The Effects of PLA-based Biodegradable Plastics Introduced into Soil on Earthworm Behaviors

Akgün M., Türkmen C., Oral A.

The International Joint Science Congress of Materials Polymers, Ohrid, Macedonia, 25 - 28 August 2017, pp.70

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Ohrid
  • Country: Macedonia
  • Page Numbers: pp.70
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


The Effects of PLA-based Biodegradable Plastics Introduced into Soil on Earthworm Behaviors

Mert Akgun * Department of Bioengineering and Materials Engineering Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, TURKEY

Cafer Türkmen Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, TURKEY

Ayhan Oral Department of Chemistry Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, TURKEY

Rapidly increasing population, industrialization and social welfare brought along a growing amount of solid, liquid and gaseous waste. “Biodegradable plastics”, defined as plastics produced from renewable carbon resources, are ecological and sustainable materials derived from living organisms, such as plants, animals, fungi and bacteria, and recently they have been increasingly used. This has led to a growing number of research studies on the biodegradability and environmental effects of bioplastic materials. In the present study carried out since no similar research was observed in the related literature, polylactic acid (PLA)-based biodegradable plastic was ground and homogenized, and then homogeneously introduced into the soil with the same properties at concentrations of 0%, 1% and 3% under controlled conditions. Equal amounts of these mixtures, which were placed in a 2-dimension (2D) setting, were moisturized to achieve the field capacity and then offered to the earthworms. In the in vitro experiment conducted in quadruplicate with each concentration, after three worms were released in each 2D setting and the settings were sealed not to allow the worms out, they were kept in a cooled incubator in dark for three days. The obtained data revealed that three-day earthworm galleries (mm2) numerically changed according to the concentrations at stake, and these changes were found statistically insignificant (p<.5284) at all the concentrations including the control concentration. Similarly, no statistically significant difference was observed in all the PLA-Administered setting and the control group in terms of Microorganism Numbers (MON) (p<.1081). The finding that the worms opened up fewer galleries in the biodegradable plastic-introduced sides of the 2D settings may suggest that worms do not prefer this material; however, this was not found statistically significant.

Keywords: Biodegradable plastics, Soil, Earthworm, Worm gallery