Microplastics – Degradation of Polystyrene Foam Debris by Soil Invertebrates Studied

The abstract of a February 14, 2022 Journal of Insect Science https://academic.oup.com/jinsectscience/article/22/1/21/6528469 article by researchers with Michigan State University report that they “… investigated the ability of four soil invertebrates, the cricket Acheta domesticus L. (Orthoptera: Gryllidae), the isopod Oniscus asellus L. (Isopoda: Oniscidae), larvae of the beetle Zophobas morio Fabricius (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), and the snail Cornu aspersum Müller (Stylommatophora: Helicidae) to fragment macroscopic pieces of weathered or pristine polystyrene (PS) foam … All taxa excreted PS particles, though snails only to a tiny extent. Beetle larvae produced significantly more microplastics than snails, and crickets and isopods fragmented the weathered PS foam pieces more than the pristine pieces, which they left untouched … These findings indicate that soil invertebrates may represent a source of microplastics to the environment in places polluted with PS foam trash, and that the condition of macroplastic debris likely affects its palatability to these organisms …” #MicroPlastics #SingleUsePlastic #PlasticWaste