We know there are toxins in our environment, but do they really affect human health? Whether and how environmental toxins make their way into our food supply has been a topic of increasing concern.
Following his 2020 research showing how microplastics in water and soils are being absorbed by plants,
Dr. Xing has turned his attention to the presence of microplastics in our foods, and whether such contaminants would be transferred to the human body.
At the Stockbridge School of Agriculture on the UMass Amherst campus, students working in Xing Lab have the opportunity to contribute to research that answers such questions.
"You are what you eat," says Dr. Xing, Director and professor at Stockbridge School of Agriculture,
"and now we can illustrate how the body's ability to digest lipids is potentially diminished by the presence of microplastics in the foods we eat."
Dr. Xing's invited presentation, "Microplastics Reduce Lipid Digestion in Simulated Human Gastrointestinal System," was given at the Symposium on Effects of Nano- and Microplastics on Human Health in October.
The symposium was a part of "CRIS Science Day 2022," hosted by the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety, at University of Michigan's Institute for Integrative Toxicology. The symposium also hosted talks by key science researchers from several universities, as well as Dow Chemical Company.
Dr. Xing's research demonstrates the Stockbridge School's multi-pronged commitment to scientific research addressing the links between climate change, environment, soil and food health, and human health.
Based on the frequency with which his work is cited by other active scientists conducting research, Dr. Xing has been annually ranked by Clarivate Analytics as a Most Highly Cited Researcher in the World, for several years. His work is part of why UMass Amherst is ranked by U.S. New & World Report as #1 in the U.S., and #5 in the World, for Best Agricultural Sciences University.