Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 111, February 2019
Following a decade of research on the environmental impacts of microplastics, a knowledge gap remains on the processes by which micro and nanoplastics pass across biological barriers, enter cells and are subject to biological mechanisms. Here we summarize available literature on the accumulation of microplastics and their associated contaminants in a variety of organisms including humans. Most data on the accumulation of microplastics in both field and lab studies are for marine invertebrates.
Tenebrio molitor in the form of mealworm (left) and beetle (right). Photos by author.
Scientists in the Netherlands are cultivating edible insects to address concerns of international food security. Committed to the One World, One Health (OWOH) movement, their research aims to create a safe and effective global solution to the conjoined problems of climate change and an increasing worldwide demand for protein. Their preliminary work is promising, as it suggests that when compared to other sources of meat, insects can be an efficient, safe, and low-impact source of nutrients. Additionally, in many sites with endemic malnutrition, people find insects tasty.
Wood residues from forest harvesting or disturbance wood from wildfire and insect outbreaks may be viewed as biomass "feedstocks" for bioenergy production, to help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Biomass removals of woody debris may have potential impacts on forest biodiversity and ecosystem function. Forest-floor small mammals, such as the southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi) that typically disappear after clearcut harvesting, may serve as ecological indicators of significant change in forest structure and function.