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Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract of pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel

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... To determine polymer composition of plastic particles, spectra taken from each particle were compared to a library of polymer spectra from the OMNIC (ThermoFisher) software library. Particles were classified as plastic if their spectrum had over a 70% match with a polymer spectrum from the pre-existing OMNIC spectral library; however, samples that fell between 60% and 70% were visually examined and compared to the previously identified polymers (e.g., Lusher et al., 2013). Total numbers of microplastics and their polymeric composition were summarized for each fish. ...
... Jabeen et al. (2017) investigated 27 fish species for microplastics and found that demersal fish species ingested more microplastics than pelagic species; however, Rummel et al. (2016) found the opposite-pelagic species ingest more microplastics than demersal species. Our findings of consistent occurrence of microplastics across different species (with different habitat and feeding modalities) is more in accordance with Lusher et al. (2013), who did not find any significant difference between different species and habitats. For the most part, the sizes of the fishes in our study were large enough that we do not expect them to be directly consuming microplastics, such as through misidentification with other small food items. ...
... Within fish stomachs we found polymers of PET, PE, PP, and PS. Although we did not have specific hypotheses about which polymers to expect, similar polymers were reported in stomachs of fish sampled from three major tributaries of Lake Michigan (McNeish et al., 2018), the Amazon River estuary (Pegado et al., 2018), and several marine fish studies (Lusher et al., 2013;Neves et al., 2015;Steer et al., 2017). The exact sources of the polymers we observed are unknown as samples were taken from multiple locations throughout the river-in addition to the fact that many polymers have multiple uses (i.e., cannot be tied to one industry) and traveled unknown distances to get to the location of consumption in the river. ...
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Microplastics are ubiquitous in Earth’s ecosystems and many efforts have begun to understand their distributions. Large rivers, like the Mississippi River, provide a unique system in which to look at large-scale patterns of microplastic distribution. In this study, we sampled four species of widely-distributed fishes from five sites along the mainstem Mississippi River, from Minnesota to Louisiana, United States. Microplastics were found in all fish species and at all sites; however, microplastics increased in occurrence in the Lower Mississippi River. Fragments were the most common morphologies and polypropylene was the most common polymer detected. We also examined the hypothesis that microplastic loads in fishes increased downstream, but found support for this hypothesis only when examining Largemouth Bass; Flathead Catfish, Shortnose Gar, and Bluegill were all found to have similar microplastic loads along the mainstem Mississippi River. It is clear that microplastics are heterogeneously distributed throughout ecosystems, and further understanding of microplastic distributional patterns and varying species burdens are needed to fully understand threats that microplastics present.
... Currently, studies on MPs ingestion by fish report frequencies ranging from 2.7 % to 100 %, with variations widely depending on the species and sites examined (Lusher et al., 2013;Nadal et al., 2016;Galafassi et al., 2021). Once ingested by the organisms, MPs tend to accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to the thinning of the intestinal epithelium and consequently causing oxidative stress, inflammation, DNA damage, and even cell death (Yin et al., 2021). ...
... Carson (2013) noted that color contributes to plastic ingestion. According to Lusher et al. (2013), black MPs are the most abundant, followed by blue and white respectively for fibers and fragments. These colors probably Table 3 Spearman correlation among the total number of plastic debris (MPs and MFs) in fish and PAHs, PCBs, PTEs, and OCPs soil concentrations. ...
Article
In this study, we investigated the presence, abundance, and chemical nature of microplastics (MPs) in the freshwater fish gastrointestinal tract in the South of Italy, and evaluated the possible correlation between MPs and environmental pollutants. Fifty specimens belonging to five species (Scardinius erythrophthalmus, Barbus barbus, Rutilus rubilio, Leuciscus cephalus, Salmo trutta), from twenty sites were collected. MPs chemical feature was identified by means of Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) and Raman microscopy. MPs were represented by 34.86 % fragments, film, and foam (all together MPs) and 65.14 % by fibers (MFs). The mean number of MPs/MFs per fish ranged from 6.25 ± 4.35 in R. rubilio and 2.26 ± 1.94 in B. barbus. The highest number of MPs/MFs per g of GIT was found in R. rubilio (9.07±9.66), and the lowest in S. erythrophthalmus (0.75±0.53). The highest number of MPs/MFs per fish species was found in L. cephalus (16), and the lowest in S. erythrophthalmus (4). Black predominated in every type of plastic debris identified, followed by blue and white, respectively for MFs andMPs. Polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP), were the main plastic polymers found. At fish sampling sites, comparing concentrations in soils of potentially toxic elements and persistent organic pollutants with the number ofMPs/MFs in fish, a significant correlation was noted with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and, in particular, with PCB 105, PCB 118, PCB 156, PCB 157, and PCB 167. A strong correlation was also observed with all types of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) particularly with benzo(ghi)perylene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benz(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, and pyrene. The results of this studywould be useful to draft management and action plans, promote intervention plans aiming at removing threats to species and habitats, and address ways of renaturalization.
... To this must be added that plastic polymers show slow biological degradation, so they remain in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years, where they break down into smaller pieces due to ultraviolet radiation, physical forces, and hydrolysis; therefore, plastic particles accumulate as small fragments (microplastic < 5 mm, mesoplastic 5-25 mm, macroplastic > 25 mm) [4]. Due to their small size and persistence in the environment, these fragments can be ingested by a variety of organisms and several studies have already reported microplastic ingestion for more than 100 species of fish and marine mammals [5][6][7]. ...
... Similarly, Baalkhuyur et al. [15], when studying commercial and non-commercial species in the Red Sea, observed a high ingest of microplastics in organisms inhabiting coral reefs (46.2%) and lower ingest in those inhabiting seagrasses (7.7%), which was also justified by feeding zone; mesopelagic species (seagrasses) showed low ingest, because they only migrate to the surface at night to feed and then return to their natural habitat. Finally, in a study conducted with three commercial species, Dicentrarchus labrax "sea bass," Diplodus vulgaris "mojarra," and Platichthys flesus "flounder," in the Modego estuary in Portugal, Bessa et al. [16] also agreed by determining that the vertical distribution of the fish can influence the number of microplastics ingested by the fish; finding higher levels of ingest in the benthopelagic species D. vulgaris (73%), with a maximum of 14 microplastics extracted from a single individual, than in the demersal species D. labrax (23%) and P. flesus (13%); similar trend was recorded in other commercial pelagic fish species from the English Channel, 36.5% [5], and in pelagic-neritic species from the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey [17]. However, in the Gulf of Mexico drainages and estuary, a low percentage of microplastic ingest was reported among freshwater fish (8%) and marine fish (10%) [18], so it could be said that ingestion ranges may vary between studies, habitats, and locations, relating microplastic ingest to different feeding strategies of fish. ...
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The research was conducted based on the exposure of a fish diversity to different concentrations and types of plastic waste, either by direct ingestion, exposure to contaminated environments, or transfer through the trophic chain. The types and degrees of affections these wastes cause to fish are described; also, a comparison of the results by some authors in their experiments has been included. As a result, it has been concluded that the waste is easily assimilated by fish, regardless of their dimensions, and microplastics act as aquatic vectors capable of transporting organic and inorganic matters which have the potential to harm marine organisms that absorb them directly or indirectly. The size of the ingested microplastic is in function of the fish size; the smaller the length, the smaller the waste; additionally, pelagic species are more likely to be contaminated by microplastic ingestion because they inhabit mid-water or near the surface. Microplastic particles can be transferred through trophic levels and their presence in the receiving body generates a series of enzymatic responses including the bioaccumulation of mercury (Hg), and other, and the combination of both, which would be causing oxidative stress. There is the likelihood of transferring these contaminants through trophic levels, which could trigger illnesses in consumers, and the high probability of exposure to microplastics transferred by trophic levels, especially for populations living near maritime routes and close to urban industrial areas. It is necessary to adopt binding government policies that allow the establishment of controls to prevent the entry of plastics on beaches.
... The maximum length (mm), shape, and color of all particles were recorded and photographs of some potential plastic debris were taken. Then, a visual classification of particles was done following established criteria (Hidalgo-Ruz et al., 2012;Lusher et al., 2013): (1) no cellular or organic structures inside, although biofouling could be on a plastic surface; (2) fibers should be of the same thickness throughout their length, although they could split or fray at the extremes; (3) they should have a clear and homogeneous color; however, some plastics could be heterogeneous, biofouling could disguise color, particles may be bleached or they can have more than one color; (4) fibers should have three-dimensional bending. The particles were separated according to their size between macro-(2.5-100 ...
Article
This paper provides the first evidence of debris pollution, including plastic, in juvenile Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) found stranded on the Atlantic coast of southern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Macro-, meso- and microparticles of anthropogenic origin were observed in 100 % of the studied birds, with debris abundance ranging between 33 and 200 items/bird. Microparticles represented 91 % of the total debris and 97 % of them were fibers. Black particles were the most abundant (30 %), followed by transparent (26 %), blue (14 %), yellow (10.3 %), and red (10 %). Infrared and Raman spectroscopy identified 62.7 % of the total particles as plastics, with polypropylene (27.8 %) and polyester (21.6 %) being the most abundant polymers. Semi-synthetic cellulosic fibers, metallic particles, and pigments were also found. The presence of metallic microparticles was suggested for the first time in penguins. Stranded juvenile Magellanic penguins are proposed as promising bioindicators of plastic pollution in the South Atlantic.
... In Norway, its habitat ranges from the continental shelf edge to the inner parts of fjords where it is exposed to anthropogenic litter (Foekema et al., 2013). Available studies of MP ingestion by Atlantic cod have shown that 3% of the studied individuals on the Norwegian coast had MPs in their stomach (Bråte et al., 2016), which is lower than in other areas such as the North Pacific (35%; Boerger et al., 2010) or the English Channel (37%; Lusher et al., 2013). However, studies on how naturally weathered MP particles affect the digestion, reproductive physiology and egg production in Atlantic cod are still limited. ...
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Microplastics (MPs) have become a global issue as they are omnipresent in the ocean. Fish ingesting MPs through feed could be affected in their physiological function, e.g., disrupted enzyme production and function, reduction of feeding and reproductive failure. This study assessed the effects of feed containing naturally weathered MPs from the Oslofjord (Norway) on the reproductive physiology of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Farmed cod broodstock were fed either control (C-diet) or feeds containing 1% microplastic (MP-diet) starting nine months prior to spawning, from June until May. No major differences were found between diet groups in overall biometrics or gonad histology. Sex steroid levels (testosterone, 11-ketotestosterone and 17β-estradiol) resulted in expected profiles increasing over time without any significant differences between treatments. Gene expression levels of the steroidogenic enzyme 20β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20β-hsd) and vitellogenin1 (vtg1) showed significant differences between dietary treatments with lower expression in the control group. This can be a direct effect of MPs, but endocrine disrupting effects of potentially leachable plastic additives cannot be completely ruled out. Thus, these enzymes could be indicators of exposure to contaminants that disrupt sexual maturation by affecting the production of primarily maturation-inducing steroid. Although the concentration of MPs employed in this study may not be high enough to elicit any observable short-term biological effects, the observed gene expression suggests that long-term consequences should be considered caused by an expected increase of MPs in marine environments.
... The ingestion of microplastics has been observed in many species of fish intended for human consumption from the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea, although only one or two microplastic particles have been detected per fish [23,63]. For example, microplastics have been observed in chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus), herring (Clupea harengus), mackerel (Scomber scombrus), Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus), northern cod (Gadus morhua), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou), sprat (Sprattus sprattus), king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla), shortfin scad (Decapterus macrosoma), horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus), hake (Merluccius merluccius), bream (Pagellus acarne), and common sole (Solea solea) [64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73]. ...
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In recent years, plastic waste has become a universally significant environmental problem. Ingestion of food and water contaminated with microplastics is the main route of human exposure. Fishery products are an important source of microplastics in the human diet. Once ingested, microplastics reach the gastrointestinal tract and can be absorbed causing oxidative stress, cytotoxicity, and translocation to other tissues. Furthermore, microplastics can release chemical substances (organic and inorganic) present in their matrix or previously absorbed from the environment and act as carriers of microorganisms. Additives present in microplastics such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol (NP), octylphenol (OP), and potentially toxic elements can be harmful for humans. However, to date, the data we have are not sufficient to perform a reliable assessment of the risks to human health. Further studies on the toxicokinetics and toxicity of microplastics in humans are needed.
... One of the main scientific questions inferred in the last years refers to the potentially toxic effects of the MPs' ingestion on the marine biota's health status. MPs can induce toxic effects on organisms, affecting normal functioning, and may cause several organ-specific toxicities, such as neuronal, digestive, reproductive, and developmental toxicity [17][18][19][20][21][22][23]. Moreover, MPs may adsorb contaminants present in the environment because of their lipophilicity [24]; in fact, once arriving in the seawater, they change their nature in response to physicochemical and biological ageing processes [25] and, in this way, act as carriers for very hazardous chemicals (e.g., organic contaminants and heavy metals) [26,27]. ...
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Simple Summary: Microplastics are ubiquitous particles with dimensions less than 5 mm. In the marine environment, due to their small size, they can be ingested by organisms. The purpose of this review is to describe the negative effects related to the ingestion of microplastics in wild marine organisms. At the moment, few effects caused by the ingestion of microplastics in wild marine organisms are known. Abstract: The present review provides detailed information on the adverse effects of MPs on wild marine organisms, including tissue damage, fish condition, oxidative stress, immune toxicity, and genotoxicity. A bibliometric analysis was carried out on CiteSpace (version 6.1.R3) (Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA) to verify how many papers studied the effects on wild marine species. The results showed a total of 395 articles, but only 22 really presented data on the effects or impacts on marine biota, and of these, only 12 articles highlighted negative effects. This review shows that the observed effects in wild organisms were less severe and milder than those found in the experimental conditions. The knowledge of negative effects caused by direct ingestion of microplastics in wild animals is still limited; more efforts are necessary to fully understand the role of MPs and the adverse effects on wild marine organisms, the ecosystem, and human health.
... Microplastics were first found in 1972 by Carpenter and Smith (1972) in the pelagic surface water of the Sargasso Sea. To date, microplastics have been found in different environments, such as waters, from rivers to coastal waters (Alomar et al., 2016;Wang et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2014) and sediments (Mao et al., 2021;Strady et al., 2021), and in aquatic animals, such as molluscs (Abidli et al., 2019;Li et al., 2015;Li et al., 2016;Naji et al., 2018), fish (Lusher et al., 2012;Wu et al., 2020), and crustaceans (Carreras-Colom et al., 2020;Murray & Cowie, 2011). Although microplastics are found in different shapes, including fibers, fragments, pellets, films, and foams, fibers are the most abundant (Bikker et al., 2020;Fu et al., 2020;Mao et al., 2021;Napper et al., 2021;Strady et al., 2021). ...
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This study was conducted to examine the microplastic fiber abundance and its characteristics in two wild and two cultured shrimp species collected at coastal areas in Hoai Nhon district, Binh Dinh Province. A total of 84 individuals of four shrimp species, Litopenaeus vannamei, Penaeus monodon, Metapenaeus ensis, and Penaeus semisulcatus were collected for analysis. All shrimp specimens were dissected to remove the digestive tracts, which were then treated with 10% KOH to collect microplastic fibers by filtering. The microplastic fiber concentrations varied from 1.96 ± 0.09 to 19.33 ± 10.82 fibers/specimen or 0.20 ± 0.12 to 2.26 ± 1.26 fibers/g of wet body weight. The abundance of fibers in the wild shrimps (Penaeus semisulcatus and Metapenaeus ensis) was higher than in the cultured shrimps (Penaeus monodon and Litopenaeus vannamei). Most fibers observed in the four shrimp species had lengths between 300 and 1500 μm, accounting for 78.72% to 92.82% of the total). White fibers were dominant (30.38%), followed by gray (11.87%), and green (10.60%).
... Our study also found plastic fragments in the stomachs of fish in both areas. This concerning because these synthetic objects can cause negative effects on fish when ingested (Pinheiro et al., 2017) such as obstruction of the digestive tract, inflammation, laceration of gastrointestinal tissues and can lead to the death of fish (Lusher et al., 2013;Rochman et al., 2013;Pedà et al., 2016;Pappis et al., 2021). These plastic fragments are light and have different sizes and colors, so it is easily ingested by fish that confuse them as pieces of food (Pinheiro et al., 2017). ...
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We evaluated the differences in the diet and trophic guild of Metynnis lippincottianus under the influence of cage fish farms in the Neotropical reservoir. We collected samples from two areas (cage farm and control) in March and June 2019. Stomach contents were examined, and food items were identified and quantified using the volumetric method. Differences in diet composition were evaluated using PERMANOVA and SIMPER analyses, while trophic niche breadth was determined using PERMDISP. The trophic guild for each area was also determined. Significant differences in diet between cage farm and control areas were observed, due to consumption of pelleted feed, microcrustaceans, Egeria sp., and filamentous algae. In both sampling areas, M. lippincottianus was classified as algivorous. Despite the pelleted feed consumption in the cage farm area, no differences were observed in trophic niche breadth and the trophic guild. In addition, algae and macrophytes still accounted for the majority of this species' diet in both areas, indicating partitioning of resources. This resource partitioning may favor coexistence, but it is worth mentioning that pelleted feed consumption still indicates the influence of cage fish farms on the diet of wild fish.
... Andrade et al. (2019) showed that piranhas (carnivorous Serrasalmidae) ingested plastics through their prey, retaining more synthetic particles in their digestive tracts than fish from lower trophic levels. If MPs are ingested by carnivorous fish via trophic transfer (Boerger et al., 2010;Lusher et al., 2013;Markic et al., 2018), the highest trophic levels tend to accumulate this pollutant (Carbery et al., 2018). Fish that consume large food items, typically predators, can also have a high risk of indirect MP ingestion via consumption of contaminated prey and accidental consumption of fibers that are abundant in the water column and the sediment (Sun et al., 2017). ...
Article
Microplastic (MP) pollution is a global problem and has affected several biological levels even in protected areas. In the present study, MP contamination was investigated in fish associated with sandy beaches in a permanent environmental protection area in the Amazon. In order to achieve this goal, the shape, color, abundance, richness, and chemical composition of MPs in the digestive tract of 29 fish species in 24 beaches of the Machado River, western Brazilian Amazon, were evaluated. Linear mixed models (LMMs) were adjusted to test the effects of local human modification (HMc), distance from urban settlements, distance from the closest affluent, and trophic categories of fish species on microplastic abundance and richness in their digestive tracts. From the 1082 fish analyzed, 332 (30 %) presented MPs in their digestive tracts. A total of 617 MPs was found (1.8 ± 1.6 MPs; 4.5 ± 1.9 MPs/g fish). Omnivorous and insectivorous fish presented more MPs in sandy beaches located closer to urban settlements. However, carnivorous fish presented a higher abundance of MPs in their digestive tracts compared with the other trophic guilds. This is the first study to analyze plastic contamination in fish associated with sandy beaches in the Amazon (Brazil), and it revealed contamination of the ichthyofauna mainly related to the distance from urban settlements. Our results reinforce the need for better management of landscape surrounding protected areas to mitigate MP pollution.
... In the upper ocean layer, the bright color of the MP has a significant role in attracting visible predators, who get confused with their natural prey and ingest plastics mistakenly (Browne et al., 2008;Lusher et al., 2013;van Cauwenberghe and Janssen, 2014;Goswami et al., 2021). Planktivorous species have been shown to devour MPs of the same color and size as their natural prey (Wright et al., 2013). ...
Article
Microplastics (MPs) are ubiquitous in the marine environment, yet information regarding their occurrence in the food web is limited. We investigated the concentration and composition of MPs in water and diverse zooplankton groups from the Arabian Sea basin. Forty-one zooplankton tows were collected with a bongo net (330 μm mesh) from the Arabian Sea in January 2019. MPs in the surface water varied between 0 and 0.055 particles/m3, with a relatively higher concentration (0.013 ± 0.002 particles/m3) in the central Arabian Sea. Though fibrous MPs were most abundant in the seawater (77.14 %), zooplankton prefers small fragments (55.3 %). The size of MPs was distinctly smaller (277.1 ± 46.74 μm) in zooplankton than that in seawater (864.32 ± 73.72 μm), and MPs bioaccumulation was observed in almost all the zooplankton functional groups. Polymer composition revealed polyamide, polyethylene, polypropylene, and PVC were abundant in water and zooplankton, suggesting that the textile, fishing, shipping, and packaging industries are significant sources. The prevailing northeasterly winds, strong West India Coastal Current, and conducive westward radiated Rossby wave during January 2019 have carried the microplastic contaminated water mass away from the coast, posing a threat to the open ocean ecosystems. These results demand further attention to investigate the state of plastic pollution in the Arabian Sea basin.
... In the present study, it was observed that generally white and black MPs were ingested by seahorses in 2012, and mostly black and blue MPs in 2022. In particular, the MP color composition of the seahorse GITs in the 2022 is similar to previous studies (Bellas et al., 2016;Bessa et al., 2018;Bottari et al., 2022;Lusher et al., 2013). On the other hand, the exoskeleton of some crustacean species and platonic organisms being transparent or white may be the answer to the ingestion of white MPs by seahorses in the 2012 (Nadal et al., 2016). ...
Article
Unconscious and excessive use of plastic supports the diversity and abundance of microplastics (MPs) in marine environments. As a result of MP exposure, organisms in the marine environment are faced with adverse scenarios up to death. In this study, ten-year MP composition was investigated in gastrointestinal tracts (GITs) of low-mobility seahorses (90 individuals per period) from the Southeastern Black Sea. Seahorse GITs sampled during both 2012 and 2022 contain 102 and 135 MP items, respectively. The number of MPs per unit individual seahorse and unit seahorse weight was higher in the 2022 period. On the other hands, no significant differences were observed between the MP lengths of both periods. The majority of MPs in both sample periods were materials shorter than 1000 μm. Of the eight found synthetic polymers, five belonged to the 2012 period, while seven were observed during the 2022 period. Additionally, the most abundant synthetic polymer for both periods is polyvinyl stearate (PVS). As a result, 43% of the total plastic material belonged to the 2012 period, while 57% was observed in the 2022 period. Considering both the diversity of polymers and the abundance of plastics, the region was adversely affected by plastic materials in the 2022 period.
... Various investigations have identified transparent plastic particles in approximately 20-70% of the total population found through a stereomicroscope and reported the resulting characterization using different techniques (Eriksen et al., 2013;Song et al., 2015). Synthetic and natural fibres commonly found and highly abundant in sediments, biota, and water samples are difficult to identify through a stereomicroscope (Lusher et al., 2013). ...
Article
Microplastics have become the world's most emerging pollutants today due to the ubiquitous use of plastics in everyday life and their ability to migrate from micro to nanoscale to every corner of the natural world, leading to ecological imbalances and global catastrophes. However, a standardized method for separating and analyzing microplastics from actual food or environmental samples has not been established. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a simple, fast, cost-effective, and accurate method that can accurately measure the degree of contamination of microplastics. As one of these methods, fluorometry has been proposed as a cost-effective method to detect, quantify and differentiate individual plastic particles. Therefore, this review discussed the technique for analyzing microplastics using fluorescent carbon dots (CDs). This review provided an overview of the impact of microplastics and the feasibility of using CDs to detect and analyze microplastics. In particular, this review will discuss novel microplastic analysis methods using CD and future application studies. The method using CDs will overcome the limitations of current microplastic analysis technology and may become a new method for detecting and analyzing microplastics.
... Science of the Total Environment xxx (xxxx) xxx study sampling in the North Atlantic; 9 and 35 % in the North Pacific Gyre regions; 35 % of the pelagic and demersal fish examined in the English channel (Lusher et al., 2013); 83 % of the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus (Murray and Cowie, 2011). Also the accumulation of MPs in the GI tract of different species complied in Table 2 indicate that Sabanejewia caspia should be considered in conservative programs. ...
Article
Microplastic (MP) contamination is a persistent and ubiquitous threat to aquatic ecosystems. This study quantifies MP ingestion by fish inhabiting the Anzali Wetland (Iran), a hotspot of biodiversity. Growth parameters have been monitored in endemic demersal fish (Caspian spined loach, Sabanejewia caspia), and invasive benthopelagic species (Prussian carp, Carassius gibelio) in the wetland and compared with their internal content of MPs. MPs were extracted from the gastrointestinal (GI) tracts following digestion of the samples in alkaline medium and observation of the extracts with microscopy (Scanning Electron Microscopy equipped with an Energy-Dispersive X-ray microanalyzer (SEM-EDS) and confocal Raman microscopy). A total of 84.6 % of the study fish (n = 26) were contaminated with MPs. Fibres were the only type of MPs found in the GI tracts, and these were mainly dark blue and made of polycarbonate and nylon in both investigated species. The mean number of MPs in the GI tracts of the carp and the loach was 3.6 and 3.7 respectively. MPs had smooth surfaces in most cases although some presented brittle, fragmented, and uneven surfaces and signs of degradation. The growth rate of Carassius gibelio and Sabanejewia caspia, measured with the b value (growth factor), was 2.91 and 2.15 respectively. Carassius gibelio can play a significant role in the transport of MPs to other aquatic organisms inhabiting the Anzali wetland, and hence can cause potential harm to them. Carassius gibelio MP contamination was more pronounced with increasing gut mass in older specimens. Due to the presence of MPs and in fish that can be consumed, there could be a trophic transfer to humans. Regarding Sabanejewia caspia, although not statistically significant, their uptake of MPs tends to increase in older specimens with smaller size and body weight. This can imply that MP pollution causes inappropriate conditions and results in negative growth. The findings of this work provide new insights into MP contamination in the Anzali wetland, specifically in endemic fish. These results will be important in conservation and management programs.
... The ecological concern from MPs emanates from the fact that MPs can be misidentified as prey by aquatic organisms and become toxic or even lethal when ingested [30]. The risk from MP ingestion can be both physical (blocking gills and digestive system) and/or chemical (contaminant release from MPs or acting as a carrier for metals, organic contaminants, and even microbes), and harm a variety of organisms across the trophic chain from zooplankton to mammals [31][32][33][34][35][36][37]. The report of MPs translocating in blood circulation among filter feeders is known to cause reproductive dysfunction [38]; the concern is further exacerbated by a recent report of MP/NP in human blood [39]. ...
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The wastewater stream is the most significant contributor of microplastics (MPs) to the environment. There are five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Kuwait. This baseline study provides an overview of MP removal in three major WWTPs in Kuwait that treat some 81.31% of the wastewater produced. The Sulabiya WWTP was the most efficient in MP removal, followed by the Kabd and Umm Al-Haiman WWTPs. The MP removal efficiency of plants in Kuwait is very high for Sulabiya WWTP and Kabd WWTP with an average of 2.5 MP L−1 in treated effluent comparable to the WWTPs in Australia, the United States, and Europe. The standard methodology of sample collection, preparation, and identification using microscopic examination and micro-Raman spectrometry was followed. Over 94.5 billion MPs enter the three WWTPs daily; 92.3 billion MPs are retained in sludge, while 2.2 billion are passed into the environment due to the use of treated effluent. The influent, effluent, and sludge MP inventories ranged between 119 and 230 MP L−1, 1 and 12 MP L−1, and 72 and 103 MP 10 g−1 respectively. The fiber was the dominant shape, and white, transparent, and black were prevalent colors. Currently, sludge is not used in Kuwait for any terrestrial or agricultural application; however, sludge is routinely used in many countries as a soil additive in agricultural farms. Using effluent water in irrigation leads to MP dissemination in the terrestrial environment. It is necessary to assess how far these MPs move in the soil profile and if they can contaminate the shallow aquifers. The observation of MP retention in sludge and effluent is empirical, and the use of these matrixes in agriculture is likely to raise an issue of food safety.
... In studies on small pelagic species that used organic matter degradation methods prior to particle identification, MPs in the lower fraction (<1 mm) were the most abundant size (Filgueiras et al., 2020;Hastuti et al., 2019;Tanaka and Takada, 2016). In contrast, in studies that inspect the stomach contents directly to locate and identify MPs, the mean sizes reported were usually larger (Lefebvre et al., 2019;Lusher et al., 2013;Neves et al., 2015). This could indicate the difficulty in finding the small-sized particles among the organic matter present in the sample. ...
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Fragments of microplastics (<5 mm) found in commercial species of fish, crustaceans, and bivalves, are an issue of global concern. The bioaccumulation of microplastics and other anthropogenic particles in different levels of the food web may provoke unwanted impacts on marine ecosystems and cause pernicious effects on human health. Here, we study the presence of anthropogenic particles and the fraction of microplastics in the target organs of two representative commercial fish species in Spain; the European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) and the European pilchard (Sardina pilchardus). The individuals were sampled along the continental shelf of the Gulf of Cádiz, from the Bay of Cádiz to Cape Santa Maria. The isolation of the microplastics (MPs) was carried out with a complete alkaline-oxidant organic digestion (KOH-H2O2) of the digestive tract, including both the contents ingested and the muscle tissues. Anthropogenic particles were found in all individuals of both species with an average of 8.94 ± 5.11 items·ind⁻¹. Fibres made up 93 % of the items while fragments and films were represented by the remaining 7 %. The average size of the anthropogenic particles was 0.89 ± 0.82 mm. In addition to the fragment and film particles identified as microplastics, 29 % of the fibres were estimated to be microplastics by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. The main polymer found in both species was nylon. No significant correlation was found between the abundance and size of anthropogenic particles ingested and individual size or other body variables. The analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) and the distanced-based multiple linear regression model showed a high homogeneity in anthropogenic particle contamination in both species throughout the study area along the continental shelf of the Gulf of Cádiz.
... Plastic pollution is increasingly becoming a major global environmental issue, which is due to the various physical, chemical and biological degradation steps that change larger fragments of plastics into micro-and nanoplastics [1,2]. Microplastics are ubiquitous environmental contaminants and a hazard for vast numbers of organisms [3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] and their eco-systems [11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]. For example, polystyrene ...
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BACKGROUND, Different preservation media used on fish samples may influence the digestion of organic matter for microplastic (MP) particle detection. Comparison of fresh and conserved fish is thereby problematic. OBJECTIVE, For quality assurance purposes and comparability of MP research, a method for digestion of preserved tissue like intestine with little impact on most MP particles was implemented. METHODS, Conserved fish samples were digested using SDS, KOH and Fenton’s reagents. The effect of the different chemicals used on different MP particles was then analyzed using Raman hit quality. Therefore, different filter materials were investigated using PMMA particles. RESULTS, Moist grided nitrocellulose filter was found best suited for this study. The effects of this digestion protocol on different polymer particles differed among polymers. Two of the used polymer particles dissolved during SDS + KOH treatment. PVC hard showed the highest loss of Raman hit quality (29.5 %). Some fish showed residues of sand or chitin from insects depending on their feeding strategy which could not be digested using this protocol. CONCLUSION, Not every polymer could be detected reliably using this protocol. For residues like sand or chitin, a density separation and enzymatic chitin degradation using chitinase may be needed, which could be implemented into this protocol.
... In Port Blair bay, fragments were most commonly found in the guts of zooplankton like copepods, jellyfish, shrimp and fish larvae (Goswami et al., 2020). Microplastics are ingested by a variety of marine life from zooplankton and hard coral to fish and shellfish, but the reason for consuming these marine coating fragments remains unclear (Lusher et al., 2013;Wright et al., 2013;Avio et al., 2015;Sussarellu et al., 2016;Allen et al., 2017;Sun et al., 2018;Botterell et al., 2019;Rotjan et al., 2019;Adika et al., 2020;Brandon et al., 2020;Sathish et al., 2020;Weston et al., 2020). Research on the ecotoxicity of microplastics and persistent organic pollutants shows impacts on species longevity, reproduction, growth and behaviour (Palmer and Herat, 2021), and evidence for transfer across trophic levels (Farrell and Nelson, 2013). ...
Article
Plastic pollution is a growing concern even in India's remotest oceanic islands. To understand the extent of the problem in relatively undisturbed areas of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, we nested a microplastic survey within a year-long meroplankton study in the protected bay of the Lohabarrack salt water crocodile sanctuary, that lies on the less populated west coast of South Andaman Island. Surveys recovered microplastics year-round, in 299 out of 300 samples. The average microplastic density in the protected bay was 0.45 ± 0.32 particles per m³. Densities were highest during the monsoon, peaking at 2.34 particles per m³. Marine coating fragments (boat paint and epoxy, 58%) dominated the plastic debris composition year-round, while fibre only amounted to 15%. Marine coating fragments were most frequently encountered during the pre-monsoon, while fibres and other miscellaneous debris grew in abundance during the monsoon and post-monsoon months. Marine coating fragments were eaten by arrow worms, gastropods, appendicularians and Lucifer shrimp, and constituted 7% of the arrow worm diet. Microplastic density and composition found in this west facing protected bay was in stark contrast to the previously published observations from the east facing, human dominated Port Blair bay, providing clear indication of sources and potential mitigation strategies. This is the first year-long record of ocean plastics from the Andaman Islands, India and it provides evidence of pollution by boat paint and epoxy particles, an often-overlooked component of microplastic pollution.
... The main ecological risk is due to their reduced size and morphology, given that these particles can resemble preferred prey items for many aquatic organisms, allowing their ingestion along with, or instead of, normal food items (Wright et al., 2013;Galloway et al., 2017;Botterell et al., 2019). In this regard, the major type of APs in the gut of diverse marine organisms were microfibers (Lusher et al., 2013;Mizraji et al., 2017;Zhang et al., 2020 and references therein). There is a body of literature related to the accidental ingestion of synthetic materials by aquatic organisms and the toxicological effects; however, the impacts of artificially manufactured cellulose are still understudied (Wright et al., 2013;Kögel et al., 2020;Singh et al., 2020;Welden and Lusher, 2020). ...
Article
This is the first report of anthropogenic particles (APs), including microplastics and synthetic, semi-synthetic and anthropogenically-altered natural fibers, in water and sediment of the Chubut River estuary. This river is the main source of freshwater in Chubut Province (Patagonia, Argentina), where wastes and pollutants are poured and finally end in the Atlantic Ocean. The average concentration in surface and bottom water samples was 5.5 items/L, while in sediment was 175.4 items/kg dw. Raman's analysis identified particles dominated by polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (35.5 %), dye signature only (18.5) and anthropogenic cellulose (10 %). Fibers were the prevalent shape (83 %), and the chemical identification evidenced a textile origin. The highest APs concentration was found in sediments from the site with the finest grain size and the greatest amount of organic matter. Present results will provide a baseline for future studies and raise public and governmental awareness.
... The source of microplastic to the Atlantic Ocean is due to the increased amount of plastic waste generated (e.g., United Kingdom), and the mismanaged plastic waste that makes it to the ocean [134]. For example, the East Atlantic Ocean serves as a microplastic source to marine organisms including common goby (Iberian coast, [123]), different pelagic and demersal species in the English Channel (UK, France [136][137][138]), gilthead seabream and European seabass (Murcia, Spain, [139]), mussels (Port Quinn Cornwall, UK, [140]), copepod (English Channel, UK, [114]), insects (Italy, [141]), whale (the Netherlands, [142]), and otters (Norway, [143]). Similarly, for the West Atlantic Ocean, the United States, and South America serve as a microplastic sink/source for different marine organisms including commercial fishes, seabass, and mackerel found along the Portugal coast ( [113,144]), discus fish found in the Amazon basin, Brazil [145], sea cucumbers in Florida and Maine (the USA, [146]), and seals in Massachusetts (the USA, [147]). ...
Chapter
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Global plastic production is on the rise, and improper plastic management leads to the disposal of plastic in the environment, wherein it enters the environment, after degradation, as microplastics (size < 5 mm) and nanoplastics (size < 1 μm). The most common sink for the microplastics is the marine environment, including the sediment, deep sea, shorelines, and oceans. The objective of this study is to collate the environmental impact assessment of the microplastics in the marine habitat, focusing on the following main elements: (a) source and type of microplastics, specifically leading to the marine sink; (b) degradation pathways; (c) ecotoxicological impact on marine biota, since the smaller-sized microplastics can be digested by the marine biota and cause threats to them; (d) fate of microplastic in the marine environment, including the modes of transport and deposition. This chapter aims to provide a deeper insight into the fate of microplastics once it enters the marine environment, and the information could be a useful reference for the development of microplastic risk management strategies.
... Thus, MPs may float on the surface, oscillate in the water column, or sink to the floor of the body of water (Eerkes--Medrano et al., 2015). MPs might be ingested by a wide range of aquatic organisms such as plankton, worms, bottom feeders (Echinodermata), crustaceans, mollusks, marine mammals (Browne et al., 2008;Cole et al., 2013;Farrell and Nelson, 2013;Graham and Thompson, 2009;Murray and Cowie, 2011), and fish (Bellas et al., 2016;Lusher et al., 2013). MP particles resemble natural prey and are easily accessible to aquatic organisms (Bergmann et al., 2015;Lima et al., 2015). ...
Article
Although the hazards of microplastics (MPs) have been explored, no complete data exists on the effect of MPs on the egg chorion. This study aims to evaluate the modification of immune responses, metabolism, and behavior of zebrafish larvae (Danio rerio) depending on the moment of exposure. Larvae were exposed to 5 μm polystyrene microbeads at a concentration of 0, 100, or 1000 μg/l, according to a specified times of exposure (0–4, 4–8, 0–8 days postfertilization (dpf)), followed by a bacterial challenge at 8 dpf. After every 4 and 8 dpf, swimming activity, gene expression related to oxidative stress and immune system responses were assessed. During embryonic development, larvae exposed to a concentration of 1000 μg/l MPs already showed a significantly reduced tail coiling frequency, yolk sac resorption and heartbeat. At 8 dpf, swimming activity was altered, even without ingestion and a few days after the end of MP exposure. Our results indicated a difference in immune system (nfkb, il1β) and apoptosis (casp3a, bcl2) related gene expression depending on the timing of MP exposure, which highlighted a contrasting sensitivity according to the exposure time in MP studies. This study brings new insight into how MPs might affect zebrafish larvae health and development even without ingestion.
... They ate it because they mistook it for food (Barboza et al., 2020). On the other hand, these translucent or colorful MPs could be consumed by fish accidentally during their normal feeding activities (Lusher et al., 2013). Till now, there has been no comprehensive research on MPs contamination in aquatic organisms in the Bangladeshi river. ...
Article
Current work focus on microplastic (MPs) occurrence in the water, sediment, and aquatic species (fish, crab, and snail) of the Buriganga River, Bangladesh, with an ecological risk assessment perspective. It also includes the distribution of MPs in different river ecosystem segments and the presence of heavy metal (loid)s (HMs) in water, sediments, and MPs surface. The MPs were inspected by stereomicroscope to identify the shapes, color, and size, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to characterize polymer types. The samples concentration of four HMs viz., As, Cd, Cr, and Pb were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). The possible MPs content in water, sediment, fish, crab, and snail were varied from 0.250 to 0.117 MPs/mL, 3.5–8.17 MPs/g, 0.65–3.82 MPs/g, 3.75–4.28 MPs/g, and 0.84–1.12 MPs/g, respectively. Fibers and fragments were the most dominant shape, less than 0.5 mm was dominant in size, and blue was the dominant color. In the evaluation of the chemical composition of MPs in water, sediment, fish, snail, and crab samples, Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE), Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), High-density polyethylene (HDPE), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), Cellulose acetate (CA), and Nylon were identified. Regarding HMs load, the river demonstrated a highly polluted environment following the abundance pattern Cr > Pb > As>Cd. SEM-EDAX of MPs was conducted to investigate the surface MP's surface and elemental composition. It reveals that the MPs surface has characteristic flakes, cracks, and adhering particles along with Si, K, Au, C, and O on the surface studied MPs. There is no significant relationship found among the ecosystem segments. However, Ompok bimaculatus species show a negative relationship of MPs distribution with water and sediment. Moreover, according to the ecological risk of MPs pollution in the Buriganga River, it was in category-I, indicating pollution load due to the presence of considerable MPs.
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Microplastics in marine environments are becoming a hot topic since they can be transferred through the marine food web and may finally be consumed by humans. Here, we investigate the distribution characteristics of microplastics in marine organisms at different trophic levels through their digestive tracts (entire organisms for zooplankton and zoobenthos). A total of 124 fish and 22 crustaceans from 10 fish and 3 crustacean species, as well as a few zooplankton and zoobenthos, were captured from the Zhoushan fishing ground, i.e., China’s largest ocean fishing ground. The abundance of microplastics ranged from 0.74 ± 1.29 to 4.71 ± 2.19 items per sample in fish species and from 0.83 ± 1.07 to 1.00 ± 0.93 items per sample in crustacean species. Among the detected microplastics, fiber was the most dominant type (i.e., 67%), transparent microplastics were the most frequently detected (i.e., 49%), and the majority of the microplastics were identified as natural particles (cellulose). The abundance of microplastics was positively correlated with the trophic level (correlation coefficient = 0.717; p < 0.05). Our results show that microplastics are widespread in the marine organisms of the Zhoushan fishing ground, and they might accumulate in marine organisms at higher trophic levels of the marine food chain.
Chapter
The spread of nano/microplastics (N/MPs) pollution has gained importance due to the associated health concerns. Marine environment including fishes, mussels, seaweed and crustaceans are largely exposed to these potential threats. N/MPs are associated with plastic, additives, contaminants and microbial growth, which are transmitted to higher trophic levels. Foods from aquatic origin are known to promote health and have gained immense importance. Recently, aquatic foods are traced to transmit the nano/microplastic and the persistent organic pollutant poising hazard to humans. However, microplastic ingestion, translocation and bioaccumulation of the contaminant have impacts on animal health. The level of pollution depends upon the pollution in the zone of growth for aquatic organisms. Consumption of contaminated aquatic food affects the health by transferring the microplastic and chemicals. This chapter describes the sources and occurrence of N/MPs in marine environment, detailed classification of N/MPs based on the properties influencing associated hazard. Additionally, occurrence of N/MPs and their impact on quality and safety in aquatic food products are discussed. Lastly, existing regulations and requirements of a robust framework of N/MPs are reviewed.
Article
Microplastic (MP) pollution in coastal wetlands is of a global concern. Little attention has been paid to the co-occurrence and corresponding risk of MPs with pollutants, especially refractory chlorinated persistent organic pollutants (CPOPs). A case study of Zhejiang, China was conducted to investigate the occurrence of MPs and targeted CPOPs in coastal wetlands. MPs were 100% detected, but with the lowest abundance in coastal wetlands (average: 666.1 ± 159.1 items kg-1), as compared to other 6 terrestrial ecosystems (average: 1293.9 ± 163.7 items kg-1) including paddy field, upland, facility vegetable field, forestland, urban soil, and grassland. A total of 35 kinds CPOPs were also detected in all studied coastal wetlands, with their concentration almost under 10 μg kg-1 (90.1%). Both enrichment of MPs and CPOPs was affected by sediment TOC, wetland vegetation and land use simultaneously. Interestingly, the occurrence of MPs was significantly correlated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) but not organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). Results of co-occurrence pollution assessment of MPs and CPOPs further indicated only Hangzhou Bay showed the ecological risk among all tested wetlands. This would suggest a potential risk of co-occurrence of MPs and modern CPOPs in coastal wetland in economic development area. Possible reason may lie on strong MP vector effect to CPOPs. More attention should thus be paid to other wetlands polluted by MPs and MP-carrying CPOPs in area with relatively great environmental pressure induced by human activity. This study may provide reference for a better understanding with respect to the risk level posed by co-occurrence of MPs and CPOPs to global coastal wetlands.
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Microplastic contamination in the sediment of the east coast of Saudi Arabia was not addressed by any study. The objective of this study is to obtain the first measurement of microplastic abundance at four different beaches on the east coast of Saudi Arabia (Khafji, Jubial, Dammam, and Salwa). Sediment samples were collected from both high tide and low tide zone. A total of 586 microplastic particles were collected from all the sites with an average particle size of 1.55 ± 0.94 mm. The majority of microplastic particles (77%) were less than 2 mm in size. Microplastic abundance ranged from 5.5 ± 1.55 to 21.2 ± 0.68 particle/kg (51.1 ± 14.71 to 152.8 ± 21.32 particle/m2) in low tide region, and from 6.3 ± 4.05 to 16.5 ± 4.98 particle/kg (50.6 ± 31.21 to 204.5 ± 64.15 particle/m2) in high tide region. The most dominant colors were transparent (34%) and blue (30%), while the fiber was the most common shape (96%). Polyethylene terephthalates were the common polymer type of fibers, while polyethylene and high-density polyethylene were common in fragments and filaments.
Article
This study assessed the effect of tourism and other recreational activities on microplastic (MP) levels and their characteristics in the sand and surf zone of the seawater. Six sites were chosen belonging to three sandy beaches with similar geomorphologic and morphodynamic characteristics but with different tourism activities. On average, a concentration of 1133.3 ± 811.3 items/kg dry weight (d.w.) and 12.7 ± 14.9 items/m3 were found in the sand and seawater samples, respectively. Fibers and films predominated and were less than 1 mm in length. In the sand, the films mainly matched the PE polymer spectra and the fibers matched PET polymer, cotton, and indigo blue dye; in the seawater samples, PP films and PET fibers prevailed. At the Pehuén-Co - Monte Hermoso Coastal Marine MPA where the flow of tourists is low, the MP levels were the lowest and the largest particles were found, mainly blue or black fibers, with less polymer diversity, cotton and PET being the most prevalent suggesting a recent input of textile fibers to this site. Moreover, the highest concentration of MPs was found on the southern site of a beach considered to be more pristine due to negligible human activity, including the smallest size pattern, mostly composed of white films or fibers with a greater diversity of polymers, predominantly PE > PET > PP. A great occurrence of PVC white films was also found in the surf zone at this site. Proximity to the mouth of a river, littoral drift, and other point sources were identified as the main sources, indicating that, apart from the local tourism and recreational activities, other sources might play a major role in the input of MPs to sandy beaches, such as extensive/intensive agricultural land use and irrigation areas.
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Bangladesh is a deltaic country in Asia, and its riverine systems ultimately drain into the Bay of Bengal. Plastic is a severe environmental issue for coastal-marine ecosystems due to the indiscriminate usage and discarding of plastic items in the upstream river that eventually find their route into the Bay of Bengal. Microplastics (MPs) are widespread pollutants in almost all environmental compartments, including aquatic environments. This study aimed to quantify and understand the distribution of microplastics in surface water and sediments of the river Karnaphuli, a tidal confluence river adjacent to the Chattogram seaport city of Bangladesh, a highly inhabited and industrial area on the southeast coast of the Bay of Bengal. A manta trawl net (300-µm mesh size) was used to collect surface water samples, while an Ekman dredge was used to collect sediment samples. The concentrations of microplastics in the surface water of the river Karnaphuli during late monsoon, winter, and early summer were recorded to be 120,111.11, 152,222.22, and 164,444.44 items/km 2 , respectively, while in sediments, those were recorded to be 103.83, 137.50, and 103.67 items/kg, respectively. A higher abundance of microplastics was observed in downstream surface water (228,888.88 items/km 2) and sediments (164.17 items/kg). Smaller sizes (0.3 to 0.5 mm) of microplastics were predominant, fibers or threads were the frequent types, and black was the most common color in the river Karnaphuli. The Fourier transform infrared analysis revealed that polyethylene terephthalate (surface water: 22%, sediments: 19%), polyamide (surface water: 15%, sediments: 13%), polyethylene (surface water: 12%, sediments: 18%), polystyrene (surface water: 13%, sediments: 11%), and alkyd resin (surface water: 13%, sediments: 10%) were the most prevalent polymers in the river Karnaphuli. Moreover, there was a moderate positive correlation between MPs abundance in surface water and sediments. Therefore, improved long-term research (in different seasons with horizontal and vertical monitoring) is necessary in order to accurately determine the flux of microplastics from the river Karnaphuli to the Bay of Bengal.
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The exponential increase in plastic production has led to their accumulation in the environment, particularly in oceans, polluting these environments from the shore to the open ocean and even sea ice in the pole regions. We compared microbial communities on plastic particles, known as "Plastisphere", collected from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans gyres in the Summer of 2019 and subsequently looked for potential plastic degraders. We applied a 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing approach to decipher differences and similarities in colonization behaviour between these two gyres. Two polymer types include plastics: polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). We found that microbes differed significantly between the two oceans and identified thirty-two differentially abundant taxa at the class level. Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Bacteroidota were the most prominent relative abundant phyla in the two oceans. Finally, according to the current literature, we found 40 genera documented as potential plastic degraders. This study highlights the importance of the biogeographical location with respect to microbial colonization patterns of marine plastic debris, differing even in the open oceans. Furthermore, the wide distribution of potential plastic-degrading bacteria was shown.
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In recent decades, the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics on the surface of the planet have caused several long-term climatic and health risks. Plastic materials, specifically microplastics (MPs; sizes < 5 mm), have gained significant interest in the global scientific fraternity due to their bioaccumulation, non-biodegradability, and ecotoxicological effects on living organisms. This study explains how microplastics are generated, transported, and disposed of in the environment based on their sources and physicochemical properties. Additionally, the study also examines the impact of COVID-19 on global plastic waste production. The physical and chemical techniques such as SEM-EDX, PLM, FTIR, Raman, TG-DSC, and GC-MS that are employed for the quantification and identification of MPs are discussed. This paper provides insight into conventional and advanced methods applied for microplastic removal from aquatic systems. The finding of this review helps to gain a deeper understanding of research on the toxicity of microplastics on humans, aquatic organisms, and soil ecosystems. Further, the efforts and measures that have been enforced globally to combat MP waste have been highlighted and need to be explored to reduce its potential risk in the future.
Chapter
Microplastics are widely found in various urban water including the freshwater, sediment, wastewater, sewage sludge, and drinking water. Establishing effective detection methods is of great importance for investigating the occurrence, fate, ecological risk, and control of microplastics in urban water systems. Recently, the analytical methods for detection of microplastics in urban water have attracted considerable attention but are not yet standardized. As a consequence, the data on microplastics cannot be easily compared. In this chapter, we review the detection methods for microplastics in various urban water, including sample collection and extraction, sample purification and digestion, and sample identification and quantitative analysis. Meanwhile, quality control of microplastics detection including internal deviation and judgment error are also summarized. In total, sample quantitation and quality control are key components for microplastics detection, and the analytical methods for microplastics need to be standardized as soon as possible.
Chapter
Microplastics are discharged into water bodies via the effluent of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and have been detected throughout the aquatic environment. To fully understand the status of microplastics discharged from WWTPs, this chapter focuses on summarizing the whereabouts and the current composition of microplastics from the aspects of microplastic abundances and polymer types in WWTPs effluent, freshwater systems, marine systems, and aquatic organisms. The results show that polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polystyrene are microplastics commonly found in water bodies. The content of microplastics was positively correlated with population density, and the content and types of microplastics in organisms were closely related to their habitats. Humans may contain large amounts of microplastics in their bodies. Finally, more attention has been called to focus on the size of microplastics and the development of models for their migration and transformation, which are important to further clarify the contamination by microplastics.
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Microplastics are persistent toxic pollutants, detected in different environmental compartments. Numerous studies on the characteristics and distribution of microplastics present in different environmental matrices are being carried out. However, limited studies have been performed in environmental systems like eco-sensitive freshwater marshlands. Therefore, to enrich the existing knowledge and understanding, this current study has analysed the distribution and characteristics of microplastics present in the catchment region of Pallikaranai marshland, Chennai, India. Both surface water and sediment samples were contaminated with microplastics in the range of 740-2826 items/m3and 700 to 5833 items/kg of dry sediment, respectively. Compared to other shapes, fibrous microplastics were predominant in most of the surface water (n = 11) and sediment (n = 8) samples. The abundant presence of smaller microplastics (<1 mm) in the surface water suggests elevated impacts on the aquatic species owing to their higher bioavailability. Elevated anthropogenic activities and frequent movement of people in urban and residential areas were noted to possibly influence the spatial distribution of microplastics. Furthermore, heavy metals' occurrence on microplastics was investigated using X-Ray Fluorescence Analyser (XRF) and Zn, Fe, Ti, and Ni are the commonly detected (>50% of the samples) elements. The estimated average pollution load index of 2.5 indicates the polluted state of Pallikaranai catchment region.
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The marine ecosystem is prone to pollution exposure due to a number of factors. Microplastic (MP) pollution has been a severe issue recently; however, studies on marine organisms are limited. The abundance and composition of MPs in highly consumed horse mackerel caught from the Turkish coast of the Black Sea were investigated here. A total of 27 MPs were detected in 121 horse mackerel (Trachurus mediterraneus). The mean of MPs per fish was calculated as 0.22±0.14. While polyethylene was the most prevalent type, fiber, with a length range of 500 to 1000 µm (33%), was the most common form. These findings suggest that more study is required to determine the magnitude of MP contamination in the Black Sea.
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Plastic wastes in the environment ultimately reach to the aquatic habitats and become available to aquatic organisms. The pathway of microplastic in aquatic ecosystem is very less investigated specially in freshwater. There have been evidences of MPs ingestion by freshwater biota but the fate of these MPs further in the food chain is unexplored. Thus, we reviewed the status of MPs in freshwater biota and tried to compare the studies to merge the available information, concepts, and perspectives in order to draw a conclusion on bioaccumulation potential, trophic transfer possibilities, biomagnification, and trends of ingesting MPs by the biota. In this review, the previously available information about MPs in aquatic biota is arranged, analyzed, and interpreted to understand all possible routes of MPs in freshwater habitats. The review further provides a better understanding about the lack of information and research gaps that are needed to be explored to develop a solution to the problem of MPs in near future.
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The high dependence on plastics in Ghana has resulted in the generation of large quantities of plastic waste which are poorly managed and improperly disposed into the aquatic environments. This study assessed the spatial distribution and abundance of microplastics in mangrove oysters (Crassostrea tulipa): a major fishery resource of commercial importance in Ghana. The results showed that 84.0% of all individuals examined had ingested microplastics. A total of 276 microplastic items were recovered from the 120 individual oysters. Densu (100%) and Volta (93%), two estuaries situated in urban areas, had a greater incidence of microplastics than Whin (77%) and Nakwa (66%), estuaries situated in peri-urban and rural settlements, respectively. The mean microplastic abundance ranged from 1.4 to 3.4 items/individual and 0.34 to 1.7 items/g tissue wet weight. Fiber accounted for 69 % of microplastic shapes, followed by fragments (27%) and films (4%). Polymer analysis showed polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS) as the most common types in oysters. The estimated microplastic intake per capita per year was one magnitude higher than the mean for other countries. This high rate of human exposure to microplastics requires an eminent policy formulation to guide the use, management and disposal of plastic waste in Ghana.
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Due to its potential impact on food safety and human health, commercial species that have been contaminated with microplastics (MPs) are drawing more attention on a global scale. This study investigated the possibility of MPs contamination in different marine fish species with substantial commercial value that was captured off the south coast of India, from Adyar and Ennore regions. Over the course of six months, from October 2019 to March 2020, 220 fish were examined. It was discovered that the gills and guts had accumulated more numbers of MPs (1115 MPs) of which 68% were fibres and fragments. The commercial fish samples contained an average of 3.2-7.6 MPs per fish. Greater MPs pollution is seen in the Ennore regions. The prevalence of MPs was observed in carnivorous and planktivorous fish collected from both the sites. Fish guts contained the most MPs, according to the data. Pelagic fish accounted for the least amount of MPs, followed by mid- and demersal fish. Four different types of polymers were also identified in the present study: polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyamide. These results clearly showed the degree of microplastic contamination in fish tissues from the south Indian coastal regions of Adyar and Ennore. These results we hope will create a baseline data for MPs contamination in commercial fish species. The presence of MPs in the fish could have detrimental effects both on the environment and human health and thus comprehensive steps are required to prevent plastic pollution of the environment in south India's coastal region.
Article
Microplastic (MP) pollution has pressing concerns regarding environmental health and the availability of safe food for humans. Information on the occurrence of MP in freshwater biota in the Indian scenario is currently lacking. The present study examined MP contamination in edible and non-edible tissues of widely consumed freshwater fishes. All the fish species (n = 35/species) analyzed had microplastic contamination with the highest MP abundance of 7.86 ± 2.0 items/individual in Channa punctatus followed by Labeo rohita (4.17 ± 0.6 items/individual) and Labeo bata (3.03 ± 0.4 items/individual); whereas MP abundance in small indigenous fishes (SIF) such as Salmostoma bacaila and Puntius amphibius accounts for 0.83 ± 0.13 and 0.77 ± 0.2 items/individual respectively. The principal component analysis results showed a 77.434% variance from two components identified for MP distribution. Fibre type MP was the most dominant type besides fragments and pellets that opined the type of MP required for ecotoxicity assessment, the need of the hour. Raman spectroscopy analysis confirms high-density and low-density polyethylene-type polymers. Evidence of MP in edible tissue indicates the translocation phenomenon resulting in human exposure through the consumption of biota contaminated with MP. Risk assessment revealed a low risk of MP based on its abundance while polymer type indicates a high risk for the fish species investigated. A thorough investigation of the level of adsorbed organic contaminants in the MP is warranted to address the interactive effects on biota. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first detailed report on MP contamination and its risk assessment in Indian freshwater fishes.
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Fishes are one of the most important components of the oceans and are exposed to several anthropogenic pressures, namely microplastic (MP), contaminants that are now ubiquitous worldwide. Taking advantage of the 2020 Circumnavigation Expedition carried by the NRP Sagres tall ship of the Portuguese Navy, fish samples from the southern Atlantic ocean were collected to evaluate possible MP contamination. In a total of 14 weeks of campaign, seven large migratory fishes of commercial interest were collected across the middle Atlantic Ocean and along the South American Atlantic coast. All individuals were contaminated with MPs, with an average of 18 ± 11 MPs/fish. In all fish sampled, both the gastrointestinal tract and gills presented MPs, indicating different contamination pathways including via their preys and from surrounding water, respectively. A total of 124 MPs were observed, where 72 % were fibers and 28 % particles, mostly of blue color (85 %), and with rayon and nylon as the most abundant polymers. This study is an important contribution to increase the scientific knowledge of MP contamination in mesopelagic fishes used for human consumption and collected in the open waters, reinforcing the need for further research regarding MP contamination in top predatory species from high trophic levels.
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With the extensive use of polymer-coated fertilizer, microplastics (MPs) pollution in agricultural soil raises worldwide concerns. While very few studies focalized the effects of polymer-coated fertilizer MPs exposure to acid-contaminated soil. Changes in soil properties, enzymatic activity, and microbial community structure were investigated via the addition of 0.1 % and 1 % (w/w) of polyethylene (PE) and polyurethane (PU) in acid soil. The results showed that two types of MPs addition decreased soil pH and MBC contents, stimulated DTPA (cadmium extracted by diethylenetriamine-pentaacetic acid)-Cd (extracted cadmium) contents, β-glucosidase (BG) and N-acetyl-b-glucosaminidase (NAG) activities significantly. The diversity and richness of fungi was dropped sharply after the addition of 0.1 % PE and PU MPs, but there was the opposite result in fungi. The relative abundance of phylum Mortierellomycota increased significantly in 1 % PE and PU treatments, inferring that the fungus associated with the degradation of recalcitrant carbon source in soil enhanced by the input of MPs. Overall, our research demonstrated that there is still a risk of increased metal bioavailability with the addition of polymer-coated fertilizer MPs, but the fluctuation of soil enzymatic activities and microbial community structure were much more pronounced affected by soil properties via the addition of PE and PU in soil.
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Microplastics have received more and more attention worldwide as an emerging persistent pollutant. Soil microplastic pollution can cause serious environmental problems and potentially endanger the soil ecosystems and human health. Currently, most available studies of microplastics have been performed in aquatic environments. However, soil environments have been less studied, and our understanding of microplastic pollution in soil is still lacking. Therefore, based on the existing knowledge, this review firstly focuses on the current situation of microplastic pollution in soil, basically including sources, distribution characteristics, degradation, and migration. Furthermore, analytical methods are briefly discussed, and ecological effects of microplastics in soil are summarized. Soil is a reservoir of microplastics. Microplastics have a wide distribution and high abundance in environmental media, and their distribution in soil exhibits spatial heterogeneity. Microplastics affect soil physicochemical properties, soil microorganisms, soil fauna, and plants through several mechanisms, leading to different ecological effects. Finally, future research directions of soil microplastic pollution are proposed to provide novel ideas for follow-up research.
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The low production costs and useful properties of synthetic polymers have led to their ubiquitous use, from food packaging and household products to high-tech applications in medicine and electronics. Incomplete recycling of plastic materials results in an accumulation of plastic waste, which slowly degrades to produce tiny plastic particles, commonly known as “microplastics” (MPs). MPs can enter water bodies, but only recently the problem of MP pollution of sea and fresh waters has become clearly evident and received considerable attention. This paper critically reviews the accumulated data about the distribution of MPs in the freshwater ecosystems of Russia. The available data on MP abundance in the lakes and river systems of the Russian Federation are analyzed (including the large Lakes Baikal, Ladoga, Onego, Imandra and Teletskoe, and the Volga, Northern Dvina, Ob, and Yenisei Rivers within their tributaries) and compared with the data on freshwater MP contents in other countries. In Russia, the main sources of MP pollution for rivers and lakes are domestic wastewater, containing microfibers of synthetic textiles, fishing tackle, and plastic waste left on shores. Among the MPs detected in the surface waters and bottom sediments, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) particles predominate. The most common types of MPs in the surface freshwaters are fibers and fragments, with fibers prevailing in the bottom sediments. The reported average MP concentrations in the waters range from 0.007 items/m3 at the mouth of the Northern Dvina River to 11,000 items/m3 in the Altai lakes. However, the estimates obtained in different studies must be compared with great precaution because of significant differences in the methods used for MP quantification. The approaches to further improve the relevance of research into MP pollution of fresh waters are suggested.
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Plastic is broadly used for various human and there is an increasing concern about the risks for our surrounding environment and health. In particular, microplastics (MPs), both primary and secondary, occur in all environmental pockets and constitute a potential warning, since they easily enter into the food chain. Microplastics have the ability to absorb diverse pollutants, which thereby get accumulated inside human body via processes of bioaccumulation and biomagnification. Contamination of MPs in aquatic environment has presently been recorded as a transpiring environmental threat because of their fatalistic impact on the ecosystem. Their sources are numerous, but, undoubtedly, all are from synthetic matters. The sources of MPs are cosmetics and products of personal care, textile and tyre, abrasion processes of some other plastic products, bitumen and paints for road marking. Due to their low density and tiny particle size, MPs get easily extravasated into the wastewater drainage systems. Therefore, the municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are designated to be the foremost recipients of MPs prior to getting excreted into the natural water reservoirs. The focus of this article is to put forward an all-inclusive review in order to preferably understand the channels of MPs into the environment, their characteristics in wastewater, and most importantly, the removal efficiency of MPs of the subsisting wastewater treatment technologies, as arrogated by the WWTPs. This review also encompasses the expansion of budding microplastics treatment technologies that have been investigated till date. Then, in the not-too-distant future, effective and standardized techniques for measuring MPs should be developed, as well as a greater understanding of sources and strategies for reducing microplastics contamination of treated effluent.
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Microplastics are recognized as a newly emerging threat to marine organisms as they can be ingested and accumulated through multiple trophic levels. However, microplastic contamination and its potential risk assessment in coral reef fishes have been less addressed, particularly in remote ocean regions. In this study, microplastics in 167 samples of coral reef fish (a total of eighteen species) from the Xisha areas of the South China Sea were studied. There were fifteen species of coral reef fish contaminated by microplastics with an average occurrence rate of 29.3%. The shape of microplastics in the fishes was mostly fibrous with small sizes (400um-900 um) and light colors (transparent and blue). The dominant types of microplastic polymers are polyamide and polyethylene terephthalate, accounting for 77 % and 11% of microplastics in the fish body. There were generally more microplastics in the herbivorous fishes than the carnivorous ones. The highest microplastic abundance and occurrence was found in parrotfish due to its direct feeding on the microplastics-contaminated corals. In addition, there were much more microplastics in the gastrointestinal tracts than in the gills of the Xisha fishes. Microplastic abundance was found negatively correlated with the trophic level of the Xisha fishes supporting a stronger microplastic impact at lower levels of marine animals. Finally, a risk assessment using the polymer hazard index (PHI) revealed that microplastic contamination in the Xisha fishes was lower than those in the eutrophic coast. Our study provides new evidence for the widespread presence of microplastic contamination in the fishes of the remote Xisha coral reefs.
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Ordinary fishing activity is a source of microplastics to the sea that is often overlooked and scarcely reported in the literature. In this paper, we estimate the number of microplastics in the ocean that originates from the wear and tear of different fishing gear used during ordinary, commercial fishing. The wear comes mainly from rope abrasion caused by the haulers and gear dragged along the sea bottom. The types of fishing gear considered are pots, gillnets, longlines, Danish seine, and trawls. Our calculations show that about 208 tons of microplastics are produced annually from the Norwegian fishery. Globally, it sums to 4 622 tons annually. However, the calculations have several questionable parameters, and these numbers must be considered a first rough estimate of the generated microplastics. More research is needed to get better estimates, particularly regarding trawl dolly ropes.
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Plastics are now a major environmental concern worldwide with their widespread contamination and accumulation. Microplastic particle (< 5 mm) is an emerging pollution issue as it is being detected worldwide in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, but relatively little is known in tropical regions. This study determined the (1) abundance of microplastics in sediment and (2) in situ and laboratory ingestion rates of microplastics in three scarcely studied tropical bivalve mollusc species (Donax sp., Meretrix meretrix, and Katelysia hiantina) in Panguil Bay, Southern Philippines. A total of 2258 microplastic particles (62.72 ± 18.31 items/m2) were found on the sediment samples. Filament/fiber is the most abundant type of microplastic in terms of morphology, while black and blue are the dominant colors of microplastic particles. There were 1495 microplastic particles (4.15 ± 3.37 particles/clam) present in the clam tissues, of which polypropylene (PP) and rayon (RY) polymers are the most common, whereas K. hiantina (707 particles) showed the highest amount of microplastics. The number of ATR-FTIR-confirmed polymer types in the wild clams is greater than that in the sediments. The study reveals abundant microplastics in sediments and in the three species of bivalve individuals from the wild. All clams ingested low-density polyethylene (LDPE) microplastic particles in the laboratory. The mean number of LDPE microplastic particles ingested by clams is 4.62 ± 2.40 particles/clam/7days, with the highest value observed in K. hiantina. Additionally, Donax sp., M. meretrix, and K. hiantina could ingest high densities of 40-60-μm microplastic particles. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11270-022-05926-w.
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Since the end of 2019, the world has faced a major crisis because of the outbreak of COVID-19 disease which has created a severe threat to humanity. To control this pandemic, the World Health Organization gave some guidelines like wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) (e.g., face masks, overshoes, gloves), social distancing, hand hygiene and shutting down all modes of public transport services. During this pandemic, plastic products (e.g., household plastics, PPE and sanitizer bottles) have substantially prevented the spread of this virus. Since the outbreak, approximately 1.6 million tons of plastic waste have been generated daily. However, single-use PPE like face masks (N95), surgical masks and hand gloves contain many non-biodegradable plastics materials. These abandoned products have created a huge number of plastic debris which ended up as microplastics (MPs) followed by nanoplastics (NPs) in nature that are hazardous to the eco-system. These MPs and NPs also act as vectors for the various pathogenic contaminants. The goal of this review is to offer an extensive discussion on the formation of NPs and MPs from all of these abandoned plastics and their long-term impact on the environment as well as human health. This review paper also attempts to assess the present global scenario and the main challenge of waste management to reduce the potential NP/MPs pollution to improve the eco-systems.
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Microplastics (particles <5 mm) are commonly found in aquatic organisms across taxonomic groups and ecosystems. However, the egestion rate of microplastics from aquatic organisms and how egestion rates compare to other rates of microplastic movement in the environment are sparsely documented. We fed microplastic fibres to round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus), an abundant, invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We conducted two trials where round gobies were fed microplastic‐containing food either a single time (1 day) or every day over 7 days. There was no difference in microplastic egestion rates from the 1 day or 7 day feeding trials, suggesting no impact of duration of exposure on egestion (exponential decay rate = −0.055 [±0.016 SE] and −0.040 [±0.007 SE], respectively). Turnover time of microplastics (i.e., average time from ingestion to egestion) in the gut ranged from 18.2 to 25.0 hr, similar to published values for other freshwater taxa. We also measured microplastics in the digestive tracts of round gobies collected directly from Lake Michigan, U.S.A. Using published values for round goby density and microplastic concentration at the study sites, we calculated areal egestion rate by round gobies (no. particles m–2 day–1), and compared it to riverine microplastic export (no. particles m–2 day–1). Both area‐based rates were of the same order of magnitude, suggesting that round goby egestion could be an important, and potentially overlooked component of microplastic dynamics at the ecosystem scale. Animal egestion is well‐known as a major component of nutrient and carbon cycling. However, direct measurements of microplastic fluxes in the environment that include animal egestion rates are uncommon. An ecosystem ecology approach is needed to meet the emerging challenge of generating microplastic budgets for freshwater environments and elsewhere, thereby informing management and mitigation of plastic pollution at a global scale.
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Microplastics have been considered a new type of pollutant in the marine environment and have attracted widespread attention worldwide in recent years. Plastic particles with particle size less than 5 mm are usually defined as microplastics. Because of their similar size to plankton, marine organisms easily ingest microplastics and can threaten higher organisms and even human health through the food chain. Most of the current studies have focused on the investigation of the abundance of microplastics in the environment. However, due to the limitations of analytical methods and instruments, the number of microplastics in the environment can easily lead to overestimation or underestimation. Microplastics in each environment have different detection techniques. To investigate the current status, hot spots, and research trends of microplastics detection techniques, this review analyzed the papers related to microplastics detection using bibliometric software CiteSpace and COOC. A total of 696 articles were analyzed, spanning 2012 to 2021. The contributions and cooperation of different countries and institutions in this field have been analyzed in detail. This topic has formed two main important networks of cooperation. International cooperation has been a common pattern in this topic. The various analytical methods of this topic were discussed through keyword and clustering analysis. Among them, fluorescent, FTIR and micro-Raman spectroscopy are commonly used optical techniques for the detection of microplastics. The identification of microplastics can also be achieved by the combination of other techniques such as mass spectrometry/thermal cracking gas chromatography. However, these techniques still have limitations and cannot be applied to all environmental samples. We provide a detailed analysis of the detection of microplastics in different environmental samples and list the challenges that need to be addressed in the future.
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Aquaculture is an increasingly important source of nutrition for global food security, which is reliant on animal- and plant-based feeds. Anthropogenic particles, including microplastics and semi-synthetic cellulosic fibres, are prolific marine pollutants that are readily consumed by marine organisms, including small pelagic fish commonly used in fishmeal. Conversely, there is no indication plants can accumulate anthropogenic microparticles. We explore whether aquaculture feed presents a route of contamination for farmed fish. Commercially-sourced aquaculture feedstocks, including fishmeals and soybean meal, were processed (KOH digestion and ZnCl2 density separation) and anthropogenic particles characterised using microscopy and spectroscopic methods. Both fishmeal and soybean meals contained anthropogenic particles, with concentrations ranging 1070-2000 particles kg-1. The prevalence of anthropogenic particles in plant-based feeds indicates that the majority of contamination occurs post-harvest. Based on our findings, farmed Atlantic salmon may be exposed to a minimum of 1788-3013 anthropogenic particles from aquaculture feed across their commercial lifespan.
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The oceanic convergence zone in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre acts to accumulate floating marine debris, including plastic fragments of various sizes. Little is known about the ecological consequences of pelagic plastic accumulation. During the 2009 Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastics Expedition (SEAPLEX), we investigated whether mesopelagic fishes ingest plastic debris. A total of 141 fishes from 27 species were dissected to examine whether their stomach contents contained plastic particles. The incidence of plastic in fish stomachs was 9.2%. Net feeding bias was evaluated and judged to be minimal for our methods. The ingestion rate of plastic debris by mesopelagic fishes in the North Pacific is estimated to be from 12 000 to 24 000 tons yr–1. Similar rates of plastic ingestion by mesopelagic fishes may occur in other subtropical gyres.
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The diet of the large pelagic fish, the southern opah Lampris immaculatus was examined along the Patagonian Shelf in the Falkland Islands region. Stomachs were available for 69 fish collected in 1993 and 1994. Surprisingly, this fish had a relatively narrow range of prey items. The single most frequent prey item was the onychoteuthid squid Moroteuthis ingens (predominantly juveniles) which was eaten by 93% of the fish. The other important prey were the loliginid squid Loligo gahi, the myctophid fish Gymnoscopelus nicholsi and the southern blue whiting Micromesistius australis. There was no evidence of larger individuals of L. immaculatus ingesting larger individuals of any of the 4 main prey species. An unexpected finding was the relatively high incidence of plastic ingestion (14 % of fish). The plastic came from a variety of sources including food, napkin and cigarette wrappers and various pieces of plastic line and straps used in securing boxes. In several instances, there was evidence of feeding on fishing boat discards. The findings reveal a significant impact of plastic pollution in this region of the Southwest Atlantic.
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Lost and discarded marine debris, particularly items made of persistent synthetic materials, is now recognized as a major form of marine pollution. This perception was a seminal finding of the 1984 International Workshop on the Fate and Impact of Marine Debris (Shomura and Yoshida 1985). A major factor leading to this conclusion was information on the nature and extent of interactions between marine debris and marine life gathered by researchers working independently in different ocean areas during the 1970s and early 1980s. Compiled for the first time at the 1984 workshop, the information highlighted two fundamental types of biological interactions: (1) entanglement, whereby the loops and openings of various types of debris entangle animal appendages or entrap animals; and (2) ingestion, whereby debris items are intentionally or accidentally eaten and enter the digestive tract.
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Plastics have transformed everyday life; usage is increasing and annual production is likely to exceed 300 million tonnes by 2010. In this concluding paper to the Theme Issue on Plastics, the Environment and Human Health, we synthesize current understanding of the benefits and concerns surrounding the use of plastics and look to future priorities, challenges and opportunities. It is evident that plastics bring many societal benefits and offer future technological and medical advances. However, concerns about usage and disposal are diverse and include accumulation of waste in landfills and in natural habitats, physical problems for wildlife resulting from ingestion or entanglement in plastic, the leaching of chemicals from plastic products and the potential for plastics to transfer chemicals to wildlife and humans. However, perhaps the most important overriding concern, which is implicit throughout this volume, is that our current usage is not sustainable. Around 4 per cent of world oil production is used as a feedstock to make plastics and a similar amount is used as energy in the process. Yet over a third of current production is used to make items of packaging, which are then rapidly discarded. Given our declining reserves of fossil fuels, and finite capacity for disposal of waste to landfill, this linear use of hydrocarbons, via packaging and other short-lived applications of plastic, is simply not sustainable. There are solutions, including material reduction, design for end-of-life recyclability, increased recycling capacity, development of bio-based feedstocks, strategies to reduce littering, the application of green chemistry life-cycle analyses and revised risk assessment approaches. Such measures will be most effective through the combined actions of the public, industry, scientists and policymakers. There is some urgency, as the quantity of plastics produced in the first 10 years of the current century is likely to approach the quantity produced in the entire century that preceded.
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This review provides a critical analysis of the biological effects of the most widely used plasticizers, including dibutyl phthalate, diethylhexyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate and bisphenol A (BPA), on wildlife, with a focus on annelids (both aquatic and terrestrial), molluscs, crustaceans, insects, fish and amphibians. Moreover, the paper provides novel data on the biological effects of some of these plasticizers in invertebrates, fish and amphibians. Phthalates and BPA have been shown to affect reproduction in all studied animal groups, to impair development in crustaceans and amphibians and to induce genetic aberrations. Molluscs, crustaceans and amphibians appear to be especially sensitive to these compounds, and biological effects are observed at environmentally relevant exposures in the low ng l(-1) to microg l(-1) range. In contrast, most effects in fish (except for disturbance in spermatogenesis) occur at higher concentrations. Most plasticizers appear to act by interfering with the functioning of various hormone systems, but some phthalates have wider pathways of disruption. Effect concentrations of plasticizers in laboratory experiments coincide with measured environmental concentrations, and thus there is a very real potential for effects of these chemicals on some wildlife populations. The most striking gaps in our current knowledge on the impacts of plasticizers on wildlife are the lack of data for long-term exposures to environmentally relevant concentrations and their ecotoxicity when part of complex mixtures. Furthermore, the hazard of plasticizers has been investigated in annelids, molluscs and arthropods only, and given the sensitivity of some invertebrates, effects assessments are warranted in other invertebrate phyla.
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Plastics debris in the marine environment, including resin pellets, fragments and microscopic plastic fragments, contain organic contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides (2,2'-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane, hexachlorinated hexanes), polybrominated diphenylethers, alkylphenols and bisphenol A, at concentrations from sub ng g(-1) to microg g(-1). Some of these compounds are added during plastics manufacture, while others adsorb from the surrounding seawater. Concentrations of hydrophobic contaminants adsorbed on plastics showed distinct spatial variations reflecting global pollution patterns. Model calculations and experimental observations consistently show that polyethylene accumulates more organic contaminants than other plastics such as polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride. Both a mathematical model using equilibrium partitioning and experimental data have demonstrated the transfer of contaminants from plastic to organisms. A feeding experiment indicated that PCBs could transfer from contaminated plastics to streaked shearwater chicks. Plasticizers, other plastics additives and constitutional monomers also present potential threats in terrestrial environments because they can leach from waste disposal sites into groundwater and/or surface waters. Leaching and degradation of plasticizers and polymers are complex phenomena dependent on environmental conditions in the landfill and the chemical properties of each additive. Bisphenol A concentrations in leachates from municipal waste disposal sites in tropical Asia ranged from sub microg l(-1) to mg l(-1) and were correlated with the level of economic development.
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Plastic debris has significant environmental and economic impacts in marine systems. Monitoring is crucial to assess the efficacy of measures implemented to reduce the abundance of plastic debris, but it is complicated by large spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the amounts of plastic debris and by our limited understanding of the pathways followed by plastic debris and its long-term fate. To date, most monitoring has focused on beach surveys of stranded plastics and other litter. Infrequent surveys of the standing stock of litter on beaches provide crude estimates of debris types and abundance, but are biased by differential removal of litter items by beachcombing, cleanups and beach dynamics. Monitoring the accumulation of stranded debris provides an index of debris trends in adjacent waters, but is costly to undertake. At-sea sampling requires large sample sizes for statistical power to detect changes in abundance, given the high spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Another approach is to monitor the impacts of plastics. Seabirds and other marine organisms that accumulate plastics in their stomachs offer a cost-effective way to monitor the abundance and composition of small plastic litter. Changes in entanglement rates are harder to interpret, as they are sensitive to changes in population sizes of affected species. Monitoring waste disposal on ships and plastic debris levels in rivers and storm-water runoff is useful because it identifies the main sources of plastic debris entering the sea and can direct mitigation efforts. Different monitoring approaches are required to answer different questions, but attempts should be made to standardize approaches internationally.
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One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics. Within just a few decades since mass production of plastic products commenced in the 1950s, plastic debris has accumulated in terrestrial environments, in the open ocean, on shorelines of even the most remote islands and in the deep sea. Annual clean-up operations, costing millions of pounds sterling, are now organized in many countries and on every continent. Here we document global plastics production and the accumulation of plastic waste. While plastics typically constitute approximately 10 per cent of discarded waste, they represent a much greater proportion of the debris accumulating on shorelines. Mega- and macro-plastics have accumulated in the highest densities in the Northern Hemisphere, adjacent to urban centres, in enclosed seas and at water convergences (fronts). We report lower densities on remote island shores, on the continental shelf seabed and the lowest densities (but still a documented presence) in the deep sea and Southern Ocean. The longevity of plastic is estimated to be hundreds to thousands of years, but is likely to be far longer in deep sea and non-surface polar environments. Plastic debris poses considerable threat by choking and starving wildlife, distributing non-native and potentially harmful organisms, absorbing toxic chemicals and degrading to micro-plastics that may subsequently be ingested. Well-established annual surveys on coasts and at sea have shown that trends in mega- and macro-plastic accumulation rates are no longer uniformly increasing: rather stable, increasing and decreasing trends have all been reported. The average size of plastic particles in the environment seems to be decreasing, and the abundance and global distribution of micro-plastic fragments have increased over the last few decades. However, the environmental consequences of such microscopic debris are still poorly understood.
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Within the last few decades, plastics have revolutionized our daily lives. Globally we use in excess of 260 million tonnes of plastic per annum, accounting for approximately 8 per cent of world oil production. In this Theme Issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, we describe current and future trends in usage, together with the many benefits that plastics bring to society. At the same time, we examine the environmental consequences resulting from the accumulation of waste plastic, the effects of plastic debris on wildlife and concerns for human health that arise from the production, usage and disposal of plastics. Finally, we consider some possible solutions to these problems together with the research and policy priorities necessary for their implementation.
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Synthetic polymers, commonly known as plastics, have been entering the marine environment in quantities paralleling their level of production over the last half century. However, in the last two decades of the 20th Century, the deposition rate accelerated past the rate of production, and plastics are now one of the most common and persistent pollutants in ocean waters and beaches worldwide. Thirty years ago the prevailing attitude of the plastic industry was that "plastic litter is a very small proportion of all litter and causes no harm to the environment except as an eyesore" [Derraik, J.G.B., 2002. The pollution of the marine environment by plastic debris: a review. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 44(9), 842-852]. Between 1960 and 2000, the world production of plastic resins increased 25-fold, while recovery of the material remained below 5%. Between 1970 and 2003, plastics became the fastest growing segment of the US municipal waste stream, increasing nine-fold, and marine litter is now 60-80% plastic, reaching 90-95% in some areas. While undoubtedly still an eyesore, plastic debris today is having significant harmful effects on marine biota. Albatross, fulmars, shearwaters and petrels mistake floating plastics for food, and many individuals of these species are affected; in fact, 44% of all seabird species are known to ingest plastic. Sea turtles ingest plastic bags, fishing line and other plastics, as do 26 species of cetaceans. In all, 267 species of marine organisms worldwide are known to have been affected by plastic debris, a number that will increase as smaller organisms are assessed. The number of fish, birds, and mammals that succumb each year to derelict fishing nets and lines in which they become entangled cannot be reliably known; but estimates are in the millions. We divide marine plastic debris into two categories: macro, >5 mm and micro, <5 mm. While macro-debris may sometimes be traced to its origin by object identification or markings, micro-debris, consisting of particles of two main varieties, (1) fragments broken from larger objects, and (2) resin pellets and powders, the basic thermoplastic industry feedstocks, are difficult to trace. Ingestion of plastic micro-debris by filter feeders at the base of the food web is known to occur, but has not been quantified. Ingestion of degraded plastic pellets and fragments raises toxicity concerns, since plastics are known to adsorb hydrophobic pollutants. The potential bioavailability of compounds added to plastics at the time of manufacture, as well as those adsorbed from the environment are complex issues that merit more widespread investigation. The physiological effects of any bioavailable compounds desorbed from plastics by marine biota are being directly investigated, since it was found 20 years ago that the mass of ingested plastic in Great Shearwaters was positively correlated with PCBs in their fat and eggs. Colonization of plastic marine debris by sessile organisms provides a vector for transport of alien species in the ocean environment and may threaten marine biodiversity. There is also potential danger to marine ecosystems from the accumulation of plastic debris on the sea floor. The accumulation of such debris can inhibit gas exchange between the overlying waters and the pore waters of the sediments, and disrupt or smother inhabitants of the benthos. The extent of this problem and its effects have recently begun to be investigated. A little more than half of all thermoplastics will sink in seawater.
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Plastics debris is accumulating in the environment and is fragmenting into smaller pieces; as it does, the potential for ingestion by animals increases. The consequences of macroplastic debris for wildlife are well documented, however the impacts of microplastic (< 1 mm) are poorly understood. The mussel, Mytilus edulis, was used to investigate ingestion, translocation, and accumulation of this debris. Initial experiments showed that upon ingestion, microplastic accumulated in the gut. Mussels were subsequently exposed to treatments containing seawater and microplastic (3.0 or 9.6 microm). After transfer to clean conditions, microplastic was tracked in the hemolymph. Particles translocated from the gut to the circulatory system within 3 days and persisted for over 48 days. Abundance of microplastic was greatest after 12 days and declined thereafter. Smaller particles were more abundant than larger particles and our data indicate as plastic fragments into smaller particles, the potential for accumulation in the tissues of an organism increases. The short-term pulse exposure used here did not result in significant biological effects. However, plastics are exceedingly durable and so further work using a wider range of organisms, polymers, and periods of exposure will be required to establish the biological consequences of this debris.
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Polystyrene spherules averaging 0.5 millimeter in diameter (range 0.1 to 2 millimeters) are abundant in the coastal waters of southern New England. Two types are present, a crystalline (clear) form and a white, opaque form with pigmentation resulting from a diene rubber. The spherules have bacteria on their surfaces and contain polychlorinated biphenyls, apparently absorbed from ambient seawater, in a concentration of 5 parts per million. White, opaque spherules are selectively consumed by 8 species of fish out of 14 species examined, and a chaetognath. Ingestion of the plastic may lead to intestinal blockage in smaller fish.
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The potential for ingestion of plastic particles by open ocean filter feeders was assessed by measuring the relative abundance and mass of neustonic plastic and zooplankton in surface waters under the central atmospheric high-pressure cells of the North Pacific Ocean. Neuston samples were collected at 11 random sites, using a manta trawl lined with 333 u mesh. The abundance and mass of neustonic plastic was the largest recorded anywhere in the Pacific Ocean at 334271 pieces km2 and 5114 g km2, respectively. Plankton abundance was approximately five times higher than that of plastic, but the mass of plastic was approximately six times that of plankton. The most frequently sampled types of identifiable plastic were thin films, polypropylene/monofilament line and unidentified plastic, most of which were miscellaneous fragments. Cumulatively, these three types accounted for 99% of the total number of plastic pieces.
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The deleterious effects of plastic debris on the marine environment were reviewed by bringing together most of the literature published so far on the topic. A large number of marine species is known to be harmed and/or killed by plastic debris, which could jeopardize their survival, especially since many are already endangered by other forms of anthropogenic activities. Marine animals are mostly affected through entanglement in and ingestion of plastic litter. Other less known threats include the use of plastic debris by "invader" species and the absorption of polychlorinated biphenyls from ingested plastics. Less conspicuous forms, such as plastic pellets and "scrubbers" are also hazardous. To address the problem of plastic debris in the oceans is a difficult task, and a variety of approaches are urgently required. Some of the ways to mitigate the problem are discussed.
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One hundred and sixty four plastic particles (mean length 4.1 mm) recovered from the scats of fur seals (Arctocephalus spp.) on Macquarie Island were examined. Electron micrographs of 41 of the plastic particles showed that none could be identified as plastic pellet feedstock from their shapes. Commonly, such pellets are cylindrical and spherical. Instead, all the 164 plastic particles from the seal scats were angular particles of 7 colors (feedstock particles are normally opaque or white) and could be classified into 2 categories: i) fragmented along crystal lines and likely to be the result of UV breakdown; and ii) worn by abrasion (where striations were clearly visible) into irregular shapes with rounded corners. White, brown, green, yellow and blue were the most common colors. In composition, they came from 5 polymer groups; polyethylene 93%, polypropylene 4%, poly(1-Cl-1-butenylene) polychloroprene 2%, melamine-urea (phenol) (formaldehyde) resin 0.5%, and cellulose (rope fiber) 0.5%. The larger groups are buoyant with a specific gravity less than that of seawater. These small plastic particles are formed from the breakdown of larger particles (fragments). Their origin seems to be from the breakdown of user plastics washed ashore and ground down on cobbled beaches. Certainly most particles (70%) had attained their final form by active abrasion. It is hypothesized that the plastic particles were washed out to sea and then selected by size and consumed by individuals of a pelagic fish species, Electrona subaspera, who in turn were consumed by the fur seals. Thus, the particles were accumulated both by the fish and the seals in the usual process of their feeding.
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