Research items
Daniel Mak is a marine toxicologist and policy advocate.He acquired his M.Phil degrees in Environmental Science from CUHK,HK and currently work in AFCD as fishery officer. His research focuses on three main perspectives:What are the spatial and temporal patterns of microplastics in the aquatic environment;How microplastics interact with marine organisms (coral & oyster); Can policy instruments (Single-use plastic Ban) to be used as a mandatory system to change public norm in plastic consumption?
Current institution
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | PolyU
Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology
Current position
Research Associate
Skills and Expertise
Followers (21)View all
Universidade Federal Fluminense
Nong Lam University
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The University of Queensland
Universitas Jenderal Soedirman
Following (58)View all
University of Cambridge
Empa - Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
Research Items (7)
To identify the physical effects, behavioral changes, and gene expression profiles of the phase 1 detoxification-related gene (cyp 1a) and oogenesis-related gene (vtg 1) induced by microplastics, high-density polyethylene microplastics of various sizes were used because of their dominance in coastal areas and effluent samples in Hong Kong. Adult zebrafish were used as the model organism to identify the upper and lower boundaries of microplastics ingestion and were exposed to individual polyethylene microplastics in five size ranges (10–22 μm, 45–53 μm, 90–106 μm, 212–250 μm, and 500–600 μm) at a concentration of 2 mg/L for 96 h. To study behavioral changes and targeted gene expression profiles via real-time PCR (qPCR), a mixture of microplastics in three size ranges at effluent-related (11 particles/L), moderate (110 particles/L), and high concentrations (1,100 particles/L) were applied for 96 h. The zebrafish behavior was recorded by a video camera and by two observers (interrater reliability, > 85%). The results implied that the upper and lower size boundaries for microplastic ingestion were 558.4 ± 26.2 μm (yellow) and 19.7 ± 3.1 μm (red), respectively. In addition, 61 ± 10% of fish in medium concentration treatments and 61 ± 10% of fish in high concentration treatments were found with the microplastic ingestion and remaining in their intestine. In addition, 28 ± 10% of fish in high concentration treatments were found with microplastic retaining in their gills (No. of fishes = 18 in each treatment). The presence of microplastics, which occupied 89 ± 6% of intestine area, reduced the voids inside the intestine for feed. The expression of cyp1a in the intestine (medium concentration) and vtg1 in the liver (medium and high concentration) showed significant up- regulation, and abnormal behavior (i.e., seizures and tail bent downward) was observed (medium and high concentration). In summary, the effects on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) pathway, disruption of the oogenesis process, and neurotoxicity could be caused by acute exposure of adult zebrafish to microplastics.
The prevalence of microplastics in the environment has become a major global conservation issue. One primary source of environmental microplastics is personal care and cosmetic products (PCCPs) containing microbeads. The market availability of PCCPs containing microbeads and the level of contamination of coastal sediments by microplastics was studied in one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Macao in China. We found that PCCPs containing microbeads are still widely available for sale in the region, with over 70% of surveyed PCCPs containing at least one type of microbeads as an ingredient, with polyethylene (PE) being the most common one. In an estimate, the use of PCCPs in the territory may release over 37 billion microbeads per year into the environment via wastewater treatment plants. The density of microplastics in coastal sediments varied between 259 and 1,743 items/L of sediment, amongst the highest reported in the world. The fraction of < 1 mm was the most abundant, representing an average of 98.6% of the total, and correlated positively with the abundance of larger sized fragments. The results show that although environmental pollution with microplastics released from PCCPs usage is significant, other sources, namely fragmentation of larger plastic debris, likely contribute more to the issue. The study highlights the magnitude of the problem at a local level and suggests possible mitigating strategies.
Microplastic fibres (MPFs) released from textiles are routinely found throughout the environment indicating human impacts on natural systems. The most common release pathway to the environment investigated are domestic textile laundering, transport through and retention in municipal wastewater treatment plants and subsequent application of processed sludge onto agricultural fields as soil amendment. A less-studied but potentially equally relevant source is releases further upstream in the textile production chain such as industrial wastewater effluents from textile processing mills. In this context, industrial wastewater from a typical textile wet-processing mill in China was sampled to estimate MPF release. Effluent was sampled and MPF fibre number and length were quantified by stereomicroscope. An average of 361.6 ± 24.5 MPFs L-1 was identified in the mill effluent. MPF length was highly variable, yet 92 % of all fibres were shorter than 1000 mm. Additionally, the sampling strategy was used to identify the optimal volume necessary to adequately subsample the effluent. We found that total fibre counts were linearly correlated with sample volumes between 1 and 10 L, but a sampling volume of 5 L is suggested for good reproducibility, low standard deviation and ease of working volume. The significant abundance of MPFs in the industrial wastewater effluent emphasises that not only should attention be placed on domestic releases, but the production stage of textiles can also be responsible for MPF pollution. The ability to target and treat industrial effluents may significantly reduce a potentially major point source. Repository link: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/315577
Further to our 2015–16 investigation, this study revealed the repeated presence of microplastics (MPs) in the coastal environment (Deep Bay, Tolo Harbour, Tsing Yi and Victoria Harbour) of Hong Kong from July 2016 to March 2017. The highest level of MPs in coastal surface water (17,182 particles/100 m3) was detected in Tsing Yi. Microplastic abundance in sediments of different sites (59 to 225 plastic particles/kg), however, did not vary significantly. MPs in the size of ≤1 mm were predominated in surface waters (53.3% to 98.6%) and sediments (79.1% to 96.8%). MPs in the shape of pellets and fragments were prevalent in surface waters and sediments respectively. Seasonal pattern of microplastic pollution was consistently observed in Victoria Harbour and Tsing Yi, where the number of MPs was always higher in dry season than in wet season for two consecutive years.