Enchytraeus crypticus Avoid Soil Spiked with Microplastic
Aquatic Ecotoxicology in an Urban Environment, Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, Niemenkatu 73, 15140 Lahti, Finland
Joint Laboratory of Applied Ecotoxicology, Environmental Safety Group, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Europe (KIST Europe) Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Universität des Saarlandes Campus E7 1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Fabianinkatu 33, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
Department of Civil Engineering, Group of Building Materials and Construction Chemistry, Technical University of Berlin, Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, Germany
Department of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Centre for Chemical Safety Research, Kyungsung University, 309, Suyeong-ro, Nam-gu, Busan 48434, Korea
School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo, NSW 2007, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxics 2020, 8(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8010010
Received: 23 January 2020 / Revised: 6 February 2020 / Accepted: 7 February 2020 / Published: 10 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevalence, Fate and Effects of Plastic in Freshwater Environments)
Microplastics (MPs) of varying sizes are widespread pollutants in our environment. The general opinion is that the smaller the size, the more dangerous the MPs are due to enhanced uptake possibilities. It would be of considerably ecological significance to understand the response of biota to microplastic contamination both physically and physiologically. Here, we report on an area choice experiment (avoidance test) using Enchytraeus crypticus, in which we mixed different amounts of high-density polyethylene microplastic particles into the soil. In all experimental scenarios, more Enchytraeids moved to the unspiked sections or chose a lower MP-concentration. Worms in contact with MP exhibited an enhanced oxidative stress status, measured as the induced activity of the antioxidative enzymes catalase and glutathione S-transferase. As plastic polymers per se are nontoxic, the exposure time employed was too short for chemicals to leach from the microplastic, and as the microplastic particles used in these experiments were too large (4 mm) to be consumed by the Enchytraeids, the likely cause for the avoidance and oxidative stress could be linked to altered soil properties.