Study: Plants can absorb plastic through roots

June 24, 2020

A team of Chinese and American researchers found that small pieces of plastic can accumulate in plants.

The researchers from Shangdong University and the University of Massachusetts found that thale cress, a type of weed found in Europe and Africa, can absorb nanoplastics, or plastics smaller than 100 nanometers, through its roots in a lab setting.

The nanoplastics penetrated the tissue of the roots, blocking them from properly absorbing water and harming the development of seedlings.

The scientists said farms that cover plants with plastic sheeting could be contributing to the spread of nanoplastics.

“Terrestrial plants form the base of many food chains,” study co-author Xian-Zheng Yuan told Earther. “Hence, nanoplastic accumulation in plants might have implications on other trophic levels, which could post a potential risk to food yield, quality and safety.”

You can read the research here.

Study: Plants can absorb plastic through roots