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Poly(L-lactide) mineralisation under environmental conditions is enhanced in earthworm guts

Title data

Hink, Linda ; Rohrbach, Stephan ; Rehkopf, Joey ; Sehl, Elmar ; Agarwal, Seema ; Feldhaar, Heike ; Horn, Marcus A.:
Poly(L-lactide) mineralisation under environmental conditions is enhanced in earthworm guts.
In: Soil Biology & Biochemistry. Vol. 196 (2024) . - p. 109485.
ISSN 0038-0717
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2024.109485

Abstract in another language

Microplastic accumulates in various habitats, posing a potential environmental threat. Biodegradable polymers like poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) is a possible eco-friendly alternative to conventional, non-biodegradable plastics. However, biodegradation of PLLA in soil is strongly limited, but is potentially enhanced by soil-dwelling organisms. We recently showed that PLLA exposure positively affected reproduction in the earthworm Eisenia fetida, and increased gut lactate concentrations, indicating the hypothesis of earthworm-enhanced PLLA biodegradation. Thus, 13C-labelled PLLA was used for a 13CO2-tracing approach to monitor PLLA mineralisation in presence and absence of the earthworm E. fetida. Mineralisation of 0.2% of initial PLLA was attributed to the activity of earthworms after two weeks of exposure. Extrapolation assuming zero-order kinetics and limitation of microbial growth suggested a substantially shorter half-life of PLLA in earthworm-amended soils. This finding provides strong evidence that conditions inside the earthworm gut are beneficial for PLLA degradation and provide a basis for the development of mitigation strategies for PLLA microplastic pollution.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Microplastic; Soil; Eisenia fetida; ¹³C-PLLA polymerisation; ¹³C-tracing; PLLA; Mineralisation rate
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Professor Animal Population Ecology > Professor Animal Population Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heike Feldhaar
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Chemistry > Chair Macromolecular Chemistry II
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Polymer and Colloid Science
Research Institutions > Central research institutes > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Research Institutions > Affiliated Institutes > Bavarian Polymer Institute (BPI)
Research Institutions > Collaborative Research Centers, Research Unit > SFB 1357 - MIKROPLASTIK
Graduate Schools > Bayreuth Graduate School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences (BayNAT) > Polymer Science
Graduate Schools > Graduiertenkollegs der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 540 Chemistry
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2024 07:03
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 13:10
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/89767