Title: Reporting guidelines to increase the
reproducibility and comparability of
research on microplastics
Win Cowger1, Andy M. Booth2, Bonnie M. Hamilton3, Clara Thaysen3, Sebastian
Primpke4, Keenan Munno3, Amy L. Lusher5, Alexandre Dehaut6, Vitor P. Vaz7, Max
Liboiron8, Lisa I. Devriese9, Ludovic Hermabessiere3, Chelsea Rochman3, Samantha N.
Athey3, Jennifer M. Lynch10,11, Hannah De Frond3, Andrew Gray1, Oliver A.H. Jones12,
Susanne Brander13, Clare Steele14, Shelly Moore15, Alterra Sanchez16, Holly Nel17.
1. University of California, Riverside, 900 University Ave, Riverside, California, 92521, United
States of America
2. SINTEF Ocean, SINTEF Sealab, Brattørkaia 17 C, 7010 Trondheim
3. University of Toronto, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 25 Willcocks Street,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3B2
4. Alfred-Wegener-Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Biologische Anstalt
Helgoland, Kurpromenade 201, 27498 Helgoland, Germany.
5. Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalléen 21, Oslo, Norway, NO-0349
6. ANSES - Laboratoire de Sécurité des Aliments, Boulevard du Bassin Napoléon, 62200 Boulogne-
7. Federal University of Santa Catarina, Eng. Agronômico Andrei Cristian Ferreira St., Florianópolis,
Santa Catarina, 88040-900
8. Memorial University, IIC-3003. Memorial University of Newfoundland St. John's, NL, Canada A1C
9. Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), InnovOcean site, Wandelaarkaai 7, 8400 Ostend, Belgium
10. Chemical Sciences Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Waimanalo, HI
11. Center for Marine Debris Research, Hawaii Pacific University, Center for Marine Debris
Research, 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy Ste 9, Waimanalo, HI 96795
12. RMIT University, Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS), School of
Science, RMIT University, Bundoora West Campus, PO Box 71, Bundoora, Victoria 3083,
13. Oregon State University, 1007 Agricultural and Life Sciences Building
14. California State University, Channel Islands, 1 University Drive, California State University,
Channel Islands, Camarillo CA 93012
15. San Francisco Estuary Institute, 4911 Central Ave, Richmond, CA 94804
16. University of Maryland College Park, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 1173 Glenn L. Martin
Hall, 4298 Campus Dr. College Park, MD 20742
17. University of Birmingham, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of
Birmingham, Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TT, UK
The ubiquitous pollution of the environment with microplastics - a diverse suite of
contaminants - is of growing concern for science and currently receives considerable
public, political, and academic attention. The potential impact of microplastics in the
environment has prompted a great deal of research in recent years. Many diverse
methods have been developed to answer different questions about microplastic
pollution, from sources, transport, and fate in the environment, and about effects on
humans and wildlife. These methods are often insufficiently described, making studies
neither comparable nor reproducible. The proliferation of new microplastic investigations
and cross-study syntheses to answer larger scale questions are hampered. We - a
diverse group of 23 researchers - think these issues can begin to be overcome through
the adoption of a set of reporting guidelines. This collaboration was created using an
open science framework that we detail for future use. Here, we suggest harmonized
reporting guidelines for microplastic studies in environmental and laboratory settings
through all steps of a typical study, including best practices for reporting materials,
quality assurance/quality control, data, field sampling, sample preparation, microplastic
identification, microplastic categorization, microplastic quantification, and considerations
for toxicology studies. We developed three easy to use documents - a detailed
document, a checklist, and a mind map - that can be used to reference the reporting
guidelines quickly. We intend that these reporting guidelines support the annotation,
dissemination, interpretation, reviewing, and synthesis of microplastic research.
Through open access licensing (CC BY 4.0), these documents aim to increase the
validity, reproducibility, and comparability of studies in this field for the benefit of the
Harmonization; Standardization; Plastic; Microplastic; Metadata; Reproducibility; Open
Science; Methods; Reporting guidelines; Comparability
The state of method reporting for investigations on microplastic pollution is currently at a
turning point.1 As this new research field evolves, it is striving to establish a harmonized
community approach to developing, applying, and reporting methodologies. Two of the
main purposes for reporting scientific methods are to allow for their replication and
enable data to be directly comparable among studies. For example, in the
environmental sciences, data from studies might be compared during risk assessments,
synthesized for meta-analyses, or used to inform policy creation and monitoring
guidelines. Issues with reproducibility and comparability of both data and methods are
common across all scientific fields,2–4 including microplastic research.1,5,6 Here, we - a
diverse group of 23 microplastic researchers from around the world - present a
proposed step towards addressing this issue for microplastics, first by capturing what is
already in published literature, and then by prioritizing which types of information should
be included in research to reach this goal. Our four aims are to 1) review key
reproducibility and comparability problems and solutions for microplastic research; 2)
discuss the open science framework used to identify and prioritize key methodological
parameters suggested here; 3) develop reporting guidelines for researchers to use
when reporting, comparing, and developing methods; and 4) present our vision for
future microplastic research.
The reproducibility and comparability
turning point in microplastics research
It is well-known that microplastics have a ubiquitous presence in the environment,7–10
and the potential harm microplastics can cause to species across trophic levels has
been recently reviewed.11,12 While there is mixed evidence for effects, a range of
suborganismal, organismal and population-level responses have been reported.6,11,13
These results have spurred substantial research activity, as evidenced by the continued
exponential growth in the published literature on the topic of microplastics (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Data acquired from Scopus on April 8th, 2020 using the search term "microplastic*"
and querying the field of Environmental Sciences. Publications are annual sums. The figure was
created using Python 3.6.9.
The rapid expansion of research activities and the resulting data generated in the field
of microplastics has resulted in a diverse suite of methods and non-standardized
approaches to reporting sample collection, extraction, and analysis.1,14–21 Each method
has its strengths and weaknesses, and there are continued efforts to optimize existing
methods and develop new ones that may improve throughput, detection limit, and
reproducibility. The development of new methods continues because currently there is
no 'catch-all' combination of methods for sampling, extracting, analyzing, and reporting
microplastics that is capable of accurately characterizing and quantifying all
microplastics present in a sample.22,23 This is because microplastics are a diverse suite
of contaminants that vary greatly in morphology, chemical properties, texture, color,
density, and size.24 Moreover, environments and research goals are diverse and a
universal solution is unable to capture this diversity, especially as research matures in
this rapidly expanding field. With this in mind, methods should be chosen based on the
scientific question and reported with enough detail to be comparable and reproducible.
Comparability between studies facilitates meta-analysis,25,26 which has been difficult for
microplastics due to the diversity of methods employed and study details reported.17–21
Incomparability is caused by studies published without documenting the elements
essential for translating units and metrics to others that are commonly used in the field.
For example, studies that employ Raman spectroscopy might not be comparable to
those that employ Fourier-transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy if neither describes
their analysis and data transformation steps.18,27 Additionally, aquatic studies that use
water volume grab sampling are not comparable to studies that use net sampling if the
studies do not describe the mesh size used, depth of sample collection, or the sample
volume.28 In another example, ingestion studies on the same species of animal are not
comparable if they fail to mention which part of the gastrointestinal tract was analyzed
(e.g., just the gizzard or the gizzard and proventriculus of birds).15,17 Moreover, a study
using different chemical digestion methods to measure ingestion may be incomparable
because some digestion procedures destroy certain plastics.29 Regardless of diverse
methods and wherever possible, reporting raw - or less processed - data would allow
reverse engineering and harmonization of some techniques. Still, raw data are seldom
Factors that cause incomparability can also hinder the reproducibility of research.
Irreproducible research occurs, in part, when the elements that are critical for
reproducing similar results are not elucidated. Reproducibility allows responsible
decision-making and expansion of protocols. For example, software names should be
reported when used because software often has proprietary algorithms and may not be
reproducible unless the same software is used. In another example, if a study that
employs organic matter digestion does not describe the chemical solution used, its
manufacturer, and concentration used to digest the sample, the study cannot be
Reporting guidelines provide a structured framework where method information critical
to comparing and reproducing research can be referenced. There is a critical need for
reporting guidelines in microplastic research as already initiated with the Minimum
Information for Microplastic Studies "MIMS" concept for the study of microplastics in
seafood,1 the minimum information for publication of infrared-related data,27 and other
works assessing data quality in microplastic studies.31–33 The reporting guidelines we
developed attempt to build on previous work and expand the scope to more
methodological components in microplastic research. This study leverages the expertise
of a diverse group of researchers from around the world to cover the breadth of the
field. To be as transparent as possible, we elaborate on the reasons why each reporting
guideline is necessary, and provide examples for each. Other fields, like molecular
biology,34 proteomics,35 and transcriptomics,36 already have highly successful examples
of reporting guidelines that have been widely adopted by their field, and we hope this
work serves a similar purpose in our field.
As a scientific community, we recognize that the need for reporting guidelines for
microplastic methods is best addressed through a collaborative open science
framework. With this goal in mind, the lead author sent out the following request on
Twitter, and tagged several scientists in the microplastic community with a link to a
"Frustrated with the reproducibility crisis in #microplastics research from poor method
descriptions? Now is your chance to change that. I will publish this collaborative
document OA [Open Access]. Add method considerations to this document and cite
yourself in the Ack [Acknowledgements]." (Win Cowger, @Win_OpenData, June 13th,
The collaborative document was hosted open access on Google Drive and researchers
were invited to provide input on the reporting guidelines for microplastic research
methods. Over the subsequent week, 15 contributors edited the shared document
directly. After one week, all initial contributors were invited to be coauthors, and
additional coauthors were invited by word of mouth throughout the process using an
open door policy. Overall, there were 23 authors on this project and 26 other people
acknowledged for their assistance. In a meeting of coauthors, the threshold for co-
authorship was set at one full day of effort (self defined and self reported), while the
threshold for acknowledgement was to review the document at least once. Authors
contributed to this publication and the reporting guideline documents. The first author
(Cowger) led the collaboration and the author order after the first author was
randomized by agreement of all coauthors.
The reporting guidelines were identified by referencing standard operating procedures
used by various authors and other peer-reviewed publications. All authors agreed not to
use language that would imply an intent to standardize methodology or recommend
specific methods over others; this was beyond the scope of the work. The task of the
authors in developing the reporting guidelines was to outline what should be reported
about a method when the method was used to make the method reproducible and
comparable. To determine which guidelines were essential to add to the documents,
each author was asked to fill out a Google Form survey where they designated each
reporting category as required or not. The final reporting guidelines were formed by
keeping only the guidelines that 51% or more of the authors agreed upon. During the
review process, we received requests by reviewers to add additional reporting
requirements. Where they were not already accounted for, we added them to the
reporting guidelines and indicated those additions using an asterisk throughout the
produced documents. The final reporting guidelines were packaged into three
documents which have the same information summarized with specific user groups in
mind: 1) thorough - a Detailed Document, 2) quick and simple - a Checklist (Table 1),
and 3) interactive -an online Mind Map (Figure 2).
The reporting guidelines were sent out to other colleagues in the field for an
endorsement and critique designated as signatories in the acknowledgments. After the
first week, we received 19 endorsements. The manuscript and supporting information
were also subject to internal review at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology and single blind peer review from Applied Spectroscopy. In these ways, we
attempted to receive as much feedback as we could to develop reporting guidelines that
reflect the diverse group of experts and the broad scope of methods in microplastic
research. This framework represents an example of a way that scientists in any field
can develop robust collaborations by sharing ideas and learning from one another while
developing useful reference documents, even if they have not met before.
Reporting Guideline Document
The three documents we created of the reporting guidelines include a 1) Detailed
Document, 2) Checklist (Table 1), and 3) online Mind Map (Figure 2). Each document
has the same information summarized with different users in mind. These documents
are expected to be useful for scientists researching microplastics, peer reviewers asked
to evaluate research, and users of the data. These documents outline what needs to be
reported for common methods in microplastic research to be reproducible and
comparable. The documents can also be used when developing methods internally to
quickly identify the essential components of a method to calibrate and control in a lab.
The Detailed Document can be used when every detail listed in the reporting guidelines
are important to know. The Checklist can be used to quickly reference the reporting
guidelines and check off the guidelines relevant to a specific study. The Mind Map is
useful for those who prefer interactive information workflows and want to be able to
quickly summarize and expand the reporting guidelines at any level of detail.
Any of these documents can be used to reference the report guidelines. All of the
documents contain the same information reformatted and summarized. In the
documents, the general method groups we define are: Materials, Quality Assurance /
Quality Control (QA/QC), Data Reporting, Field Sampling, Sample Preparation,
Identification, Categorization, and Toxicology Considerations. Subgroups describe
specific method techniques within each group. Some of the groups may be used more
than once in a study while some may not be used at all. It is important to note that these
documents are templates and one need only consider the guidelines from the groups of
methods relevant to a given study. When using the documents, first, assess which
groups of methods apply to the study. Subgroups of methods are tab separated to
indicate more detailed levels of grouping. Next, assess which of the subgroups apply.
These can be highlighted or opened for easy reference. Where the most detailed
subgroups apply, all italicized reporting guidelines must be defined, described, or
discussed for that method to be reproducible and comparable. All reporting guidelines
always apply to groups that do not have subgroups. Importantly, these reporting
guidelines are not meant to completely define what should be reported but are a
proposal for the minimum guidelines. Below we detail each document individually and
outline a path forward for the documents to be updated.
The Detailed Document (SI1; OSF) is the plain-text thorough version of the reporting
guidelines containing the identical information, groups, and order to the Checklist and
Mind Map described below. While this document is the primary result of this project, its
length precludes including it in the main manuscript. The Detailed Document is meant
for those who are new to the methods or want a detailed description and reference
examples of the reporting guideline. This document may also be useful to those who
find the Mind Map format to be challenging to navigate. The Detailed Document is easily
printed for reference, which can be especially useful during the design stage of a study.
The format of this document follows that the highest level of method grouping is in the
largest text font and bolded. Subgroups of methods are in bold and identical font size
but further indented if they are a subgroup of a subgroup. The essential elements to
report are italicized and all the same font size. The explanation, reason, and examples
for each essential element immediately follow the element and are light gray in color.
The Checklist (SI2; OSF; Table 1) is meant for those already familiar with the methods
and reasons for reporting outlined in the other documents. The format follows the
Detailed Document but the explanation, reason, and examples for each reporting
guideline are removed for quick reference and reading so that the elements can be
checked off when reviewing or writing documents. Citations used in the Detailed
document are added at the end of each guideline. The reporting guidelines are italicized
and all the same font size as in the Detailed Document.
Table 1: This is the Checklist of the reporting guidelines. Asterisk (*) indicates that the guideline
was added as part of peer review; all other guidelines were voted on by a majority of the
coauthors. The guidelines are grouped using bolded and indented labels. The guidelines are
italicized and are the furthest indented for each group. Citations correspond to additional
information related to the guideline and good examples of reporting.
Reporting Guidelines Checklist
Components to Report in All Procedures
all manufacturers of materials and instruments and their calibration37
all software used and their calibration38
quality assurance/quality control
how instrumental, methodological, and/or statistical error was propagated39–41
number of replicates42
how replicates were nested within samples43
limit of detection
quantitative detection threshold44
plastic morphology, size, color, and polymer limitations of method1,29,53,45–52
method of accounting for nondetects19,54
number of controls1,31
characteristics of plastics found in blanks with the same rigor as samples45
potential sources of contamination55
point of entry and exit to method55
morphology, size, color, and polymer type of positive controls1,31,56
positive control correction procedure31,56
point of entry and exit to method56
purification technique for reagents50,58
glassware cleaning techniques59
containment used (e.g. laminar flow cabinet/hoods, glove bags)1,50,60–62
share raw data and analysis code as often as possible18,22,38,63,64
where (e.g., region) and when (e.g., date, time) the sample was collected19,65–70
size (e.g., m3, kg) and composition (e.g., sediment, water, biota) of the sample1,71
location at the site that sample was collected (e.g., 3 cm depth of surface sediment)72
sample device dimensions and deployment procedures14,31,73–75
environmental or infrastructure factors that may affect the interpretation of results75–81
how samples are stored and transported1,82,83
sample splitting/subsetting technique75
sample drying temperature and time85
synthesized plastic polymer, molecular characteristics, size, color, texture, and shape86,87
synthesized plastic synthesis technique86,88
dye type, concentration, and solvent used89–91
dye application technique89
sieve mesh size84
if the sample was wet or dry sieved84
concentration, density, and composition (e.g. CaCl2, ZnCl) of solution82,92,93
time of separation94
duration and temperature of digestion21,99,100
digestion solution composition21,56,100
ratio of digestion fluid to sample21,56,100,101
filter composition, porosity, diameter50,102,103
image settings (e.g., contrast, gain, saturation, light intensity)18
magnification (e.g., scale bar, 50X objective)104
magnification used during identification90
shapes, colors, textures, and reflectance, used to differentiate plastic104–106
magnification used during identification90
fluorescence light wavelength, intensity, and exposure time to light source90,91,107
threshold intensity used to identify plastic107
scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
the coating used (e.g., metal type, water vapor)108
magnification used during identification108
textures used to differentiate plastic108
pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (py-GC/MS)
pyrolysis reacting gases, temperature, duration49,109
GC oven program, temperature, carrier gas, and column characteristics49,109
MS ionization voltage, mass range, scanning frequency, temperature18,49
py-GC/MS matching criteria (i.e., match threshold, linear retention indices (LRI), and Kovats
py-GC/MS quantification techniques109
acquisition parameters (i.e., laser wavelength, hole diameter, spectral resolution, laser
intensity, number of accumulations, time of spectral acquisition)37,63,111–115
pre-processing parameters (i.e., spike filter, smoothing, baseline correction, data
spectral matching parameters (i.e., spectral library source, range of spectral wavelengths
used to match, match threshold, matching procedure)37,50,63,70,111–115,117
Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
acquisition parameters (i.e., mode of spectra collection, accessories, crystal type, background
recording, spectral range, spectral resolution, number of scans)63,64,103
pre-processing parameters (i.e. fourier-transformation (ft) parameters, smoothing, baseline
correction, data transformation)18
matching parameters (i.e., FTIR spectral library source, match threshold, matching procedure,
range of spectra used to match)38,50,64,112
differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
acquisition parameters (i.e., temperature, time, number of cycles)20
matching parameters (i.e., parameters assessed, reference library source, comparison
shape, size, texture, color, and polymer category definitions24,118,119
units (e.g., kg, count, mm)1,120
size dimensions (e.g., feret minimum or maximum)18
dosed plastic age, polymer, size, color, and shapes121–130
exposure concentration, media, and time132–138
effects evaluation metrics (e.g., what markers were evaluated?)*
biota metrics (e.g., which tissues were analyzed?)*
The Mind Map (SI3; LINK; OSF; Figure 2) was developed because we recognized a
need to have many intermediate levels of detail between the detail provided by the
Detailed Document and the Checklist. Interactive mind map documents allow the user
to query to the level of detail they need quickly. This is meant for users who prefer
spatially structured interactive information queries. The Mind Map was formatted using
www.mindmeister.com, a free collaborative mind map creator that can reformat mind
maps into tiered documents. The Mind Map is structured the same as the Detailed
Document, where general method groups flow from the primary term 'Microplastics
Reporting Guidelines.' These general groups are further refined by subgroups of
method types and instrument groups, where the terminal node of every branch leads to
essential methodology elements (italicized) that should be reported. Each reporting
guideline is described by an explanation, reasons to report, and/or examples from
published microplastic literature.
Figure 2: A screenshot of the Mind Map (LINK) showing the components and flow of reporting
guidelines for microplastic studies. The first nodes branching off of "Microplastic Reporting
Guidelines" are the general groups of the guidelines, subgroups follow in bold until the second
to last nodes are the reporting guidelines (in italic) and the terminal node is the description of
Strategy for Updating the Reporting Guidelines:
The field of microplastic research is rapidly evolving, and we expect that our documents,
like most things in science, will need to be adapted, expanded, and revised. We
recognize that as the field of microplastic pollution develops and grows, there will be
new techniques and methods developed that will have reporting guidelines. We also
acknowledge other methods are already useful to report that are not yet covered here.
These documents are expected to be updated over time as new techniques are
developed. That is why all documents are completely free and hold open access
licenses (CC BY 4.0). The license allows for redistribution and adaptation with
attribution to the original document. Additionally, we created an Open Science
Framework project (OSF) for each document where researchers can reach out with
suggestions and comments to update future editions of these documents. The authors
will monitor the comments on the project and respond as necessary. Future versions
will be updated periodically on the OSF project site using version control. Additionally,
we submitted this reporting guideline and others reported in the literature1,27 to the
reporting guideline portal at https://fairsharing.org/. We hope that these documents and
online forums are widely used for the benefit of the global community.
Our vision of the future of research on
We envision a future where research on microplastics is comparable, reproducible, and
transparent. We aim for researchers in the field to be able to read a paper and use the
methods for their work and/or use the data in a synthesis paper or meta-analysis. We
aim for policy-makers and managers to be able to review the literature and have the
ability to compare data across sources, pathways, and geographies to inform the
decision-making process. We envision a field where communication is clear amongst
different stakeholders in the world of microplastics and where collaboration and
research translation are made simpler. With our collaborative and open access
framework, we aim to improve future work on microplastics and provide a framework for
other emerging contaminants.
Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials are identified in this paper to
specify adequately the experimental procedure. Such identification does not imply
recommendation or endorsement by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology, nor does it imply that the materials or equipment identified are necessarily
the best available for the purpose.
The authors would like to thank Justine Ammendolia, Sarah Nelms, Kristian Parton, Jessica
Melvin, Matthew Cole, Shannon Tarby, and Alexander Turra for their helpful input throughout
the writing and envisioning process. Additionally, we would like to thank those who endorsed the
document that we developed: Greg Sambrook Smith, Claire Gwinnett, Dorthy Horn, Katie Allen,
Jesse Vermaire, Garth Covernton, Francois Galgani, Pernilla Carlsson, Zacharias Steinmetz,
Tanja Kögel, Louise Feld, Jakob Strand, Meredith Seeley, Bethanie Carney Almroth, Timothy
Hoellein, Jessica Melvin, Katrin Wendt-Potthoff, Scott Coffin, and Susannah Bleakley.
We also thank our funders. W. Cowger was funded by the National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellowship Program. A. Booth received funding from the Research Council
of Norway through the Joint Programming Initiatives (JPI) Oceans project 'PLASTOX: Direct and
indirect ecotoxicological impacts of microplastics on marine organisms' (grant agreement No.
257479) and the project 'MICROFIBRE: Evaluating the fate, effects and mitigation measures for
microplastic fibre pollution in aquatic environments' (grant agreement No. 268404). C. Thaysen
was funded by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation. S. Primpke was funded by the German
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Project BASEMAN (JPI-Oceans) - Defining the
baselines and standards for microplastics analyses in European waters; Federal Ministry of
Education and Research (BMBF) grant 03F0734A). A. Dehaut is thankful to the French National
Research Agency (ANR-15-CE34-0006-02), as part of the Nanoplastics project. He is also
grateful to different bodies, as his contribution has been carried out thanks to the financial
support of the European Union (ERDF), the French State, the French Region Hauts-de-France
and Ifremer, in the framework of the project CPER MARCO 2015-2020. V. Vaz was funded by
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). M. Liboiron was
funded by the Office of the Vice President Research, Memorial University; Social Sciences and
Humanities Research Council; Northern Contaminants Program (NCP), and Memorial's
Undergraduate Career Experience Program (MUCEP) program. A. Gray was funded in part by
the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture,
Hatch and Multistate W4170 programs [project numbers CA-R-ENS-5120-H and CA-R-ENS-
5189-RR]. S. Brander was funded by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association grant
#NA17NOS9990025, Oregon Agricultural Research Foundation, and NSF Growing
Convergence Research grant #1935028. A. Sanchez was funded by the National Science
Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Program (No. DGE 1322106) and DC Water Blue
Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. H. Nel received funding from The Leverhulme
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