A new study aims to raise awareness about plastic accumulation in food due to potentially harmful bacteria E.coli carried by microplastics.
A team of researchers from the University of Portsmouth examined microplastics covered in a biofilm coating (similar to natural algae) and found that they’re more likely to be ingested by oysters. Now, researchers believe similar results could be found in other edible marine species.
Here is what you need to know.
Plastic in Food is Underestimated
In a recent study, researchers compared the uptake rates of clean microplastics with an E.coli biofilm coating. The results are genuinely intriguing yet shocking.
Study insights and findings
The team discovered that oysters contained up to 10 times more microplastics when visible to the biofilm-coated beads. And that’s not all.
Researchers believe that those coated microplastics were more like food to the poor oysters. But the ingestion of microplastics is not harmful only for the oysters.
Unfortunately, it affects us, too!
According to the researchers, plastic can’t be broken down in marine animals. It’s actually consumed when we eat it.
Dr. Joanne Preston, the lead researcher from the Reader in Marine Ecology and Evolution, explains:
“It is unsure exactly how much this could affect the food chain, but the likelihood is because the creatures are ingesting more plastic and potentially disease-causing organisms, this will ultimately hurt human health.”
However, the new findings give us more insight into the potential harm microplastics are now having on the food chain. It also shows how we can finally step up and start raising awareness about it.
The researchers said that the situation is still underestimated, and the effect that microplastics currently have is huge. We need more studies like the recent one to come across more data. Only time could tell how things will be, but doing nothing could bring us closer to a worst-case scenario!