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The need to focus on plastic in terrestrial environments: Do micro- and nanoplastic affect microorganisms in soil?

Enström, Emma LU (2018) MVEK02 20181
Studies in Environmental Science
Abstract
This study aims to investigate if micro- and nanoparticles of polystyrene affect microorganisms in soil. This was tested by using microfluidic chips, which are new for investigation of soil ecology questions, providing artificial channels reflecting soil conditions as well as being transparent for seeing real-time interactions. Eight microfluidic chips were made; four were filled with a micro- and nanoparticle solution with growth medium and a mixture of 26 nm, 200 nm and fluorescing 1 μm plastic particles. The other four chips were filled with growth medium only and served as control chips. Soil was put along the entry of the pillar system of each microfluidic chip, from where the natural microbial community of the soil could enter the... (More)
This study aims to investigate if micro- and nanoparticles of polystyrene affect microorganisms in soil. This was tested by using microfluidic chips, which are new for investigation of soil ecology questions, providing artificial channels reflecting soil conditions as well as being transparent for seeing real-time interactions. Eight microfluidic chips were made; four were filled with a micro- and nanoparticle solution with growth medium and a mixture of 26 nm, 200 nm and fluorescing 1 μm plastic particles. The other four chips were filled with growth medium only and served as control chips. Soil was put along the entry of the pillar system of each microfluidic chip, from where the natural microbial community of the soil could enter the chips. The analysis was performed under a bright field/fluorescence microscope within different structures in the chips, counting protozoa, bacteria and fungal hyphae, as well as looking for protozoa and nematodes ingesting or adhering 1 μm fluorescent microparticles. Significant effects were found on two groups of organisms, bacteria and protozoa. Two explanations are possible: The growth of the organisms was hampered, or their dispersal ability from the soil source to the measurement compartments. Protozoa were also counted in the entrance system of the chips, close to the soil source, where no effect of the plastics was found on their abundance. This might indicate that especially protozoa may rather be restricted in their dispersal than their growth by the plastic solution. A high turnover of protozoa near the soil source could also be a reason for no effect on abundance. Protozoa in the micro- and nanoparticle chips contained moving fluorescent 1 μm microparticles, implying ingestion or adherence. Further research should be carried out due to possible consequences like loss of ecosystem services from microorganisms, dispersion in food web as well as dispersion in soil and to groundwater. (Less)
Popular Abstract (Swedish)
Fokus på plast i mark och jord: mikroplasters effekt på organismer i jord undersökt med ny teknologi inom jordekologi frågor.

De enorma plastutsläppen till naturen är idag ett välkänt problem. Det är också välkänt att plast bryts ner till mindre partiklar med andra effekter, så kallade mikro- och nanoplaster. Allmänheten har visat stort intresse kring plastproblematiken i haven och mycket forskning har gjorts på plast i vatten. Men hur mycket plast hamnar i mark? Och hur påverkas organismer i marken av det? Denna studie syftar till att undersöka hur mikroorganismer i jord påverkas av mikro- och nanoplaster.

50–80% av allt skräp som hamnar i naturen är plast. Plast kan i brytas ner till mindre partiklar, så kallade mikro- och... (More)
Fokus på plast i mark och jord: mikroplasters effekt på organismer i jord undersökt med ny teknologi inom jordekologi frågor.

De enorma plastutsläppen till naturen är idag ett välkänt problem. Det är också välkänt att plast bryts ner till mindre partiklar med andra effekter, så kallade mikro- och nanoplaster. Allmänheten har visat stort intresse kring plastproblematiken i haven och mycket forskning har gjorts på plast i vatten. Men hur mycket plast hamnar i mark? Och hur påverkas organismer i marken av det? Denna studie syftar till att undersöka hur mikroorganismer i jord påverkas av mikro- och nanoplaster.

50–80% av allt skräp som hamnar i naturen är plast. Plast kan i brytas ner till mindre partiklar, så kallade mikro- och nanopartiklar, och kan på så sätt bli mer tillgängliga för organismer samt få olika sorts egenskaper. Denna studie undersöker om en mix av mikro- och nanopartiklar av plasten polystyren påverkar mikroorganismer i jord. Studien har studerat om olika organismer i jord har minskat samt om de lite större organismerna har tagit upp de största plastpartiklarna, som vi har kunnat se i mikroskop. Mikroorganismerna protozoer och bakterier minskade i experimentet och mikroplaster var synliga med i eller fastsittande på protozoer. Ett behov finns av forskning inom området då det finns en brist på fakta kring hur mycket plast som finns i mark samt om det har några effekter på organismer, ekosystemtjänster och ackumulering i födokedjan. Det finns nu belägg att fortsätta forskningen och förhoppningsvis har nya frågor och tankar väckts kring plast i mark. Och sist av allt, vem hade kunnat ana den enorma värld av organismer som finns i vår jord och allt nyttigt de gör. Jag rekommenderar alla att ta en titt på jord i mikroskop och bli förundrade; samt förskräckta över hur mycket plast som används, slängs och påverkar dessa organismer. I denna studie har microfluidik chip används, nyligen upptäckta som användbara inom jordekologi frågor. Microfluidik chipen använda i detta experiment är gjorda av silikon med kanaler i mikrostorlek. I dessa har en mix av mikro- och nanoplaster fyllts och jord har lagts längs ingången till chipet, på så sätt har organismer kunnat vandra in. Chipen har sedan undersökt i mikroskop. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Enström, Emma LU
supervisor
organization
course
MVEK02 20181
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
microparticles, nanoparticles, plastic, polystyrene, microorganisms, soil
language
English
id
8945518
date added to LUP
2018-06-11 09:59:52
date last changed
2018-06-11 09:59:52
@misc{8945518,
  abstract     = {This study aims to investigate if micro- and nanoparticles of polystyrene affect microorganisms in soil. This was tested by using microfluidic chips, which are new for investigation of soil ecology questions, providing artificial channels reflecting soil conditions as well as being transparent for seeing real-time interactions. Eight microfluidic chips were made; four were filled with a micro- and nanoparticle solution with growth medium and a mixture of 26 nm, 200 nm and fluorescing 1 μm plastic particles. The other four chips were filled with growth medium only and served as control chips. Soil was put along the entry of the pillar system of each microfluidic chip, from where the natural microbial community of the soil could enter the chips. The analysis was performed under a bright field/fluorescence microscope within different structures in the chips, counting protozoa, bacteria and fungal hyphae, as well as looking for protozoa and nematodes ingesting or adhering 1 μm fluorescent microparticles. Significant effects were found on two groups of organisms, bacteria and protozoa. Two explanations are possible: The growth of the organisms was hampered, or their dispersal ability from the soil source to the measurement compartments. Protozoa were also counted in the entrance system of the chips, close to the soil source, where no effect of the plastics was found on their abundance. This might indicate that especially protozoa may rather be restricted in their dispersal than their growth by the plastic solution. A high turnover of protozoa near the soil source could also be a reason for no effect on abundance. Protozoa in the micro- and nanoparticle chips contained moving fluorescent 1 μm microparticles, implying ingestion or adherence. Further research should be carried out due to possible consequences like loss of ecosystem services from microorganisms, dispersion in food web as well as dispersion in soil and to groundwater.},
  author       = {Enström, Emma},
  keyword      = {microparticles,nanoparticles,plastic,polystyrene,microorganisms,soil},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The need to focus on plastic in terrestrial environments: Do micro- and nanoplastic affect microorganisms in soil?},
  year         = {2018},
}