PLAStouch is a new project by Planterastics researchers. The project is focused on studying interactions between environmentally relevant microplastics and biotic surfaces in the aquatic environment.
Despite the extensive literature on microplastic ingestion by animals, knowledge of other uptake pathways and interactions of microplastics with organisms beyond animal species is minimal. In this context, the aim of this project is to evaluate interactions of various environmentally relevant microplastics with plants and microorganisms (biofilm), as they represent a large biotic surface to which microplastics can attach. In addition, interactions with animals beyond ingestion will also be investigated, as these interactions remain largely unexplored.
We will study the interaction between microplastics and organisms in order to understand the mechanisms of bioadhesion. Microscopic observations will show the location of the microplastic on the biotic surface while the use of adsorption kinetic models and adsorption isotherms will help to describe and understand the interactions between microplastics and these biotic surfaces. Because bioadhesion has never been studied to this extent, nor is it included in the overall budget of natural processes affecting microplastics in the environment, this systematic assessment of these interactions will be critical to further understanding the behaviour and fate of microplastics in the aquatic environment.