Working group 1
Analytical methods and representative materials
The five CUSP projects all analyse micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) as part of their work, and these data will be used to carry out risk assessments. But to make the results comparable between the projects, the methods that are used for MNP analysis need to be coordinated and harmonized, using the same reference materials as samples for calibrating analytical equipment and processes.
In this working group, we will collect and share information regarding materials and methods used within the cluster, creating an inventory of available materials and analytical methods. We will identify common material needs across the cluster, with the overall aim to pursue harmonization of materials and analysis protocols used by the CUSP projects. This will ultimately enable comparison of the research data obtained by testing the same materials across the CUSP cluster. A particular emphasis will be placed on the establishment of harmonized protocols for preparation and characterization of nanoplastics. Close collaboration with the JRC is envisioned to exploit their extensive knowledge on nanoplastic production methods, attributes, and analytical tools.
Further, in this working group we will support research within the cluster by investigating the behavior of MNPs in various media and environments. For example, understanding the colloidal behavior of MNP in a variety of aqueous media is central to understanding how MNP interact with physiological systems and ultimately impact health. To this end, this working group will share information on dispersion protocols and good laboratory practice used for in vitro and in vivo assays by project partners across the cluster. This will be a key aspect in providing robust methodologies for use in risk assessment of MNPs.