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Microplastics

In recent years we have become more aware of the effects of using microplastics has on our health and environment.

Microplastics in Agricultural applications

Microplastics (i.e., plastic particles less than 5mm in size) have been identified as a global environmental threat for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and human health. Agriculture is assumed to be both victim and polluter of microplastic pollution. Encapsulating fungicides and/or insecticides in filmcoatings applied to agronomic seeds has become a widely accepted method for enhancing seed germination and overall seedling health by protecting against many diseases and early-season insect pests.

ECHA

In Europe the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) has started a project which is restricting the use of microplastics and also the European committee which is implementing the new law on fertilizers of the used polymers in this field.

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Why is the agro-industry in the spotlight?

As there are many other products with much higher volumes of microplastics around, such as : toothpaste, detergents, shampoos etc etc. The reason for this is relatively simple, other products are passing the sewer systems and could be filtered out during the wastewater treatment process. The products used in seed coating, encrustment and pelleting are directly sown into the soil and cannot be filtered out. Therefore as result polluting the environment and the groundwater.

Study of Leiden University

In a recent study of Leiden University, Institute of Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution USA in July 2019, the effect of polymer coated seeds showed a drop in germination:

  • Exposure to plastics caused significant impacts on germination and root growth.
  • Late germination is likely related to accumulation of microplastics on seed case.

 

This on it’s own should be reason enough to switch to a non-polymer seed coating regardless of the environmental pollution into the soils and therefore into the groundwater.

Ad Terram doesn’t use microplastics in their products, not in the seed coating, Encrustment or Pelleting products and also not in their Biostimulants.
Environmental contamination by microplastics is now considered an emerging threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Soil ecosystems, particularly agricultural land, have been recognized as a major sink of microplastics, but the impacts of microplastics on soil ecosystems (e.g., above and below ground) remain largely unknown.

In a study of Bas Boots, Connor William Russell, Dannielle Senga Green

Publication: Environmental Science & Technology
Publisher: American Chemical Society

Date: Oct 1 2019, different types of microplastics [biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA)], conventional high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and microplastic clothing fibers were added to soil containing the endogeic Aporrectodea rosea (rosy-tipped earthworm) and planted with Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) to assess the biophysical soil response in a mesocosm experiment. When exposed to fibers or PLA microplastics, fewer seeds germinated. There was also a reduction in shoot height with PLA. The biomass of A. rosea exposed to HDPE was significantly reduced compared to control samples. Furthermore, with HDPE present there was a decrease in soil pH. The size distribution of water-stable soil aggregates was altered when microplastics were present, suggesting potential alterations of soil stability. This study provides evidence that microplastics manufactured of HDPE and PLA, and synthetic fibers can affect the development of L. perenne, health of A. rosea and basic, but crucial soil properties, with potential further impacts on soil ecosystem functioning.

So more and more becomes clear that beside all the environmental impact that the use of microplastics has studies clearly show the negative impact of the use of microplastics in agriculture.

Bio-based plastic

A lot of companies promote that they (are going to) use Bio-plastics as a alternative for the conventional plastics. However this seems not to be a solution due to the fact that bio-plastics generate the same problems than conventional plastics as a study shows by V.C. Shruti Centro Mexicano para la Producción más Limpia (CMP+L), Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) and Gurusamy Kutralam-Mmuniasamy Department of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Ciudad de México, Mexico in their publication; Bioplastics: Missing link in the era of Microplastics. Of 20th of December 2019.

Therefore the use of microplastics bio-plastics is not advisable and generates growth deformation and/or lower germination. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop here, latest studies show unexpected toxidity increase caused by microplastics in Rice seedlings; Publication: Microplastic particles increase arsenic toxicity to rice seedlings by Agro-Environmental Protection Institute, Ministry of Agriculture of China And Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Shantou University, Shantou, 515063, China And The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand

Some highlights of this research:

  • Microplastic particles combined with As(III) can inhibit the growth of rice seedling.
  • Microplastic particles combined with As(III) would restrain root activity, RuBisCO activity and photosynthesis.
  • PS and PTEF decreased As(III) uptake of rice seedling.
So many practical reasons not to use microplastics in your treatment products.

Products of Ad Terram

The products of Ad Terram are free of intentionally added microplastics. Ad Terram has a high-end product range without compromising the need for quality. In our industry it is organic and very economic to use. As a bonus you can save a lot of energy by using our products as the need for drying is limited and much faster than when you would use other products for filmcoating, encrustment or pelleting.

We are an innovative company focusing on the research of own developed organic treatment products and technologies in the agro-industry.

We make high-end products
which are 100% organic.