Do’s and don’ts of microplastic research: A comprehensive guide

Joana C. PRATA, Jorge PADRÃO, Muhammad Tariq KHAN, Tony R. WALKER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Microplastics are environmental contaminants consisting of small plastics ≤ 5 mm. Concerns over the adverse effects of microplastics have led to a rapid growth in the available literature despite the lack of harmonized methods and materials. Therefore, the field is becoming increasingly daunting to new researchers. A state-of-the-art guide was assembled following a comprehensive literature review of microplastics research with the intent of addressing contemporary challenges, prioritized based on a survey, and introducing best practices. The lack of standardized methods and reference materials, the lack of access to analytical equipment, and the difficulty in working with lower environmental concentrations in laboratory tests (e.g., toxicity assays) remain a great challenge. The present work addresses these issues across three main sections: definitions, sampling, and evaluation of adverse effects. Harmonized methods and greater collaboration were identified as opportunities in this rapidly evolving field. A review of available interlaboratory comparison tests was also conducted to support additional recommendations. Copyright © 2024 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalWater Emerging Contaminants and Nanoplastics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


Prata, J. C., Padrão, J., Khan, M. T., & Walker, T. R. (2024). Do’s and don’ts of microplastic research: A comprehensive guide. Water Emerging Contaminants and Nanoplastics, 3, Article 8.


  • Plastic pollution
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Environmental impact
  • Toxicity assays
  • PG student publication


Dive into the research topics of 'Do’s and don’ts of microplastic research: A comprehensive guide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.