The effects of plastic pollution on living organisms is a highly debated subject. There is no direct evidence of high toxicity of microplastic abundantly present in the environment. Nevertheless, microplastic particles can cross many biological barriers and come in direct contact with lipid membranes, which is the last cell protective barrier from the environment. Jean-Baptiste Fleury from the SFB 1027 (B4) together with his collaborator Vladimir Baulin form the University of Tarragona (Spain) demonstrated that microplastic beads ranging from 1 to 10 μm attach to lipid membranes. This attachment leads to significant stretching of the lipid bilayer without requiring any oxidative, or biological, e.g., inflammatory, reactions and this mechanical stretching can potentially lead to serious dysfunction of the cell machinery. They published their study now in the renowned journal PNAS.

Link to the article in PNAS

Press release from Saarland University

Date of new: 
Friday, 30. July 2021













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