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Organic fertilizer as a vehicle for the entry of microplastic into the environment

Title data

Weithmann, Nicolas ; Möller, Julia N. ; Löder, Martin ; Piehl, Sarah ; Laforsch, Christian ; Freitag, Ruth:
Organic fertilizer as a vehicle for the entry of microplastic into the environment.
In: Science Advances. Vol. 4 (2018) Issue 4 .
ISSN 2375-2548
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aap8060

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

The contamination of the environment with microplastic, defined as particles smaller than 5 mm, has emerged as a global challenge because it may pose risks to biota and public health. Current research focuses predominantly on aquatic systems, whereas comparatively little is known regarding the sources, pathways, and possible accumulation of plastic particles in terrestrial ecosystems. We investigated the potential of organic fertilizers from biowaste fermentation and composting as an entry path for microplastic particles into the environment. Particles were classified by size and identified by attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. All fertilizer samples from plants converting biowaste contained plastic particles, but amounts differed significantly with substrate pretreatment, plant, and waste (for example, household versus commerce) type. In contrast, digestates from agricultural energy crop digesters tested for comparison contained only isolated particles, if any. Among the most abundant synthetic polymers observed were those used for common consumer products. Our results indicate that depending on pretreatment, organic fertilizers from biowaste fermentation and composting, as applied in agriculture and gardening worldwide, are a neglected source of microplastic in the environment.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER145657
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Process Biotechnology > Chair Process Biotechnology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ruth Freitag
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science
Faculties > Faculty of Engineering Science > Chair Process Biotechnology
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
600 Technology, medicine, applied sciences > 600 Technology
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2018 08:17
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2019 11:01
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/43432