. It enables the automated classification, chemical identification, and quantification of particles over a large sample area. WITec will carry out the sample measurements conducted under this new cooperation using these capabilities.

During the kick-off meeting, Dr. Kameda said, “We have several ongoing and future projects that look at microplastics in the environment, such as monitoring sea water samples from all over the world as well as analyzing tap water, wastewater, etc. in Japan. With these projects, we focus on particles with a size of greater than 20 micrometers. Having a reliable analytical method available for even smaller microplastics would be a big step forward. In addition, we want to establish a method of monitoring microplastics in the atmosphere. With the air that we breathe every day a substantial amount of microplastics gets into our body.  It is expected that especially the smaller particles are very harmful to health. The cooperation with WITec opens up an opportunity to establish an analytical method that can identify and quantify these tiny particles in air.”

Michael Verst, director at WITec in Japan, said, “It is a great honor for us to cooperate with CIT. Dr. Kameda and his team are well known for their excellent research in environmental chemistry. Their projects that investigate microplastics are especially esteemed. We are convinced that combining WITec’s high-performance technology with the knowledge and experience of Dr. Kameda and his team, will reveal new insights about the state of our environment. A precise and efficient analytical method will hopefully lead to better ecological monitoring and the improvement of our living conditions and health.”

Plastic is everywhere, in our food, air, rivers and oceans. There are indications that very small particles are exceptionally hazardous. We hope that our cooperation will make an important contribution to better understanding this topic.

Kameda PR 504

Left: Dr. Yutaka Kameda – Chiba Institute of Technology, Right: Michael Verst – WITec Japan