Collaborative Research Centre 1357 Microplastics
Understanding the mechanisms and processes of biological effects, transport and formation:
From model to complex systems as a basis for new solutions
The ubiquitous contamination of the environment with microplastics (MP), the associated risks to ecosystems and ultimately to human health has recently attracted a great deal of public and scientific attention.
So far, the young field of MP research has mainly been limited to the development of suitable monitoring methods, the quantitative assessment of environmental contamination, the identification of relevant entry paths into the environment, as well as first mitigation approaches. Further, ecotoxicological studies have been performed using mostly brand-new plastics. All these approaches lacked a fundamental understanding of the physical, chemical and biological processes to which MP is subjected in the environment. The scientific complexity of the field ‘MP’, however, requires an interdisciplinary approach that bridges the traditional disciplinary boundaries.
Hence, based on model systems for plastics, organisms and environmental compartments, the aim of this CRC initiative is to gain a fundamental understanding of the processes and mechanisms
- that cause biological effects of MP in limnic and terrestrial ecosystems
- that influence migration of the MP particles and
- that cause the formation of MP from macroscopic plastics each depending on the physical and chemical properties of the plastics.
These findings will provide a scientifically sound basis for the evaluation of the environmental risks of MP originating from existing commodity plastics. Building on this, new environmentally friendly plastics in the sense of sustainable polymer chemistry are to be developed and verified using model systems, starting already in the first application phase.
These new plastics will - among others - exhibit faster degradation processes through the application of accelerators and structural modifications and will contribute to the avoidance or reduction of MP. Based on the comprehensive findings from Phase I, plastics are also to be specifically modified in the longer term (phases II and III) in such a way that, due to their new properties, they no longer have any adverse effects on organisms and to the total environment.
The complexity of the model systems investigated is to be increased in the course of CRC 1357 in order to achieve the highest possible relevance in relation to real ecosystems..
Pressemitteilung: Neuer Sonderforschungsbereich für die Universität Bayreuth
Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
University of Bayreuth
Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-2650
Prof. Dr. Andreas Greiner
University of Bayreuth
Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-3399