Exploring the impacts of plastics in soil – The effects of polyester textile fibers on soil invertebrates

Salla Selonen, Andraž Dolar, Anita Jemec Kokalj, Tina Skalar, Lidia Parramon Dolcet, Rachel Hurley, Cornelis A.M. van Gestel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Polyester fiber is one of the most abundant types of microplastics in the environment. A major proportion of the fibers entering wastewater treatment plants end up in sewage sludge, which is used as a soil fertilizer in many countries. As their impacts in the terrestrial environment are still poorly understood, we studied the effects of polyester fibers on enchytraeids (Enchytraeus crypticus), springtails (Folsomia candida), isopods (Porcellio scaber) and oribatid mites (Oppia nitens), all playing an important role in soil decomposer food webs. We exposed these invertebrates in the laboratory to short (12 µm–2.87 mm) and long (4–24 mm) polyester fibers, spiked in soil or in food at five concentrations ranging from 0.02% to 1.5% (w/w) and using five replicates. Overall the effects of polyester fibers on the soil invertebrates were slight. Energy reserves of the isopods were slightly affected by both fiber types, and enchytraeid reproduction decreased up to 30% with increasing fiber concentration, but only for long fibers in soil. The low ingestion of long fibers by the enchytraeids suggests that this negative impact arose from a physical harm outside the organism, or from indirect effects resulting from changes in environmental conditions. The short fibers were clearly ingested by enchytraeids and isopods, with the rate of ingestion positively related to fiber concentration in the soil. This study shows that polyester fibers are not very harmful to soil invertebrates upon short-term exposure. However, longer lasting, multigeneration studies with functional endpoints are needed to reveal the possible long-term effects on soil invertebrates and their role in the decomposition process. This study also shows that polyester fibers can enter terrestrial food web via ingestion of fibers by soil invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134451
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume700
Early online date4 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020

Fingerprint

Textile fibers
Polyesters
invertebrate
plastic
Plastics
Soils
Fibers
soil
isopod
Invertebrates
fibre
effect
textile
food web
Candida
terrestrial environment
Fertilizers
Sewage sludge
mite
Wastewater treatment

Keywords

  • Enchytraeid
  • Isopod
  • Microplastic
  • Polyester fibres
  • Soil ecotoxicology
  • Springtail

Cite this

Selonen, Salla ; Dolar, Andraž ; Jemec Kokalj, Anita ; Skalar, Tina ; Parramon Dolcet, Lidia ; Hurley, Rachel ; van Gestel, Cornelis A.M. / Exploring the impacts of plastics in soil – The effects of polyester textile fibers on soil invertebrates. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2020 ; Vol. 700. pp. 1-11.
@article{70fa806c64854417882e353ff2337f32,
title = "Exploring the impacts of plastics in soil – The effects of polyester textile fibers on soil invertebrates",
abstract = "Polyester fiber is one of the most abundant types of microplastics in the environment. A major proportion of the fibers entering wastewater treatment plants end up in sewage sludge, which is used as a soil fertilizer in many countries. As their impacts in the terrestrial environment are still poorly understood, we studied the effects of polyester fibers on enchytraeids (Enchytraeus crypticus), springtails (Folsomia candida), isopods (Porcellio scaber) and oribatid mites (Oppia nitens), all playing an important role in soil decomposer food webs. We exposed these invertebrates in the laboratory to short (12 µm–2.87 mm) and long (4–24 mm) polyester fibers, spiked in soil or in food at five concentrations ranging from 0.02{\%} to 1.5{\%} (w/w) and using five replicates. Overall the effects of polyester fibers on the soil invertebrates were slight. Energy reserves of the isopods were slightly affected by both fiber types, and enchytraeid reproduction decreased up to 30{\%} with increasing fiber concentration, but only for long fibers in soil. The low ingestion of long fibers by the enchytraeids suggests that this negative impact arose from a physical harm outside the organism, or from indirect effects resulting from changes in environmental conditions. The short fibers were clearly ingested by enchytraeids and isopods, with the rate of ingestion positively related to fiber concentration in the soil. This study shows that polyester fibers are not very harmful to soil invertebrates upon short-term exposure. However, longer lasting, multigeneration studies with functional endpoints are needed to reveal the possible long-term effects on soil invertebrates and their role in the decomposition process. This study also shows that polyester fibers can enter terrestrial food web via ingestion of fibers by soil invertebrates.",
keywords = "Enchytraeid, Isopod, Microplastic, Polyester fibres, Soil ecotoxicology, Springtail",
author = "Salla Selonen and Andraž Dolar and {Jemec Kokalj}, Anita and Tina Skalar and {Parramon Dolcet}, Lidia and Rachel Hurley and {van Gestel}, {Cornelis A.M.}",
year = "2020",
month = "1",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134451",
language = "English",
volume = "700",
pages = "1--11",
journal = "Science of the Total Environment",
issn = "0048-9697",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

Exploring the impacts of plastics in soil – The effects of polyester textile fibers on soil invertebrates. / Selonen, Salla; Dolar, Andraž; Jemec Kokalj, Anita; Skalar, Tina; Parramon Dolcet, Lidia; Hurley, Rachel; van Gestel, Cornelis A.M.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 700, 134451, 15.01.2020, p. 1-11.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring the impacts of plastics in soil – The effects of polyester textile fibers on soil invertebrates

AU - Selonen, Salla

AU - Dolar, Andraž

AU - Jemec Kokalj, Anita

AU - Skalar, Tina

AU - Parramon Dolcet, Lidia

AU - Hurley, Rachel

AU - van Gestel, Cornelis A.M.

PY - 2020/1/15

Y1 - 2020/1/15

N2 - Polyester fiber is one of the most abundant types of microplastics in the environment. A major proportion of the fibers entering wastewater treatment plants end up in sewage sludge, which is used as a soil fertilizer in many countries. As their impacts in the terrestrial environment are still poorly understood, we studied the effects of polyester fibers on enchytraeids (Enchytraeus crypticus), springtails (Folsomia candida), isopods (Porcellio scaber) and oribatid mites (Oppia nitens), all playing an important role in soil decomposer food webs. We exposed these invertebrates in the laboratory to short (12 µm–2.87 mm) and long (4–24 mm) polyester fibers, spiked in soil or in food at five concentrations ranging from 0.02% to 1.5% (w/w) and using five replicates. Overall the effects of polyester fibers on the soil invertebrates were slight. Energy reserves of the isopods were slightly affected by both fiber types, and enchytraeid reproduction decreased up to 30% with increasing fiber concentration, but only for long fibers in soil. The low ingestion of long fibers by the enchytraeids suggests that this negative impact arose from a physical harm outside the organism, or from indirect effects resulting from changes in environmental conditions. The short fibers were clearly ingested by enchytraeids and isopods, with the rate of ingestion positively related to fiber concentration in the soil. This study shows that polyester fibers are not very harmful to soil invertebrates upon short-term exposure. However, longer lasting, multigeneration studies with functional endpoints are needed to reveal the possible long-term effects on soil invertebrates and their role in the decomposition process. This study also shows that polyester fibers can enter terrestrial food web via ingestion of fibers by soil invertebrates.

AB - Polyester fiber is one of the most abundant types of microplastics in the environment. A major proportion of the fibers entering wastewater treatment plants end up in sewage sludge, which is used as a soil fertilizer in many countries. As their impacts in the terrestrial environment are still poorly understood, we studied the effects of polyester fibers on enchytraeids (Enchytraeus crypticus), springtails (Folsomia candida), isopods (Porcellio scaber) and oribatid mites (Oppia nitens), all playing an important role in soil decomposer food webs. We exposed these invertebrates in the laboratory to short (12 µm–2.87 mm) and long (4–24 mm) polyester fibers, spiked in soil or in food at five concentrations ranging from 0.02% to 1.5% (w/w) and using five replicates. Overall the effects of polyester fibers on the soil invertebrates were slight. Energy reserves of the isopods were slightly affected by both fiber types, and enchytraeid reproduction decreased up to 30% with increasing fiber concentration, but only for long fibers in soil. The low ingestion of long fibers by the enchytraeids suggests that this negative impact arose from a physical harm outside the organism, or from indirect effects resulting from changes in environmental conditions. The short fibers were clearly ingested by enchytraeids and isopods, with the rate of ingestion positively related to fiber concentration in the soil. This study shows that polyester fibers are not very harmful to soil invertebrates upon short-term exposure. However, longer lasting, multigeneration studies with functional endpoints are needed to reveal the possible long-term effects on soil invertebrates and their role in the decomposition process. This study also shows that polyester fibers can enter terrestrial food web via ingestion of fibers by soil invertebrates.

KW - Enchytraeid

KW - Isopod

KW - Microplastic

KW - Polyester fibres

KW - Soil ecotoxicology

KW - Springtail

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85074339447&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85074339447&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134451

DO - 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134451

M3 - Article

VL - 700

SP - 1

EP - 11

JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

M1 - 134451

ER -