Worms have failed to thrive in soil containing microplastics, new research has shown, adding to the growing body evidence of the effects of the increasing prevalence of contaminants in the natural world. is one of the most commonly found farmland in temperate regions. Scientists have discovered that worms placed on the ground loaded with high density polyethylene (HDPE) ̵1; a common plastic used for bags and bottles – for 30 days lost about 3% of their body weight, compared to a control sample of similar worms placed on the same soil without The HDPE, which placed 5% on body weight at the same time.
Bas Boots, lecturer in biology at Anglia Ruskin University, and lead author of the study, said the specific reasons for the observed weight loss are not yet clear, but may cause effect of microplastics on digestive worms. "These effects include obstruction and irritation of the digestive tract, limiting absorption of nutrients and reducing growth," he said.
If the presence of microplastics prevents soil growth in large scale, it could have implications for soil health and farming, since worms are an integral part of the farmland ecosystem.
The research, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, adds to a growing number of studies examining the effects of microscopic plastic particles on invertebrates and fish. Although it is too soon to draw conclusions about the effects on human health, studies have found damage to aquatic lugworms as well as possible effects on fish and molluscs. the pollutants, the air and many other types of environments.
Soil in many places is likely to harbor large numbers of microplastics, deposited there from their presence in sewage, in water and in air. However, the extent of the contamination is more than unknown, although there are studies in Europe reporting any between 700 and 4,000 plastic particles per kilogram of soil in some agricultural land.