Samuel Stevens

Document Type


Publication Date



Microplastics contamination is a growing worldwide concern as its impacts are newly being studied. My interest lies in microplastic contamination across various water sources in Alaskan communities. Because of the isolated nature of Alaskan cities, the source of their drinking water varies from private well water, to municipal water, as well as water brought in via trucks. Because of these different origins and methods, the potential for microplastic contamination is inconsistent among communities. Water brought via trucks is most often stored in plastic containers for transport as well as use. As students and researchers at Alaska Pacific University, we embarked to conduct research to take a deeper look at microplastic concentration within our waters. We began by establishing control methods and control samples to adequately compare with test drinking water samples. We filtered water twice through cellulose filters (0.8 Micron) and a glass filter under pressure from a sink hose. As the test water was nearly completely filtered, we allowed approximately 1 mL of the sample water mixed with Nile red dye to filter without pressure to dryness, allowing the dye to adhere to the microplastics. We then observed the samples under a fluorescence microscope to measure the microplastics and identify the morphology of the microplastics. We then, using an FT-IR instrument, examined the chemical composition of the samples and identified them from the FT-IR library.

Faculty Mentor

David Newman, M.A.

Academic Discipline

College of Arts & Sciences



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