Abstract：To explore a simple, economic and reliable method for separation and extraction of microplastics from soil, eleven mixed solutions comprising saturated NaCl and NaI solutions with progressively changing volume ratios (F1~F11) were prepared. These mixed solutions were used as the flotation liquid to extract four types of microplastics including polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) absorbed by soil with an improved protocol for flotation separation. The results showed that the total extraction rate of microplastics was only 55.83% when used purely NaCl saturated solution, while this extraction rate increased with an growing volume ratio of NaI in the mixture. The total extraction rate exceeded 90% when the volume ratio of saturated NaCl solution to NaI solution was 1:1and reached as high as 96.67% when using purely NaI solution. For all the eleven mixed solutions used, the extraction rates of PE and PS exceeded 86.67%, relatively higher than that of the other two types of microplastics. When using saturated NaCl solution alone, the extraction rates of PVC and PET were extremely low compared with that of 93.33% and 90% respectively in case the volume ratio of NaCl to NaI solution was 1:1, which were close to those obtained using NaI solution alone. Sum of the extraction rates of lower-density microplastics PE and PS was constantly higher than that of higher-density microplastics PVC and PET for all the eleven mixed solutions. However, the difference between extraction rates was neglectable among the mixed solutions F6 to F11. Based on the abovementioned results and considering factors such as economic cost, it is recommended that the mixture of saturated NaCl to NaI solution with a volume ratio of of 1:1 could be the optimal to extract microplastics in soil samples.
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