DAEJEON, Oct. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — Worms that consume plastic was found to excrete smaller, nano plastic particles, further damaging the environment.
The Korea Research Foundation announced Monday that a research team led by Prof. An Youn-joo from Konkuk University discovered that plastic is dissolved into smaller particles inside a worm’s intestine.
Plastic litter is weathered, photo-decomposed, and worn down by physical contact to break into smaller plastic particles less than 5 millimeters long.
Nano plastic particles are much smaller, less than 100 nanometers long, and are very difficult to measure in the natural environment. Furthermore, it is often challenging to determine their source or how they occur.
Over the course of three weeks, the research team exposed worms to soil contaminated with small plastic particles.
In an X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy of the worms’ excretion, nano plastic particles were found.
The worms, feeding on the soil, dissolved plastic into smaller, nano-sized particles.
The research team also discovered that worms exposed to small plastic particles experienced defects in producing sperm.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)