Sciences. – Microplastics in water retained by leaves – Publimetro México

Madrid, 9 (European press)

Foliage of the genus Dipsacus has distinct opposite leaves that grow on the stem one above the other at different levels. When you hold the stem, they form cup-shaped structures that collect water, known as phytotelomas.

To their surprise, scientists from the University of Presov, Slovakia, found fragments and fibers of different colors, some up to 2.4 mm long, which were identified as microplastic contamination.

“These plant metabolites are very young and have a short lifespan,” the researchers wrote in their paper, published in the journal BioRisk. “The question, then, is how did it become so contaminated with microplastics?”

No other sources of pollutants were found in the studied area, so the fragments and fibers most likely came from a polluted atmosphere, they suggest. Another theory is that the snails may have carried them from the ground or from other plants, inside or on top of their bodies.

“The first detection of microplastics in small, short-lived water tanks created by plants is further evidence that pollution of this kind spreads through several pathways and there is probably no safe environment on Earth, which of course makes our discovery very frustrating,” the researchers say.

They suggest that due to the abundance of these plants and their theoretical ability to capture microplastics from the environment in various ways, the leaves of these plants could be a good indicator of the presence of microplastics.

“Thus, our publications bring not only the first detection of microplastic pollution to such habitats, but also the first proposal of a new approach to using microflora and similar (or artificially created) micro-ecosystems from plants,” as biomarkers of the presence of microplastics in the environment, and potential sources and pathways for its spread through the environment, and the spatio-temporal variations in microplastics pollution.”

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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