By : Dr. Franyi Sarmiento, Ph.D., Inspenet, March 4, 2022
German scientists from the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries discovered a way to clean up microplastics polluting the land using the betula genus of trees, in the family betulaceae, commonly called birch.
The researchers concluded that birch trees can help combat microplastics and to verify this, they carried out an experiment that consisted of moistening microplastic particles with a size between 5 and 50 micrometers with fluorescent dye that were then added to containers with soil. In the same place, birch buds were placed.
After five months, the plants were examined under a microscope and found that their root system had absorbed 5-17% of the microparticles.
The author of the study, Kat Austen, believes that this research can be deepened to accurately determine the effectiveness of this species of trees in the absorption of microplastics and its effect on plant health.
“This pilot study suggests that birch has real potential for long-term soil remediation solutions, including reducing the amount of microplastics in soil and possibly water,” said study lead author Kat Austen. .
According to data from the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, more than 400 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide each year, with an estimated one-third ending up on land or in freshwater.