A South Korean scientist has found that not only fishery products but also vegetables can absorb microplastics. Yoon Hak-won, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Toxicology, grew the cabbage family plant Arabidopsis (rockcress) for 21 days on soil contaminated with heavy metal cadmium and polystyrene plastic and observed the change in root and leaf cells.
As a result, microplastics with an average size of 30 nanometers were found in the cells. This was smaller than the original size (50 nanometers) of the particles that were injected into the soil before cultivation.
This indicates that the low molecular organic acid that is generated through the metabolism of the plant and the change in neighboring microorganism activities have decomposed microplastics into smaller sizes. “This study confirmed the fact that the agricultural crops cultivated in contaminated soil can have a harmful effect on human bodies,” Yoon noted.
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