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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Collaborative Research Centre 1357 Microplastics

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Call for Master Thesis

Are "organic waste bags" really a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution?

Master thesis: The influence of "biodegradable" microplastics on the earthworm Eisenia fetida - Investigation of reproductive behavior and stress markers


Plastic and microplastics are a global environmental problem, which has found ist way into the public and political interest. As one of the measures to counteract plastic pollution in the environment, the use of so-called "biodegradable" plastics has been proposed repeatedly. “Biodegradable” plastics are supposed to be less harmful and less persistent in the environment, which is why they have become established in some regions of Europe for the collection of organic waste. However, in a previously conducted study at the University of Bayreuth we showed that the “biodegradable” plastic bags are not completely degraded during composting and can thus enter the environment with the compost as microplastic particles.

Here you could make a scientific contribution in a worldwide highly topical and environmentally relevant research field.

In this master thesis, a chronic toxicity study with the earthworm Eisenia fetida is to be carried out. The effect of a conventional plastic (polyethylene, PE) and two "biodegradable" plastics (polylactic acid (PLA) and a polybutylene adipate terephthalate - polylactic acid blend (PBAT-PLA)) will be compared with a control group. As toxicological endpoints, worm reproductive behavior, inflammatory responses and oxidative stress (e.g. ROS, CAT, GSH & TBARS) will be investigated using modern histological as well as molecular methods.

At the TÖK I, we are an enthusiastic and diverse group of scientists who work in an interdisciplinarily and can give you an insight into ecotoxicology, histology, analytics and more.

If you would like to be a part of our team and are interested in the master thesis described above, please send us the following documents:

  • Short cover letter (max. 1 page) stating the study regulations you are following
  • Your curriculum vitae


Chair:                                  Animal Ecology I (TÖK I)
Supervisors:                        Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
                                            Dr. Martin Löder
                                            Julia Möller

Correspondence to:          Julia.Möller@uni-bayreuth.de

Webmaster: Susanne Wolf

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