Mealworms from three different regions: Guangzhou, Tai’an and Shenzhen, were fed with three commonly used microplastics of polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) for 1 month under favorable conditions, respectively. The survival rate and average weight of mealworms, the mass loss of microplastics and the production of frass were recorded every 4 days. Samples collected were characterized by X-ray diffraction, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analyzer and gel permeation chromatography. The results showed that mealworms from Tai'an and Shenzhen could effectively metabolize the whole microplastics tested, while those from Guangzhou could only metabolize PS and LDPE. Besides, LDPE could be degraded by mealworms from Tai'an and Shenzhen, while those from Guangzhou showed no such capability, indicating that mealworms from different regions present different metabolism effects. Furthermore, PS and LDPE are more likely to be metabolized compared with PVC. Copyright © 2018 Springer Nature B.V.
CitationWu, Q., Tao, H., & Wong, M. H. (2019). Feeding and metabolism effects of three common microplastics on Tenebrio molitor L. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 41(1), 17-26. doi: 10.1007/s10653-018-0161-5