Wildlife Wednesdays: Even Plants Can Absorb Plastic! | weatherology°
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By: Meteorologist Megan Mulford
Updated: Feb 7th 2022

Wildlife Wednesdays: Even Plants Can Absorb Plastic!

The world's plastic problem is at an all time high and it has affected the wildlife on land and even marine life. New research found that very tiny bits of plastic can be absorbed by land-dwelling plants through their roots! It was even reported that the minute particles of plastic reduces the biomass of the plant which means it could make it become unhealthy. 

Researchers led by Shandong University in China and the University of Massachusetts Amherst planted a weed, known as thale cress, in soil that contained small amounts of plastics (smaller than 100 nanometers), and compared it to the weeds grown in normal soil. They waited 7 weeks for their results. It was then determined that the plants that were grown and exposed to these nano-plastics were found to be shorter in height and lower in biomass! According to the study leader, "If you reduce the biomass, it's not good for the plant. Yield is down and the nutritional crops may be compromised." This study was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. 

The nano-plastics used in the study were small, according to the study about 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. These plastic particles are hard to detect but are found all over the environment. As the study shows, the more plastic that is being absorb constantly by plants, the more it will become unlikely to yield plants and crops, and if it becomes bad enough, could pose a great threat to the world.