MicroRaman spectroscopy detects the presence of microplastics in human urine and kidney tissue

Sara Massardo, Daniela Verzola, Stefano Alberti, Claudia Caboni, Matteo Santostefano, Enrico Eugenio Verrina, Andrea Angeletti, Francesca Lugani, Gian Marco Ghiggeri, Maurizio Bruschi, Giovanni Candiano, Noemi Rumeo, Micaela Gentile, Paolo Cravedi, Sebastiano La Maestra, Gianluigi Zaza, Giovanni Stallone, Pasquale Esposito, Francesca Viazzi, Nicoletta ManciantiEdoardo La Porta, Cristina Artini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There is a growing concern within the medical community about the potential burden of microplastics on human organs and tissues. In this study, we investigated by microRaman spectroscopy the presence of microplastics in human kidneys and urine. Moreover, an open-access software was developed and validated for the project, which enabled the comparison between the investigated spectra and a self-created spectral database, thus enhancing the ability to characterize polymers and pigments in biological matrices. Healthy portions of ten kidneys obtained from nephrectomies, as well as ten urine samples from healthy donors were analyzed: 26 particles in both kidney and urine samples were identified, with sizes ranging from 3 to 13 μm in urine and from 1 to 29 μm in kidneys. The most frequently determined polymers are polyethylene and polystyrene, while the most common pigments are hematite and Cu-phthalocyanine. This preclinical study proves the presence of microplastics in renal tissues and confirms their presence in urine, providing the first evidence of kidney microplastics deposition in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108444
JournalEnvironment international
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Kidney
  • Micro-Raman spectroscopy
  • Microplastics
  • Pigments
  • Urine


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