Cigarette butts have adverse effects on initial growth of perennial ryegrass (gramineae: Lolium perenne L.) and white clover (leguminosae: Trifolium repens L.)

Green, Dannielle S. and Boots, Bas and Da Silva Carvalho, Jaime and Starkey, Thomas (2019) Cigarette butts have adverse effects on initial growth of perennial ryegrass (gramineae: Lolium perenne L.) and white clover (leguminosae: Trifolium repens L.). Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 182. p. 109418. ISSN 1090-2414

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.109418

Abstract

Cigarette filters (butts) are currently the most abundant form of anthropogenic litter on the planet, yet we know very little about their environmental impacts on terrestrial ecosystems, including plant germination and primary production. When discarded, filters contain a myriad of chemicals resulting from smoking tobacco and some still contain unsmoked remnants. A greenhouse experiment was used to assess the impacts of discarded filters of regular or menthol cigarette, either from unsmoked, smoked, or smoked cigarettes with remnant tobacco, on the growth and development of Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) and Trifolium repens (white clover). After 21 days, shoot length and germination success were significantly reduced by exposure to any type of cigarette filter for the grass and clover. Although total grass biomass was not measurably affected, the root biomass and root:shoot ratio were less in the clover when exposed to filters from smoked regular cigarettes and those with remnant tobacco. Cigarette filters caused an increase in chlorophyll-a in clover shoots and an increase in chlorophyll-b in grass shoots. Accordingly, whilst the chlorophyll a:b ratio was increased in the clover exposed to cigarette filters, it was decreased in grass. This study indicates the potential for littered cigarette filters to reduce growth and alter short-term primary productivity of terrestrial plants.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Pollution, Cellulose acetate filters, Menthol cigarettes, Tobacco, Plastic debris, Cigarette butts
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2019 14:51
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2019 16:07
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/704589

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