Could plants be the answer to the looming threat of microplastic pollution? Scientists at the University of British Columbia’s BioProducts Institute found that if you add tannins — natural plant compounds that make your mouth pucker if you bite into an unripe fruit — to a layer of wood dust, you can create a filter that traps virtually all microplastic particles present in water. The experiment remains a lab set-up at this stage. As per a release, the team analysed microparticles released from popular tea bags made of polypropylene. They found that their method trapped from 95.2% to as much as 99.9% of plastic particles in a column of water, depending on the plastic type. When tested in mouse models, the process was proved to prevent the accumulation of microplastics in the organs. Microplastics in a solution come in different sizes, shapes and electrical charges. By taking advantage of the different molecular interactions around tannic acids, the researchers were able to remove virtually all of these different microplastic types.