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Microplastic fragments and microbeads in digestive tracts of planktivorous fish from urban coastal waters


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We investigated microplastics in the digestive tracts of 64 Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) sampled in Tokyo Bay. Plastic was detected in 49 out of 64 fish (77%), with 2.3 pieces on average and up to 15 pieces per individual. All of the plastics were identified by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Most were polyethylene (52.0%) or polypropylene (43.3%). Most of the plastics were fragments (86.0%), but 7.3% were beads, some of which were microbeads, similar to those found in facial cleansers. Eighty percent of the plastics ranged in size from 150 μm to 1000 μm, smaller than the reported size range of floating microplastics on the sea surface, possibly because the subsurface foraging behavior of the anchovy reflected the different size distribution of plastics between surface waters and subsurface waters. Engraulis spp. are important food for many humans and other organisms around the world. Our observations further confirm that microplastics have infiltrated the marine ecosystem, and that humans may be exposed to them. Because microplastics retain hazardous chemicals, increase in fish chemical exposure by the ingested plastics is of concern. Such exposure should be studied and compared with that in the natural diet.
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Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
Microplastic fragments and
microbeads in digestive tracts
of planktivorous sh from urban
coastal waters
Kosuke Tanaka & Hideshige Takada
We investigated microplastics in the digestive tracts of 64 Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus)
sampled in Tokyo Bay. Plastic was detected in 49 out of 64 sh (77%), with 2.3 pieces on average and up
to 15 pieces per individual. All of the plastics were identied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.
Most were polyethylene (52.0%) or polypropylene (43.3%). Most of the plastics were fragments (86.0%),
but 7.3% were beads, some of which were microbeads, similar to those found in facial cleansers. Eighty
percent of the plastics ranged in size from 150 μm to 1000 μm, smaller than the reported size range
of oating microplastics on the sea surface, possibly because the subsurface foraging behavior of the
anchovy reected the dierent size distribution of plastics between surface waters and subsurface
waters. Engraulis spp. are important food for many humans and other organisms around the world. Our
observations further conrm that microplastics have inltrated the marine ecosystem, and that humans
may be exposed to them. Because microplastics retain hazardous chemicals, increase in sh chemical
exposure by the ingested plastics is of concern. Such exposure should be studied and compared with
that in the natural diet.
e plastic use continues to increase worldwide, and some waste plastics are released into the oceans1,2. Plastic
debris is ubiquitous in the oceans around the world; it is estimated that at least 5.25 × 1012 plastic particles weigh-
ing 2.7 × 105 t are currently oating at sea3. In particular, microplastics (dened as plastics < 5 mm4) are the most
common size fraction in seawater3,5,6. ey are divided into primary and secondary microplastics by their sources.
Primary microplastics are plastic particles originally manufactured at those sizes. Secondary microplastics are
fragments generated by the breakdown of larger pieces. Fragmentation of plastics at sea occurs through photo-
degradation, physical impacts, and other processes, and results in the generation of a larger number of smaller
particles2. Most microplastics in the marine environment are secondary3,7,8.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the rst report that chemically identied microbeads, which are one of
the major primary microplastics, in sh. Microbeads are spherical or amorphous particles used in personal care
and cosmetic products9. ey are made most commonly of polyethylene (PE), followed by nylon, polypropylene
(PP), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET)10. Microbeads are discarded
down the drain and carried to sewage treatment plants (STPs). Although they are eciently removed by settling
during treatment, a small but signicant proportion is discharged in nal euent11. In addition, combined sewer
overows introduce microbeads into receiving waters. Aer their discharge, microbeads stay in water bodies for
a long time because of their non-biodegradable nature. Microbeads have been reported in surface waters12,13. e
other primary microplastics include plastic resin pellets, industrial scrubbers, and plastic powder. e pellets are
feedstock for consumer products, and are generally cylindrical or disk-shaped14. Industrial scrubbers include
synthetic ‘sandblasting’ media made from polymers such as acrylic, polystyrene, melamine, and polyester15.
Marine plastics aect a wide range of species, from invertebrates to seabirds and whales16. Microplastics are
bioavailable to many species16, and are easily ingested by planktivorous or smaller organisms17. Physical impacts
such as injury or clogging of the digestive tract18 and impairment of feeding capacity have been observed19.
Moreover, because microplastics contain hazardous chemicals sorbed from seawater as well as retained addi-
tives20, their toxicological impacts are of concern. An increasing number of reports document the ingestion of
Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509,
Japan. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to H.T. (email:
Received: 15 March 2016
Accepted: 13 September 2016
Published: 30 September 2016
Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
plastics, including microplastics, by sh species21–26. However, only a few studies22,25,26 reported polymer types.
is information is essential to assessing the risks of chemicals associated with ingested plastics, because the com-
position and magnitude of the chemicals vary among polymer types; for example, PE absorbs more hydrophobic
chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), than other polymers20. In addition, specic additives are
compounded into specic polymers; for example, phthalates in PVC or hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) in
polystyrene27,28. e identication of polymer types is important also to identifying the sources of microplastics,
as are detailed observations of shape and size; for example, microbeads are made mostly of PE, and some of
them are spherical. In particular, the discrimination between primary and secondary microplastics is essential
for source control. We investigated the plastics in Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) caught in Tokyo Bay,
o the Tokyo metropolitan area (Fig.1). e population in the drainage basin is 29 million, which accounts
for one-fourth of the total population of Japan29. Tokyo Bay receives river water, sewage, industrial wastewater,
and surface runo from the city. We assumed that domestic and industrial activities are important sources of
microplastics in Tokyo Bay. Sewage from a large proportion of the population in the catchment is treated by com-
bined sewer systems, so untreated wastewater is occasionally discharged into the bay during heavy rain.
Plastics in sh. We found plastics in the digestive tracts of 49 of the 64 anchovies (77%). Each sh had an
average of 2.3 (± 2.5) pieces of ingested microplastic, and from 0 to 15 pieces of debris. All of the plastics were
photographed (Supplementary Table S1) and identied by FT-IR (Fig.2). Among all 150 pieces found, there were
129 fragments (86.0%), 11 beads (7.3%), 8 laments (5.3%), and 2 foams (1.3%) (Table1, Fig.3a). e beads
comprised 6 spherical PE beads, 1 granular PE bead (an aggregation of 1 large sphere and some small spheres),
Figure 1. Sampling location in Tokyo Bay. Sixty-four Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) were caught
on 23 August 2015. Map created using QGIS47 and data provided by the Geospatial Information Authority of
Figure 2. Spectra of FT-IR analysis and photographs of plastic fragments. All suspected plastics were
identied by FT-IR and photographed. Two examples are shown.
Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
2 granular PP beads (shaped like a bunch of grapes), and 2 spherical white PS beads (Fig.4). e longest length of
the pieces ranged from 150 to 6830 μ m (average 783 μ m ± 1020) (Fig.5), and the width ranged from 68 to 1880 μ m
(average 345 μ m ± 272). e plastics consisted primarily of PE (52.0%) and PP (43.3%), followed by PS (2.0%),
ethylene/propylene copolymer (2.0%), and ethylene/propylene/diene terpolymer (0.7%) (Fig.3b). Most plastics
were white (40.0%) or transparent (31.0%), with a lower presence of green (12.3%), yellow and yellowed (12.3%),
black (2.6%), brown (1.3%), and pink (0.6%).
Microbeads in personal care products. We investigated plastic particles in four brands of facial cleansers
(labeled M1, M2, R1, S1) manufactured by three companies. All four products contained plastic particles, iden-
tied by FT-IR as PE, as stated in the list of ingredients. e size of all microbeads ranged from around 10 μ m
to 500 μ m. M2 and S1 contained spherical microbeads of PE, with average diameters of 314 ± 120 μ m (M2) and
188 ± 80 μ m (S1). M1, M2, and R1 contained amorphous particles (irregular shapes, including thread-like) of
PE, with average lengths of 247 ± 96 μ m (M1), 295 ± 54 μ m (M2), and 117 ± 58 μ m (R1) (Fig.6). e spherical
microbeads in M2 were blue and transparent, and those in S1 were transparent. All of the amorphous particles
were transparent or white.
e frequency of occurrence of plastics in the digestive tract of Japanese anchovy, at 77%, is one of the highest
recorded in shes22,24. Most of the ingested plastics were fragments, followed by beads and laments derived from
shing gear, and most were PE or PP (Table1, Fig.3). is proportion of plastics is consistent with those in previ-
ous studies of plastic debris in surface seawater, which were dominated by fragments3,7,8 and by PE or PP7,30,31. e
fragments have various surface features, such as sharp edges with cracks, rounded shapes with smooth surfaces,
or degraded rough surfaces (Supplementary Table S1). Although we couldn’t identify the sources of the frag-
ments, their appearance may relate to their origin or history of degradation in the environment. Further study for
their source identication is needed. Among the major polymers, only PE and PP are less dense than seawater,
and therefore they predominate in surface water2. Japanese anchovy are known to stay in pelagic shallow water
at around 10 m depth32, and thus the proportion of ingested plastics reects that of the water. e predominance
of fragments has been also observed in sh from the North Pacic Central Gyre21 and in sh at a market in
Indonesia24. On the other hand, bers accounted for 68.3% of plastics in sh from the English Channel, which
were identied as rayon, polyamide, or polyester22. Fibers were also predominant in sh from the USA24. is
dierence may be due to regional source dierences or feeding habits of sh species; further studies are needed.
To the best of our knowledge, our study provides the rst evidence of the ingestion of microbeads, suspected of
being derived from personal care products, by sh. Beads accounted for 7.3% of the plastics in the anchovies, and
most were PE (Table1, Fig.4). ese articial shapes strongly indicate that they are manufactured as micro-sized
products. Over 90% of products with microbeads list polyethylene in the ingredients, and the others include PP
(calculated from lists provided by Beat the Microbead10). Our results conrm the presence of PE particles in four
brands of facial cleansers popular on the Japanese market, and spherical microbeads in two of them (Fig.6). e
spherical PE beads detected in the sh were similar in size and appearance to those in the facial cleansers (Figs4
and 6). One of PE beads in the anchovy was shaped like a single large sphere aggregated with some small spheres
Fragment Bead Filament Foam T OTA L
PE 70 7 1 78
PP 54 2 7 2 65
PS 1 2 3
Others 4 4
TOTAL 129 11 8 2 150
Table 1. Total number of plastic pieces in the digestive tract of Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) by
shape and polymer. PE, polyethylene; PP, polypropylene; E/P, ethylene/propylene copolymer; PS, polystyrene.
“Others” include ethylene/propylene copolymer and ethylene/propylene/diene terpolymer.
Figure 3. Types of plastics recovered from digestive tracts of Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus).
(a) Percentage by shape. (b) Percentage by polymer.
Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
(Fig.4e). Because it was reported that some facial cleansers contain granular PE microbeads as well as spherical
ones33, the non-spherical PE bead in the anchovy is likely to be originated from such granular microbeads in the
personal care products. Both PP beads we found in anchovy were granular and were shaped like a bunch of grapes
(Fig.4j,k), and may also be derived from personal care products. However, personal care products that contain
PP beads are uncommon on the Japanese market based on our survey. It is also reported that only a few percent of
products contains PP beads while PE accounts for > 90 percent on the world market10. e detection frequency of
PP beads relative to PE beads seems higher than expected from the current market share, so PP beads in the sh
may be derived from other sources. Finally, the white polystyrene beads that we found accorded with the shape
and size of pre-expanded polystyrene beads, which are spherical and measure 0.1 to 2 mm34.
Eriksen et al.12 found many multi-colored spherical polymers of < 1 mm in surface waters of the Laurentian
Great Lakes of North America12. Mani et al.13 detected opaque spherules identied as PE on the surface of the
Rhine River13. ese studies identied them as microbeads used in consumer products such as facial cleans-
ers12,13. Some studies found spherical microplastics in some organisms, such as in commercial bivalves from
China35 and in zooplankton samples from the English Channel36, but the polymer types were not reported. It is
Figure 4. Photographs of microbeads ingested by Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus). Scale bar
represents 500 μ m. All photographs were taken in reected light, but in the case of d, only photographs taken
with transmitted light are available.
Figure 5. Size distribution of plastics in Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus).
Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
dicult to discuss sources without information on polymer types, because there are other sources of spherical
microplastics than personal care products, as indicated by the presence of many non-PE spherical beads (such as
acrylic, polyurethane, and polyester copolymers) on the sea surface in a South Korean bay37.
Microbeads in personal care and cosmetic products are discarded down the drain aer use and go through
several treatment processes. Although 95% to 99.9% of them are removed by settling at STPs, the remainder are
discharged with euent and end up in the aquatic havitats11. More importantly, combined sewer overows can
brings large amounts of untreated wastewater containing microbeads to coastal waters; in Tokyo, about half of
the population in the catchment (29 million) is served by combined sewer systems38. When heavy rain (gener-
ally > 5 mm) falls, sewer overows occur and could ush microbeads out. On the basis of the capacity of STPs
and precipitation patterns in Tokyo, overows occur around 50 times a year39, implying that ~7% ([50 days/365
days] × 0.5) of microbeads used in the catchment are discharged into aquatic environments without settling dur-
ing treatment.
We found spherical microbeads in sh stomachs. As we could not distinguish amorphous microbeads (Fig.6)
from degraded microplastic fragments, the “fragments” may include amorphous microbeads, and the distribution
of microbeads may be underestimated.
e size distribution of microplastics in the anchovies was dierent from those reported in surface seawaters
around Japan6. Over 80% was < 1000 μ m and more than half was < 500 μ m in size (Fig.5), although anchovy
can ingest prey from several tens of μ m40 to > 5 mm (such as zooplankton we found in the gut of some shes).
In the surface waters around Japan, however, microplastics (< 5 mm) larger than 1 mm dominate smaller ones,
which account for around 20% of all microplastics, and the size distribution peaked around 1 mm6. Although
the number of smaller microplastics in seawater samples is underestimated owing to sampling bias due to net
size (350-μ m mesh), the dierence in the size distribution of microplastics between the anchovies and surface
seawaters is clear only in the comparison of microplastics of > 400 μ m. is dierence is probably due to the
feeding characteristics of Japanese anchovy, which are pelagic lter feeders and ingest suspended particles in
subsurface waters. Because smaller plastic particles have lower rise velocities, smaller plastics (0.5–1.0 mm) were
more abundant in subsurface water than in surface water in the North Atlantic Gyre5. If the same vertical prole
of microplastics occurs in Tokyo Bay and smaller plastics are more abundant than larger plastics in the subsurface
water, by feeding in subsurface water the anchovies could accumulate smaller microplastics in their digestive
tract. More studies are necessary to understand the vertical proles of microplastics of various size ranges.
Japanese anchovy is widely distributed around Japan and is a common food in Japan. It is one of the most
caught fish species in Japan41, and is typically eaten without removal of the digestive tract. Nine species of
Engraulis are distributed in coastal waters around the world and are ecologically important because of their huge
Figure 6. Photographs of polyethylene microbeads in four brands of facial cleansers. (a) Brand M1,
irregular shapes. (b) Brand M2, blue and transparent spheres and irregular shapes. (c) Brand R1, irregular
shapes. (d) Brand S1, transparent spheres.
Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
biomass and their central role in the diet of many sh, birds, and marine mammals42. Our observations further
conrm that microplastics have inltrated marine ecosystems globally, and humans are now exposed to them,
although plastics within the observed size range (0.2–5 mm) would be excreted if we ate contaminated anchovies.
But plastics in the marine environment contain various hazardous chemicals, both additives compounded during
manufacture and hydrophobic chemicals adsorbed from seawater20. e ingestion of microplastics by anchovies
may increase the body burden of the hazardous chemicals to both anchovies and humans. Regarding chemicals
sorbed to microplastics, their transfer and accumulation in sh tissue upon ingestion were demonstrated by labo-
ratory exposure experiments43,44. On the other hand, anchovies and humans are exposed to hazardous chemicals
through natural prey, too. e low number of microplastics that we found in the anchovies (~2 pieces per sh on
average) suggests that chemical exposure through the ingested microplastics is minor compared with that from
the natural diet. However, inputs of plastics into the oceans and number of ingested plastics in sh will continue to
increase if no action is taken, and exposure of additive-derived chemicals may become more important in future.
Once plastics are discharged into the marine environment, they are dicult to recover, especially if they are
small. erefore, reducing the amount discharged from land to the oceans is the rst priority. To the best of
our knowledge, this is the rst study to identify and conrm microbeads in sh by examining polymer types
and shapes. e USA and some other countries now regulate microbeads from rinse-o personal care products.
Japanese cosmetics companies have just started voluntary elimination of microbeads from their products. While
laudable, it is important to note that these regulations do not cover all products containing microbeads and other
forms of microplastics. Global controls on microbeads should be considered, with restrictions on a wider range of
products. More importantly, however, plastic fragments should be regulated with rst priority, because a majority
of the microplastics in the sh were fragments. For the eective regulation, identication of the origins or origi-
nal products of individual fragments are necessary. eir appearance (shape) and color can be connected to the
original products, though both, especially the former, are altered by photo-oxidation. Identication of additive
chemicals specic to specic original products or their usage may help source identication. Control of plastic
products which can be easily fragmented is important to solving pollution of the marine environment by plastics.
Sampling and processing. e Japanese anchovy (Engraulis japonicus) were caught by shing using Sabiki
rigs from a pier in Tokyo Bay (35°25 43 N 139°41 15 E) (Fig.1) from 07:00 to 14:00 on 23 August 2015. e
depth of the water there was around 15 to 20 m, and the sh were caught at a range of 5 to 10 m from the surface.
We collected 64 anchovy. e sh were put in iced water and dissected at the laboratory the same day. Aer
measurement of their body length (112.5 mm ± 6.4 mm), we removed the whole of the digestive tract (from top
of the esophagus to the anus) and put it into a 10-mL glass vial that had been baked for 4 h at 550 °C in advance.
Each vial then received 7–8 mL (> 3× the volume of the gut) of 10% KOH solution to digest organic material23,24.
e vials were incubated at 40 °C for 10 days, during which digestion was observed to be completed in 3 to 4
days. Each vial was then shaken around 20 times to break up the mass of indigestible materials such as shells of
zooplankton, and all oating material was collected in another vial. Pieces larger than 200 μ m were clearly visible.
e precipitate that remained in the vial was put on a glass Petri dish and examined under a microscope, but no
particles not resembling natural prey were observed. Because our target sh (anchovy) is commonly caught by
recreational-shing and eaten by people and our procedure of shing and dissection is exactly same as what peo-
ple sh and cook it by, our procedure has no ethical problem. Our procedure of measurement of microplastics in
the digestive tract does not conict with ethical rules for animal experiment of our university.
Classication and identication of plastics. All oating items suspected to be plastic polymers were
photographed individually (Supplementary Table S1), and the color and shape were recorded. e denition of
the shape of microplastics is as follows: fragments: particles produced by fragmentation of larger materials, beads:
particles manufactured as micro-sized products, either spherical or an aggregate of spheres, pellets: granules
manufactured as a raw material of larger plastic products, generally in the size range of 2–5 mm with shape of a
cylinder or a disk, foams: foams made from polymer, lms: so fragments of thin polymers derived from plastic
bags or wrapping paper and so on, sheets: hard fragments of thin polymers, laments: thread-like polymers pro-
duced by fragmentation of ropes or lines used in shing, > 50 μ m, and bers: thread-like polymers derived from
textiles, including clothing and furnishings, 50 μ m. e 50-μ m threshold for bers was chosen because typical
textile bers have a diameter of 10 to 20 μ m (up to 50 μ m)45, and the diameter of monolaments used in shing
ropes or lines is larger than several hundred μ m46.
We analyzed all of the pieces of suspected plastic (n = 173) by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy
(Nicolet iS10, ermo Scientic) to identify polymer types. e IR absorbance from 450 to 4000 cm1 was compared
with spectra in the soware database, with a similarity threshold of > 70%. Twelve particles were identied as having
a natural origin, 11 could not be identied, and the others (i.e., 150 pieces) were identied as synthetic polymers.
To avoid contamination, we kept samples sealed in a vial or Petri dish at all times except when picking out the
suspected plastics. A procedural blank analysis found no plastics. To estimate airborne contamination, we put
Petri dishes (total 17 000 mm2) on a table near the work bench for 1 day to collect airborne particles. We collected
3 polymer bers (PET, polyamide [similarity < 70%], and polyolen [similarity < 70%]), and more than 10 cot-
ton or wood bers, but no other bers. is means that procedural contamination did not signicantly aect the
results in the present study.
Microbeads in personal care and cosmetic products. We examined plastics in personal care products
to determine the features of the plastic beads used in them. We bought four major brands of facial cleansers that
listed polyethylene as an ingredient. ey were labeled M1, M2, R1, and S1. We mixed several grams of product
in distilled water and identied oating solid particles by FT-IR.
Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
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Scientific RepoRts | 6:34351 | DOI: 10.1038/srep34351
We are grateful to Dr. Hiroaki Furumai for providing information on the population served by combined
sewer systems and Dr. Satoshi Nakaba for providing microscope. We thank Dr. John Farrington for invaluable
comments on the manuscript. e present study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education
and Culture of Japan (Projects No. 26-8120 and No. 26550038) and the Environment Research and Technology
Development Fund (project no. 4-1502).
Author Contributions
K.T. designed the study, conducted the eld sampling and experimental work and wrote the paper. H.T. advised
on experimental design, provided laboratory facilities (FT-IR) and supervised the paper.
Additional Information
Supplementary information accompanies this paper at
Competing nancial interests: e authors declare no competing nancial interests.
How to cite this article: Tanaka, K. and Takada, H. Microplastic fragments and microbeads in digestive tracts of
planktivorous sh from urban coastal waters. Sci. Rep. 6, 34351; doi: 10.1038/srep34351 (2016).
is work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. e images
or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license,
unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license,
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Supplementary resource (1)

... The fragment-shaped microplastics originate from more extensive fragmented materials. Foam shape or microbead possibly comes from daily products (Tanaka and Takada 2016). ...
... As a comparison, sardines (Sardina pilchardus) and (Engraulis encrasicolus) contaminated with microplastics were reported by Renzi et al. (2019) with contamination levels up to 4.63 pieces and 1.25 pieces per individual. The other report from Japanese anchovies reported levels of contamination of 2.3 pieces per individual (Tanaka and Takada 2016). Concerning European anchovies, it was reported that 8 of 10 fish contained nine pieces of microplastics (Collard et al. 2017). ...
... Moreover, the results of the observation of Indonesia anchovies show that most microplastics found ranged from 50-500 μm (p<0.05) compared to another microplastics size range reported from Japanese anchovy (150-1000 μm), European anchovy from the Gulf of Lions (1810-1520 μm), European anchovy from Lebanese cost (200-800 μm) and European anchovy from Adriatic sea (40.1-2220.6 μm) (Tanaka and Takada 2016;Kazour et al. 2019;Lefebvre et al. 2019;Renzi et al. 2019). ...
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Ningrum EW, Patria MP. 2021. Microplastic contamination in Indonesian anchovies from fourteen locations. Biodiversitas 23: 125-134. Microplastics in seawater can enter into the food chain of pelagic fish with subsurface foraging behavior such as anchovies (Stolephorus spp.). Anchovies are valuable commercial fish with high market demand. Hence, measuring potential marine pollutants in these fish is needed. Microplastics as marine contaminants are reportedly more dangerous if they occur together with other contaminants such as trace metals. This research aims to detect microplastic contaminants in anchovies caught in the Indonesia Sea. This research compared between the microplastic contamination on anchovies from 14 harbors: 6 in Western Indonesia (Meulaboh, Krui, Pangkalpinang, Muara Angke, Karimunjawa, and Sidoarjo) and 8 in Eastern Indonesia (Manado, Mamuju, Makassar, Kendari, Ambon, Sorong, Fakfak, and Waingapu). We isolated the digestive tracts of anchovies and measured their length and dry weight. The organic materials were digested with NaOH and a technical-grade sodium Laureth sulfate (SLES) solution approximately one week after collection. Microplastics were observed using a microscope and confirmed with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). We found that most microplastic contaminants in anchovies were in fiber and film shapes. The majority of the sizes ranged from 50-500 μm, followed by a range of 20-50 μm. Microplastics were surprisingly high in samples from Mamuju (688±1.15 MPs idv-1) and Krui (645±7.02 MPs idv-1), higher than any contaminated biota ever reported for anchovies. As reported, anchovies from the Indonesia Sea are contaminated by microplastics. Moreover, human exposure to microplastic contaminants is possible and may affect consumer health in long-term exposure.
... It was observed that the bioaccumulation of MPs in an organism is highly dependent on the size and shape of the particles, as smaller particles are easily ingested as compared to the larger particles (Cole et al., 2013). Upon entry, fragmentation of MPs into smaller particles (NPs) in different organisms including Antarctic krill (Dawson et al., 2018), Engraulis japonicus (Tanaka and Takada, 2016) and amphipod Gammarus duebeni (Mateos-Cárdenas et al., 2020) was observed, which could pave the way for rapid translocation to other organs or tissue (Hu et al., 2016;Magni et al., 2018). On the other hand, the depuration process exploits the filtering activity of aquatic organisms resulting in the explosion of contaminants in the intestine (Xu et al., 2020). ...
... Recent studies demonstrated that several aquatic organisms disintegrate the plastic particles upon entry, these fragments/residues can be easily translocation to other organs or tissue (Dawson et al., 2018;Tanaka and Takada, 2016;Mateos-Cárdenas et al., 2020;Hu et al., 2016;Magni et al., 2018). As mentioned above, mosquitoes may digest the accumulated NPs immediately after emergence and until blood feeding. ...
Single-use plastics (SUPs) have become an essential constituent of our daily life. It is being exploited in numerous pharmaceutical and healthcare applications. Despite their advantages and widespread use in the pharma and medical sectors, the potential clinical problems of plastics, especially the release of micro-nanoplastics (MNPs) and additives from medical plastics (e.g. bags, containers, and administrative sets) and sorption of drugs remain understudied. Certainly, the MNPs are multifaceted stressors that cause detrimental effects to the ecosystem and human health. The origin and persistence of MNPs in pharmaceutical products, their administration to humans, endurance and possible health implication, translocation, and excretion have not been reviewed in detail. The prime focus of this article is to conduct a systematic review on the leaching of MNPs and additives from pharmaceutical containers/administrative sets and their interaction with the pharmaceutical constituents. This review also explores the primary and secondary routes of MNPs entry from healthcare plastic products and their potential health hazards to humans. Furthermore, the fate of plastic waste generated in hospitals, their disposal, and associated MNPs release to the environment, along with preventive, and alternative measures are discussed herein.
... 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). ...
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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.
... A major shortcoming of several studies is the obvious discrepancy between concentrations of MP seen in the environment and those applied in exposure experiments [15,16]. In the present study, the average concentration of 13 particles in the gastrointestinal tract per fish (equivalent to an MP particle weight of 0.14 mg per diet portion) in the "low exposure" group are comparable to those frequently detected in environmental fish samples [10,56,57]. Furthermore, the use of consistent MP concentrations, and a reduced exposure schedule (every 2 days), ensured that the present experiments reflected natural conditions as closely as possible. ...
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The pollution of the environment with microplastics (MPs) is affecting aquatic organisms worldwide, and yet intensive research, has thus far failed to deliver an adequate understanding of the detrimental effects of MP ingestion by fish. Investigations using established health and performance parameters are often insufficient to determine MP toxicity, especially when considering MPs in environmentally relevant concentrations. In the present study, label-free quantitative (LFQ) proteomics of liver tissue was combined with gene expression analysis in order to investigate the long-term effects of MP exposure on rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). With the help of a specially designed diet, two groups of fish were exposed for 120 days to environmentally relevant concentrations of MPs (on average 13 particles per fish, every 2 days) and to slightly increased levels representing those expected in the near future (on average 73 MP particles per fish, every 2 days). Both groups were compared to a control. The results provide evidence that long-term exposure to MPs has a dose-dependent negative effect on the performance of rainbow trout. No differences in blood glucose level, hematocrit level or lipid peroxidation were observed between treatments. The proteomic analysis revealed 6071 unique proteins, but no significant change in hepatic protein concentrations compared to their matching controls, although certain proteins appear to have been up- or down-regulated multifold and should be considered in continuing experiments. When comparing highly regulated proteins with the levels of their respective mRNA transcripts, a good correlation was observed just for “differentially regulated trout protein 1”, encoded by drtp1. This may therefore be a suitable biomarker for future studies with trout. Several hypotheses were put forward to explain the observed differences in growth: nutrient dilution, caused by increased amounts of non-digestible material in the diet, and growth effects due to differences in diet quality could be excluded. Physical interference of MPs with the gastrointestinal tract are also unlikely, as fish are regularly exposed to particulate matter in natural environments and previous studies did not find evidence of such interferences. Instead, indirect detrimental effects of MPs, either due to their hydrophobic surface properties or the presence of certain additives, could cause allergic reactions, microbiota dysbiosis or general stress responses. Although no clear cause for the reduced growth was identified, the current study demonstrates the potential utility of omics approaches when dealing with such a complex question. Future studies should extend analyses to the gastrointestinal tract and associated tissues. It should be ensured that the MP exposure is realistic and that the duration of the experiments covers several months. Direct evidence of a significant negative influence of long-term exposure to realistic and near-future MP concentrations on fish highlight the importance of measures to prevent a further increase of MPs in the environment.
... A major shortcoming of several studies is the obvious discrepancy between concentrations of MP seen in the environmental and those applied in exposure experiments (de Sá et al. 2018;Lenz et al. 2016). In the present study, concentrations of around 14 particles in the gastrointestinal tract per fish in the "low exposure" group are comparable to those frequently detected in environmental fish samples (Collard et al. 2019;Parker et al. 2021;Tanaka & Takada 2016). Furthermore, the use of consistent MP concentrations, and a reduced exposure schedule (every two days), ensured that the present experiments reflected natural conditions as closely as possible. ...
Pollution of the environment with plastic waste has long been an ignored issue, but is now considered a major global threat to aquatic systems and their inhabitants. Microplastics, comprising plastic fragments, beads, and fibers smaller than 5 mm, are detected in rivers, lakes and oceans all over the world. Due to their small size, they can be ingested by a wide range of aquatic organisms, including teleost fish. To date, little is known about how severely native freshwater fish species are affected by microplastics. There is also limited knowledge about how the differing gastrointestinal morphologies and foraging strategies of fish affect the uptake mechanisms and the retention time of microplastics. The aim of the thesis was to tackle some of these knowledge gaps in order to better understand the interaction of fish with microplastics in freshwater systems. First, a new method for the detection of microplastics in fish was developed, which allowed efficient and rapid (<1 h) digestion of the entire fish gastrointestinal tract, and included an optional density separation step to reduce mineral components. (Manuscript I). This novel method made it possible to reliably and rapidly examine a large number of samples, allowing a large-scale analysis of microplastic burden in fish. This method was then used to investigate the microplastic burden of native fish species across the German state of Baden-Württemberg (Manuscript II). The overall burden of microplastics was found to be low, with an average prevalence of ~19 % and an intensity of between one and four particles per individual. Several relevant biotic and abiotic factors, such as sampling site and trophic state, were shown to have only a minor influence on microplastic burden. The results also revealed a major limitation with currently available microplastic detection methods: particles <40 μm could not be reliably detected in the gastrointestinal tract of the examined fish. However, by using the dataset acquired in this thesis it was possible to calculate the theoretical total microplastic burden in local fish with a size distribution analysis. It was found that as particle size decreases, particle concentration increases – with a power law growth fit likely indicating that over 95 % of all microplastic particles in fish are currently being excluded from collected data. This means that only a fraction of the potential size spectrum of microplastics can currently be considered in research data. It is still not fully understood how microplastics are taken up by fish. To gain a more holistic understanding of microplastic uptake pathways, pre-existing and recently developed theories were explored through a number of practical and theoretical approaches (Manuscript III). Four fish species (rainbow trout(Oncorhynchus mykiss), grayling (Thymallus thymallus), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), crucian carp (Carassius carassius)), representing different foraging styles and domestic status, were exposed to a range of particles (varying by type and colour) with or without the provision of food; the abundance of microplastics was subsequently determined in their gastrointestinal tract. These experiments revealed that visually-orientated fish ingest microplastics actively and/or accidentally with their food much more frequently than fish that are chemosensory-orientated. In addition to the microplastic concentration in the water and fish size, the colour of the plastic particles played an important role in uptake: particles were taken up significantly more often if they resembled the colour of the food. By contrast, chemosensory foraging fish were able to discriminate larger plastic particles, and only ingested microplastics on occasion, by chance. At smaller particle sizes, uptake pathways other than feeding become more relevant; statistical models showed that in large marine fish species, notable amounts of microplastics were ingested simply through drinking. Finally, these experiments showed for the first time that domestication plays an important role in the uptake of microplastics. Relative to wild fish, farmed fish discriminated less between differently coloured plastic particles, and were more likely to actively ingest microplastics when no food source was available. The next step was to investigate the duration that microplastic particles remained in the gastrointestinal tract of fish (Manuscript IV). A special diet was developed that contained differently sized microplastic particles. The number of retained particles in the gastrointestinal tract was determined up to 72 h after administration in two fish species (rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), common carp (Cyprinus carpio)) that have distinct gastrointestinal morphologies. The laboratory experiments showed size-dependent differences in the T50 value (time at which 50 % of the particles are excreted) of plastic particles in fish with a true stomach; particles with a size of ~1000 μm were excreted approximately three times faster than particles with a size of ~40 μm. In fish without a stomach, the differences were substantially smaller, suggesting purely passive excretion with the chyme. It was thus concluded that the morphology of the gastrointestinal tract plays a vital role in the retention of microplastics, and that large plastic particles must be actively excreted in fish with a true stomach. Finally, controlled laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate whether realistic microplastic concentrations have detrimental short- and long-term effects on fish (Manuscript V). In addition to an analysis of established performance and health parameters, the entire rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) liver proteome was examined and the results confirmed with the help of gene expression analysis. Two groups of fish were exposed to a realistic current environmental concentration of microplastics, and a slightly elevated microplastic concentration that reflects expected microplastic exposure levels in the near future. These two groups were then compared with a control group (no exposure to microplastics) after 120 days of continuous exposure. Microplastic exposure was shown to have a significant dose-dependent effect on growth and other performance parameters (i.e. specific growth rate, feed conversion rate). There were no significant differences in blood glucose, hematocrit levels and oxidative stress levels between the groups. The proteomic analysis identified over 6000 proteins, but no clear difference in their regulation or correlation with gene expression was found between treatments. However, a number of single proteins and their respective transcripts were identified as potential biomarkers for future studies. The results therefore conclusively showed that even low microplastic concentrations have a notable impact on fish with long-term exposure. Importantly, they provide the basis for future investigations of microplastic effects on health, and demonstrates the potential of novel state-of-the-art methods that are now emerging in the field.
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Microplastics (MPs; <5 mm) in the biosphere draws public concern about their potential health impacts. Humans are potentially exposed to MPs via ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Ingestion and inhalation are the two major exposure pathways. An adult may consume approximately 5.1×10³ items from table salts and up to 4.1×10⁴ items via drinking water annually. Meanwhile, MP inhalation intake ranges from 0.9×10⁴ to 7.9×10⁴ items per year. The intake of MPs would be further distributed in different tissues and organs of humans depending on their sizes. The excretion has been discussed with the possible clearance ways (e.g., urine and feces). The review summarized the absorption, distribution, metabolic toxicity and excretion of MPs together with the attached chemicals. Moreover, the potential implications on humans are also discussed from in vitro and in vivo studies, and connecting the relationship between the physicochemical properties and the potential risks. This review will contribute to a better understanding of MPs as culprits and/or vectors linking to potential human health hazards, which will help outline the promising areas for further revealing the possible toxicity pathways.
In this study, we elucidated the desorption potency of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) sorbed on microplastics (MP; polyethylene) in the digestive tract of two fish species: gastric red seabream and agastric mummichog. In our in vitro assay system using the real gut sample of unexposed fish, the digestive tract was firstly removed from the fish and divided into three parts. Then, MP that had previously been sorbed with 16 PAHs were incubated with extracts of the gut contents or tissue with buffer or only a buffer. The desorption potency of PAHs was individually assessed for gut contents and tissue, which revealed that PAH desorption from MP was elevated in extracts of the gut contents compared with that in the buffer alone for both fish species. PAH desorption potency was the highest in the midgut for gastric red seabream and in the foregut for agastric mummichog, which indicates that PAH desorption from MP varies among different parts of the digestive tract and among fish with distinct gut morphology. In the midgut contents of red seabream and foregut contents of mummichog, the desorption fraction was 5.6% and 8.1% of the total PAHs sorbed on MP, respectively. The desorption fraction enhancement achieved by adding gut contents extracts tended to be greater with an increase in the n-octanol/water partition ratio, suggesting that enhancement of the desorption fraction in the digestive tract depends on the physicochemical properties of PAHs. Thus, morphological differences in digestive tracts and PAH properties should be considered when evaluating the effect of MP vector on pollutant exposure in fish.
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Global production of plastic materials has grown rapidly over the past 66 years. This increase in production and consumption led to an increase the plastic waste, most of which enters aquatic systems. In the marine environment, plastic particles can remain for more than 50 years creating potential hazards to the aquatic organisms. However, by mechanical and optical degradation, they gradually break down into smaller particles known microplastics. Microplastics, in the last decades as emerging and lesser-known pollutants, have attracted the attention of many researchers. These pollutants are plastics having a diameter less than 5 mm, which enter the marine environment in various ways and endanger aquatic organisms. Studies show that plastics in the marine systems destroy thousands of aquatic vertebrates. Researchers reported the most severe effect of microplastics in marine environments is the absorption of chemical contaminants, which cause the environmental stability of these materials. This study reviews the recent finding of researchers regarding microplastics and some of their effects on aquatic organisms.
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Abstract: We investigated the occurrence of microplastics in samples of borehole drinking water and sediments obtained from borehole sites in Lagos Island, Nigeria. The samples were digested with hydrogen peroxide, pretreated, and filtered through a polytetrafluoroethylene membrane. The filtered microplastics were examined/analyzed under an attenuated total reflection Fourier‐transformed infrared device, to quantify the microplastics. The results showed the presence of microplastics in drinking water and sediments from the sites, with plastic concentrations ranging from 206 to 1691 itemsm−3 and 9–47 items kg−1 for drinking water and sediments, respectively; polypropylene was the most common and was approximately 61.9% for borehole drinking water. In terms of shape distribution, plastic fragments were the highest, at 73.02%. The detected microplastics had a size range of 0.02–0.5 mm. In addition, sites with a lower percentage of microplastics had lower population densities and lower industrial activity, whereas areas of high industrial activity had high amounts of microplastics. Environ Toxicol Chem 2022;00:1–11. © 2022 SETAC
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The prevalence of microplastics (<5 mm) in natural environments has become a widely recognised global problem. Microplastics have been shown to sorb chemical pollutants from their surrounding environment, thus raising concern as to their role in the movement of these pollutants through the food chain. This experiment investigated whether organic pollutants sorbed to microbeads (MBs) from personal care products were assimilated by fish following particle ingestion. Rainbow fish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) were exposed to MBs with sorbed PBDEs (BDE-28, -47, -100, -99, -153, -154, -183 200 ng g-1; BDE-209 2000 ng g-1) and sampled at 0, 21, 42 and 63 days along with two control treatments (Food Only and Food + Clean MBs). Exposed fish had significantly higher ∑8PBDE concentrations than both control treatments after just 21 days, and continued exposure resulted in increased accumulation of the pollutants over the experiment (ca. 115 pg g-1 ww d-1). Lower brominated congeners showed highest assimilation whereas higher brominated congeners did not appear to transfer, indicating they may be too strongly sorbed to the plastic or unable to be assimilated by the fish due to large molecular size or other factors. Seemingly against this trend, however, BDE-99 did not appear to bioaccumulate in the fish, which may be due to partitioning from the MBs or that it was metabolised in vivo. This work provides evidence that MBs from personal care products are capable of transferring sorbed pollutants to fish that ingest them.
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Microplastics result from fragmentation of plastic debris or are released to the environment as preproduction pellets or components of consumer and industrial products. In the oceans, they contribute to the 'great garbage patches'. They are ingested by many organisms, from protozoa to baleen whales, and pose a threat to the aquatic fauna. Although as much as 80% of marine debris originates from land, little attention was given to the role of rivers as debris pathways to the sea. Worldwide, not a single great river has yet been studied for the surface microplastics load over its length. We report the abundance and composition of microplastics at the surface of the Rhine, one of the largest European rivers. Measurements were made at 11 locations over a stretch of 820 km. Microplastics were found in all samples, with 892,777 particles km(-2) on average. In the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, a peak concentration of 3.9 million particles km(-2) was measured. Microplastics concentrations were diverse along and across the river, reflecting various sources and sinks such as waste water treatment plants, tributaries and weirs. Measures should be implemented to avoid and reduce the pollution with anthropogenic litter in aquatic ecosystems.
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To investigate concentrations of pelagic micro- (<5mm in size) and mesoplastics (>5mm) in the East Asian seas around Japan, field surveys using two vessels were conducted concurrently in summer 2014. The total particle count (pieceskm(-2)) was computed based on observed concentrations (piecesm(-3)) of small plastic fragments (both micro- and mesoplastics) collected using neuston nets. The total particle count of microplastics within the study area was 1,720,000pieceskm(-2), 16 times greater than in the North Pacific and 27 times greater than in the world oceans. The proportion of mesoplastics increased upstream of the northeastward ocean currents, such that the small plastic fragments collected in the present surveys were considered to have originated in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea southwest of the study area.
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The ubiquity of anthropogenic debris in hundreds of species of wildlife and the toxicity of chemicals associated with it has begun to raise concerns regarding the presence of anthropogenic debris in seafood. We assessed the presence of anthropogenic debris in fishes and shellfish on sale for human consumption. We sampled from markets in Makassar, Indonesia, and from California, USA. All fish and shellfish were identified to species where possible. Anthropogenic debris was extracted from the digestive tracts of fish and whole shellfish using a 10% KOH solution and quantified under a dissecting microscope. In Indonesia, anthropogenic debris was found in 28% of individual fish and in 55% of all species. Similarly, in the USA, anthropogenic debris was found in 25% of individual fish and in 67% of all species. Anthropogenic debris was also found in 33% of individual shellfish sampled. All of the anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in Indonesia was plastic, whereas anthropogenic debris recovered from fish in the USA was primarily fibers. Variations in debris types likely reflect different sources and waste management strategies between countries. We report some of the first findings of plastic debris in fishes directly sold for human consumption raising concerns regarding human health.
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Microplastic contamination of the marine environment is a worldwide concern. The abundance of microplastics was evaluated in the sea surface microlayer in Jinhae Bay, on the southern coast of Korea. The microplastics in this study are divided into paint resin particles and plastics by polymer type. The mean abundance of paint resin particles (94 ± 68 particles/L) was comparable to that of plastics (88 ± 68 particles/L). Fragmented microplastics, including paint resin particles, accounted for 75 % of total particles, followed by spherules (14 %), fibers (5.8 %), expanded polystyrene (4.6 %), and sheets (1.6 %). Alkyd (35 %) and poly(acrylate/styrene) (16 %) derived from ship paint resin were dominant, and the other microplastic samples consisted of polypropylene, polyethylene, phenoxy resin, polystyrene, polyester, synthetic rubber, and other polymers. The abundance of plastics was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in Jinhae Bay, which is surrounded by a coastal city, than along the east coast of Geoje, which is relatively open sea. The floating microplastic abundance in surface water was the highest reported worldwide.
Yarns which are used for manufacturing technical textile products are known as technical yarns. These yarns are designed primarily to meet some technical requirements of a product. Yarns used for apparel are excluded. Technical yarns have been classified according to their structural form and the raw material used in their manufacture. A brief outline of the production techniques is given. Yarn geometry and response to tensile deformation are discussed. Properties expected from this structure and form are analysed. Application and market potential are also reported.
Plastic ingestion by marine biota has been reported for a variety of different taxa. In this study, we investigated 290 gastrointestinal tracts of demersal (cod, dab and flounder) and pelagic fish species (herring and mackerel) from the North and Baltic Sea for the occurrence of plastic ingestion. In 5.5% of all investigated fishes, plastic particles were detected, with 74% of all particles being in the microplastic (<5mm) size range. The polymer types of all found particles were analysed by means of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Almost 40% of the particles consisted of polyethylene (PE). In 3.4% of the demersal and 10.7% of the pelagic individuals, plastic ingestion was recorded, showing a significantly higher ingestion frequency in the pelagic feeders. The condition factor K was calculated to test differences in the fitness status between individuals with and without ingested plastic, but no direct effect was detected.
This chapter covers how you can identify key fibres used in fashion and textiles and understand the key properties and characteristics of fibres. A review of the different fibre types is given. You will learn how the key properties of fibres can be correlated with their key characteristics and how this can affect end-user requirements.