A study published in Nature Communications, which is part of the Ph.D. research of Dr. Amanda Dawson from Griffith University, has revealed that krill have the ability to digest plastic. Krill are small shrimp-like crustaceans found in the ocean. According to ABC News Australia, the research has discovered that krill digest plastics in the ocean unknowingly and break it down into smaller nano-plastics. The ability of the shrimp-like crustaceans to digest plastic has opened the possibility of various applications in dealing with pollution.
However, the research has also generated concerns that the breaking down of plastic to nano-particles is only making it available to smaller organisms that couldn’t have ingested plastics in the first place. This opens up the possibility of passing harmful substances through the food chain. In a report on DW, Willa Huston disclosed that the groundbreaking study raises many environmental concerns. Some of the plastic remains in the krill and the others excreted could end up on a plate. The ones in the body of the krill could end up in human tissues because the krill are eaten by bigger fish, which are then eaten by humans.