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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Do Microplastics Enter Our Food Chain Via Root Vegetables? A Raman Based Spectroscopic Study on Raphanus sativus

Tympa, Leda-Eleni; Katsara, Klytaimnistra; Moschou, Panagiotis N.; Kenanakis, George; Papadakis, Vassilis M.


The outburst of plastic pollution in terrestrial ecosystems poses a potential threat to agriculture and food safety. Studies have already provided evidence for the uptake of plastic microparticles by several plant species, accompanied by numerous developmental effects, using fluorescence labelling techniques. Here, we introduce the implementation of confocal Raman spectroscopy, a label-free method, for the effective detection of microplastics (MPs) accumulation in the roots of a common edible root vegetable plant, Raphanus sativus, after treatment with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) powder. We also demonstrate the concomitant occurrence of phenotypic defects in the polymer-treated plants. We anticipate that this work can provide new insights not only into the extent of the impact this widespread phenomenon has on crop plants but also on the methodological requirements to address it.


label-free; microscopy; detection; plastic; pollution; environment; edible; crop plants; ABS

Published in

2021, volume: 14, number: 9, article number: 2329
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Tympa, Leda-Eleni
University of Crete
Katsara, Klytaimnistra
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
University of Crete
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Biology
Kenanakis, George
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)
Papadakis, Vassilis M.
Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and wellbeing
SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

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