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

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... Plastic polymers inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in the fish brain (Ding et al., 2018). MPs fibers may clog digestive tracts (Gregory and Ryan, 1997) and block feeding appendages (Lusher et al., 2013). MPs bioaccumulate in the liver, kidneys, and intestines of mammals that consume MP-containing fish, causing energy and lipid metabolic disruptions as well as oxidative stress (Deng et al., 2017). ...
... The presence of film shape MPs in S. phasa, P. paradiseus, O. pama, and M. rosenbergii was 7 %, 4 %, 0 %, and 0 %, whereas pellet shape was 2 %, 1 %, 7 %, and 5 %, respectively (Fig. 6b). Previous studies also discovered that the most prevalent microplastics were fibers (Lusher et al., 2013;Vendel et al., 2017;Rummel et al., 2016;Bessa et al., 2018;Hastuti et al., 2019;Suwartiningsih et al., 2020), followed by films and fragments (Vendel et al., 2017). ...
... Fibers have been shown to obstruct feeding appendages or hinder food passage (Lusher et al., 2013), obstruct digestive processes (Gregory, 2009), and induce a false sense of satiation, all of which lead to decreased food consumption (Ryan, 1988). Fiber is a type of elongated plastic fiber that is produced from synthetic fabric particles, fishing gear, or ropes (Dewi et al., 2015). ...
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The Karnafullly River, which flows through Chattogram and falls into the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, is vulnerable to microplastic contamination. In this study, we looked at microplastics in the Karnafully River's surface water (5 sites), sediment (9 sites), and biota (4 species). Microplastic concentrations ranged from 0.57 ± 0.07 to 6.63 ± 0.52 items/L in surface water, 143.33 ± 3.33 to 1240 ± 5.77 items/kg dry weight in sediment, and 5.93 ± 0.62 to 13.17 ± 0.76 items/species in biota. A significant difference (P < 0.05) was found in the concentration of MPs in the Karnafully River's sediment, biota, and surface water. High percentage of fiber-shaped and small-sized MPs (<1 mm) were detected throughout the samples. Water and sediment MPs were often transparent/white and blue, whereas biota MPs were mostly black and red, indicating a color preference during biological uptake. The Bay of Bengal received 61.3 × 10⁹ microplastic items per day. The feeding zone of biota influenced the level of microplastics, with a trend of pelagic > demersal > benthic > benthopelagic. Polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate were the most abundant polymer. Using the average fish intake rate in Bangladesh, we computed a possible consumption of 4015–7665 items of MPs/person/year.
... RAMAN spectra were recorded in the range of 100 to 3500 cm −1 with a 532 nm laser DXR and a 10× Olympus objective. The threshold match was set at 60% correlation value between the spectra of the sample and the spectra from the library (Kroon et al., 2018;Lusher et al., 2013). Prevalence (i.e. ...
... The work was performed in a closed room and the work surfaces and material were cleaned with distilled water prior to sample process (Wesch et al., 2017). Furthermore, when samples were manipulated 100% cotton lab and nitrile gloves were worn (Lusher et al., 2013) and the color of clothes of the operator handling the samples was recorded. The number of fibers found in the filter control and procedural blanks was removed from the respective sample count. ...
... It is well known that MPs can be transferred via foodwebs, predator fish such as slickheads and grenadiers could be expected to ingest them with their prey. Specifically, in terms of feeding behavior and despite being considered benthic species, several studies found that pelagic and benthopelagic species constitute an important part of the diet of Baird's slickheads and roundnose grenadier (Ates, 1988;Bergstad et al., 2010), with occasional benthic item consumption, including stones and sediment (Bergstad et al., 2010;Mauchline and Gordon, 1984), which could also favor the ingestion of the MP accumulated in the seabed Despite of this and considering that previous works have reported conflicting results regarding the relationship between feeding behavior and MP ingestion (Filgueiras et al., 2020;Lusher et al., 2013;Neves et al., 2015) further studies would be needed to ascertain the tendency of these species to ingest and accumulate MP in their digestive tract. ...
Article
Microplastic occurrence in marine biota has been reported in a wide range of animals, from marine mammals and seabirds to invertebrates. Commercial and shallow-water fish have been the subject of numerous works on microplastic ingestion, given their importance in human diet and accessibility. However, little is known about microlitter occurrence in fish species inhabiting the dark ocean, in the bathyal zone and there is a high degree of uncertainty about microplastic distribution in offshore areas and the deep sea. In this study, bathydemersal species Alepocephalus bairdii and Coryphaenoides rupestris from the Porcupine Bank caught between 985 and 1037 m depth were inspected for microdebris. The stomach contents were digested by the alkaline method plus ethanol addition to avoid clogging. A filament of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) was found in the stomach of a specimen of A. bairdii, representing 4% of the total sampled specimens of this species (i.e. prevalence in n = 25). However, when considering potential microplastics, the prevalence increased to 28% in both, A. bairdii and C. rupestris. This work provides the first baseline study of microplastic items in fish from such depths in the Atlantic and suggests these species might be used as biomonitors in future research.
... The recent attention has started to focus in more detail on the physical and chemical characteristics of different categories of microplastics. Browne et al. 2011 [70], Lusher et al. 2013 [71], Woodall et al. 2014 [72] have reported the presence of microfibers composed of a number of common polymers. The main sources of these microplastics appear to be textiles and ropes/nets, with synthetic and semi-synthetic fibres [71]. ...
... Browne et al. 2011 [70], Lusher et al. 2013 [71], Woodall et al. 2014 [72] have reported the presence of microfibers composed of a number of common polymers. The main sources of these microplastics appear to be textiles and ropes/nets, with synthetic and semi-synthetic fibres [71]. ...
... Os impactos causados pela ingestão de detritos plásticos sobre os organismos marinhos podem comprometer toda a cadeia trófica através de processos de bioacumulação/bioamplificação (PROCTER et al., 2019). Fisicamente, devido à heterogeneidade dos materiais quanto a forma e tamanho (ZIMMERMANN et al., 2020), os microplásticos podem, por exemplo, interferir nos processos digestivos, causando bloqueios intestinais, reduzindo a alimentação e assimilação energética por parte dos organismos e, eventualmente, comprometendo a fertilidade e causando mortalidade na população (LUSHER et al., 2013). Adicionalmente, podem perturbar os processos fisiológicos, afetando as funções do sistema antioxidante (TRESTAIL et al., 2020). ...
... Assim, essa política reduziu em 24% o uso de sacolas plásticas na cidade (UNEP, 2018) e atualmente está em fase de implementação de uma proposta mais restritiva, que proíbe o uso de sacolas de fontes não renováveis (G1, 2019). 4) Melhorar os critérios de caracterização de micro, macro e resíduos plásticos depositados na praia com base no trabalho de Lozoya et al., (2016). Além de revisar e aprimorar a metodologia de mensuração de plásticos em suspensão proposta por Ryan et al., (2009) e as recomendações de Linares (2019). ...
... Dreissena polymorpha, Crassostrea virginica) (Ward et al., 2019;Pastorino et al., 2021) crustaceans (e.g. Nephrops norvegicus) (Welden and Cowie, 2016), mysid shrimps (Setälä et al., 2014), polychaete larvae (Sharma and Chatterjee, 2017) and fishes (Lusher et al., 2013;de Sá et al., 2015;Bertoli et al., 2022). Among them, the higher trophic level and more frequent consumption of economic fishes, make human beings exposing to high ecological risk of MPs contaminants (Rahman et al., 2021;Vethaak and Legler, 2021). ...
... Fish were necropsied according to the method mentioned in previous studies (Lusher et al., 2013). A scalpel and tweezer were used to separate the guts and intact gills from fish body, and then the weight of each tissue was recorded respectively. ...
Article
Microplastic (MP) contaminations in freshwater organisms have attracted substantial attention worldwide. However, seasonal field studies of MPs concentrations in aquatic life are scarce. In this study, we analyzed the seasonal variation and ecological risk of MPs concentrations in economic fish species from Lake Chaohu in China between wet and dry seasons. Within both seasons, MPs in fish were systematically analyzed using methods of KOH digestion, NaCl density floatation and raman spectroscopy. MPs abundance in economic fishes were significantly higher in dry season than that in wet season, which can be ascribed to the MPs' amplification effects in lacustrine ecosystems during dry season. Whereas, our results recorded similar and homogenized characteristic composition of MPs in economic fishes between wet and dry seasons. In both seasons, fiber was the main morphological type, black and blue were the most common MPs color, and MPs ranging from <0.5 mm accounting for the most abundant size. In addition, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) accounted for the most abundant polymer type detected by economic fishes in both seasons. In terms of feeding groups and habitat preferences, planktivorous and pelagic fish species exhibited sensitive variations of MPs concentrations between wet and dry seasons, thus being highlighted as good bioindicators of MPs contaminants in freshwater ecosystems. Our results revealed higher ecological risks of MPs in wet season than that in dry season when indicating from polymer risk index (H). By providing detailed and direct toxicity information, our study highlights the usage of polymer risk index for ecological risk assessment in aquatic organisms.
... The samples were washed, filtered, stored in Petri dishes, and dried in an oven at 70 • C for 48 h (Lima et al., 2014;Ferreira et al., 2019). All the particles that kept their characteristics after drying in the oven were separated and placed in categories (Lusher et al., 2013;Ferreira et al., 2019). Before screening the samples, precautionary measures to avoid contaminating the samples were taken. ...
Article
With the objective of characterizing the composition and spatial distribution of plastic fragments in a subtropical lagoon system, five sample areas affected by various anthropogenic impacts were chosen in the southern part of the Estuarine Lagoon System in Laguna, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The total density of the floating meso- and microplastics encountered was 7.32/m³, with the greatest density in the access channel and external area of the lagoon. Plastic filament was the most abundant and mainly comprised polyester (PET), polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) from 0.05 to 0.71 mm². Fishing and urbanization were the main sources of the meso- and microplastics in the environment. This is the first study to evaluate contamination by meso- and microplastics in the southern part of the Estuarine Lagoon System and provides information about the nature and extent of contamination by plastics in this estuarine ecosystem.
... As for quantity of MPs found per individual, the number (3.6 ± 0.38 plastic items/individual) was also higher in this work than the results from other studies. For example, Lusher et al. (2013) found an average of 1.9 plastic pieces in pelagic and demersal fish from the English Channel, whereas Tanaka and Takada (2016) The differences in the number of MPs ingested seem to depend, in part, on the feeding strategy of the fish. The strategies used by non-selective fishes that feed on small prey may expose them to high MPs ingestion levels (Mercogliano et al. 2020). ...
Article
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Plastic waste and its ubiquity in the oceans represent a growing problem for marine life worldwide. Microplastics (MPs) are ubiquitous in the sea and easily enter food webs. Xyrichtys novacula L. is one of the main target species of recreational fishing in the Balearic Islands, Spain. In the present study, the quantity of MPs in gastrointestinal tracts of X. novacula from two different areas (a marine protected area (MPA) and a non-protected area) of Eivissa Island (in the Balearic archipelago) has been assessed, as well as MPs evaluation within the sediment of both areas. The results showed that over 80% of sampled individuals had MPs in their gut with an average of 3.9 ± 4.3 plastic items/individual. Eighty percent of these plastics were fibres, while the rest were fragments. Although the sediment of the non-protected area had a significant higher presence of MPs, no significant differences in the number of MPs were observed in X. novacula from both areas. The µ-FT-IR analysis showed that the main polymers in the sediments were polycarbonate (PC) and polypropylene (PP), whereas in the digestive tract of fish PC, PP, polyethylene, polystyrene and polyester. In conclusion, practically all X. novacula specimens presented MPs in their digestive tract regardless if the capture zone was in a MPAs or not. These results highlight the ubiquity of MPs in coastal marine areas, and further studies might be necessary to evaluate further implications of MP presence in this species.
... Fishmeal is mainly produced with small pelagic species, by-catches, excess allowable catch quotas trimmings, and fish processing wastes (Cashion et al., 2017;FAO, 2019;Newton et al., 2014;Péron et al., 2010;Shepherd and Jackson, 2013). However, several recent findings have demonstrated that due to the rapid increase of plastic pollution in the marine water bodies (Hanachi et al., 2019;Lusher et al., 2017), the abundance of microplastics (MPs) in fishmeal is sharply increasing (Foekema et al., 2013;Lusher et al., 2013;Tanaka and Takada, 2016). ...
Article
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Plastic pollution is a global concern, leading to the abundance of macro-and microplastics (MPs) in the marine environment and subsequent accumulation in many marine organisms, particularly small pelagic and oceanic fish species. These small fishes are usually considered as the non-target catch or by-products of marine capture fisheries. However, these by-catch fishes convert into fishmeal due to their excellent nutritional value, and thereby, it used as the primary ingredient of artificial feeds for aquaculture and livestock animal production. The fishmeal and fish feed facilitates MPs' entry into the aquaculture systems when the MPs−contaminated feeds are supplied to cultured fish for regular feeding. Thus, MPs get access to interact with the elements of the culture pond ecosystem and leading to subsequent alterations in the physiological and behavioral attributes of cultured fishes. Consequently, MPs may accumulate in the edible portions of cultured fishes, which may cause severe physiological disorders in fish consumers. Thus, human exposure to MPs becomes a significant threat to global public health. Therefore, this review discussed the factors associated with MPs' introduction to the aquaculture systems via fishmeal. In addition, this article enlightened the possible consequences of MPs on the pond ecosystem, cultured fish physiology, and consumer health. We hypothesized that the growing concern among people about MPs might be impacted the demand for aquaculture goods. This study recommended taking necessary steps towards improving the MPs' screening process during fish feed production and focusing on more exclusive studies to elucidate the impacts of MPs on sustainable aquaculture production.
... It was reported that MP intake changed the body size and biomass of the marine ciliate Uronema marinum without particle size-selective effects [15], accumulated in the rotifer gut, and altered swimming behavior and reproduction [16,17]. MPs also increased satiety in marine large fish, reduced food consumption [18], and caused an imbalance in intestinal microflora. Moreover, exposure to polystyrene MPs for 7 days at 1000 µg/L induced neurotoxicity, oxidative stress, immune system activation, and metabolic disorders in juvenile zebrafish [19]. ...
Article
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As emerging pollutants, microplastics (MPs) and organophosphorus esters (OPEs) coexist in the aquatic environment, posing a potential threat to organisms. Although toxicological studies have been conducted individually, the effects of combined exposure are unknown since MPs can interact with OPEs acting as carriers. In this study, we assessed the response of marine rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis, to co-exposure to polystyrene MPs and tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) at different concentrations, including population growth, oxidative status, and transcriptomics. Results indicated that 0.1 μm and 1 μm MPs were accumulated in the digestive system, and, even at up to 2000 μg/L, they did not exert obvious damage to the stomach morphology, survival, and reproduction of B. plicatilis. The presence of 1 μm MPs reversed the low population growth rate and high oxidative stress induced by TCEP to the normal level. Some genes involved in metabolic detoxification and stress response were upregulated, such as ABC and Hsp. Subsequent validation showed that P-glycoprotein efflux ability was activated by combined exposure, indicating its important role in the reversal of population growth inhibition. Such results challenge the common perception that MPs aggravate the toxicity of coexisting pollutants and elucidate the molecular mechanism of the limited toxic effects induced by MPs and TCEP.
... This is consistent with several studies where fibers were predominantly detected in fish from different aquatic environments around the world (Peters et al., 2017;Sun et al., 2019b). For example, 66% of MPs detected in fish from Portuguese coastal waters were found to be fibers (Neves et al., 2015); Lusher et al. (2013) reported 68% fibers in fish from the English Channel; Herrera et al. (2019) reported 74% in fish from Canary Islands coast; and 70% fibers were detected in fish from the Mediterranean Sea by Güven et al. (2017). Bessa et al. (2018) reported 97% fibers in fish from the Mondego River estuary. ...
Article
Fish inhabiting freshwater environments are susceptible to the ingestion of microplastics (MPs). Knowledge regarding MPs in freshwater fish in South Africa is very limited. In this study, the uptake of MPs by common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in the Vaal River in South Africa was assessed. MPs were detected in all of the twenty-six fish examined, 682 particles of MPs were recovered from the gastrointestinal tracts of the fish with an average of 26.23 ± 12.57 particles/fish, and an average abundance of 41.18 ± 52.81 particles/kg. The examination of the physical properties of MPs revealed a predominance on fibers (69%), small-sized particles of less than 0.5 mm (48%), as well as prevelance of coloured MPs (94%), mostly green, blue, and black. Using Raman Spectroscopy, the following plastic polymers were identified: high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). To the best of our knowledge, this study, is the first to report MPs uptake by freshwater biota in the Vaal River using common carp as a target organism. It provided evidence of MP contamination in the Vaal.
... Between plastic debris, the microplastics represent the fractions potentially more dangerous for marine ecosystems [12,13]. In fact, due to their dimensional characteristics, microplastics are bio-available for several marine species [14][15][16][17][18][19][20], traversing all the marine food webs [21][22][23]. Microplastics can be confused with food by marine organisms and their ingestion has negative impacts on the biological functions and physiology of species [12,19,[24][25][26]. ...
Article
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Marine plastic pollution is currently an issue of mounting concern around the world. Stomach content of marine fish has been increasingly used as a valid proxy for detecting the presence of such a pollutant in marine biota, both for coastal and deep-water environments. Although ingestion of microplastics has been reported in an increasing number of species, the patterns of ingestion still remain unclear, depending closely on the interaction between the species and types of microplastics involved. In this context, we analysed and compared the stomach contents of two bathyal dwelling opportunistic feeder species namely Galeus melastomus and Coelorinchus caelorhincus. In particular, we analysed microplastic items according to their dimension, morphology and colour, and diet's variation with size obtained through prey identification. Both species showed a higher frequency of occurrence of the blue filament-like middle-sized microplastics (1.01-4.75 mm) compared with the other categories, although this pattern was much more marked in C. caelorhincus than in G. melastomus. The latter conversely showed a larger array of ingested plastic items in terms of shape and colour. Matching plastic ingestion with dietary data suggested potential predator confusion occurring in C. caelorhincus through active mis-selection of a defined type of microplastic instead of some particular family of polychaetes, which resemble in shape, size, and color to that type. Otherwise, G. melastomus appeared more prone to a random ingestion of a larger array of microplastic items because of a more generalistic and less selective feeding strategy. Although further validation is needed, stomach contents of the two species showed evidence strong enough to be considered as potential bioindicator species of microplastic pollution, as required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive for monitoring this pollutant in the marine environment.
... Some local impacts such as TBT, or proliferating sea defences in the eastern channel, can scale up to the regional impacts (Firth et al. 2013). Other impacts such as marine litter, particularly plastic, although often derived from point sources, can now be viewed as a global problem Lusher, McHugh and Thompson 2013;Steer et al. 2017). Eutrophication persists in the coastal zone, with green algal mats (Ulva spp.) blooming in some bays and harbours (Thornton et al. 2019;Schreyers et al. 2021); however, much pollution is under control, with improvements ultimately prompted by European Union initiatives and Directives (Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive). ...
Chapter
Estuarine and coastal waters are acknowledged centres for anthropogenic impacts. Superimposed on the complex natural interactions between land, rivers and sea are the myriad consequences of human activity – a spectrum ranging from locally polluting effluents to some of the severest consequences of global climate change. For practitioners, academics and students in the field of coastal science and policy, this book examines and exemplifies current and future challenges: from upper estuaries to open coasts and adjacent seas; from tropical to temperate latitudes; from Europe to Australia. This authoritative volume marks the 50th anniversary of the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association, and contains a prologue by founding member Professor Richard Barnes and a short history of the Association. Individual chapters then address coastal erosion and deposition; open shores to estuaries and deltas; marine plastics; coastal squeeze and habitat loss; tidal freshwaters – saline incursion and estuarine squeeze; restoration management using remote data collection; carbon storage; species distribution and non-natives; shorebirds; modelling environmental change; physical processes such as sediments and modelling; sea level rise and estuarine tidal dynamics; estuaries as fish nurseries; policy versus reality in coastal conservation; developments in estuarine, coastal and marine management.
... There are filter feeders, such as the mussel Mytilus edulis (Browne et al., 2008) and the copepod Centropages typicus (Cole et al., 2013), depositfeeders in the lab, such as the sea cucumber Holothuria floridana and Holothuria grisea (Graham and Thompson, 2009), and scavenging invertebrates in the field, such as the decapod Nephro (Murray and Cowie, 2011). MPs have also been found in the digestive tracts of commercial fish species, according to research (Lusher et al., 2013;Neves et al., 2015;Romeo et al., 2015;Miranda and de Carvalho-Souza, 2016;Hamed et al., 2019;Sayed et al., 2021a). MPs pose risks because chemicals and pollutants become encrusted on the surface (Rochman et al., 2013). ...
Article
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A few studies assessed how natural products can protect fish from the neurotoxic effects of Microplastics (MPs). Therefore, the goal of this study was to look into the neurotoxicity of PE-MPs on the brain tissue of African catfish (C. gariepinus), and whether dietary feeding on Chlorella, citric acid, and lycopene could help alleviate their toxicity. Five groups of fish were used: The first group received a standard diet (control). The second group was fed 500 mg/kg PE-MP. The third group was fed PE-MP + lycopene (500 mg/kg diet). The fourth group was fed PE-MP + citric acid (30 g/kg diet). And the fifth group was fed PE-MP + Chlorella (50 g/kg diet) for 15 days. The activities of Acetylcholinesterase (Ach), Monoamine Oxidase (MAO), Aldehyde Oxidase (AO), and Nitric Oxide (NO), and the histological effect on brain tissues were then assessed. The activity of the four neurological biomarker enzymes investigated was altered significantly in fish subjected to PE-MP alone compared with the control group. For fish exposed to PE-MP with lycopene, citric acid, or Chlorella, the activities of these neurological enzymes significantly improved particularly with Chlorella compared with fish fed PE-MP individually. Histological investigations illustrated that being subjected to PE-MPs effected cellular alterations in the telencephalon, including diffuse distorted and degraded neurons, encephalomalacia, aggregated neuroglial cells (gliosis), as well as deformed and necrotic neurons, neuropil vacuolation (spongiosis), aggregated neuroglial cells (gliosis), pyknotic neurons, and shrunken Purkinje cells which were found in the cerebellum. Most histological alterations induced by exposure to PE-MP feeding were restored by dietary feeding on Chlorella, citric acid, and lycopene. Accordingly, this study recommends using citric acid, lycopene, and Chlorella as a natural remedy against MP neurotoxicity particularly with Chlorella.
... Fragmentation of plastics in the ecosystem and ingestion by organisms is well known globally (Gall & Thompson, 2015;Laist, 1997) and is now recognized as an environmental pollutant affecting species across trophic levels (UNEP, 2011;Wagner & Lambert, 2018). Plastic pollution is known to impact over 1500 marine species (Santos et al., 2021) such as zooplankton (Sun et al., 2017), crustaceans (Goldstein & Goodwin, 2013;Van Cauwenberghe & Janssen, 2014), fish (Lusher et al., 2013;Rochman et al., 2015), sea turtles (Santos et al., 2015), seabirds (Trevail et al., 2015;Wilcox et al., 2015) and marine mammals (Hernandez-Gonzalez et al., 2018;Waluda & Staniland, 2013). The impacts of plastic pollution are alarming as entanglement of plastic causes physical injuries such as strangulation, movement restriction, amputations, development and premature death (Baulch & Perry, 2014;Gregory, 2009;Laist, 1997;Sigler, 2014;Thompson et al., 2009;Williams et al., 2011). ...
Article
Ecological impacts of plastic contamination on marine environment have been documented extensively, however its spread and impacts on terrestrial and freshwater fauna are still poorly understood. In the present study, we investigated diet of Asian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) for plastic ingestion around forested habitats of Uttarakhand state in India. We quantified plastic particles and other anthropogenic waste from elephant dung samples collected from edges and interiors of forest areas, confirming plastic ingestion by this endangered mammal species. Each human-derived item was identified, measured, and sub-categorized into plastic or other anthropogenic waste. About one-third (32%) of the elephant dung samples showed presence of anthropogenic waste. Plastic particles ranging from size 1-355 mm, comprised of 85% of the waste recovered from elephant dung samples (47.08±12.85 particles per sample). We found twice as many plastic particles (85.27±33.7/ 100g) in samples collected from inside forest as compared to forest edge (35.34±11.14 plastic particles/100g). A higher count (34.79±28.41 items/100g sample) of non-biodegradable anthropogenic waste (glass, metal, rubber bands, clay pottery and tile pieces) was obtained from samples collected inside the forest area samples as compared to forest edge samples (9.44±1.91items/100g). There were higher proportion of macroplastic (>5mm) retrieved than microplastic (1-5mm) in the elephant dung. The present study is the first systematic documentation of non-biodegradable waste ingestion by Asian elephants. High plastic presence in elephant dung highlights its widespread use near protected habitats and lack of waste segregation practices underlining the vulnerability of wild animals to plastic ingestion risk. We provide recommendations for developing a comprehensive solid waste management strategy to mitigate the threat of plastic pollution around critical elephant habitats in India.
... Small MPs may have more harmful effects on aquatic organisms. Lusher et al. (2013) showed that the small size of MPs facilitates their absorption by organisms. Also, most of the samples were black (64.22%), which is the same as the results of Govender et al. (2020). ...
Article
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Concerns about the negative effects of microplastics (MPs) on human health have led to increasing attention to the occurrence of MPs in the aquatic environment. Recent studies have focus on the spatio-temporal distribution of MPs in rivers for residential and agricultural areas. Qarasu River Basin, watershed to Gorgan Bay, is the site of many permanent rivers and the levels of MP pollution in those rivers are unknown. This research was conducted in three different types of land use: forest, residential, and agricultural along 8 different rivers. A total of 9 fish species were identified and the presence of MPs in 87% of fish was confirmed. The prevalence of MP among species was Liza sp. > Carassius gibelio > Gambusia holbrooki > Rutilus rutilus > Neogobius melanostomus > Cyprinus carpio = Vimba vimba > Rutilus frisii > Barbus sp. The highest frequency of MPs was observed in Qarasu River (1880 ± 251 n/kg) and Mohammadabad River (184 ± 1340 n/kg) in agricultural land use, and the lowest frequency was related to Baghu and Ziarat Rivers with 660 ± 77 and 600 ± 91 n/kg found in forest land use respectively. The highest type, color, and size of MP sediments were fragment, black, and 1–2 mm, respectively. The highest type, color, and size of MP in fishes were fiber, black, and 0.5–0.1 mm respectively. Overall according to the source tracing result, agricultural land use was the main source of MP pollution of Gorgan Bay. The Bay is strongly affected by the incoming rivers, the Qarasu River Basin as the most important river supplying water. Graphical abstract
... Studies worldwide report the occurrence of microplastic debris in marine animals, for instance, the Middle East (Abbasi et al., 2018), Europe (Bellas et al., 2016;Bessa et al., 2018;Neves et al., 2015;Devriese et al., 2015;von Moos et al., 2012;A.L. Lusher et al., 2013), Asia (Jabeen et al., 2017), South America (Possatto et al., 2011;Al et al., 2017), Africa (Hossain et al., 2020) and Australia (Hall et al., 2015). Thus, it is evident that microplastic pollution affects all marine life, and we need to investigate its sources further. ...
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Wear and tear on fishing gear is a sparsely investigated source of microplastic pollution in the sea. In Norway, Danish seine ropes and trawls are the fishing gears that contribute most to this pollution. The main reason for this pollution is that the seine ropes are dragged along the seabed over a considerable distance, creating a friction force that results in high ropes wear. This note reports the findings after examining the wear of Danish seine ropes used in Norwegian fisheries. The results show that, in Norway alone, an average of 77 to 97 tons of plastic will be added to the sea annually due to this specific fishing gear. Aggregated to include all fly dragging, anchor seining, and pair seining globally, this number is estimated to be about 311 tons per year.
... These specimens were analysed to report the shape and polymer composition of microplastics taken up by A. viridis in the region. This adds to the growing body of evidence documenting environmental ingestion in anthozoans (Morais et al., 2020;Oldenburg et al., 2021;Rotjan et al., 2019) and other species in this geographical area (Lusher et al., 2013;Scott et al., 2019;Steer et al., 2017). Almost 91% of environmentally ingested particles identified were fibres, with the rest being fragments. ...
Article
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Microplastics (<1 mm) are ubiquitous in our oceans and widely acknowledged as concerning contaminants due to the multi-faceted threats they exert on marine organisms and ecosystems. Anthozoans, including sea anemones and corals, are particularly at risk of microplastic uptake due to their proximity to the coastline, non-selective feeding mechanisms and sedentary nature. Here, the common snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis) was used to generate understanding of microplastic uptake in the relatively understudied Anthozoa class. A series of microplastic exposure and multi-stressor experiments were performed to examine particle shape and size selectivity, and to test for the influence of food availability and temperature on microplastic uptake. All A. viridis individuals were found to readily take up microplastics (mean 142.1 ± 83.4 particles per gram of tissue) but exhibited limited preference between different particle shapes and sizes (n = 40). Closer examination identified that uptake involved both ingestion and external tissue adhesion, where microplastics were trapped in secreted mucus. Microplastic uptake in A. viridis was not influenced by the presence of food or elevated water temperature (n = 40). Furthermore, environmental sampling was performed to investigate microplastic uptake in A. viridis (n = 8) on the coast of southwest England, with a mean of 15.8 ± 4.0 particles taken up per individual. Fibres represented the majority of particles (91%) followed by fragments (9%), with 87% either clear, blue or black in colour. FTIR analysis identified 70% of the particles as anthropogenic cellulosic or plastic polymers. Thus, this study provides evidence of microplastic uptake by A. viridis in both laboratory exposures experiments and in the marine environment. These findings support recent literature suggesting that external adhesion may be the primary mechanism in which anthozoans capture microplastics from the water column and highlights the potential role anemones can play as environmental microplastic bioindicators.
... For instance, the feeding rate of Nephrops norvegicus was found to be lowered in response to exposure to polypropylene fibres over a period of eight months (Welden and Cowie, 2016b). One plausible explanation for this is the aggregation of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract to an extent that could obstruct the movement of food, thus leading to nutrient deficiency and low energy levels (Avio et al., 2015;Jovanović, 2017;Lusher et al., 2013). Watts et al. (2015) reported a significant reduction of energy in Carcinus maenas exposed to polypropylene fibres, measured by food and oxygen consumption tests for 4 weeks. ...
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The presence of microplastics in the aquatic environment poses a serious threat not only to aquatic organisms but also to human beings that consume them. The uptake and effects of microplastics have been studied in almost all groups of aquatic organisms. This review details the different aspects of microplastics exposure in an ecologically and economically important group of crustaceans, the Decapods. A majority of Decapod crustaceans such as prawns, shrimp, crabs, lobsters and crayfish are consumed as seafood and play important roles in food chains and food webs. Numerous studies are available on the accumulation of microplastics in tissues such as the gills, hepatopancreas and gastrointestinal tract in these organisms. Experimental studies have also highlighted the toxic effects of microplastics such as oxidative stress, immunotoxicity and reproductive and developmental toxicity in them. This review also summarizes the ecological impacts and implications in human beings as well as lacunae with regard to microplastic uptake in Decapods.
... They provide visual stimulus for ingestion by animal species (Carpenter et al., 1972;Gramentz, 1988;David and Robert, 1994), or chemical cues for other foragers for preferential ingestion of MP-containing food (Savoca et al., 2016;Savoca et al., 2017;Savoca et al., 2018;Procter et al., 2019). Accumulation of MPs and NPs have been widely recorded in various aquatic (Lusher et al., 2013;Avio et al., 2015;Frydkjaer et al., 2017;Gambardella et al., 2017;Critchell and Hoogenboom, 2018;Lo and Chan, 2018;Naidoo and Glassom, 2019;Masiá et al., 2021;Stienbarger et al., 2021;Liu et al., 2022a) (reviewed in: (Akdogan and Guven, 2019;Wang et al., 2019a;Franzellitti et al., 2019)) and terrestrial animals (Huerta Lwanga et al., 2017;Maaß et al., 2017;Souza Machado et al., 2018;Panebianco et al., 2019;Lu et al., 2020;Mackenzie and Vladimirova, 2021). These studies have reported significant detrimental effects on animal development and health, including intestinal defects, decreased body size, decreased survival rate and reproduction, decreased motility, altered behavior, neurotoxicity, increased inflammation, oxidative stress, genotoxicity, altered fat and energy metabolism, and changes in the microbiome (Tosetto et al., 2016a;Lu et al., 2016;Lei et al., 2018a;Jin et al., 2018;Fackelmann and Sommer, 2019;Poma et al., 2019;Qiao et al., 2019;Li et al., 2020a;Araújo and Malafaia, 2020;Crump et al., 2020;Hirt and Body-Malapel, 2020;Prüst et al., 2020;Solleiro-Villavicencio et al., 2020;Yong et al., 2020;Li et al., 2021a;Lear et al., 2021;Tagorti and Kaya, 2022). ...
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Biologically active environmental pollutants have significant impact on ecosystems, wildlife, and human health. Microplastic (MP) and nanoplastic (NP) particles are pollutants that are present in the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems at virtually every level of the food chain. Moreover, recently, airborne microplastic particles have been shown to reach and potentially damage respiratory systems. Microplastics and nanoplastics have been shown to cause increased oxidative stress, inflammation, altered metabolism leading to cellular damage, which ultimately affects tissue and organismal homeostasis in numerous animal species and human cells. However, the full impact of these plastic particles on living organisms is not completely understood. The ability of MPs/NPs to carry contaminants, toxic chemicals, pesticides, and bioactive compounds, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals, present an additional risk to animal and human health. This review will discusses the current knowledge on pathways by which microplastic and nanoplastic particles impact reproduction and reproductive behaviors from the level of the whole organism down to plastics-induced cellular defects, while also identifying gaps in current knowledge regarding mechanisms of action. Furthermore, we suggest that the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans provides an advantageous high-throughput model system for determining the effect of plastic particles on animal reproduction, using reproductive behavioral end points and cellular readouts.
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Hazardous anthropogenic particles, such as microplastics (MPs) in the lake ecosystems, are a serious concern. In this work, we have investigated the seasonal occurrence and distribution of microplastics in the surface water samples of Lake Manipal in southwest India. The concentration of MPs was found to be higher during the monsoon season (0.423 particles/L) in comparison with the post-monsoon (0.117 particles/L) period. The higher abundance is attributed to the input of storm-water sewers connected to the lake as well as surface runoff during periods of high rainfall. The concentrations of small-sized (0.3–1 mm) microplastics were greater in both seasons. Approximately 96% of the microplastics were fibres, followed by smaller amounts of fragments, pellets, films, and foams. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was the principal polymer composition of the microplastics, followed by cellulose. The PET and cellulose fibres were mainly derived from the laundering of clothes in the residential colonies and hostels situated close to the lake. The storm-water sewers were the likely conduit for these PET fibres into the lake. The Pollution Load Index (PLI) data reveals that pollution due to microplastics in Lake Manipal falls within the Level II risk category. The PLI was higher during the monsoon season due to an increased flux of these particles from the nearby region. During the post-monsoon period, the PLI values decreased, suggesting that MPs in the water column may have settled and mixed with the sediments. The baseline data generated in this study is important as different types of birds, amphibians, and other microorganisms are present in the environment of Lake Manipal. We also propose certain policy measures that can be adopted by the regional population to mitigate microplastic pollution in the lake and its vicinity.
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The Caribbean Sea is reported to have one of the highest levels of plastic pollution of any marine ecosystem. Much less is known about the levels of microplastics as an emerging pollutant in the marine environment, especially in the water column and benthic substrates where they can be easily ingested by marine organisms. This study was carried out to quantify marine microplastics in the Wider Caribbean using the mollusk, queen conch (Aliger gigas). We analyzed feces collected from queen conch, a non-lethal method of sampling, to investigate microplastic pollution in eleven sites across the Wider Caribbean. Microplastics were extracted by degradation of organic matter from feces with peroxide (30%) over 48 h. Microplastics were then analyzed by stereomicroscope and scanning electron microscope. Microplastics were found to be present in the feces of all 175 queen conch sampled, and in statistically different abundances among sites, but with no obvious geographical pattern. The highest and lowest levels were found in Central America; the highest being in Belize (270 ± 55 microplastics/queen conch) and Alacranes, Mexico (203 ± 29 microplastics/queen conch), whilst the lowest levels were found in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Fibers, mostly between 1000 and 1500 μm in size, were the most frequent microplastic particle types at every site and represented between 60 and 98% of all microplastic particles found. Our results suggest that the use of queen conch feces is a suitable method for detecting benthic microplastic pollution, and have confirmed that microplastic pollution of marine benthos is widespread across the Wider Caribbean.
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The research on the extent and effects of microplastics pollution in the Global South is only getting started. Bangladesh is a South Asian country with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, however, such exponential economic growth has also increased the pollution threats to its natural and urban environment. In this paper, we reviewed the recent primary research on the assessment of the extent of microplastics pollution in Bangladesh. From the online databases, we developed a compilation of emerging research articles that detected and quantified microplastics in different coastal, marine, and urban environments in Bangladesh. Most of the studies focused on the coastal environment (e.g., beach sediment) and marine fish, while limited data were available for the urban environment. We also discussed the relationship of the type of anthropogenic activities with the observed microplastic pollution. The Cox’s Bazar sea beach in south-east Bangladesh experienced microplastics pollution due to tourism activities, while fishing and other anthropogenic activities led to microplastics pollution in the Bay of Bengal. While microplastics larger than 1 mm were prevalent in the beach sediments, smaller microplastics with size below 0.5 mm were prevalent in marine fish samples. Moreover, the differences in microplastic abundance, size, shape, color, and polymer type found were depended on the sampling sites and relevant anthropogenic activities. It is imperative to identify major sources of microplastics pollution in both natural and urban environment, determine potential environmental and human health effects, and develop mitigating and prevention strategies for reducing microplastics pollution.
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Over the past decade, concerns over microplastic pollution in the marine ecosystem has increasingly gained more attention, but research investigating the ingestion of microplastics by marine fish in Malaysia is still regrettably lacking. This study investigated the microplastic presence, abundance, and morphological types within the guts of four species of commercial marine fish ( Atule mate, Crenimugil seheli, Sardinella fimbriata and Rastrelliger brachysoma ) caught in seawater off the coast of Malaysia’s Northwest Peninsular. A total of 72 individual commercial marine fish guts from four species (fish per species n = 18) were examined. Remarkably, this study found that 100% of the samples contained microplastics. A total number of 432 microplastics (size < 5 mm) from the four species were found in the excised marine fish guts. The most common type of microplastic discovered was fragment, which accounted for 49.5% of all microplastics present. The gut microplastic content differed between species. Sardinella fimbriata recorded the greatest amount of microplastic ingestion, with an average microplastic count of 6.5 (±4.3) items per individual fish. However, there were no statistically significant differences found when comparing study species and different locations. SEM-EDX analysis confirmed the presence of microplastic particles by identifying the chemical elements found in the samples. Since the four studied species of commercial marine fish are popular protein sources in Malaysians’ daily diet, this study suggests potential microplastic exposure to humans via contaminated fish consumption in Malaysia, which was previously unknown. Based on previous scientific evidence, this study also demonstrates the high probability of microplastic ingestion in marine fish in the Malaysian seawater, which could have an adverse effect on fish health as well as marine biota.
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Many microplastics (MPs) were produced in daily life, which would enter sewage treatment plants (STPs) with the wastewater. Although the STPs has a good interception effect on these MPs, there will still be a part of MPs entering the environment with the effluent and sludge treatment, causing a certain ecological risk. This study investigated the abundance, characteristics and retention of MPs in different STPs, as well as the ecological risks caused by MPs entering the environment. The abundance of MPs in influent and effluent was ranged from 2.02 to 2.50 items L⁻¹ and 0.27–0.48 items L⁻¹, respectively. The abundance of MPs in dewatered sludge and sediment of Lake Dianchi was ranged from 3.719–6.949 × 10³ items (kg Ds)⁻¹ and 1.84–5.23 × 10³ items (kg Ds)⁻¹, respectively. So roughly 80% of the MPs were trapped and transferred into the dewatered sludge. The observed colors of MPs were transparent, black, blue, red, pale brown, green and gray, and their main species were polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE). To further evaluate the ecological risks of MPs, the oyster mushroom was cultivated in a medium supplemented with MPs. It was found that MPs could be absorbed by oyster mushrooms with a 7–11% of absorption rate, the fibers were widely distributed in the stipes and the pileus. This study had theoretical significance for exploring the distribution of MPs in STPs and clarifying the ecological risk posed by MPs in the environment.
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Polystyrene microplastics (PS-MPs, particle size<5 mm) cause great harm to aquatic organisms. However, their precise effects are not completely understood. In China, placing plastic film at the pond bottom has become an important loach aquaculture mode. In this mode, MPs will affect loach health. This study investigated the enrichment of PS-MPs and its effects on the growth, liver histomorphology, antioxidant enzymes, and Keap1-Nrf2 signaling pathway-related gene expression in loach juveniles (Paramisgurnus dabryanus). The loach juveniles were raised at the concentration of 1000 μg/L fluorescent polystyrene microplastics (PS-MPs) with particle size of 0.5 µm or 5 µm for seven days, the results showed that fluorescent PS-MPs were found to be enriched in liver, intestine, and gill, and the enrichment amount was higher in liver than in gill and intestine (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the enrichment amount of different-sized PS-MPs was different in liver, gill, and intestine. The loach juveniles were cultured for 21 days in the water of the concentration of 100 or 1000 μg/L PS-MPs with particle size of 0.5 µm or 5 µm, the results showed that the survival rate, weight gain rate, and specific growth rate of loach juveniles were significantly reduced. The histological analysis revealed that PS-MPs caused liver damage. The activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX), and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) were decreased with the extended exposure to PS-MPs. Generally, the expressions of Nrf2 and Keap1 showed the similar change trend. From 7–14 day, the expression trend of oxidative stressed-related genes was not completely consistent with that of Nrf2 gene, but on day 21, the gene expression trend of oxidative stress-related SOD, CAT, and GSH-PX in the downstream of Keap1-Nrf2 signaling pathway was roughly consistent with that of Nrf2 gene. Basically, the change trends of these three gene expression were similar to those of their corresponding enzyme activities. This study provides theoretical basis for the toxicological effects of PS-MPs on freshwater fish.
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Microplastics, plastic particles <5 mm in size, are of global concern as human-caused pollutants in marine and fresh waters, and yet little is known of their distribution, behaviour and ecological impact in the intertidal environment of South Australia. This study confirms for the first time, the presence of microplastic in the South Australian intertidal ecosystem by quantifying the abundance of particles in intertidal water and in the keystone species, the blue mussel, Mytilus spp., an important fisheries species, at ten and six locations respectively, along the South Australian coastline. For a remote region known for its pristine environment, microplastic concentration in intertidal water was found to be low to moderate (mean = 8.21 particles L⁻¹ ± 4.91) relative to global levels and microplastic abundance in mussels (mean = 3.58 ± 8.18 particles individual⁻¹) was within the range also reported globally. Microplastic particles were ubiquitous across sites and bioavailable by size in water (mean = 906.36 μm) and in mussel (mean = 983.29 μm) raising concerns for the health of South Australia's unique coastal ecosystems and for the human food chain. Furthermore, a positive correlation was found between human coastal population size and microplastic concentration in intertidal water, irrespective of influences from industry - tourism, fishing and shipping ports. FTIR analysis determined plastic type to include polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), acrylic resin, polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) and cellulose, suggesting synthetic and semi-synthetic particles from single-use, short-life cycle products, fabrics, ropes and cordage. Our findings shed light on the urgent need to establish the local sources of microplastic pollution in order to assist the community, industry and government to reduce the impact of microplastic on the fragile marine systems within South Australian intertidal waters and on the organisms associated with the human food chain.
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MPs' pollution was explored in Freshwater Swat riverine ecosystem sediment, surface water, and fish. Schizothorax plagiostomus is found to be extremely vulnerable to MP pollution. Human activities are the prime source of microplastics in SR.
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An increasing body of evidence exists on the occurrence of (micro)plastics in various environmental compartments including soils, aquatic systems, and as air-borne particulates. (Micro)plastics and their associated chemical additives pose potential environmental and ecological health risks. Information on the environmental and ecological health risks of microplastics remains scattered in several articles, while the few available reviews often focus on one environmental compartment such as soils or aquatic systems. Here, we applied the eco-hierarchical or ecosystem cascade framework to examine the evidence, and present a comprehensive synthesis of the environmental and ecological health risks of microplastics. First, the eco-hierarchical or ecosystemcascade framework and its principles are presented. Second, the impacts of microplastics and their chemical additives on the soil physico-chemical properties and ecological processes, including biogeochemical cycling are discussed. This is then followed by a discussion of the ecological impacts of microplastics on aquatic ecology, including behaviour, physiology, feeding habits, and growth-related parameters. Using the ecohierarchical or ecosystem cascade framework, under-studied aspects of the ecological impacts of microplastics were identified. These include the impacts of microplastics and their chemical additives on: (1) trophic interactions, (2) ecosystem goods, services, and benefits, and (3) interactions of microplastics with other ecological health stressors such as legacy and emerging chemical and biological contaminants such as synthetic chemicals and antibiotic resistance. Lastly, future research directions including several knowledge gaps and the application of emerging research tools are presented.
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At present, plastic waste accumulation has been observed as one of the most alarming environmental challenges, affecting all forms of life, economy, and natural ecosystems, worldwide. The overproduction of plastic materials is mainly due to human population explosion as well as extraordinary proliferation in the global economy accompanied by global productivity. Under this threat, the development of benign and green alternative solutions instead of traditional disposal methods such as conversion of plastic waste materials into cherished carbonaceous nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), carbon quantum dots (CQDs), graphene, activated carbon, and porous carbon is of utmost importance. This critical review thoroughly summarizes the different types of daily used plastics, their types, properties, ways of accumulation and their effect on the environment and human health, treatment of waste materials, conversion of waste materials into carbon-based compounds through different synthetic schemes, and their utilization in energy storage devices particularly in supercapacitors, as well as future perspectives. The main purpose of this review is to help the targeted audience to design their futuristic study in this desired field by providing information about the work done in the past few years.
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In recent years, the environmental pollution of microplastics has attracted much attention. To date, there have been a lot of researches on microplastics and a series of studies published. In this study, by bibliometric analysis method to evaluated the development and evolution on microplastics research trends and hot spots. A total of 2872 literature information was collected from the Web of Science (2004–2020), which was used for bibliometric visual analysis by CiteSpace. It was possible to see the contributing countries, institutions, authors, keywords, and future study directions in the microplastics sectors by looking at the visual representation of the results. (1) Since 2004, scientific advancements in this sector have advanced significantly, with a significant increase in speed since 2012. (2) China and the United States are the world's leading researchers in microplastics. (3) The study of microplastics was multidisciplinary, comprising researchers from the fields of ecology, chemistry, molecular biology, environmental science, and oceanography. (4) In recent years, researchers have concentrated their attention on the distribution and toxicity of microplastics in the environment, as well as their coupled pollution with heavy metal contaminants. In conclusion microplastics study in environmental science has become increasingly popular in recent years. Topics include dispersion, toxicity, and coupled pollution with heavy metal pollutants. Researchers in a wide range of fields are involved in microplastics research. Furthermore, policies and regulations about microplastics in global were summarized, and membrane technology has potential to remove microplastics from water. The above findings help to clearly grasp the content and development trend of microplastics research, point out the future research direction for scholars, and promote microplastics research and pollution prevention and control.
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Plastic contamination in the environment is common but the characterisation of plastic ingested by fish in different environments is lacking. Hence, a meta-analysis was conducted to identify the prevalence of plastic ingested by fish globally. Based on a qualitative analysis of plastic size, it was determined that small microplastics (<1 mm) are predominantly ingested by fish globally. Furthermore, our meta-analysis revealed that plastic fibres (70.6%) and fragments (19.3%) were the most prevalent plastic components ingested by fish, while blue (24.2%) and black (18.0%) coloured plastic were the most abundant. Polyethylene (15.7%) and polyester (11.6%) were the most abundant polymers. Mixed-effect models were employed to identify the effects of the moderators (sampling environment, plastic size, digestive organs examined, and sampling continents) on the prevalence of plastic shape, colour, and polymer type. Among the moderators, only the sampling environment and continent contributed to a significant difference between subgroups in plastic shape and polymer type.
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Over recent years, awareness of the ecological consequences of marine plastic debris has increased considerably. This chapter focuses on the ingestion of plastics. It defines harm within the ecotoxicological context of impacts on organisms and ecosystems. Owing to the small size of microplastics and their near ubiquitous presence throughout the marine environment, concern for marine life arises from their ingestion. The result of the microplastic exposure can lead to effects at different levels of biological functioning, including those on the individual, at site‐specific target organs, on certain cell types, and even subcellular effects. To date, few studies have quantified the effects of microplastic pollution on ecosystem functioning. During production, chemicals are added to plastics to alter or improve their desired properties, such as plasticizers, flame‐retardants, antimicrobial agents, or UV inhibitors. These additive chemicals can subsequently leach from the plastic into the environment or, if ingested, into organisms.
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The Mediterranean Sea is among the most affected areas of our planet by microplastic (MP) pollution. However, some regions are still underrepresented in the current literature. This work studied the fate of microplastics (MPs) released from major populated areas within the NE Ionian Sea, an area that contains highly significant biodiversity. This was accomplished by incorporating oceanographic data into a Lagrangian particle-tracking numerical model that simulated the transport of MP particles for the interval of 27 months. The findings report a high possibility of beaching within the first weeks of the simulation for most locations, where 63% of MPs were beached and 37% were still floating at the end of the simulation. Seaward transport and eddy diffusivity are the controlling mechanisms of the MP transport, with diffusion being the primary force controlling the movement of MP particles in 1/3 of the simulated regions. This is highly significant, because in areas where diffusion is the main mechanism controlling MP transport, accumulation of floating MP particles is occurring, as reported in previous studies. The MPs’ transport and beaching behavior, as well as the observed residence times, were used to determine the threat level that MPs pose to the biodiversity of specific areas.
Chapter
Identification and quantification of microplastics (MPs) pollution levels in all the environmental compartments including water, sediments, and biota are an hourly need. MPs analytical techniques in water, sediments, and biota consist of several laborious steps including sampling, sample handling, and analytical techniques for identification and quantification. Studies have employed a wide variety of techniques resulting in variation in MPs abundance and characteristics. MPs reporting techniques also vary between different studies. The sampling techniques, digestion reagents, the temperature applied, density separation reagents, and the techniques utilized cause significant impacts on the recovery rate of the MPs particles from samples. 20-10 μm has become the lower reliable, practical limit for MPs due to the limitations in identification methods. Since there is many more MPs research to be done, there is an urgency of establishing reliable and efficient standard methodologies for MPs monitoring enabling comparison of studies from different parts of the world.
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Freshwater environments are more sensitive to anthropogenic influences and usually contain higher concentrations of pollutants than marine environments. Microplastic pollution causes additional stress on freshwater animals; yet, studies evaluating the microplastic occurrence in freshwater biota are still limited. In this study, microplastic occurrence in the gastrointestinal tracts (GIT) and gill of commercial fish species (Prussian carp Carassius gibelio (Bloch, 1782); Abu mullet Planiliza abu (Heckel, 1843); Common carp Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758; European ell Anguilla Anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758); North African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822); Goldfish Carassius auratus (Linnaeus, 1758) were reported from Orontes River. MPs abundance in the GIT and gill of six species were found as 5.1 ± 2 MPs fish⁻¹ and 4.4 ± 2 MPs fish⁻¹ with an occurrence of 95% and 74%, respectively. The majority of extracted microplastics were fiber, black and less than 1000 μm in size. FTIR analysis determined the main polymer types as polyester (50%), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) (10%), polypropylene (PP) (8%) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (5%). High MPs abundance and occurrence frequency indicate the exposure of microplastic pollution in freshwater biota which could threat the health of both individuals and consumers. Results obtained in this study will increase the acknowledgement of MPs pollution in the Orontes River. Also, this study will provide data to the administrators to set up necessary measurements in freshwater ecosystems.
Article
The presence of microplastics in the aquatic ecosystem represents a major issue for the environment and human health. The capacity of organic pollutants to adsorb onto microplastic particles raises additional concerns, as it creates a new route for toxic compounds to enter the food web. Current knowledge on the impact of pristine and/or contaminated microplastics on aquatic organisms remains insufficient, and we provide here new insights by evaluating their biological effects in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Zebrafish larvae were raised in ZEB316 stand-alone housing systems and chronically exposed throughout their development to polyethylene particles of 20–27 μm, pristine (MP) or spiked with benzo [α]pyrene (MP-BaP), supplemented at 1% w/w in the fish diet. While they had no effect at 30 days post-fertilization (dpf), MP and MP-BaP affected growth parameters at 90 and 360 dpf. Relative fecundity, egg morphology, and yolk area were also impaired in zebrafish fed MP-BaP. Zebrafish exposed to experimental diets exhibited an increased incidence of skeletal deformities at 30 dpf as well as an impaired development of caudal fin/scales, and a decreased bone quality at 90 dpf. An intergenerational bone formation impairment was also observed in the offspring of parents exposed to MP or MP-BaP through a reduction of the opercular bone in 6 dpf larvae. Beside a clear effect on bone development, histological analysis of the gut revealed a reduced number of goblet cells in zebrafish fed MP-BaP diet, a sign of intestinal inflammation. Finally, exposure of larvae to MP-BaP up-regulated the expression of genes associated with the BaP response pathway, while negatively impacting the expression of genes involved in oxidative stress. Altogether, these data suggest that long-term exposure to pristine/contaminated microplastics not only jeopardizes fish growth, reproduction performance, and skeletal health, but also causes intergenerational effects.
Article
Marine mammals can serve as an indicator of ecosystem health, and are likely exposed to significant amounts of microplastics (MPs). In this study we estimated the MP uptake of two odontocetes, the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), in the Mediterranean Sea and the Northeast Atlantic. These two species are expected to primarily ingest MPs through trophic transfer. To this end, data was collected on their diet, which was subsequently linked to MP occurrence and abundance in prey families. We estimated that D. delphis ingests 76 MPs/day in the Northeast Atlantic and 164 MPs/day in the Mediterranean, and T. truncatus ingests 36 MPs/day in the Northeast Atlantic and 179 MPs/day in the Mediterranean. This study provides important new predictions on MP exposure in two odontocetes, and opens up new research opportunities on the effect of this exposure on the health of organisms.
Article
The present study investigates the abundance, distribution, and characterization (shape, size, colour, chemical composition) of microplastics (MPs) in surface water and sediment from the shelf region of the central east coast of India. The surface water and sediment samples were collected at varying depths (12.8–63 m) from 21 locations covering ∼1200 km. The mean abundance of MPs in surface water and sediments were 5.3 × 10⁴ particles. km⁻², 209 ± 99 particles. kg⁻¹ of dry weight, respectively. Stereomicroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and micro Fourier Transform Infra-red Spectroscopy (FTIR) were employed for the quantification and characterization of the polymers. Polyolefin (polyethylene and polypropylene) were the dominant polymers in both surface water and sediments indicating their source primarily land based. Surface water and sediment MPs were mostly blue coloured. Fibre (77%) and fragment (38%) were the dominant morphotypes in surface water and sediments, respectively. Surface characteristics studies using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) highlight the breakdown progress of the particles; Small MPs (<1 mm) account for >50% of the whole and dominant in the offshore region (10 km). The results reveal that the primary sources of MPs are most likely to be originating from riverine fluxes and fishing-based activities.
Chapter
This chapter presents an update on the status of knowledge surrounding microplastics in fish and seafood species and the consequences to the seafood supply chain. Seafood species can uptake microplastics through a variety of pathways, such as in a wild or aquaculture setting. The most studied routes are via ingestion, either directly from the environment or indirectly via trophic transfer from prey. Microplastics may be introduced along the seafood supply chain up from culture and capture to the preparation of meals by vendors or during preparation by the consumer. Microplastics that are internalized by, or in terms of seaweeds – adhered to, species targeted as seafood could represent one way in which microplastics enter the seafood supply chain. Microplastics could be introduced into seafood products during processing. Packaging could further introduce microplastics to the surface of food products. Seafood products are often packaged in plastics before transport.
Article
Microplastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems has become a global issue in recent years due to its presence everywhere around the world. Although several studies have explored the impact of the accumulation of those small particles in marine environments, comparisons of freshwater systems with marine environments are scarce. In the current study, due to the lack of long-term data on microplastic pollution, we used paleolimnological approaches to acquire the missing information regarding this hot topic. Two short cores were taken from Bursa province in Turkey, which is the center of industrial and agricultural production with many different sectors such as textile and manufacturing. The first core sample was taken from a relatively pristine environment, Lake Uluabat, and the second one was taken from a delta area where all the discharge coming from the basin flowed through to the Marmara Sea. The sediment core from the lake was dated back to the 1960's and the majority of the sample was dominated by fibers. Despite there being no uniform distribution pattern, the number of the microplastics showed decreasing trend after the lake became a Ramsar site. Due to the continuous mixing in the sampling area, there were obstacles via the dating of the Delta core. Nevertheless, the data showed that a high number and variety of microplastics have accumulated over the last decade in the province. This can be interpreted as microplastic pollution reaching the sea directly from the basin. These findings revealed that a plastic chronostratigraphy would give important temporal data regarding the microplastic accumulation in aquatic ecosystems.
Article
Microplastics debris in the marine environment have been widely studied across the globe. Within these particles, the most abundant and prevalent type in the oceans are anthropogenic microfibers (MFs), although they have been historically overlooked mostly due to methodological constraints. MFs are currently considered omnipresent in natural environments, however, contrary to the Northern Hemisphere, data on their abundance and distribution in Southern Oceans ecosystems are still scarce, in particular for sub-Antarctic regions. Using Niskin bottles we've explored microfibers abundance and distribution in the water column (3–2450 m depth) at the Burdwood Bank (BB), a seamount located at the southern extreme of the Patagonian shelf, in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean. The MFs detected from filtered water samples were photographed and measured using ImageJ software, to estimate length, width, and the projected surface area of each particle. Our results indicate that small pieces of fibers are widespread in the water column at the BB (mean of 17.4 ± 12.6 MFs.L⁻¹), from which, 10.6 ± 5.3 MFs.L⁻¹ were at the surface (3–10 m depth), 20 ± 9 MFs.L⁻¹ in intermediate waters (41–97 m), 24.6 ± 17.3 MFs.L⁻¹ in deeper waters (102–164 m), and 9.2 ± 5.3 MFs.L⁻¹ within the slope break of the seamount. Approximately 76.1% of the MFs were composed of Polyethylene terephthalate, and the abundance was dominated by the size fraction from 0.1 to 0.3 mm of length. Given the high relative abundance of small and aged MFs, and the oceanographic complexity of the study area, we postulate that MFs are most likely transported to the BB via the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Our findings imply that this sub-Antarctic protected ecosystem is highly exposed to microplastic pollution, and this threat could be spreading towards the highly productive waters, north of the study area.
Article
Each year plastic production worldwide has increased. Approximately 10% of the production of plastic will lead to the sea. This plastic is degraded to be a small particle size < 5mm called microplastic. The river is the main route of entry of plastic from land to the sea. Sayung River is a river that has the potential to be contaminated with microplastics around which it is used as a location for the cultivation of various fisheries commodities including Pernaviridis, Penaeus monodon, and Lates calcarifer. The study aims to determine the number and type of microplastic in Penaeus monodon, Pernaviridis, and Lates calcarifer. Samples were taken from three different stations in the coverage area. Microplastic abundance analysis by isolating microplastic on each sample. Isolation samples of Pernaviridis, Penaeus monodon, and Lates calcarifer are done by dissolving the sample in a solution of 10% KOH was allowed for 24 hours at a temperature of 60 oC and observed under a binocular microscope. Founded types of microplastic are fiber, fragments, pellets, and films on Pernaviridis, Penaeus monodon, and Lates calcarifer. Pernaviridis found on many types of films, in Penaeusmonodon are the most prevalent types of fragments and the Lates calcarifer most common types of fiber. Pellet type is the least kind found in Pernaviridis and Penaeus monodon. Based on the age when taken, Penaeus monodon is the commodity that has the most potential to be contaminated with microplastic while based on the number of particles found in Lates calcarifer is the commodity with the most potential to be contaminated with microplastic.
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Anthropogenic Litter (AL) is ubiquitous in distribution and diverse in type and impact. Citizen science AL clean-ups engage citizens with the environment and have the potential to generate data that can inform policy. Here we present a detailed citizen science survey of AL across freshwater, terrestrial, and coastal environments of the United Kingdom (UK), coordinated by the not-for-profit Planet Patrol throughout 2020. Key materials, industries, brands, and parent companies associated with AL are identified. Plastic dominated AL (63%), followed by metal (14%), and composite materials (12%). The majority of AL (56%) had been used as beverage containers and non-beverage packaging, and 38.8% of AL was branded. Of the branded AL, 26% was associated with The Coca-Cola Company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and PepsiCo. These three companies were associated with significantly more branded litter than any other. We place these data in the context of upcoming UK legislation and the Environmental Social Governance (ESG) statements of the companies associated with the majority of the recorded litter. Knowledge gaps and recommendations for AL surveying are made, and the focus of corporate and government actions are discussed.
Chapter
In this chapter we will look at the problem of plastic pollution (macroplastics and micro‐ and nanoplastics or MNPs), the impact of MNPs and the possible solutions that we could implement to mitigate this ever‐growing problem. We will also address the role that biodegradable plastics can play in the larger picture of strategies that can be developed and implemented to push back on plastic pollution. Although biodegradable plastics will often not be a viable solution for the plastics pollution problem, plastics of the future should also have design features that address end‐of‐life such as closed‐loop recyclability, and fate‐in‐nature: even slow biodegradation will avoid accumulation over decades or even centuries as is the case for current materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyolefins. Although readily biodegradable plastic is not desired for most plastics applications, the fact that materials biodegrade, even when slow, is very important.
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Microplastics have become a worldwide pollutant, widely discovered in soil, air and aquatic environment. Microplastics have been found in habitats where crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) cultivated, but the impact of microplastics on crayfish remains unclear. In this study, after 21-day dietary exposure, polyethylene (PE) particles were found to accumulate in intestine, hepatopancreas, gills and hemolymph of crayfish. Furthermore, PE particles can still be detected in these tissues after a 7-day depuration in clean water. PE retained in these tissues caused oxidative stress responses, as indicated by the change of oxidative-stress-related index, such as the increase of H2O2 level and SOD activity. PE exposure also caused hemocytic encapsulation in crayfish hepatopancreas and increase of mucus secretion in intestine. Moreover, PE exposure affected the microbiota balance in crayfish, by reducing the total microbiota abundance and altering the proportions of many bacterial families. Interestingly, results showed that PE exposure led to of lower numbers of hemocytes and declination of phenoloxidase activity. Finally, PE exposure induced the expression of immune-related genes, including transcription factors and antimicrobial peptides. Taken these together, we conclude that PE microplastics exert considerable toxic effects on crayfish and are a potential threat to crayfish aquaculture and consumption. This study provides basic toxicological data toward quantifying and illuminating the impact of PE microplastics on freshwater animals.
Article
Ingestion of environmental microplastics (MPs) by animals is receiving a great health concern, because of its potential adverse effects on organisms. Most ingested MPs will be excreted, while the health threats depend largely on the excretory dynamics. Although the excretion characteristics of MPs in invertebrates and fishes have been studied, information on the excretion of MPs in mammals remains lacking, especially for the fibrous MPs. Here, fibrous and granular MP and nanoplastic (NP) of nylon polymer (polyamide 66, PA66) were exposed in rats by oral in the first day, then the excretion behavior of ingested PA66 in rats was quantified using mass quantification of liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) together with the microscope observation. Although most of the ingested PA66-MP or PA66-NP was excreted within 48 h, the three forms of PA66 were not completely cleared by the rats even after seven days excretion. The excretion of PA66 in rats was well-described by a first-order kinetics model, and the calculated half-lives of elimination of PA66 polymer in rats are 19.9 h (fibrous PA66-MP), 23.7 h (granular PA66-MP), and 36.9 h (PA66-NP), indicating rats excrete smaller MPs more slowly than the bigger ones. This was further confirmed by the particle size distribution of granular PA66-MP observed in feces. Besides, approximately 30% of the ingested PA66-NP were failed to be detected in feces, while the occurrence of PA66-NP in rat serum induced by PA66-NP ingestion was found. This indicates that PA66-NP can pass through the gut barrier and entered the blood circulation. Therefore, the health risks of ingested MPs, especially for the NPs, deserve further attention.
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The prevalence of micro and nanoplastics (MNPs) across the various environments and their negative impact on ecosystems have become a serious global threat and are currently a subject of many environmental concerns. Studies have provided evidence that MNPs have the potential to leach toxic plastic chemical additives and can adsorb a variety of persistent organic environmental pollutants, thereby enhancing their bioavailability, toxicity, and dispersion. Moreover, these MNPs easily penetrate the food chain and might cause health problems when ingested by humans and other organisms. Currently, there is complexity in understanding the mechanisms by which these toxic chemicals adsorb/desorb onto/from MNPs, and the physical and biological impacts of these chemical additives. To date, there is a considerable lack of knowledge on the major chemical additives of concern used in the plastic industry, their fate once MNPs dispose into the environment, the factors that affect their degradation, and their consequent impacts on human health. This review critically analyzes the current knowledge concerning the physical, chemical, and biological impacts of MNPs, and the various chemical and organic pollutants associated with MNPs. Emphasis was laid on their types, occurrence, fate, and distribution in the environment. The different techniques used in their identification, characterization, and removal were also elucidated. Furthermore, the consequent harmful effects of MNPs on human health were discussed to spur more future studies and fill knowledge gaps in this area.
Article
A criteria-guided workflow was applied to assess the effectiveness of microplastic separation methods on complex marine biological matrices. Efficacy of four methods (nitric acid, HNO3, and potassium hydroxide, KOH, digestions, and sodium chloride, NaCl, and potassium iodide, KI, density flotations) was evaluated on four taxa (hard coral, sponge, sea squirt, sea cucumber) using five microplastics (polyethylene, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, PET, polyvinylchloride, rayon). Matrix clarification was only unacceptably low for KOH. PET discoloured regardless of reagent. Rayon threads unravelled into monofilaments after exposure to all reagents, with discolouration also occurring with HNO3. Recovery rates were overall high, except for dense microplastics treated with NaCl and only KI yielded high rayon recovery efficiency. All polymers were accurately assigned, with subtle spectral changes observed. These results demonstrate specific limitations to separation methods applied to different biological matrices and microplastics and highlight the need to assess their suitability to provide estimates of microplastic contamination.
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The prevalence of micro and nanoplastics (MNPs) across the various environments and their negative impact on ecosystems have become a serious global threat and are currently a subject of many environmental concerns. Studies have provided evidence that MNPs have the potential to leach toxic plastic chemical additives and can adsorb a variety of persistent organic environmental pollutants, thereby enhancing their bioavailability, toxicity, and dispersion. Moreover, these MNPs easily penetrate the food chain and might cause health problems when ingested by humans and other organisms. Currently, there is complexity in understanding the mechanisms by which these toxic chemicals adsorb/desorb onto/from MNPs, and the physical and biological impacts of these chemical additives. To date, there is a considerable lack of knowledge on the major chemical additives of concern used in the plastic industry, their fate once MNPs dispose into the environment, the factors that affect their degradation, and their consequent impacts on human health. This review critically analyzes the current knowledge concerning the physical, chemical, and biological impacts of MNPs, and the various chemical and organic pollutants associated with MNPs. Emphasis was laid on their types, occurrence, fate, and distribution in the environment. The different techniques used in their identification, characterization, and removal were also elucidated. Furthermore, the consequent harmful effects of MNPs on human health were discussed to spur more future studies and fill knowledge gaps in this area.
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As one of the top ten environmental problems to be solved in the world, marine plastic waste and microplastic pollution seriously affect the health of marine ecosystems and the sustainable development of Marine economies. It is necessary to promote the establishment of a scientific and systematic Marine plastic waste and microplastic pollution control system and take strong measures to fundamentally curb and reverse the trend of marine pollution intensification in China. This paper first explains the practical significance of marine plastic waste and microplastic pollution control from three aspects: the sustainable development of the blue economy, the structural upgrading of the pan-plastic industry, and the improvement of public health awareness. Secondly, the particularity of marine plastic waste and microplastic pollution control system is summarized from three aspects of formation mechanism, migration path and damage performance. Then, it identifies domestic and international governance strategies and action plans from the perspectives of mechanism, subject, object, and measures, summarizes existing problems in the existing marine plastic waste and microplastic pollution control system, and gives directions for future improvement. Finally, some countermeasures and suggestions are put forward to accelerate the construction of China’s marine plastic waste and microplastic pollution control system, including the formation of a cross sectoral integrated land and sea control system, a full life cycle waste management process, a multi-participation model for marine ecological and environmental governance, and a global marine pollution prevention and control system.
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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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Millions of metric tons of plastic are produced annually. Countless large items of plastic debris are accumulating in marine habitats worldwide and may persist for centuries ([ 1 ][1]–[ 4 ][2]). Here we show that microscopic plastic fragments and fibers ([Fig. 1A][3]) are also widespread in the
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For centuries humans have indiscriminantly discarded their waste into, and on the mar-gins of, oceans, lakes, and rivers. Seafarers traditionally disposed their garbage by simply heaving it overboard, and the practice continues to this day despite international agreements such as the London Dumping Convention (LDC) and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). When quantities of mostly (bio) degradable waste were low, environmental and other consequences remained minimal. However, the advent of nondegradable synthetic materials has had profound biological and environmental effects (Laist 1987; Laist, Chapter 8, this volume) on shores and in oceanic and coastal surface waters (Pruter 1987a).
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Ingestion of plastic debris by many types of animals such as turtles and seabirds is well documented and considered to be a serious threat to their survival. Marine fishes also ingest plastic debris but the amount ingested and the effect of the ingested debris are not well documented. If large amounts of inert plastic debris were ingested, it might affect the fishes' well-being by blocking the digestive tract and reducing the feeding drive. A l s o , certain types of debris could cause injury to the digestive tract and, depending on its chemical composi-tion, might even have a toxic effect. In this paper we review the literature to determine what is known about ingestion of plastics by marine fishes and report on our studies on ingestion of plastic particles by larvae and juveniles. There is at present no comprehensive list of fishes known to have ingested plastic. However, observations made incidental to other studies indicate that many species do at least occasionally ingest plastic. larvae, juveniles, and adults of both pelagic and demersal species. Currently, there is no clear evidence that juvenile and adult fish have been affected by ingesting plastic. Studies in the field on larval fish have suggested that swallowed plastic spheres could cause intestinal blockage and that poly-chlorinated biphenyls associated with the surface of the spherules could have toxic effects. Plastics have been found in Laboratory experiments to determine the effects of plastic ingestion on larval and juvenile fish have been equivocal. In some cases the fish were observed to take particles, but then reject them. We have found in our laboratory studies on larvae that five of six species tested--Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus, pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides, spot, Leiostomus xanthurus, striped mullet, Mugil cephalus, and two species of flounder, Paralichthys spp.--will feed on polystyrene microspheres. However, only spot and mullet were found to have particles in their gut. Particles passed from the gut after a period of time and larvae subsequently fed on brine shrimp larvae.
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Domestic chickens Gallus domesticus were fed polyethylene pellets to test whether ingested plastic impairs feeding activity. When food was temporally limited, plastic-loaded birds ate less than control birds, apparently as a result of reduced gizzard volume. When given food ad libitum, plastic-loaded birds also ate less and grew slower than did control birds. It is concluded that ingested plastic reduces meal size and thus food consumption when plastic reduces the storage volume of the stomach. This reduced food consumption may limit the ability of seabirds with large plastic loads to lay down fat deposits, and thus reduce fitness.
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Weathering of plastic bottles, bags, fishing line, and other products discarded in the ocean causes tiny fragments to break off. These plastic fragments may accumulate biofilms, sink, and become mixed with sediment, where benthic invertebrates may encounter and ingest them. Here we show that four species of deposit-feeding and suspension-feeding sea cucumbers (Echinodermata, Holothuroidea) not only ingest small (0.25 mm < maximum dimension < 15 mm) nylon and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fragments along with sediment, but also ingest significantly more plastic fragments than predicted given the ratio of plastic to sand grains in the sediment. During four-hour feeding trials, holothurians ingested between 2- and 20-fold more plastic per individual than expected for PVC fragments, and between 2- and 138-fold more for nylon line. In addition, two species ingested 4 mm diameter PVC pellets. The ecological relevance of plastic ingestion was assessed in the laboratory by counting and characterizing small plastic particles discovered in sediment samples from the same field sites where our holothurians were collected. Substantial numbers of plastic fragments (105 to 214 fragments per liter of sediment) were found in samples from three different locations along the east coast of the U.S.A. In addition, plastic collected from the sediment from two of our field sites was analyzed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Plastic from one site tested positive for Aroclor 1254 at a concentration of 0.0106 μg g-1. While the negative effects of macroscopic marine plastic debris on a host of organisms are well documented, ingestion of small plastic debris by a wide range of benthic organisms, including both primary and secondary consumers, has received little attention. Given that plastics readily adsorb PCBs and other organic pollutants in marine environments, ingestion of plastic from sediment may provide a heretofore-undescribed pathway of exposure for benthic marine invertebrates.
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Fulmars found dead on the Dutch coast, and fulmars collected in arctic colonies have considerable quantities of plastic in their stomachs. The average number of plastic items ingested is almost twelve in Dutch fulmars, and four to five in arctic fulmars. User-plastics and industrial plastics are about equally abundant. Ingestion of user-plastics suggests a stronger impact of toxic chemicals from plastics than generally assumed.
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IntroductionPlastic Litter and other Marine DebrisBiological and Environmental ImpactsDegradation of Plastics at SeaPhotodegradable Plastics as a Mitigation StrategyConclusions
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Biodegradability of cellulose fabrics was evaluated by use of a soil burial test, an activated sewage sludge test, and an enzyme hydrolysis. Surface changes after biodegradation were observed by optical microscopy. From X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), changes in the crystallinities and the internal structures as a result of degradation were also investigated. It was shown that biodegradability decreased in the following order: rayon > cotton ≫ acetate. Rayon fibers, which have a low crystallinity and a low degree of orientation, showed the highest biodegradability in most cases. However, in spite of its low crystallinity, acetate fibers exhibited very low biodegradability, probably because of the presence of hydrophobic groups in its structure. On the other hand, linen showed an inconsistent behavior in that it had the highest biodegradability in the soil burial test, but a lower biodegradability than that of cotton in the activated sewage sludge test. XRD analysis revealed that there was a slight increase in the crystallinity of linen, cotton, and rayon fabrics at the initial stage, but a continuous decrease thereafter. From the correlation analysis, it was revealed that the biodegradability of cellulose fabrics was closely related to the moisture regain of the fibers, which reflects the hydrophilicity and internal structure of the fibers at the same time. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 94: 248–253, 2004
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Commercial fishing and climate change have influenced the composition of marine fish assemblages worldwide, but we require a better understanding of their relative influence on long-term changes in species abundance and body-size distributions. In this study, we investigated long-term (1911–2007) variability within a demersal fish assemblage in the western English Channel. The region has been subject to commercial fisheries throughout most of the past century, and has undergone interannual changes in sea temperature of over 2.0 °C. We focussed on a core 30 species that comprised 99% of total individuals sampled in the assemblage. Analyses showed that temporal trends in the abundance of smaller multispecies size classes followed thermal regime changes, but that there were persistent declines in abundance of larger size classes. Consistent with these results, larger-growing individual species had the greatest declines in body size, and the most constant declines in abundance, while abundance changes of smaller-growing species were more closely linked to preceding sea temperatures. Together these analyses are suggestive of dichotomous size-dependent responses of species to long-term climate change and commercial fishing over a century scale. Small species had rapid responses to the prevailing thermal environment, suggesting their life history traits predisposed populations to respond quickly to changing climates. Larger species declined in abundance and size, reflecting expectations from sustained size-selective overharvesting. These results demonstrate the importance of considering species traits when developing indicators of human and climatic impacts on marine fauna.
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Organisms have travelled the Atlantic Ocean as neuston and have rafted on natural marine debris for millions of years. Shipping increased opportunities for marine organism travel mere thousands of years ago but in just decades floating plastic debris is transforming marine rafting. Here we present a combined open-ocean and remote coasts marine debris survey of the Atlantic (from 68S–78N). Daily shipboard observations were made from the Southern Ocean to the high Arctic and the shores of 16 remote islands were surveyed. We report (1) anthropogenic debris from the most northerly and southerly latitudes to date, (2) the first record of marine biota colonising debris at latitudes >68, and (3) the finding of exotic species (the barnacle Elminius modestus) on northern plastic debris. Plastic pieces dominated both open-ocean and stranding marine debris. The highest densities of oceanic debris were found around northwest Europe, whereas the highest stranding levels were equatorial. Our findings of high east-Arctic debris colonisation by fauna contrast with low values from west Arctic (though only two samples) and south Atlantic shores. Colonisation rates of debris differed between hemispheres, previously considered to be similar. Our two South Atlantic mega-debris shipboard surveys (10years apart) found no changes in open-ocean debris densities but resurvey of a UK and an Arctic island both found increases. We put our findings in the context of the Atlantic literature to interpret spatial and temporal trends in marine debris accumulation and its organismal consequences.
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Floating plastic was collected with a neuston sampler at 27 locations in the North Pacific Ocean in 1987 and 1988. The plastic particles obtained were sorted according to size, physical form (e.g. pellet, line, fragment), and colour. Comparison of the size distribution of plastic observed with that predicted by a simple physical fragmentation model indicated that some forms, colours, and size fractions were significantly under-represented. We consider four possible explanations of these results and conclude that it is likely that marine organisms selectively remove plastic particles whose size, shape, and colour allow them to be mistaken for prey items. We further conclude that ingestion of small plastic objects by marine organisms occurs in substantial quantities.
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The distribution and abundance of large marine debris were investigated on continental shelves and slopes along European Seas, including the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Bay of Biscay and different areas in the north-western basin of the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea. On the basis of 27 oceanographic cruises undertaken between November 1992 and August 1998, different types of debris were enumerated, particularly pieces of plastic, plastic and glass bottles, metallic objects, glass, and diverse materials including fishing gear. The results showed considerable geographical variation in concentrations, which ranged from 0 to 101 000 pieces of debris per km2. In most stations sampled, plastic (mainly bags and bottles) accounted for a very high percentage (more than 70%) of total number of debris, and accumulation of specific debris, such as fishing gear, was also common. In some areas, only small amounts of debris were collected on the continental shelf, mostly in canyons descending from the continental slope and in the bathyal plain where high amounts were found down to more than 500 m. Dives using the manned submersibles Cyana and Nautile between 50 and 2700 m allowed accumulation areas to be detected on the sea floor. Analysis of these results revealed the influence of geomorphologic factors, local anthropic activities and river inputs. Temporal trends indicated a stable situation in the Gulf of Lion and seasonal variations in the northern part of the Bay of Biscay. Accumulation areas were detected 200 km west of Denmark, in the southern part of the Celtic Sea and along the south-east coast of France.
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Plastics pollution in the ocean is an area of growing concern, with research efforts focusing on both the macroplastic (>5 mm) and microplastic (<5 mm) fractions. In the 1990s it was recognized that a minor source of microplastic pollution was derived from liquid hand-cleansers that would have been rarely used by the average consumer. In 2009, however, the average consumer is likely to be using microplastic-containing products on a daily basis, as the majority of facial cleansers now contain polyethylene microplastics which are not captured by wastewater plants and will enter the oceans. Four microplastic-containing facial cleansers available in New Zealand supermarkets were used to quantify the size of the polythelene fragments. Three-quarters of the brands had a modal size of <100 microns and could be immediately ingested by planktonic organisms at the base of the food chain. Over time the microplastics will be subject to UV-degradation and absorb hydrophobic materials such as PCBs, making them smaller and more toxic in the long-term. Marine scientists need to educate the public to the dangers of using products that pose an immediate and long-term threat to the health of the oceans and the food we eat.
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Persistent plastics are widely distributed at the surface and coastal margins of the global oceans, but many uncertainties remain about their specific sources, quantities and distribution. Awareness of the problem of plastic pollution has grown only recently. Thus, systematic observations have not been either extensive enough or long enough to document the situation adequately. Major sources of these materials are from land, vessels and beachgoers. This paper reviews recent literature on the sources, amounts and distribution of various types of plastics in the marine environment.
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Over the past five or six decades, contamination and pollution of the world's enclosed seas, coastal waters and the wider open oceans by plastics and other synthetic, non-biodegradable materials (generally known as 'marine debris') has been an ever-increasing phenomenon. The sources of these polluting materials are both land- and marine-based, their origins may be local or distant, and the environmental consequences are many and varied. The more widely recognized problems are typically associated with entanglement, ingestion, suffocation and general debilitation, and are often related to stranding events and public perception. Among the less frequently recognized and recorded problems are global hazards to shipping, fisheries and other maritime activities. Today, there are rapidly developing research interests in the biota attracted to freely floating (i.e. pelagic) marine debris, commonly known as 'hangers-on and hitch-hikers' as well as material sinking to the sea floor despite being buoyant. Dispersal of aggressive alien and invasive species by these mechanisms leads one to reflect on the possibilities that ensuing invasions could endanger sensitive, or at-risk coastal environments (both marine and terrestrial) far from their native habitats.
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Plastic resin pellets (small granules 0.1-0.5 centimeters in diameter) are widely distributed in the ocean all over the world. They are an industrial raw material for the plastic industry and are unintentionally released to the environment both during manufacturing and transport. They are sometimes ingested by seabirds and other marine organisms, and their adverse effects on organisms are a concern. In the present study, PCBs, DDE, and nonylphenols (NP) were detected in polypropylene (PP) resin pellets collected from four Japanese coasts. Concentrations of PCBs (4-117 ng/g), DDE (0.16-3.1 ng/g), and NP (0.13-16 microg/g) varied among the sampling sites. These concentrations were comparable to those for suspended particles and bottom sediments collected from the same area as the pellets. Field adsorption experiments using PP virgin pellets demonstrated significant and steady increase in PCBs and DDE concentrations throughout the six-day experiment, indicating that the source of PCBs and DDE is ambient seawater and that adsorption to pellet surfaces is the mechanism of enrichment. The major source of NP in the marine PP resin pellets was thought to be plastic additives and/or their degradation products. Comparison of PCBs and DDE concentrations in mari