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Abstract

Salt marshes in urban watersheds are prone to microplastics (MP) pollution due to their hydrological characteristics and exposure to urban runoff, but little is known about MP distributions in species from these habitats. In the current study, MP occurrence was determined in six benthic invertebrate species from salt marshes along the North Adriatic lagoons (Italy) and the Schelde estuary (Netherlands). The species represented different feeding modes and sediment localisation. 96% of the analysed specimens (330) did not contain any MP, which was consistent across different regions and sites. Suspension and facultative deposit-feeding bivalves exhibited a lower MP occurrence (0.5-3%) relative to omnivores (95%) but contained a much more variable distribution of MP sizes, shapes and polymers. The study provides indications that MP physicochemical properties and species' ecological traits could all influence MP exposure, uptake and retention in benthic organisms inhabiting European salt marsh ecosystems.

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... Commercially available PP and PS cryogenically grinded fragments Fragments were chosen to mimic as much as possible environmentally-relevant MP typologies, and PP, PS and PA were chosen as three of the most common MP polymers found in Mediterranean waters and in biota, including M. galloprovincialis, in our sampling area (Piarulli et al., 2020b;Suaria et al., 2016). ...
... To evaluate the applicability of the NIR-HSI method to real samples at environmentally relevant MP amounts, the same processing without the addition of external MP was applied to 3 real samples of mussels not subjected to prior depuration. Given that the MP content per mussel, in this close coastal area, was estimated to be lower than 1 MP particle per individual (Piarulli et al., 2020b), a pool of soft tissue from 5 mussels was analysed following the same protocol of the spiked samples, but using 100 mL of 1 M KOH, as the quantity of tissue to be digested was higher. Additionally, to allow methodological comparability with the spiked test samples, the total amount of digestate to be analysed with NIR-HSI was split onto 5 filters, which. ...
... The particle was well localised in the hyperspectral image of the filter, presenting a peculiar filament shape with the approximate dimension of 1 mm × 0.1 mm. Fibres and filaments are one the most frequent particles type detected in samples from the coastal area of Ravenna possibly deriving from urban wastewater effluents or from the degradation of nets and ropes used for fishing purposes (Piarulli et al, 2019(Piarulli et al, , 2020b. ...
Article
Contamination by microplastics (MP) represents a critical environmental challenge with potential consequences at ecosystem, economic and societal levels. As the marine system is the final sink for MP, there is an urgent need to develop methods for the monitoring of synthetic particles in different marine compartments and sample matrices. Extensive evaluations are hindered by time and costs associated with to conventional MP spectroscopic analyses. The potential of near infrared hyperspectral imaging (NIR-HSI) has been recently evaluated. However, NIR-HSI has been poorly studied so far, limitedly to the detection of large particles (>300 μm), and its capability for direct characterization of MP in real marine matrices has not been considered yet. In the present study, a rapid near infrared hyperspectral imaging (NIR-HSI) method, coupled with a customised normalised difference image (NDI) strategy for data processing, is presented and used to detect MP down to 50 μm in environmental matrices. The proposed method is largely automated, without the need for extensive data processing, and enabled a successful identification of different polymers, both in surface water and mussel soft tissue samples, as well as on real field samples with environmentally occurring MP. NIR-HSI is applied directly on filters, without the need for particles pre-sorting or multiple sample purifications, avoiding time consuming procedures, airborne contaminations, particle degradation and loss. Thanks to the time and cost effectiveness, a large-scale implementation of this method would enable to extensively monitor the MP presence in natural environments for assessing the ecological risk related to MP contamination.
... Mussels are called "true surface dwellers" and the organisms here analysed came from suspended culture attached to the substratum, by threads or "byssus" (Piarulli et al., 2020;FAO, 2022). Mussels showed higher MPs concentration (wet weight) compared to other species as wedge clams, snails and oysters (razor clam showed only differences in fragments concentrations). ...
... The highest MPs values by individuals were observed in wild mussels (Mytilus edulis) from Nova Scotia (Halifax-Harbor), Canada, with levels ranging between 34 and 178 MPs/individuals (Mathalon and Hill, 2014). However, the levels of MPs by individuals of molluscs purchased from markets of Catalonia coast tend to be higher than molluscs from (Naji et al., 2018;Ding et al., 2018Ding et al., , 2020Li et al., 2015;Cho et al., 2019;Piarulli et al., 2020;Digka et al., 2018: Phuong et al., 2018Li et al., 2018;Bråte et al., 2018;Covernton et al., 2019). Morphology distribution and sizes range of MPs in molluscs from the Catalonia coast were similar than those found in China, South Korea, Iran, North Sea, Canada, the Atlantic coast of Spain, and Tunisia (Ding et al., 2018(Ding et al., , 2020Cho et al., 2019;Naji et al., 2018;Abidli et al., 2019;Leslie et al., 2017;Covernton et al., 2019;Reguera et al., 2019). ...
... According to the MPs composition, Catalonia molluscs presented the same polymers found in molluscs from China, South Korea, UK, coastal lagoons of North Adriatic, Tunisia and Canada (Ding et al., 2020;Cho et al., 2019;Abidli et al., 2019;Covernton et al., 2019;Li et al., 2018;Piarulli et al., 2020). Predominant polymers found in the current investigation (PE and PES) were the same than those reported in South Korea, United Kingdom and the Adriatic Sea (Cho et al., 2019;Li et al., 2018;Piarulli et al., 2020). ...
Article
Microplastics (MPs) are accessible for organisms with active filter feeding strategies, as are many marine molluscs, which live attached or semi-buried in sediments. In the present study, MPs (from 0.02 to 5 mm) concentration, morphology, and composition were determined in consumed mollusc species of the Catalan coast (NW Mediterranean Sea). Microplastic concentrations, morphologic characteristics and composition were studied according to species, catchment zones and depuration condition. Finally, human intake of MPs through molluscs' consumption was determined. >2300 individuals were analysed, being 1460 MPs extracted and their size, and polymeric composition registered. Big oysters and mussels showed the highest MPs concentration by individual, with levels of 22.8 ± 14.4 and 18.6 ± 23.0 MPs/individual, respectively. Mean annual MPs (≥20 μm) consumption for adult population was estimated in 8103 MPs/year, with a 95th percentile of 19,418 MPs/year. It suggests that the consumption of molluscs is an important route of MPs exposure for the Catalan population.
... Research has reported the ingestion of MP by aquatic biota across multiple levels of the trophic chain (Ivleva et al., 2017), and its direct trophic transfer from prey to predators (Chagnon et al., 2018;Farrell and Nelson, 2013;Nelms et al., 2018), with also a potential risk of accumulation of associated chemical contaminants across the food web (Carbery et al., 2018;Diepens and Koelmans, 2018;Teuten et al., 2009). The average number of MP found in each organism, however, is usually low (<1 MP/organism), particularly in invertebrate species (Carbery et al., 2018;Desforges et al., 2015;Devriese et al., 2015;Neves et al., 2015;Piarulli et al., 2020;Van Cauwenberghe and Janssen, 2014). This low MP content could be related to little retention in organisms due to egestion (Le Guen et al., 2020;Piarulli et al., 2019Piarulli et al., ,2020Ward et al., 2019). ...
... The average number of MP found in each organism, however, is usually low (<1 MP/organism), particularly in invertebrate species (Carbery et al., 2018;Desforges et al., 2015;Devriese et al., 2015;Neves et al., 2015;Piarulli et al., 2020;Van Cauwenberghe and Janssen, 2014). This low MP content could be related to little retention in organisms due to egestion (Le Guen et al., 2020;Piarulli et al., 2019Piarulli et al., ,2020Ward et al., 2019). Therefore, direct MP trophic transfer via predator-prey interactions could be relatively limited compared to the so far largely underestimated detrital pathway via organic-rich marine deposits of faecal matter accumulated at the seafloor Au et al., 2017). ...
... 20 mm, which is within the size range detectable in field samples, indicate very fast MP ingestion-egestion rates both by mussels and polychaetes, and very little retention in the soft tissue (<20% contaminated mussels). These findings are consistent with previously reported values by Ward et al. (2019) for M. edulis, by Piarulli et al. (2020) for various invertebrate species including M. galloprovincialis, and by Mazurais et al. (2015) for fish larvae. This evidence allows the conclusion that direct trophic transfer of MP ! ...
Article
Microplastics (MP) are omnipresent contaminants in the oceans, however little is known about the MP transfer between marine compartments and species. Three connected laboratory experiments using the filter-feeding mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the omnivorous polichaete Hediste diversicolor were conducted to evaluate whether the filtering action by mussels affects the vertical transfer of MP of different sizes (MPSMALL = 41 μm; MPLARGE = 129 μm) and densities (polyamide and polypropylene) across compartments and species with different feeding modes. Mussels significantly removed MP from the water column by incorporating them into biodeposits. This effect was particularly evident for the MPSMALL, whose deposition from the water column to the bottom was enhanced (about 15%) by the action of mussels. The incorporation of MP into faecal pellets increased the particles' sinking velocity by about 3–4 orders of magnitude. Conversely, the MP presence significantly decreased the depositional velocities of faecal pellets, and the magnitude of this effect was greater with increasing MP size and decreasing density. The MP incorporation into mussels’ biodeposits also more than doubled the amount of MP uptake by H. diversicolor. We conclude that detrital pathways could be a transfer route of MP across marine compartments and food webs, potentially affecting the distribution of MP in sediments and creating hot-spots of bioavailable MP.
... The use of chemical digestion methods with KOH, H 2 O 2 , NaOH or HNO 3 was very common (79% of 28 reviewed studies) (Tables 3 and 4). Enzymatic digestion was also used to analyze MPs in the digestive tract of crabs, being more expensive and with a higher risk of contamination in the laboratory process than KOH digestion (Piarulli et al. 2020). However, these methods have impeded the study of the natural (organic) food from the gut contents (e.g., fish), which can provide very important information about the color, sizes, and types of natural food items (Ory et al., 2017;Fernández-Ojeda et al., 2021). ...
... Several mechanisms can also lead low specific density MPs to ultimately sink and accumulate in bottom sediments. These ballasting mechanisms include biofouling and colonization by organisms, mineral adsorption, and ingestion by organisms and subsequent deposition within feces, amongst others (Piarulli et al., 2020;Qian et al., 2021;Xi et al., 2022). MPs in sediments within shallow lagoons can be easily resuspended and returned to the water column by the effect of bioturbation and other both natural and human− driven sediment disturbing processes such as wind and precipitation events, or boat traffic and bottom− touching fishing, eventually favored by the buoyancy of plastic particles themselves (Qian et al., 2021). ...
... This focus is understandable given that coastal lagoons are areas of high production of seafood, which is an important nutrition source for the lagoon coastal communities Badylak et al., 2021;Calderón et al. 2019;Garcés-Ordóñez et al., 2022). Although progress has been made in understanding MP dynamics in lagoons, the reviewed studies indicated the relevance of, specifically, advancing knowledge on processes that influence MP distribution (e.g., Chico-Ortiz et al., 2020;Cozzolino et al., 2020;Piarulli et al., 2020;Badylak et al., 2021), absorption of organic and inorganic pollutants by MPs (e.g., Fred-Ahmadu et al., 2022a, 2022bOlarinmoyec et al., 2020), bacterial hosts harboring antibiotic resistance genes (e.g., Sun et al., 2021), bioaccumulation and biomagnification (e.g., Waite et al., 2018;Renzi et al., 2020;Sfriso et al., 2021), physiological responses (e.g., Ding et al., 2019;Dantas et al., 2019;Illif et al. 2020;Cozzolino et al., 2021;Lin et al., 2021), the role of plant communities as potential MP sinks (e.g., Cozzolino et al., 2020), and bioindicators of MP pollution (e.g., Wakkaf et al., 2020b;Renzi et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Coastal lagoons are transitional environments between continental and marine aquatic systems. Globally, coastal lagoons are of great ecological and socioeconomic importance as providers of valuable ecosystem services. However, these fragile environments are subject to several human pressures, including pollution by microplastics (MPs). The aim of this review was to identify and summarize advances in MP pollution research in coastal lagoons across the world. We consider peer-reviewed publications on this topic published in English and Spanish between 2000 and April 21, 2022, available in Scopus and Google Scholar. We found 57 publications with data on MP abundances and their characteristics in 50 coastal lagoons from around the world, 58% of which have some environmental protection status. The number of publications on this type of pollution in lagoons has increased significantly since 2019. Methodological differences amongst studies of MPs in coastal lagoons were nevertheless a limiting factor for wide-ranging comparisons. Most studies (77%) were conducted in single environmental compartments, and integration was limited, hampering current understanding of MP dynamics in such lagoons. MPs were more abundant in lagoons with highly populated shores and watersheds, which support intensive human activities. On the contrary, lagoons in natural protected areas had lower abundances of MPs, mostly in sediments and organisms. Fiber/filament and fragment shapes, and polyethylene, polyester, and polypropylene polymers were predominant. MPs had accumulated in certain areas of coastal lagoons, or had been exported to the sea, depending on the influence of seasonal weather, hydrodynamics, anthropogenic pressures, and typology of MPs. It is advised that future research on MP pollution in coastal lagoons should focus on methodological aspects, assessment/monitoring of pollution itself, MP dynamics and impacts, and prevention measures as part of a sound environmental management.
... Several studies have been conducted on the MPs ingestion by polychaetes in various parts of the world 20,25,44,45 , while in the Mediterranean Sea few studies have been conducted on this. These latest studies have examined the ingestion of microfibres in annelid species of Saccocirrus (Bobretzky, 1872) 22 , MPs in seaworms (Muller, 1776) 23 and MPs occurrence in six benthic invertebrate species, including the polychaete Hediste diversicolor 24 . ...
... There are different methods and protocols to detect MPs within of the polychaetes, some of them involve the digestion of the whole organism 12,20,[23][24][25] . In fact, to isolate MPs present in marine organisms can be challenging because the plastic may be hidden by biological materials, therefore most procedures involve the digestion of organic matter 26 . ...
... Instead, in Mediterranean Sea there are few studies concerning that subject 23,24 . This work is the first to investigate the presence of microplastics in the polychaetes S. spallanzanii and H. carunculata from their natural habitat, in the Mediterranean Sea. ...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastics represent an important issue of concern for marine ecosystems worldwide, and closed seas, such as the Mediterranean, are among the most affected by this increasing threat. These pollutants accumulate in large quantities in benthic environments causing detrimental effects on diverse biocenoses. The main focus of this study is on the ‘polychaetes-microplastics’ interactions, particularly on two species of benthic polychaetes with different ecology and feeding strategies: the sessile and filter feeder Sabella spallanzanii (Gmelin, 1791) and the vagile carnivorous Hermodice carunculata (Pallas, 1766). Since not standardized protocols are proposed in literature to date, we compared efficiencies of diverse common procedures suitable for digesting organic matter of polychaetes. After the definition of an efficient digestion protocol for microplastics extraction for both polychaetes, our results showed high microplastics ingestion in both species. Microplastics were found in 42% of individuals of S. spallanzanii, with a mean of 1 (± 1.62) microplastics per individual, in almost all individuals of H. carunculata (93%), with a mean of 3.35 (± 2.60). These significant differences emerged between S. spallanzanii and H. carunculata, is probably due to the diverse feeding strategies. The susceptibility to this pollutant makes these species good bioindicators of the impact of microplastics on biota.
... The plastic particles have been detected in several aquatic environments and in wild conditions in fish, mussels and other species of polychaetes, as already documented by several authors (Li et al., 2015;Vandermeersch et al., 2015;Digka et al., 2018;Qu et al., 2018;Fernández and Albentosa, 2019;Li et al., 2019). MP in S. plana have also been recently reported (Piarulli et al., 2020). A total of 502 MP was recorded in all the 474 individuals analyzed, and their size varied from 73 to 4,680 μm. ...
... Blue was the most common color registered in MP ingested by clams, probably due to the presence of intensive fish farms (Caeiro et al., 2005) using blue fishing nets. Piarulli et al. (2020) studied the presence of MP in different salt marsh species, in which 10 S. plana were sampled from the Schelde estuary in the Netherlands. One MP was found in the S. plana sample: a polyacrylonitrile fiber. ...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastics (MP) have been confirmed as emerging pollutants in the marine environment due to their ubiquity, bioavailability, persistence and potential toxicity. This study contributes with valuable data regarding the abundance and characteristics of the MP found in five species collected from Portugal. The mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (n = 140) was collected from the Tagus estuary and Porto Covo coastal area, the peppery furrow shell Scrobicularia plana (n = 140) and the polychaete Marphysa sanguinea (n = 30) both from the Sado estuary, and Trachurus trachurus (n = 82) and Scomber colias (n = 82) fished off Figueira da Foz and Sesimbra. Soft tissues of all individuals were digested using a KOH (10%) solution, which allowed the extraction of MP. All studied species presented MP. In a total of 502 MP observed from all samples, 80% were fibers and 20% were fragments, with a size range of 73 μm–4,680 μm and blue was the most common color recorded (46%). The frequency of occurrence of MP was higher in T. trachurus (70%) and lowest in M. sanguinea (17%). MP abundance ranged from 0.30 ± 0.63 MP. ind−1 in S. plana, to 2.46 ± 4.12 MP. ind−1 in S. colias. No significant correlation was found between the individual biometric parameters and total MP, fibers and fragments ingested by each species. The FTIR analysis revealed that polyester and polyethylene were the most common polymers present. These results can be used as a reference for future studies regarding the use of indicator species for monitoring MP pollution in the coast of Portugal.
... This was known as the first study on Z. marina to identify microplastics [35]. Piarulli et al. (2020) confirmed the presence of microplastics in salt marshes and 96% of the 330 samples analyzed did not contain microplastics. Suspension and facultative deposit-feeding bivalves (0.5-3%) contains a little compared with omnivores (95%). ...
... Suspension and facultative deposit-feeding bivalves (0.5-3%) contains a little compared with omnivores (95%). Although the incidence of MPs was low, the distribution of MP size, shape, and polymer was varied [25]. More studies investigated the presence of microplastics in vegetation, seagrasses and algae in the canopy [36,37]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Microplastic contamination has become a problem, as plastic production has increased worldwide. Microplastics are plastics with particles of less than 5 mm and are absorbed through soil, water, atmosphere, and living organisms and finally affect human health. However, information on the distribution, toxicity, analytical methods, and removal techniques for microplastics is insufficient. For clear microplastic analytical methods and removal technologies, this article includes the following: (1) The distribution and contamination pathways of microplastics worldwide are reviewed. (2) The health effects and toxicity of microplastics were researched. (3) The sampling, pretreatment, and analytical methods of microplastics were all reviewed through various related articles. (4) The various removal techniques of microplastics were categorized by wastewater treatment process, physical treatment, chemical treatment, and biological treatment. This paper will be of great help to microplastic analysis and removal techniques.
... Numerous studies have shown that the highest concentrations of MPs were found in coastal areas near harbours, cities, and industrial sites (Faruk Çullu et al. 2021;Gündoğdu et al. 2018;Tunçer et al. 2018). It is indicated in recent studies that a high level of MPs has been observed in subtidal and marine sediments (Gewert et al. 2017;, intertidal plains (Blumenröder et al. 2017), mangrove habitats (Maghsodian et al. 2021), and salt marsh habitats (Piarulli et al. 2020). These areas can be considered important sinks for MPs. ...
Chapter
The tendency for plastic leakage into the environment is increasing, and researchers struggle to detect the increase of plastic particles in marine environments. However, this situation raises a heated debate about the fate and final destination of missing plastics. The main axis of these discussions is whether the polymer types of plastics are also the determinants of the fate of plastics. It is necessary to know the polymer types of microplastics in all marine environments to understand whether this is so. Most of the studies conducted in this context examine microplastics in sea surface water and on the seabed. Although the highest number of microplastics are found in the seabed and the sea surface water, various studies emphasize that microplastic concentration in coastal ecosystems also increases. The major factor that determines the extent of microplastics in coastal environments is their density and polymer types. Therefore, it is possible that different polymer types of microplastics can be found in different marine compartments depending on their density. This chapter evaluates the presence and diversity of some of the produced microplastics in coastal areas. It can be said that the coastal environments are the main accumulation areas of microplastics, especially for types such as polypropylene and polyethylene, which have the highest production rates.
... Thus, more studies are needed in order to confirm if habitat and trophic group are in fact not significant in influencing MP ingestion. Results in the study by Piarulli et al. (2020) also suggested that MP ingestion is mainly subject to feeding mode. In that same study, omnivorous seemed to be more affected by MP ingestion. ...
Article
In this study, we aimed to identify impacts of plastic ingestion by the ecologically important rocky shore crab Pachygrapsus transversus. We sampled individuals from August 2019 to January 2020 in a reef environment and determined their body condition and diet diversity. In order to test our hypothesis that plastic retention in the foregut is able to decrease the condition factor, we compared it between contaminated and non-contaminated individuals. A correlation test of number of ingested plastic fibres against trophic diversity was made to corroborate the hypothesis that plastic ingestion modifies the feeding patterns. Our results demonstrated that contaminated individuals had lower body condition. Also, we confirmed that debris ingestion can influence feeding patterns. These outcomes were probably linked to starvation and nutrient loss effects. We discussed that this crab is a potential sentinel specie for addressing impacts of solid pollution and a candidate for monitoring plastic contamination in reef environments.
... Six specimens of Mediterranean mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis, Lamarck), collected in Marina di Ravenna (Northern Adriatic Sea, Italy, (44 29 0 32 0.6 00 N, 12 17 0 15.2 00 E), were dissected to separate the soft tissue from the shell. The soft tissues were then digested using 10% potassium hydroxide (KOH), similarly to the method previously reported by Piarulli et al. (2019Piarulli et al. ( , 2020. After an incubation of 24 h at 50 C, 1.5 mg of 10e500 mm low density polyethylene (LDPE) powder, produced by fragmenting LDPE pellets (Goodfellow Cambridge Ltd. ...
Article
Microplastic (MP) contamination is a critical environmental challenge with a strong impact on the ecosystems, economy and potentially for human health. The smaller the MP size, the greater is the environmental risks as well as the analytical difficulties in detecting and characterising the particles. .We propose a rapid near infrared hyperspectral imaging (NIR-HSI) method that enables the chemical identification and characterisation of small MP (down to 80 μm) in aquatic samples, directly on filters, with no pre-sorting step needed. By considerably reducing the procedural steps, the time of analysis and costs our method addresses the urgent need of cost-effective and robust tools for extensive monitoring of MP in natural systems.
... Among the many works on FTIR (Thompson et al., 2004;Kovač Viršek et al., 2016b;Ter Halle et al., 2017;Suaria et al., 2016;Gewert et al., 2017;Zeri et al., 2018;Palatinus et al., 2019;Mai et al., 2018;Rose and Webber, 2019;Tunçer et al., 2018;Baini et al., 2018;de Lucia et al., 2018;Saliu et al., 2018;Rivers et al., 2019;Cabernard et al., 2018;Ter Halle et al., 2016;Kor and Mehdinia, 2020;Savoca et al., 2019;Sun et al., 2018;Tsang et al., 2017;Kataoka et al., 2019;Dikareva and Simon, 2019;Kanhai et al., 2017;Bordós et al., 2019;Cincinelli et al., 2017;Zheng et al., 2019;Mintenig et al., 2017;Liu et al., 2019a;Wang et al., 2019a; Cordova et al., 2019;Talvitie et al., 2017;Covernton et al., 2019;Karlsson et al., 2020;Wang et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2018;Harrison et al., 2012;Vianello et al., 2013;Wang et al., 2019b;Zhang et al., 2019c;Zhang et al., 2020;Mistri et al., 2017;Haave et al., 2019;Kanhai et al., 2019;Hernandez et al., 2017;Mintenig et al., 2018;Déniel et al., 2020;Wu et al., 2019a;Käppler et al., 2016;Ambrosini et al., 2019;Ashton et al., 2010;Avio et al., 2020;Dai et al., 2018;Garaba and Dierssen, 2018;Gomiero et al., 2019;Han et al., 2020;He et al., 2019;Huang et al., 2020;Jiang et al., 2020;Johansen et al., 2019;Jung et al., 2018;Kane et al., 2020;Kedzierski et al., 2019;Li et al., 2020a;Lorenz et al., 2019;Mahon et al., 2017;Mato et al., 2001;Mbedzi et al., 2020;Müller et al., 2020;Munari et al., 2017;Murphy et al., 2016;Nan et al., 2020;Piarulli et al., 2020;Piehl et al., 2019;Renzi and Blašković, 2020;Rios et al., 2007;Ruan et al., 2019;Saygin and Baysal, 2020;Schwabl et al., 2018;Vianello et al., 2018;Wright et al., 2020;Yu et al., 2019;Lefebvre et al., 2019;Constant et al., 2019;Sathish et al., 2019;Abidli et al., 2019;Ziajahromi et al., 2017;Prunier et al., 2019;Liu et al., 2019b;Barrows et al., 2018;Zhou et al., 2018;Lo et al., 2019;Qu et al., 2018;Zhu et al., 2019;Turner et al., 2019;León et al., 2019;Pellini et al., 2018;Li et al., 2018a;Courtene-Jones et al., 2019;Mohsen et al., 2019;Cho et al., 2019;Oliviero et al., 2019;Ariza-Tarazona et al., 2019;Chen et al., 2019;Kunz et al., 2016;Simon et al., 2018;Scheurer and Bigalke, 2018;Giani et al., 2019;Li et al., 2018b;Tagg et al., 2015;Primpke et al., 2017;Primpke et al., 2018;Käppler et al., 2018;Löder et al., 2015;Kühn et al., 2018;Baudrimont, 2020;Elert et al., 2017;Korez et al., 2019;Sun et al., 2017;Piperagkas et al., 2019;Tiwari et al., 2019;Digka et al., 2018;Li et al., 2018c;Á lvarez-Hernández et al., 2019), the one by Harrison et al. (Harrison et al., 2012) reports the development of an optimized method for the micro-FTIR analysis for microplastics in sediments filtered under vacuum. They compared the results obtained with μ-FTIR and ATR-FTIR measurements on samples with defined concentrations of commercial ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE -150 μm granules) prepared in the laboratory. ...
Article
The problem of microplastic pollution is now the order of the day in front of everyone's eyes affecting the environment and the health of leaving creature. This work aims to retrace the history of microplastics in a critical way through a substantial bibliographic collection, defining the points still unresolved and those that can be resolved. Presence of marine litter in different environments is reviewed on a global scale, focusing in particular on micro and macro plastics definition, classification and characterization techniques.
... metabolic and reproductive disorders in fish [11,12], and behavioral/nutritional alterations in invertebrates, like arthropods, annelids, and mollusks [13][14][15]. Besides, recent studies on bivalves report the alterations of cellular, biochemical and ontogenetic pathways, accenting the risks posed by MP on the processes governing the physiological adaptation to external stressors and population recruitment patterns [16][17][18]. A recent paradigm in marine plastic pollution is that the progressive plastic fragmentation to the nanoscale will expose organisms to far more subtle effects than observed for micro-scaled fragments [4]. ...
Article
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The ocean contamination caused by micro-and nano-sized plastics is a matter of increasing concern regarding their potential effects on marine organisms. This study compared the effects of a 21-day exposure to 1.5, 15, and 150 ng/L of polystyrene microplastics (PS-MP, 3-µm) and nanoplastics (PS-NP, 50-nm) on a suite of biomarkers measured in the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovin-cialis. Endpoints encompassed immunological/lysosomal responses, oxidative stress/detoxification parameters, and neurotoxicological markers. Compared to PS-MP, PS-NP induced higher effects on lysosomal parameters of general stress. Exposures to both particle sizes increased lipid per-oxidation and catalase activity in gills; PS-NP elicited greater effects on the phase-II metabolism enzyme glutathione S-transferase and on lysozyme activity, while only PS-MP inhibited the hemocyte phagocytosis, suggesting a major role of PS particle size in modulating immunological/detoxification pathways. A decreased acetylcholinesterase activity was induced by PS-NP, indicating their potential to impair neurological functions in mussels. Biomarker data integration in the Mussel Expert System identified an overall greater health status alteration in mussels exposed to PS-NP compared to PS-MP. This study shows that increasing concentrations of nanoplastics may induce higher effects than microplastics on the mussel's lysosomal, metabolic, and neurological functions, eventually resulting in a greater impact on their overall fitness.
... All data used to calculate MPs abundance were based on the number of plastics observed by visual identification. The data were presented in the forms of both items/individual and items/g fresh weight because the former is the common form for MPs pollution in organisms (Bour et al., 2018;Ory et al., 2018;Cau et al., 2019;Porter et al., 2019;Piarulli et al., 2020) and the latter can eliminate size effect when comparing MPs abundance among sea urchins. ...
Article
Sea urchins serve as an essential niche for benthic ecosystems and are valuable seafood for humans. However, little is known about the microplastics (MPs) accumulation in sea urchins. Here, we investigated the abundances and characteristics of MPs in specific tissues of wild sea urchins for 12 sites across 2, 900 km of coastlines in northern China. Sea urchins from all sites were detected to have MPs, with a total detection rate of 89.52%. The MPs abundance in sea urchins from all sites ranged from 2.20 ± 1.50 to 10.04 ± 8.46 items/individual or 0.16 ± 0.09 to 2.25 ± 1.68 items/g wet weight. The samples from Dalian were found to have the highest value by individual, and samples from Lianyungang had the highest value by gram. Furthermore, MPs were found in different tissues of sea urchins, i.e., gut, coelomic fluid and gonads. The highest abundance of MPs was found in the gut of sea urchins, followed by coelomic fluid and gonads. The size of MPs ranged from 27 to 4742 μm, and the mean size found in gut was bigger than coelomic fluid and gonads. More interestingly, the MPs abundance increased with the decrease of anus size, shell diameter and gonad index (the wet weight ratio to total soft tissues). The MPs were dominated by fiber in shape, blue-green in colour and cellophane in composition. The high MPs abundance in sea urchins indicates the potential risks to human as they are consumed in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia and Europe.
... Many of these studies evaluate the concentration of microplastics in bivalves due to their economic importance and also because they are considered good bioindicators in monitoring coastal pollution (Beyer et al., 2017;Davidson & Dudas, 2016;Hermabessiere et al., 2019;Oehlmann & Schulte-Oehlmann, 2003;Zhu et al., 2020). Besides these, some species are evaluated because they are important links in the food chain, being an item in the diet of many other benthic species (Piarulli et al., 2020;Su et al., 2016). Li et al. (2019a) evaluated the studies that observed the concentration of microplastics in mussels, using them how bioindicators of microplastic pollution. ...
Article
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The aim of this review was to identify the current knowledge regarding the concentration of microplastics in bivalves in the marine, estuarine, and freshwater environments. For this purpose, researches were conducted from September 2020 to February 2021 in the Scopus, Web of Science, and Google scholar databases, following a meticulous selection of articles. To comprehensively understand the selected articles, an extensive review was carried out in order to identify the methodologies employed, sampling sites, species evaluated, characteristics of the microplastics (concentrations, shapes, sizes, and polymers) and their relationship with the concentration of this particles in the environment. A total of 93 articles were selected, with an exponential growth in the number of articles from April 2014 to February 2021. Worldwide, 80 articles were realized in the Northern Hemisphere and thirteen in the Southern Hemisphere. The samplings of organisms were carried out in 36 countries, besides one in Antarctica. The concentration of microplastics were studied in 70 species, with mussels Mytilus spp. and the oysters Crassostrea spp. being the main genus studied. Due to the different methodologies used to digest the tissues of organisms and identify microplastics and species, it is difficult to make comparisons between the results of different studies. In addition, data on the concentrations of microplastics in the environment, as well as their composition and characteristics, are needed, enabling the verification of relationships with the concentrations identified in organisms, which does not occur in most studies. Thus, we suggest an increase in the number of studies to be realized in the southern hemisphere, future studies use the same methodology of digestion, the polymer identification of microplastics and samplings of the surrounding environment, enabling a greater comparison between studies.
... However, they concluded that biomagnification was unlikely because ingestion of MPs had no relationship with resource origin or feeding mode. Piarulli et al. (2020) examined benthic invertebrates from salt marsh sediments in three coastal lagoons on the northern Adriatic coast. They found that only 4% of individuals contained MPs, and the authors were unable to establish a relationship with trophic position. ...
Article
Microplastic (MP) contamination in marine environments is of increasing concern, as plastic particles are globally ubiquitous across ecosystems. A large variety of aquatic taxa ingest MPs, but the extent to which animals accumulate and transfer MPs through food webs is largely unknown. In this study, we quantified MP uptake in bivalves, crabs, echinoderms, and fish feeding at different trophic levels at three sites on southern Vancouver Island. We paired stable isotope food web analysis with MP concentrations in digestive tracts across all trophic levels, and in the fish's livers. We then used Bayesian generalized linear mixed models to explore whether bioaccumulation and biomagnification were occurring. Our results show that MPs (100‐5000 μm along their longest dimension) are not biomagnifying in marine coastal food webs, with no correlation between the digestive tract or fish liver MP concentrations and trophic position of the various species. Ecological traits did, however, affect microplastic accumulation in digestive tracts, with suspension feeder and smaller‐bodied planktivorous fish ingesting more microplastics by body weight. Trophic transfer occurred between prey and predator for rockfish, but higher concentrations in full stomachs compared with empty ones suggested rapid excretion of ingested MPs. Collectively, our findings suggest the movement of MP through marine food webs is facilitated by species‐specific mechanisms, with contamination susceptibility a function of a species biology, not its trophic position. Furthermore, the statistical methods we employ, including machine learning for classifying unknown particles and a probabilistic way to account for background contamination, are universally applicable to the study of microplastics. Our findings advance understanding of how MPs enter and move through aquatic food webs, suggesting that lower trophic level animals are more at risk of ingesting >100‐μm MPs, relative to higher trophic level animals. Our work also highlights the need to advance the study of <100‐μm MPs, which are still poorly understood, and may need to be considered separately in ecological risk assessments.
... MPs (particularly fiber) can be ingested by fish, shellfish, waterfowl, and other animals (Merga et al., 2020), and this ingestion provides the potential for MP removal through the breeding of animals in CWs. The weight and eating habits of fish will affect their ingestion ability of MPs (Piarulli et al., 2020), and shorebirds also exhibit similar functions (Lourenco et al., 2017). The ingestion of MPs results in different ecological reactions by animals in regard to physics, chemistry, and ecology . ...
Article
Microplastics (MPs) entering aquatic environments from non-point sources are receiving global attentions and are difficult to manage. To control the accumulation of MPs in aquatic environments, it is necessary to investigate their abundances, characteristics and removal methods. Although previous studies had summarized characteristics and removal of MPs in stormwaters, there is still a large knowledge gap about the occurrence and fate of non-point source MPs in aquatic environments. The detection methods, characteristics and abundances of non-point source MPs in aquatic environments were reviewed. Lack of reliable and uniform detection methods is the main challenge for present studies. Considering the critical need to focus on water-energy-environment nexus, constructed wetland (CW) was put forward as a sustainable and efficient treatment technology to remove non-point source MPs. Removal performances of MPs in different structural components of CWs were also critically compared. According to literatures, the magnitude of abundances for non-point source MPs in water samples ranges from 10⁻¹ to 10² items L⁻¹. Fibers, fragments (including tire/road wear), films are dominant shapes of non-point source MPs, while polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polystyrene are main polymer types. The main measures to remove non-point source MPs are precipitation, filtration and ingestion in CWs. Compared with other shapes, the removal efficiency of fibers in CWs is relatively lower. Most of removed MPs always remain at the entrance of CWs, which may cause clogging of substrates. Vegetation and organisms in CWs may enhance the removal efficiency of MPs by capturing and ingesting as well as preventing substrates clogging. Additionally, possible research gaps and key directions are also given for future considerations. Standardization and efficient treatment materials are future research priorities.
... Los materiales usados durante todo el protocolo fueron de vidrio o de metal. El agua empleada para el lavado del material biológico fue filtrada a 0. Para el manejo de los cangrejos se siguió el protocolo establecido por Piarulli et al. (2020). Los cangrejos fueron lavados con agua filtrada con un papel filtro de 2.5 µm. ...
Article
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The aim of this study was to characterize the microplastics (MP) in the hairy crab Romaleon setosum (Molina, 1782) (Cancridae), a species of importance for human consumption. In total, 15 individuals of R. setosum acquired between December 2020 and January 2021 at the Ventanilla Fisheries Wholesale Market, Callao, Peru were evaluated. The muscle, gill and digestive tract of each crab was digested with 10% KOH, followed by a filtration process to search for MP. All individuals presented MP in muscle, gills and digestive tract. Blue MP fibres were most abundant in muscle, blue and red fibres in the gill, and black and blue in the digestive tract. In the case of film-type PM, white was the dominant colour in the muscle and digestive tract, while green was observed in the gills. For the fragments, the blue colour was the most abundant in the gill and in the digestive tract, not being observed in the muscle. The number of PM particles were present with the following sequence: digestive tract > gill > muscle and in relation to its shape it was fibre > fragment > film. The blue and black MPs were the dominant ones. The length of the cephalothorax was related to the number of total PM particles, to muscle and to the blue colour.
... Decapods are an interesting group to study the accumulation of emerging contaminants since they are exposed to both abiotic compartments, and their different biological features play a role in MPs retention and toxicity (D'Costa, 2022). Since MP abundance might vary with taxa, feeding mode and habitat, it is recommended to include different taxonomic groups in any ecological assessment of the impact of synthetic microdebris, but few studies have achieved this goal (Piarulli et al., 2020;Xu et al., 2020aXu et al., , 2020b and in Argentina, it was only studied in mussels with promising results. ...
Article
Synthetic microdebris (particles of <5 mm) are a worldwide concern because they can affect the community structure of the aquatic ecosystems, organisms, and even food webs. For the biomonitoring of synthetic microdebris (especially microplastics, MPs), mainly benthic invertebrates are used, but crabs have been less studied in the literature. We studied the synthetic microdebris contamination in water, sediments, and three representative intertidal crabs (Neohelice granulata, Cyrtograpsus angulatus and Leptuca uruguayensis) with different lifestyles from the Bahía Blanca estuary, Argentina. The results obtained show the presence of cotton-polyamide (PA), polyethylene (PE), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in surface waters. In sediments, we identified cellulose modified (CE), polyester (PES), polyethylene (PE), and alkyd resin, while in crabs, cotton-PA and CE were the predominant ones. The MPs abundance ranged from 8 to 68 items L−1 in surface water, from 971 to 2840 items Kg−1 in sediments, and from 0 to 2.58 items g−1 ww for the three species of crabs. Besides, paint sheets ranged from 0 to 17 in the total samples, with Cr, Mo, Ti, Pb, Cu, Al, S, Ba and Fe on their surface. There were significant differences between the microdebris abundances in the abiotic matrices but not among crabs species. The ecological traits of the different crabs helped to understand the accumulation of synthetic microdebris, an important characteristic when determining the choice of a good biomonitor.
... With depth in the sediment of the Pearl River Catchment, the proportion of microplastics smaller than 0.45 mm also increased, indicating the fragmentation of microplastics increased with time (Fan et al., 2019). Smaller microplastics may also have higher bioavailability as they can be readily ingested by small aquatic organisms and microorganisms (Angiolillo et al., 2021;Piarulli et al., 2020). Although small-sized microplastics are usually most abundant, largersized microplastics usually dominate the mass of samples. ...
Chapter
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Microplastics are the newly identified pollutant of this century, yet they are already detected everywhere worldwide. Microplastic pollution in global marine environments has been intensively reported. Evidence of microplastic pollution is emerging in other environments, including land, freshwater, atmosphere, and organisms. Public concerns were also raised about microplastic pollution around them. From terrestrial environments, through freshwater environments, finally to marine environments, is a major transportation route of microplastic pollution. Human activities are the fundamental source of microplastic pollution. Cities, with the highest population density on this planet, are important sources of microplastic pollutants. This chapter focuses on urban freshwater environments, the first receptor, and major transporter of urban microplastics. By reviewing microplastic pollution in global urban freshwater catchments, urban microplastic pollution characteristics were clarified, and the key information to prevent urban microplastic discharge was sought.
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Microplastics (MPs) are widely present in global oceans, and can pose a threat to marine organisms. This study examined the abundance and characteristics of MPs in seawater, sediment, and organism samples collected from Hangzhou Bay. Abundance of MPs in seawater (n = 26) and sediment (n = 26) were 0.77–9.6 items/m³ and 44–208 items/kg dw, respectively. Size of MPs in sediment (mean 2.5 mm, range 0.21–5.3 mm) was significantly (p < 0.05) larger than that in seawater (1.1 mm, 0.13–4.9 mm). Fiber was consistently the predominant shape of MPs in seawater and sediment. The major polymer composition of MPs was polyethylene (PE; mean 47 %) in seawater, but textile cellulose (60 %) was the main polymer type of MPs in sediment. Average abundance of MPs in marine organisms (n = 388) ranged from 0.064 (zooplankton) to 2.9 (Harpodon nehereus) items/ind, with the mean size of 0.19–1.4 mm. MP abundance in marine organisms was not significantly correlated with their trophic level. Fiber was always the predominant shape of MPs in different marine organisms, contributing mean 67 (fish)–93 % (zooplankton) of total MPs. MPs in crustacean (mean 58 %), shellfish (64 %), and cephalopod (29 %) were dominated by textile cellulose. Whereas, PE (mean 44 %) and polypropylene (43 %) were the major polymer compositions of MPs in fish and zooplankton, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the most comprehensive study investigating the occurrence of MPs in environmental matrixes from Hangzhou Bay, which contributes to the better understanding of environmental behaviors of MPs in estuarine sea environment.
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The ingestion of microplastics by shellfish pose a potential health risk for human via seafood consumption. This study investigated and compared the contamination levels and potential human health risks of microplastics in the digestive system of commercial shellfish from North (Qingdao) and South (Xiamen) China. Microplastics were detected in 70%–100% of shellfish samples from Qingdao and 70%–90% of shellfish samples from Xiamen, with abundances ranging from 1.2 to 4.1 items/individual (or 0.8–4.4 items/g, wet weight of digestive system) in shellfish from Qingdao and 1.3–6.0 items/individual (or 2.1–4.0 items/g) in shellfish from Xiamen. The microplastic composition was dominated by rayon and tended to be fibrous in shape, and white, black, and transparent in color. Microplastics <500 μm were the dominant size range, in which the size range of 100–200 μm was the most abundant size. Features of microplastics in the water-dwelling shellfish were different from those of the sediment-dwelling shellfish, and the microplastic features in the shellfish correlated with the sampling region, shellfish length, total wet body weight, and wet weight of the digestive system. Risk assessment results revealed that the potential human health risk posed by microplastics from the digestive system of commercial shellfish was higher in Qingdao than Xiamen.
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Massive prevalence of microplastics (MPs) in the environment has become one of the world's most serious environmental concerns. Human dependence on plastics has created a constant flow of MPs from different sources into natural environment, which has raised public concern regarding consequences of MPs coming into contact with the natural environment. Deploying constructed wetlands (CWs) to reduce MPs pollution is considered a promising method, however there are still barriers for breakthroughs in this technology, particularly knowledge gaps in the mechanisms affect removal process. Recognising this, we provide a comprehensive summary of current advances and theories regarding the mechanisms of occurrence in this research area. In this work, the bibliometric methods were first used to identify annual publication trends and topical topics of research interest. The selected documents were then statistically analyzed using VOSviewer and the ‘bibliometrix’ package in R to derive the annual productivity of countries or organizations, the most relevant affiliations, the most relevant authors, the most relevant sources, textual analysis, co-occurrence analysis, and cluster analysis of keywords. Finally, detailed information concerning the removal of MPs by CWs was summarised, covering the most common operational and design parameters (i.e., structure types, wetland plants, substrate materials, and microbial communities), to reveal how these parameters can be adjusted for more efficient MPs removal rate. Challenges and future directions were additionally proposed. It is hoped that the review will help identify current research trends, provide insight into the mechanisms of the removal process, and contribute further to the development of this important area.
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The source, distribution, migration, and fate of microplastics (MPs) in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems have received much attention. However, the relevant reports in wetland ecosystems, the boundary area between water and land, are still rare. Where are the sources and sinks of MPs in the wetland? The latest researches have shown that the sources of MPs in wetlands include sewage discharge, surface runoff, and plastic wastes from aquaculture. Fibers and fragments are the most common shapes, and PE, PP, PS can be detected in water or sediment matrices, and biota of wetlands. The distribution is affected by hydrodynamic conditions, sediment properties, and vegetation coverage. Factors affecting the vertical migration of MPs include their own physical and chemical properties, the combination of substances that accelerate deposition (mineral adsorption and biological flocculation), and resuspension. Minerals tend to adsorb negatively charged MPs while algae aggregates have a preference for positively charged MPs. The wetlands vegetation can trap MPs and affect their migration. In water matrices, MPs are ingested by organisms and integrated into sediments, which makes them seem undetectable in the wetland ecosystem. Photodegradation and microbial degradation can further reduce the MPs in size. Although recent research has increased, we are still searching for a methodological harmonization of the detection practices and exploring the migration rules and fate patterns of MPs. Our work is the first comprehensive review of the source, distribution, migration, and fate of MPs in wetland ecosystems. It reveals the uniqueness of wetland habitat in the research of MPs and indicates the potential of wetlands acting as sources or sinks for MPs.
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Marine litter affects various habitats across the world. This review focuses on the Adriatic region, considering the presence of marine litter as well as microplastics (mPs) and macroplastics (MPs) in different environments (water, beach, seabed and biota). Data from 53 scientific papers were critically analysed, providing a snapshot of this type of contamination, and evidencing critical issues. The final part of the review provides considerations on spatial and temporal trends, comparing data with the available information provided by transport forecasting models. It emerges that the most investigated areas are those most subjected to the contribution of rivers, tourism or have the greatest relevance to nature conservation. Our analysis also reveals that, even though many international research projects have played a fundamental role in the creation of shared methods and protocols, currently available data are difficult to compare. Nevertheless, our results enhance knowledge of the state of the art in the research carried out so far, and on the situation regarding pollution due to the marine litter in the Adriatic Sea, as well as highlighting avenues for future investigation. All the main studies on the presence of marine litter in the Adriatic region are analysed, finding that different protocols were used, and highlighting the different types of plastic present in seawater, sea bed, beaches and biota.
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The distinct spatial variability in microplastic concentrations between marine regions and habitats calls for a better understanding about the transport pathways of this omnipresent pollutant in the marine environment. This study provides empirical evidence that a sessile filter feeder, the Blue mussel M. edulis, accelerates microplastic deposition by aggregating them into sinking particulate faeces and pseudofaeces. After settling to the seafloor, the bioturbation of benthic fauna quickly buries these microplastics. Collectively, these results suggest that if such biologically-mediated benthic-pelagic coupling would be integrated into hydrodynamic transport models, the spatial variability and source-sink dynamics of microplastics would be better understood. It is proposed that microplastic pollution is monitored through sampling that takes into account faeces and pseudofaeces underneath filter feeders. The implications of this detrital pathway for microplastic transfer to the seafloor, and the role of shellfish mariculture in this process, are discussed. Studies that consider filter feeders and benthic communities from other regions, and during different seasons, are needed to validate the proposed biological pump mechanism across space and time.Particulate filter feeding organisms greatly enhance the transfer of microplastics from the pelagic environment to the seafloor. The subsequent bioturbation of the sediment by benthic fauna transports microplastics deep into the sediment, thereby temporarily removing microplastics from food webs.
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Spatial uptake patterns of microplastics (MP) by marine species are largely unexplored under field conditions. A novel “biodeposit trap” that measure uptake and egestion of MP by suspension-feeders through the analysis of their biodeposits, was designed and used to estimate the spatial variation of these processes by mussels in field conditions. Traps containing wild or farmed mussels or control empty shells were deployed at three sites characterised by different MP concentrations and water flow conditions. A different MP dimensional composition was observed between MP pools present in biodeposit and control traps, with the latter shifted towards higher dimensional range (0.05–5 mm). Conversely, mussels accumulated small MP (0.02–0.05 mm) into their biodeposits without any significant difference between wild and farmed specimens. MP uptake rates were on average 4–5 times higher at the site where MP contamination was expected to be highest and where water flow conditions were considered moderate.
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In recent years, the presence of microplastics (MP) and nanoplastics (NP) has been assessed in several environmental matrices, including the marine environment and agricultural soil, suggesting those pollutants are likely to enter the food web. However, there is still a severe lack of information about the occurrence of plastic particles in our food, partially due to the multidimensionality of the data necessary to fully describe MP contamination and the consequent difficulty in validating analytical methods. In this review, consisting of two parts, preliminary results about the presence of MP in food, water, and beverages are summarized (Part I) and several approaches for the characterization of micro- and nano-sized plastic particles are reported and discussed (Part II). The information gathered in this manuscript highlights the need for a more comprehensive knowledge of MP/NP occurrence along the food chain in order to assess the food safety risk related to those contaminants and implement strategies for their monitoring in products intended for human consumption. Therefore, an outlook of the field towards a coherent, consistent, and policy-relevant data collection and standardization is included in this review.
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The presence of plastic microparticles (microplastics) is gradually more common in water bodies. These particles are present in products consumed daily by society for at least 50 years, as well as the wear and natural degradation of plastic residues inadequately discarded. Most of these particles find their way to the oceans and are ingested by marine animals, which may cause premature death and even accumulation in the food chain. It is extremely important to detect contamination before damages to the local ecosystem are irreversible, being this crucial information to assist implementation of policies and regulations against plastic litter and to raise awareness of the population. This work aims to verify, for the first time in the literature, the presence of microplastics in Patos Lagoon (Laranjal beach), a very important lagoon in the south of Brazil and the largest in South America, through low-cost procedures to filter water from the place to retain particles and, later, to know the composition of some particles by using Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). The results show that, in 400 L of filtered water, approximately 0.0846 g of microplastics were found, showing the pollution of the place by, at least, microparticles of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which resembles the vast majority, and polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE).
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Microplastics (MPs) are abundant in marine environments, drawing global attention from scientists and rendering it significant to review the research progress and predict future trends of this field. To achieve that, we collected 1,898 publications on marine MPs from Web of Science and performed a bibliometric analysis by CiteSpace and VOSviewer. Additionally, we utilized an unrestricted retrieval of literature from ScienceDirect to supplement our major findings. Trends in publication numbers show the growth in study from the initial stage (in 2012 and before), when microplastic (MP) occurrence, abundance, and distribution were primarily investigated. Throughout the ascent stage (2013-2016), when diverse sampling and analytical methods were applied to capture and identify MPs from the ocean, baseline data have been gleaned on physiochemical properties of MPs. The research focus then shifted to the bioaccumulation and ecotoxicological effects of MPs on marine biota, further highlighting their potential deleterious impact on human health via dietary exposure, and this period was defined as the exploration stage (from 2017 and onwards). Nevertheless, key challenges including the lack of standard procedures for MP sampling, technical limitations in MP detecting and identification, and controversy about their underlying effects on the marine ecosystems and humans have also been arisen in the last decade. The present study elucidates how we gradually recognize MP pollution in marine environments and what challenges we face, suggesting future avenues of MP research.
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Microplastic pollution is increasingly recognized as a prominent threat to marine life. Understanding the role of bioturbators is crucial to determine to what extent marine sediments can act as a microplastic sink. The presence of microplastics has been documented in holothurians, but no study has investigated how the ingestion-egestion process influences their bioavailability. Using the Mediterranean deposit-feeder, Holothuria tubulosa, as a model system, we assessed if, upon ingestion, plastic particles are accumulated in pseudofeces and if the passage through the digestive tract reduces their size. To this end, the number, shape and colour of plastic particles was compared between pseudofeces and surrounding surficial sediments collected along the edges of a seagrass meadow. Pseudofeces were enriched in plastic fragments with respect to surficial sediments, suggesting a selective ingestion of fragments over fibres. By contrast, there was no difference in the size or colour of plastic particles between pseudofeces and sediments. In addition, by means of a laboratory experiment, we evaluated how microplastic resuspension rates from pseudofeces compares with those from surficial sediments. Under standard water movement conditions, the resuspension of labelled microplastics from pseudofeces was much greater than that from sediments (i.e., about 92% and 26% at the end of the experimental trial). Greater relative abundance of fine material (i.e., pelite) in pseudofeces than sediments could explain their physical instability and, hence, their lower microplastic retention. Our results suggest that pseudofeces of H. tubulosa not only represent a hotspot for plastic fragment concentration, but, due to their surficial deposition and rapid dissolution, they could also promote their transfer to the water column. Ingestion and egestion of microplastics by this sea cucumber, although not altering their size, may thus enhance their bioavailability.
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Our study aimed to identify the microplastic concentrations in a bivalve (Perna perna), identifying possible relationships with microplastics found in surface water, checking if this species is a good bioindicator for this type of pollution. The average of microplastics in mussels was 1.4 ± 0.3 MPs.g⁻¹ ww and 8.3 ± 1.0 MPs.individual ⁻¹, while the concentration in surface water samples was 41.4 ± 15.7 MPs.L⁻¹. The results showed that both matrices contained significative differences of microplastics between sites and periods and had a close relationship between them, possibly caused by physiological characteristics of organisms and variations in the concentration of microplastics in the surrounding water. A negative relationship was observed between the weights of organisms and the concentration of microplastics per gram, possibly related to the filtration/excretion rates of the different sizes of organisms. Yet, Spearman correlation evidenced positive relationship between the concentrations, as well as similarities in the shapes, colors and sizes of the microplastics found in the both studied matrices, with a predominance of fibers, black and smaller than 0.5 mm. In this way, we conclude that the mussel P. perna is a good bioindicator of microplastic pollution, however, future studies in other regions are needed to consolidate the results of the present study.
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Since microplastics (MPs) and nanoplastics (NPs) have started emerging as ubiquitous contaminants in the environment, a variety of analytical techniques has been developed and tested for the detection and characterization of polymer particles at a micro- and nano-scale. Yet, no unique method stands out for its ability to yield all the relevant information required to properly address MP and NP contamination in the environment, and even less so in food material. In this review, several approaches to sample preparation and isolation of MPs from food matrices are reported, well-established and promising emerging analytical techniques for the detection and characterization of MPs and NPs are described and discussed. The information reported in this review shows that even the most widely used methods are still under development and MP/NP analysis is still far away from method validation and standardization. The establishment of rigorous best practices to yield reliable data and build a comprehensive knowledge of MP and NP occurrence in food is essential for the implementation of strategies and policies to address MP/NP pollution. Therefore, an outlook of the field towards harmonization and quality improvement of MP/NP analysis is included in this review.
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Synthetic polymer-based materials are ubiquitous in aquatic environments, where weathering processes lead to their progressive fragmentation and the leaching of additive chemicals. The current study assessed the chemical content of freshwater and marine leachates produced from car tire rubber (CTR), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics, and their adverse effects on the microalgae Raphidocelis subcapitata (freshwater) and Skeletonema costatum (marine) and the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. A combination of non-target and target chemical analysis revealed a number of organic and metal compounds in the leachates, including representing plasticizers, antioxidants, antimicrobials, lubricants, and vulcanizers. CTR and PVC materials and their corresponding leachates had the highest content of tentatively identified organic additives, while PET had the lowest. The metal content varied both between polymer leachates and between freshwater and seawater. Notable additives identified in high concentrations were benzothiazole (CTR), phthalide (PVC), acetophenone (PP), cobalt (CTR, PET), zinc (CTR, PVC), lead (PP) and antimony (PET). All leachates, except PET, inhibited algal growth with EC50 values ranging from 0.5% (CTR) and 64% (PP) of the total leachate concentration. Leachates also affected mussel endpoints, including the lysosomal membrane stability and early stages endpoints as gamete fertilization, embryonic development and larvae motility and survival. Embryonic development was the most sensitive parameter in mussels, with EC50 values ranging from 0.8% (CTR) to 65% (PET) of the total leachate. The lowest impacts were induced on D-shell larvae survival, reflecting their ability to down-regulate motility and filtration in the presence of chemical stressors. This study provides evidence of the relationship between chemical composition and toxicity of plastic/rubber leachates. Consistent with increasing contamination by organic and inorganic additives, the leachates ranged from slightly to highly toxic to mussels and algae, highlighting the need for a better understanding of the overall impact of plastic-associated chemicals on aquatic ecosystems.
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Microplastics (MP; 1 µm–1 mm) of various shapes and compositions are ingested by numerous marine animals. Recently, proposals have been made to adopt bivalve molluscs as bioindicators of MP pollution. To serve as indicators of MP pollution, however, the proposed organisms should ingest, without bias, the majority of plastic particles to which they are exposed. To test this premise, eastern oysters, Crassostrea virginica, and blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, were offered variously sized polystyrene microspheres (diameters 19-1000 µm) and nylon microfibers (lengths 75-1075 x 30 µm), and the proportion of each rejected in pseudofeces and egested in feces determined. For both species, the proportion of microspheres rejected increased from ca. 10-30% for the smallest spheres to 98% for the largest spheres. A higher proportion of the largest microsphere was rejected compared with the longest microfiber, but similar proportions of microfibers were ingested regardless of length. Differential egestion of MP also occurred. As a result of particle selection, the number and types of MP found in the bivalve gut will depend upon the physical characteristics of the particles. Thus, bivalves will be poor bioindicators of MP pollution in the environment, and it is advised that other marine species be explored.
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Microplastic debris is a pervasive environmental contaminant that has the potential to impact the health of biota, although its modes of action remain somewhat unclear. The current study tested the hypothesis that exposure to fibrous and particulate microplastics would alter feeding, impacting on lipid accumulation, and normal development (e.g., growth, moulting) in an ecologically important coldwater copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Preadult copepods were incubated in seawater containing a mixed assemblage of cultured microalgae (control), with the addition of ∼50 microplastics mL-1 of nylon microplastic granules (10-30 μm) or fibers (10 × 30 μm), which are similar in shape and size to the microalgal prey. The additive chemical profiles showed the presence of stabilizers, lubricants, monomer residues, and byproducts. Prey selectivity was significantly altered in copepods exposed to nylon fibers (ANOVA, P < 0.01) resulting in a nonsignificant 40% decrease in algal ingestion rates (ANOVA, P = 0.07), and copepods exposed to nylon granules showed nonsignificant lipid accumulation (ANOVA, P = 0.62). Both microplastics triggered premature moulting in juvenile copepods (Bernoulli GLM, P < 0.01). Our results emphasize that the shape and chemical profile of a microplastic can influence its bioavailability and toxicity, drawing attention to the importance of using environmentally relevant microplastics and chemically profiling plastics used in toxicity testing.
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Microplastics (MP) are recognized as a growing environmental hazard and have been identified as far as the remote Polar Regions, with particularly high concentrations of microplastics in sea ice. Little is known regarding the horizontal variability of MP within sea ice and how the underlying water body affects MP composition during sea ice growth. Here we show that sea ice MP has no uniform polymer composition and that, depending on the growth region and drift paths of the sea ice, unique MP patterns can be observed in different sea ice horizons. Thus even in remote regions such as the Arctic Ocean, certain MP indicate the presence of localized sources. Increasing exploitation of Arctic resources will likely lead to a higher MP load in the Arctic sea ice and will enhance the release of MP in the areas of strong seasonal sea ice melt and the outflow gateways.
Article
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The ubiquitous occurrence of microplastics (MPs) in the marine environment is raising concern for interactions with marine organisms. These particles efficiently adsorb persistent organic pollutants from surrounding environment and, due to the small size, they are easily available for ingestion at all trophic levels. Once ingested, MPs can induce mechanical damage, sub-lethal effects, and various cellular responses, further modulated by possible release of adsorbed chemicals or additives. In this study, ecotoxicological effects of MPs and their interactions with benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), chosen as a model compound for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in Mediterranean mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis. Organisms were exposed for 4 weeks to 10 mg/L of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) microparticles (2.34 * 107 particles/L, size range 20–25 μm), both virgin and pre-contaminated with BaP (15 μg/g). Organisms were also exposed for comparison to BaP dosed alone at 150 ng/L, corresponding to the amount adsorbed on microplastics. Tissue localization of microplastics was histologically evaluated; chemical analyses and a wide battery of biomarkers covering molecular, biochemical and cellular levels allowed to evaluate BaP bioaccumulation, alterations of immune system, antioxidant defenses, onset of oxidative stress, peroxisomal proliferation, genotoxicity, and neurotoxicity. Obtained data were elaborated within a quantitative weight of evidence (WOE) model which, using weighted criteria, provided synthetic hazard indices, for both chemical and cellular results, before their integration in a combined index. Microplastics were localized in hemolymph, gills, and especially digestive tissues where a potential transfer of BaP from MPs was also observed. Significant alterations were measured on the immune system, while more limited effects occurred on the oxidative status, neurotoxicity, and genotoxicity, with a different susceptibility of analyzed pathways, depending on tissue, time, and typology of exposure. Molecular analyses confirmed the general lack of significant transcriptional variations of antioxidant and stress genes. The overall results suggest that microplastics induce a slight cellular toxicity under short-term (28 days) exposure conditions. However, modulation of immune responses, along with bioaccumulation of BaP, pose the still unexplored risk that these particles, under conditions of more chronic exposure (months to years) or interacting with other stressors, may provoke long-term, subtle effects on organisms' health status.
Article
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Microplastics are highly bioavailable to marine organisms, either through direct ingestion, or indirectly by trophic transfer from contaminated prey. The latter has been observed for low-trophic level organisms in laboratory conditions, yet empirical evidence in high trophic-level taxa is lacking. In natura studies face difficulties when dealing with contamination and differentiating between directly and indirectly ingested microplastics. The ethical constraints of subjecting large organisms, such as marine mammals, to laboratory investigations hinder the resolution of these limitations. Here, these issues were resolved by analysing sub-samples of scat from captive grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and whole digestive tracts of the wild-caught Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) they are fed upon. An enzymatic digestion protocol was employed to remove excess organic material and facilitate visual detection of synthetic particles without damaging them. Polymer type was confirmed using Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Extensive contamination control measures were implemented throughout. Approximately half of scat subsamples (48%; n ¼ 15) and a third of fish (32%; n ¼ 10) contained 1e4 microplastics. Particles were mainly black, clear, red and blue in colour. Mean lengths were 1.5 mm and 2 mm in scats and fish respectively. Ethylene propylene was the most frequently detected polymer type in both. Our findings suggest trophic transfer represents an indirect, yet potentially major, pathway of microplastic ingestion for any species whose feeding ecology involves the consumption of whole prey, including humans.
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Microscopic plastic items (microplastics) are ubiquitously present in aquatic ecosystems. With decreasing size their availability and potential to accumulate throughout food webs increase. However, little is known on the uptake of microplastics by freshwater invertebrates. To address this, we exposed species with different feeding strategies to 1, 10 and 90 µm fluorescent polystyrene spheres (3–3 000 particles mL⁻¹). Additionally, we investigated how developmental stages and a co-exposure to natural particles (e.g., food) modulate microplastic ingestion. All species ingested microplastics in a concentration-dependent manner with Daphnia magna consuming up to 6 180 particles h⁻¹, followed by Chironomus riparius (226 particles h⁻¹), Physella acuta (118 particles h⁻¹), Gammarus pulex (10 particles h⁻¹) and Lumbriculus variegatus (8 particles h⁻¹). D. magna did not ingest 90 µm microplastics whereas the other species preferred larger microplastics over 1 µm in size. In C. riparius and D. magna, size preference depended on the life stage with larger specimens ingesting more and larger microplastics. The presence of natural particles generally reduced the microplastics uptake. Our results demonstrate that freshwater invertebrates have the capacity to ingest microplastics. However, the quantity of uptake depends on their feeding type and morphology as well as on the availability of microplastics.
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The tremendous increases in production of plastic materials has led to an accumulation of plastic pollution worldwide. Many studies have addressed the physical effects of large-sized plastics on organisms, whereas few have focused on plastic nanoparticles, despite their distinct chemical, physical and mechanical properties. Hence our understanding of their effects on ecosystem function, behaviour and metabolism of organisms remains elusive. Here we demonstrate that plastic nanoparticles reduce survival of aquatic zooplankton and penetrate the blood-to-brain barrier in fish and cause behavioural disorders. Hence, for the first time, we uncover direct interactions between plastic nanoparticles and brain tissue, which is the likely mechanism behind the observed behavioural disorders in the top consumer. In a broader perspective, our findings demonstrate that plastic nanoparticles are transferred up through a food chain, enter the brain of the top consumer and affect its behaviour, thereby severely disrupting the function of natural ecosystems.
Technical Report
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Plastic production has increased exponentially since the early 1950s and reached 322 million tonnes in 2015, this figure does not include synthetic fibres which accounted for an additional 61 million tonnes in 2015. It is expected that production of plastics will continue to increase in the foreseeable future and production levels are likely to double by 2025. Inadequate management of plastic waste has led to increased contamination of freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. It has been estimated that in 2010 between 4.8 million to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste entered the oceans. Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gears (ALDFG) are considered the main source of plastic waste by the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, but their relative contribution is not well known at regional and global levels. Microplastics are usually defined as plastic items which measure less than 5 mm in their longest dimension, this definition includes also nanoplastics which are particles less than 100 nanometres (nm) in their longest dimension. Plastic items may be manufactured within this size range (primary micro- and nanoplastics) or result from the degradation and fragmentation of larger plastic items (secondary micro- and nanoplastics). Microplastics may enter aquatic environments through different pathways and they have been reported in all environmental matrices (beaches, sediments, surface waters and water column). Ingestion of microplastics by aquatic organisms, including species of commercial importance for fisheries and aquaculture, has been documented in laboratory and field studies. In certain field studies it has been possible to source ingested microplastics to fisheries and aquaculture activities. Microplastics contain a mixture of chemicals added during manufacture, the so-called additives, and efficiently sorb (adsorb or absorb) persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic contaminants (PBTs) from the environment. The ingestion of microplastics by aquatic organisms and the accumulation of PBTs have been central to the perceived hazard and risk of microplastics in the marine environment. Adverse effects of microplastics ingestion have only been observed in aquatic organisms under laboratory conditions, usually at very high exposure concentrations that exceed present environmental concentrations by several orders of magnitude. In wild aquatic organisms microplastics have only been observed within the gastrointestinal tract, usually in small numbers, and at present there is no evidence that microplastics ingestion has negative effects on populations of wild and farmed aquatic organisms. In humans the risk of microplastic ingestion is reduced by the removal of the gastrointestinal tract in most species of seafood consumed. However, most species of bivalves and several species of small fish are consumed whole, which may lead to microplastic exposure. A worst case estimate of exposure to microplastics after consumption of a portion of mussels (225 g) would lead to ingestion of 7 micrograms (µg) of plastic, which would have a negligible effect (less than 0.1 percent of total dietary intake) on chemical exposure to certain PBTs and plastic additives.
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Microplastic pollution is recognized as an emerging threat to aquatic ecosystems. One of the main environmental risks associated with microplastics is their bioavailability to marine organisms. Up to date, ingestion has been widely accepted as the sole way for the animals to uptake microplastics. Nevertheless, microplastics have also been found in some organs which are not involved in the process of ingestion. We hypothesize that the animal might uptake microplastics through adherence in addition to ingestion. To test this hypothesis, we collected mussels from the fishery farms, conducted exposure/clearance experiments and analyzed the accumulation of microplastics in specific organ of mussels. Our studies clearly showed the uptake of microplastic in multiple organs of mussels. In the field investigations, we found that the abundance of microplastic by weight but not by individual showed significant difference among organs, and the intestine contained the highest level of microplastics (9.2items/g). In the uptake and clearance experiment, the accumulation and retention of microfibers could also be observed in all tested organs of mussels including foot and mantle. Our results strongly suggest that adherence rather than ingestion led to the accumulation of microplastics in those organs which are not involved in ingestion process. To our best knowledge, it is the first time to propose that adherence is a novel way for animals to uptake microplastics beyond ingestion. This new finding makes us rethink about the bioavailability, accumulation and toxicity of microplastics to aquatic animals.
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Although mounting evidence suggests the ubiquity of microplastic in aquatic ecosystems worldwide, our knowledge of its distribution in remote environments such as Polar Regions and the deep sea is scarce. Here, we analyzed nine sediment samples taken at the HAUSGARTEN observatory in the Arctic at 2,340 - 5,570 m depth. Density separation by MicroPlastic Sediment Separator and treatment with Fenton's reagent enabled analysis via Attenuated Total Reflection FTIR and µFTIR spectroscopy. Our analyses indicate the wide spread of high numbers of microplastics (42 - 6,595 microplastics kg-1). The northernmost stations harbored the highest quantities, indicating sea ice as a transport vehicle. A positive correlation between microplastic abundance and chlorophyll a content suggests vertical export via incorporation in sinking (ice-) algal aggregates. Overall, 18 different polymers were detected. Chlorinated polyethylene accounted for the largest proportion (38 %), followed by polyamide (22 %) and polypropylene (16 %). Almost 80 % of the microplastics were ≤ 25 µm. The microplastic quantities are amongst the highest recorded from benthic sediments, which corroborates the deep sea as a major sink for microplastics and the presence of accumulation areas in this remote part of the world, fed by plastics transported to the North via the Thermohaline Circulation.
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The incidence of microplastics in marine environments has been increasing over the past several decades. The objective of this study was to characterize the size and shape dependent effects of microplastic particles (spheres, fibers and fragments) on the adult daggerblade grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio. Grass shrimp were exposed to 11 sizes of plastic; spheres (30, 35, 59, 75, 83, 116, and 165 µm), fragments (34 and 93 µm), and fibers (34 and 93 µm) at a concentration of 20,00 particles/400 mL (= 50,000 particles/L) for three hours. Following exposure, grass shrimp were monitored for survival, ingested and ventilated microplastics, and residence time. Mortality ranged from 0-55%. Spheres and fragments under 50 microns were not acutely toxicity. Spheres and fragments greater than 50 microns had mortalities ranging from 5-40%. Mortality was significantly higher at 93 µm fibers than other sizes tested (p < 0.001). The shape of the particle had a significant influence on the number of particles ingested by the shrimp (p < 0.001). The residence time of particles in the gut ranged from 27-75 hours with an average at 43.0 ± 13.8 hours. Within the gills, the residence time ranged from 27-45 hours with an average of 36.9 ± 5.4 hours. Results from this study suggest that microplastic particles of various sizes and shapes can be ingested and ventilated by adult daggerblade grass shrimp, resulting in acute toxicity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
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A new approach is presented for analysis of microplastics in environmental samples, based on selective fluorescent staining using Nile Red (NR), followed by density-based extraction and filtration. The dye adsorbs onto plastic surfaces and renders them fluorescent when irradiated with blue light. Fluorescence emission is detected using simple photography through an orange filter. Image-analysis allows fluorescent particles to be identified and counted. Magnified images can be recorded and tiled to cover the whole filter area, allowing particles down to a few micrometres to be detected. The solvatochromic nature of Nile Red also offers the possibility of plastic categorisation based on surface polarity characteristics of identified particles. This article details the development of this staining method and its initial cross-validation by comparison with infrared (IR) microscopy. Microplastics of different sizes could be detected and counted in marine sediment samples. The fluorescence staining identified the same particles as those found by scanning a filter area with IR-microscopy.
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Microplastic litter is a pervasive pollutant present in marine systems across the globe. The legacy of microplastics pollution in the marine environment today may remain for years to come due to the persistence of these materials. Microplastics are emerging contaminants of potential concern and as yet there are few recognized approaches for monitoring. In 2008, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC) included microplastics as an aspect to be measured. Here we outline the approach as discussed by the European Union expert group on marine litter, the technical Subgroup on Marine litter (TSG-ML), with a focus on the implementation of monitoring microplastics in seawater in European seas. It is concluded that harmonization and coherence is needed to achieve reliable monitoring.
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Plastic waste is a distinctive indicator of the world-wide impact of anthropogenic activities. Both macro- and micro-plastics are found in the ocean, but as yet little is known about their ultimate fate and their impact on marine ecosystems. In this study we present the first evidence that microplastics are already becoming integrated into deep-water organisms. By examining organisms that live on the deep-sea floor we show that plastic microfibres are ingested and internalised by members of at least three major phyla with different feeding mechanisms. These results demonstrate that, despite its remote location, the deep sea and its fragile habitats are already being exposed to human waste to the extent that diverse organisms are ingesting microplastics.
Article
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Microplastics are ubiquitous in the marine environment worldwide, and may cause a physical and chemical risk to marine organisms. Their small size makes them bioavailable to a range of organisms with evidence of ingestion at all levels of the marine ecosystem. Despite an increasing body of research into microplastics, few studies have explored how consumption changes complex behaviours such as predator avoidance and social interactions. Pollutant exposure can result in alterations in behaviour that not only leads to sub optimal conditions for individual organisms but may also serve as a warning sign for wider effects on a system. This research assessed the impacts of microplastics on the ecology of coastal biota using beachhoppers (Platorchestia smithi) as model organisms. We exposed beachhoppers to marine-contaminated microplastics to understand effects on survival and behaviour. Beachhoppers readily ingested microplastics, and there was evidence for accumulation of microplastics within the organisms. Exposure tests showed that microplastic consumption can affect beachhopper survival. Individuals also displayed reduced jump height and an increase in weight, however, there was no significant difference in time taken to relocate shelter post disturbance. Overall, these results show that short-term ingestion of microplastics have an impact on survival and behaviour of P. smithi. A reduction in the capacity for beachhoppers to survive and function may have flow on effects to their local environment and higher trophic levels.
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As part of the degradation process, it is believed that most plastic debris becomes brittle over time, fragmenting into progressively smaller particles. The smallest of these particles, known as microplastics, have been receiving increased attention due to the hazards they present to wildlife. To understand the process of plastic degradation in an intertidal salt marsh habitat, strips (15.2 × 2.5 cm) of high density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), and extruded polystyrene (PS) were field deployed in June 2014 and monitored for biological succession, weight, surface area, UV transmittance, and fragmentation. Subsets of strips were collected after 4, 8, 16, and 32 weeks. After 4 weeks, biofilm had developed on all three polymers with evidence of grazing periwinkles (Littoraria irrorata). The accreting biofilm resulted in an increased weight of the PP and PS strips at 32 weeks by 33.5 and 167.0%, respectively, with a concomitant decrease in UV transmittance by ∼99%. Beginning at 8 weeks, microplastic fragments and fibers were produced from strips of all three polymers, and scanning electron microscopy revealed surface erosion of the strips characterized by extensive cracking and pitting. The results of this study suggest that the degradation of plastic debris proceeds relatively quickly in salt marshes, and that surface delamination is the primary mechanism by which microplastic particles are produced in the early stages of degradation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
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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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Marine debris, mostly consisting of plastic, is a global problem, negatively impacting wildlife, tourism and shipping. However, despite the durability of plastic, and the exponential increase in its production, monitoring data show limited evidence of concomitant increasing concentrations in marine habitats. There appears to be a considerable proportion of the manufactured plastic that is unaccounted for in surveys tracking the fate of environmental plastics. Even the discovery of widespread accumulation of microscopic fragments (microplastics) in oceanic gyres and shallow water sediments is unable to explain the missing fraction. Here, we show that deep-sea sediments are a likely sink for microplastics. Microplastic, in the form of fibres, was up to four orders of magnitude more abundant (per unit volume) in deep-sea sediments from the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean than in contaminated sea-surface waters. Our results show evidence for a large and hitherto unknown repository of microplastics. The dominance of microfibres points to a previously underreported and unsampled plastic fraction. Given the vastness of the deep sea and the prevalence of microplastics at all sites we investigated, the deep-sea floor appears to provide an answer to the question-where is all the plastic?
Article
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Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, yet estimates of the global abundance and weight of floating plastics have lacked data, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere and remote regions. Here we report an estimate of the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world’s oceans from 24 expeditions (2007–2013) across all five sub-tropical gyres, costal Australia, Bay of Bengal and the Mediterranean Sea conducting surface net tows (N5680) and visual survey transects of large plastic debris (N5891). Using an oceanographic model of floating debris dispersal calibrated by our data, and correcting for wind-driven vertical mixing, we estimate a minimum of 5.25 trillion particles weighing 268,940 tons. When comparing between four size classes, two microplastic ,4.75 mm and meso- and macroplastic .4.75 mm, a tremendous loss of microplastics is observed from the sea surface compared to expected rates of fragmentation, suggesting there are mechanisms at play that remove ,4.75 mm plastic particles from the ocean surface.
Article
Litter is omnipresent in the ocean where it can be ingested by marine biota. Although ingestion of microplastics (MPs) is abundantly reported, insights into how MP can influence predator-prey interactions currently limits our understanding of the ecological impact of MPs. Here we demonstrate trophic transfer of MPs from zooplankton to benthic filter feeders, through consumption of contaminated prey (i.e. prey with ingested MP). However, predation rates of contaminated prey were significantly lower as compared to predation rates of prey that had no MPs ingested. As filter feeder clearance rates were not affected by consumption of MPs, the lower predation rates of contaminated prey appear to be primarily explained by disruption in zooplankton swimming behaviour that reduces their filtration risk. This is the first study that shows how MPs can change predator-prey interactions that are involved in the coupling between the pelagic and seabed habitat.
Article
Background: Microplastics are ubiquitous in natural environments. Ingestion of microplastics has been described in marine organisms, whereby particles may enter the food chain. Objective: To examine human feces for the presence of microplastics to determine whether humans involuntarily ingest them. Design: Prospective case series in which participants completed a food diary and sampled stool according to step-by-step instructions. Setting: Europe and Asia. Participants: Eight healthy volunteers aged 33 to 65 years. Measurements: After chemical digestion, Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy was used to analyze the presence and shape of 10 common types of microplastic in stool samples. Results: All 8 stool samples tested positive for microplastics. A median of 20 microplastics (50 to 500 µm in size) per 10 g of human stool were identified. Overall, 9 plastic types were detected, with polypropylene and polyethylene terephthalate being the most abundant. Limitations: There were few participants, and each provided only 1 sample. The origin and fate of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract were not investigated. Conclusion: Various microplastics were detected in human stool, suggesting inadvertent ingestion from different sources. Further research on the extent of microplastic intake and the potential effect on human health is needed. Primary funding source: None.
Article
The objective of this study is to quantify the extent of microplastic (MP) contamination in the Indian edible oyster (Magallana bilineata) and to understand how this relates to the MP contamination in its surrounding marine environment. Samples of water, sediment and oysters of different sizes were collected from three sites along Tuticorin coast in Gulf of Mannar in Southeast India. The mean abundance of MP in oysters was found to be 6.9 ± 3.84 items/individual and the mean concentration to be 0.81 ± 0.45 items/g of tissue. Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) fibers were the dominant MP types in oysters (92% and 4%, respectively) and in seawater (75% and 25%, respectively), with PE fibers, ranging from 0.25 to 0.5 mm, being the most common. Both PE and PP are low-density polymers which are slow to sediment to the seafloor. This increases the potential of their availability in the environment and ingestion by the oysters. The largest oysters (14-16 cm) contained the highest abundance and concentrations of MP, suggesting a greater proportion of MP in the water column is ingested with increasing size. The calculated microplastic index (0.02 to 0.99) also indicates that MP bioavailability increases with increasing size of oysters. The distribution patterns of MP abundance, shape and size in oysters more closely resemble those in water than in sediment. The surface morphology of the MPs reveals the characteristic pits and cracks which result from partial degradation through the weathering processes. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis shows the presence of Ni and Fe in association with MP, and this probably indicates the fly-ash pollution and the petroleum-related activities in the surrounding area. Being sessile animals the oysters are good candidates for use as sentinel organisms for monitoring MP in specific marine environments.
Article
Microplastics (MPs) are considered pollutants that are ubiquitously distributed in aquatic environments. One of the key hotspot areas to understand fluxes of MPs entering into the oceans are transitional systems, between fresh and marine waters, where river estuaries in particular play an important role. In this study we analyzed MPs occurrence in the Ebro River Delta, Northeastern Iberian Peninsula, one of the largest wetland areas in the NW Mediterranean Basin. Microplastic profile, abundance, distribution, and characteristics were screened across different environmental matrices. MPs were collected in sandy beaches on the northern edge of the delta, in estuarine benthic sediments, and in surface waters of the Ebro River, with a mean abundance of 422 ± 119 MPs·kg−1 DW, 2052 ± 746 MPs·kg−1 DW and 3.5 ± 1.4 MPs·m−3, respectively. Fibers were found to be the largest class (70 ± 22%) of the three different environmental matrices investigated. We estimated that the Ebro surface water represents an input of 2.14 × 109 MPs·yr−1 to the Mediterranean Sea. The main contribution of this study is a new insight on the distribution of MPs across different environmental matrices in river estuaries, where estuarine benthic sediments were identified as a potential important sink for MPs.
Article
Microplastic (MP)has become ubiquitous in the marine environment. Its threat to marine organisms has been demonstrated under laboratory conditions, yet studies on wild populations still face methodological difficulties. We reviewed the methods used to separate MP from soft animal tissues and highlighted a lack of standardised methodologies, particularly critical for synthetic microfibres. We further compared enzymatic and a potassium hydroxide (KOH)-based alkaline digestion protocols on wild crabs (Carcinus aestuarii)collected from three coastal lagoons in the north Adriatic Sea and on laboratory-prepared synthetic polyester (PES)of different colour and polypropylene (PP). We compared the cost-effectiveness of the two methods, together with the potential for adverse quantitative or qualitative effects on MP that could alter the capability of the polymers to be recognised via microscopic or spectroscopic techniques. Only 5.5% of the 180 examined crabs contained MP in their gastrointestinal tracts, with a notably high quantitative variability between individuals (from 1 to 117 particles per individual). All MP found was exclusively microfibres, mainly PES, with a mean length (±SE)of 0.5 ± 0.03 mm. The two digestion methods provided comparable estimates on wild crabs and did not cause any visible physical or chemical alterations on laboratory-prepared microfibres treated for up to 4 days. KOH solution was faster and cheaper compared to the enzymatic extraction, involving fewer procedural steps and therefore reducing the risk of airborne contamination. With digestion times longer than 4 days, KOH caused morphological alterations of some of the PES microfibres, which did not occur with the enzymatic digestion. This suggests that KOH is effective for the digestion of small marine invertebrates or biological samples for which shorter digestion time is required, while enzymatic extraction should be considered as alternative for larger organisms or sample sizes requiring longer digestion times.
Article
The contamination of marine ecosystems with microplastics, such as the polymer polyethylene, a commonly used component of single-use packaging, is of global concern. Although it has been suggested that biodegradable polymers, such as polylactic acid, may be used to replace some polyethylene packaging, little is known about their effects on marine organisms. Blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, have become a “model organism” for investigating the effects of microplastics in marine ecosystems. We show here that repeated exposure, over a period of 52 days in an outdoor mesocosm setting, of M. edulis to polyethylene microplastics reduced the number of byssal threads produced and the attachment strength (tenacity) by ∼50%. Exposure to either type of microplastic altered the haemolymph proteome and, although a conserved response to microplastic exposure was observed, overall polyethylene resulted in more changes to protein abundances than polylactic acid. Many of the proteins affected are involved in vital biological processes, such as immune regulation, detoxification, metabolism and structural development. Our study highlights the utility of mass spectrometry-based proteomics to assess the health of key marine organisms and identifies the potential mechanisms by which microplastics, both conventional and biodegradable, could affect their ability to form and maintain reefs.
Article
The exponential production and use of plastics has generated increasing environmental release over the past decades, and microplastics (MPs) have been reported across all the oceans. Field studies have documented the occurrence of MPs in several species, but important knowledge gaps still remain. In the present study, we characterized the distribution of MPs in ten sediment-dwelling and epibenthic species representative of different habitat, feeding modes and trophic levels within the inner Oslofjord (Oslo, Norway), an area subjected to moderate anthropogenic pressures. Analysed species included fish, bivalves, echinoderms, crustaceans and polychaetes. MPs were present in all the species with a frequency up to 65% of positive individuals for some species. In most cases, 1 or 2 MPs were found per individual, but some organisms contained up to 7 particles. A total of 8 polymer typologies were identified, with PE and PP being the most common according to our extraction protocol. MP sizes ranged from 41 μm to lines as long as 9 mm. Our results indicate that occurrence of MPs in analysed biota is not influenced by organism habitat or trophic level, while characteristics and typology of polymers might be significantly affected by feeding mode of organisms.
Article
The widespread occurrence of microplastics (MP) in the marine environment is cause of increasing concerns about the safety of the exposed ecosystems. Although the effects associated to the MP uptake have been studied in most marine taxa, the knowledge about their sub-lethal impacts on early life stages of marine species is still limited. Here, we investigated the uptake/retention of 3-μm polystyrene MP by early stages of the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis, and the related effects on gut clearance, feeding efficiency, morphological and transcriptional parameters involved in embryo-larval development. Uptake measurements were performed on larvae at 48 h, 3, 6 and 9 days post fertilization (pf) after exposure to a range of 50–10,000 particles mL−1. At all tested pf periods, treatments resulted in a significant and linear increase of MP uptake with increasing concentrations, though levels measured at 48 h pf were significantly lower compared to 3–9 d pf. Ingested MP were retained up to 192 h in larvae's gut, suggesting a physical impact on digestive functions. No change was noted between the consumption of microalgae Nannochloropsis oculata by larvae when administered alone or in the presence of an identical concentration (2000 items mL−1) of MP. The exposure to 50–10,000 MP mL−1 did not alter the morphological development of mussel embryos; however, transcriptional alterations were observed at 50 and 500 MP mL−1, including the up-regulation of genes involved in shell biogenesis (extrapallial protein; carbonic anhydrase; chitin synthase) and immunomodulation (myticin C; mytilin B), and the inhibition of those coding for lysosomal enzymes (hexosaminidase; β-glucorinidase; catepsin-L). In conclusion, though not highlighting morphological or feeding abnormalities, data from this study revealed the onset of physical and transcriptional impairments induced by MP in mussel larvae, indicating sub-lethal impacts which could increase their vulnerability toward further environmental stressors.
Article
Microplastics contaminate global oceans and are accumulating in sediments at levels thought sufficient to leave a permanent layer in the fossil record. Despite this, the processes that vertically transport buoyant polymers from surface waters to the benthos are poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that laboratory generated marine snows can transport microplastics of different shapes, sizes and polymers away from the water surface and enhance their bioavailability to benthic organisms. Sinking rates of all tested microplastics increased when incorporated into snows, with large changes observed for the buoyant polymer polyethylene with an increase in sinking rate of 818 m day-1 and for denser polyamide fragments of 916 m day-1. Incorporation into snows increased microplastic bioavailability for mussels, where uptake increased from zero to 340 microplastics individual-1 for free microplastics to up to 1.6*105 microplastics individual-1 when incorporated into snows. We therefore propose that marine snow formation and fate has the potential to play a key role in the biogeochemical processing of microplastic pollution.
Article
Plastic litter has become one of the most serious threats to the marine environment. Over 690 marine species have been impacted by plastic debris with small plastic particles being observed in the digestive tract of organisms from different trophic levels. The physical and chemical properties of microplastics facilitate the sorption of contaminants to the particle surface, serving as a vector of contaminants to organisms following ingestion. Bioaccumulation factors for higher trophic organisms and impacts on wider marine food webs remain unknown. The main objectives of this review were to discuss the factors influencing microplastic ingestion; describe the biological impacts of associated chemical contaminants; highlight evidence for the trophic transfer of microplastics and contaminants within marine food webs and outline the future research priorities to address potential human health concerns. Controlled laboratory studies looking at the effects of microplastics and contaminants on model organisms employ nominal concentrations and consequently have little relevance to the real environment. Few studies have attempted to track the fate of microplastics and mixed contaminants through a complex marine food web using environmentally relevant concentrations to identify the real level of risk. To our knowledge, there has been no attempt to understand the transfer of microplastics and associated contaminants from seafood to humans and the implications for human health. Research is needed to determine bioaccumulation factors for popular seafood items in order to identify the potential impacts on human health.
Article
Most microplastics are expected to sink and end up in marine sediments. However, very little is known concerning their potential impact on sediment-dwelling organisms. We studied the long-term impact of microplastic exposure on two sediment-dwelling bivalve species. Ennucula tenuis and Abra nitida were exposed to polyethylene microparticles at three concentrations (1; 10 and 25 mg/kg of sediment) for four weeks. Three size classes (4-6; 20-25 and 125-500 μm) were used to study the influence of size on microplastic ecotoxicity. Microplastic exposure did not affect survival, condition index or burrowing behaviour in either bivalve species. However, significant changes in energy reserves were observed. No changes were observed in protein, carbohydrate or lipid contents in E. tenuis, with the exception of a decrease in lipid content for one condition. However, total energy decreased in a dose-dependent manner for bivalves exposed to the largest particles. To the contrary, no significant changes in total energy were observed for A. nitida, although a significant decrease of protein content was observed for individuals exposed to the largest particles, at all concentrations. Concentration and particle size significantly influenced microplastic impacts on bivalves, the largest particles and higher concentrations leading to more severe effects. Several hypotheses are presented to explain the observed modulation of energy reserves, including the influence of microplastic size and concentration. Our results suggest that long-term exposure to microplastics at environmentally relevant concentrations can impact marine benthic biota.
Article
Initial reports on the presence of microplastics in the Ocean date from the 1970's. In spite of the noted potential risks these debris posed to both the environment and humans, the scientific community paid little attention to then raised alarms. Recently, however, there has been an increasing interest by both the general public and the scientific community in the contamination and pollution of the marine environment by micro- and nanoplastic particles. Due to their physical and chemical characteristics, these pervasive contaminants can be found across the Globe and are distributed across the water column and have been shown to be ingested by numerous organisms. Although generally considered biochemically inert, such materials can adsorb other chemical substances, such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), hence potentially leading to bioaccumulation and bioamplification phenomena. However, despite this recognized harmfulness, and although microplastics are a recognized threat to the “Blue Economy”, there are still multiple research gaps that should be adequately addressed, in order to obtain a realistic assessment of their prevalence in the environment. Additionally, despite the numerous national, regional and international regulatory instruments aiming at reducing the contamination by plastic litter, these appear to have been, so far, insufficient for reaching their proposed goal. Herein, the current gaps in micro- and neoplastic research and regulation are evaluated and some suggestions for overcoming such limitations are proposed.
Article
Microplastics (<5 mm) are ubiquitous in the marine environment and are ingested by zooplankton with possible negative effects on survival, feeding, and fecundity. The majority of laboratory studies has used new and pristine microplastics to test their impacts, while aging processes such as weathering and biofouling alter the characteristics of plastic particles in the marine environment. We investigated zooplankton ingestion of polystyrene beads (15 and 30 μm) and fragments (≤30 μm), and tested the hypothesis that microplastics previously exposed to marine conditions (aged) are ingested at higher rates than pristine microplastics. Polystyrene beads were aged by soaking in natural local seawater for three weeks. Three zooplankton taxa ingested microplastics, excluding the copepod Pseudocalanus spp., but the proportions of individuals ingesting plastic and the number of particles ingested were taxon and life stage specific and dependent on plastic size. All stages of Calanus finmarchicus ingested polystyrene fragments. Aged microbeads were preferred over pristine ones by females of Acartia longiremis as well as juvenile copepodites CV and adults of Calanus finmarchicus. The preference for aged microplastics may be attributed to the formation of a biofilm. Such a coating, made up of natural microbes, may contain similar prey as the copepods feed on in the water column and secrete chemical exudates that aid chemodetection and thus increase the attractiveness of the particles as food items. Much of the ingested plastic was, however, egested within a short time period (2-4 h) and the survival of adult Calanus females was not affected in an 11-day exposure. Negative effects of microplastics ingestion were thus limited. Our findings emphasize, however, that aging plays an important role in the transformation of microplastics at sea and ingestion by grazers, and should thus be considered in future microplastics ingestion studies and estimates of microplastics transfer into the marine food web.
Article
We investigated how lateral erosion control, measured by novel photogrammetry techniques, is modified by the presence of Spartina spp. vegetation, sediment grain size, and the nutrient status of salt marshes across 230 km of the Italian Northern Adriatic coastline. Spartina spp. vegetation reduced erosion across our study sites. The effect was more pronounced in sandy soils, where erosion was reduced by 80% compared to 17% in silty soils. Erosion resistance was also enhanced by Spartina spp. root biomass. In the absence of vegetation, erosion resistance was enhanced by silt content, with mean erosion 72% lower in silty vs. sandy soils. We found no relevant relationships with nutrient status, likely due to overall high nutrient concentrations and low C:N ratios across all sites. Our results contribute to quantifying coastal protection ecosystem services provided by salt marshes in both sandy and silty sediments.
Article
Microplastics are widespread in aquatic environments and can be ingested by a wide range of organisms. They can also be transferred along food webs. Estuaries and other tidal wetlands may be particularly prone to this type of pollution due to their particular hydrological characteristics and sewage input, but few studies have compared wetlands with different anthropogenic pressure. Furthermore, there is no information on microplastic transfer to secondary intertidal consumers such as shorebirds.
Article
Micro- and macroplastic accumulation threatens estuaries worldwide because of the often dense human populations, diverse plastic inputs and high potential for plastic degradation and storage in these ecosystems. Nonetheless, our understanding of plastic sources and sinks remains limited. We designed conceptual models of the local and estuary-wide transport of plastics. We identify processes affecting the position of plastics in the water column; processes related to the mixing of fresh and salt water; and processes resulting from the influences of wind, topography, and organism–plastic interactions. The models identify gaps in the spatial context of plastic–organisms interactions, the chemical behavior of plastics in estuaries, effects of wind on plastic suspension–deposition cycles, and the relative importance of processes affecting the position in the water column. When interpreted in the context of current understanding, sinks with high management potential can be identified. However, source–sink patterns vary among estuary types and with local scale processes.
Article
The uptake of microplastic particles and the transfer of potential harmful substances along with microplastics has been studied in a variety of organisms, especially invertebrates. However, the potential accumulation of very small microplastic particles along food webs ending with vertebrate models has not been investigated so far. Therefore, a simple artificial food chain with Artemia spec. nauplii and zebrafish (Danio rerio) was established to analyze the transfer of microplastic particles and associated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) between different trophic levels. Very small (1 - 20 µm) microplastic particles accumulated in Artemia nauplii and were subsequently transferred to fish. Virgin particles not loaded with POPs did not cause any observable physical harm in the intestinal tracts of zebrafish, although part of the particles were retained within the mucus of intestinal villi and might even be taken up by epithelial cells. The transfer of associated POPs was tested with the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon benzo[a]pyrene and an ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) assay for CYP1A induction in zebrafish liver as well as via fluorescence analyses. Whereas a significant induction in the EROD assay could not be shown due to high individual variation and low sensitivity regarding substance concentration, the fluorescence tracking of benzo[a]pyrene indicates that food-borne microplastic-associated POPs may actually desorb in the intestine of fish and are thus transferred to the intestinal epithelium and liver. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Ingestion of microplastics has been shown for a great variety of marine organisms. However, benthic marine meso-herbivores such as the common periwinkle Littorina littorea have been largely disregarded in studies about the effects of microplastics on the marine biota, probably because the pathway for microplastics to this functional group of organisms was not obvious. In laboratory experiments we showed that the seaweed Fucus vesiculosus retains suspended microplastics on its surface. The numbers of microplastics that adhered to the algae correlated with the concentrations of suspended particles in the water. In choice feeding assays L. littorea did not distinguish between algae with adherent microplastics and clean algae without microplastics indicating that the snails do not recognize solid non-food particles in the sub-millimeter size range as deleterious. In periwinkles that were feeding on contaminated algae, microplastics were found in the stomach and in the gut. However, no microplastics were found in the midgut gland, which is the principle digestive organ of gastropods. Microplastics in the fecal pellets of the periwinkles indicate that the particles do not accumulate rapidly inside the animals but are mostly released with the feces. Our results provide the first evidence that seaweeds may represent an efficient pathway for microplastics from the water to marine benthic herbivores.
Article
The digestive tract contents of 263 individuals from 26 species of commercial fish were examined for microplastics. These were found in 17 species, corresponding to 19.8% of the fish of which 32.7% had ingested more than one microplastic. Of all the fish that ingested microplastics, 63.5% was benthic and 36.5% pelagic species. A total of 73 microplastics were recorded, 48 (65.8%) being fibres and 25 (34.2%) being fragments. Polymers were polypropylene, polyethylene, alkyd resin, rayon, polyester, nylon and acrylic. The mean of ingested microplastics was 0.27±0.63 per fish, (n=263). Pelagic fish ingested more particles and benthic fish ingested more fibres, but no significant differences were found. Fish with the highest number of microplastics were from the mouth of the Tagus river. Scomber japonicus registered the highest mean of ingested microplastics, suggesting its potential as indicator species to monitor and investigate trends in ingested litter, in the MSFD marine regions.
Article
Microscopic plastic fragments (<5mm) are a worldwide conservation issue, polluting both coastal and marine environments. Fibres are the most prominent plastic type reported in the guts of marine organisms, but their effects once ingested are unknown. This study investigated the fate of polypropylene rope microfibres (1-5mm in length) ingested by the crab, Carcinus maenas, and the consequences for the crab's energy budget. In chronic 4 week feeding studies, crabs which ingested food containing microfibres (0.3-1.0% plastic by weight) showed reduced food consumption (from 0.33g d-1 to 0.03g d-1) and a significant reduction in energy available for growth (scope for growth) from 0.59 kJ crab d-1 to -0.31 kJ crab d-1 in crabs fed with 1% plastic. The polypropylene microfibres were physically altered by their passage through the foregut, and were excreted with a smaller overall size and length, and amalgamated into distinctive balls. These results support of the emerging paradigm that a key biological impact of microplastic ingestion is a reduction in energy budgets for the affected marine biota. We also provide novel evidence of the biotransformations that can affect the plastics themselves following ingestion and excretion.
Article
Microplastics, plastic particles and fragments smaller than 5mm, are ubiquitous in the marine environment. Ingestion and accumulation of microplastics have previously been demonstrated for diverse marine species ranging from zooplankton to bivalves and fish, implying the potential for microplastics to accumulate in the marine food web. In this way, microplastics can potentially impact food safety and human health. Although a few methods to quantify microplastics in biota have been described, no comparison and/or intercalibration of these techniques have been performed. Here we conducted a literature review on all available extraction and quantification methods. Two of these methods, involving wet acid destruction, were used to evaluate the presence of microplastics in field-collected mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from three different "hotspot" locations in Europe (Po estuary, Italy; Tagus estuary, Portugal; Ebro estuary, Spain). An average of 0.18±0.14 total microplasticsg(-)(1) w.w. for the Acid mix Method and 0.12±0.04 total microplasticsg(-1) w.w. for the Nitric acid Method was established. Additionally, in a pilot study an average load of 0.13±0.14 total microplasticsg(-1) w.w. was recorded in commercial mussels (Mytilus edulis and M. galloprovincialis) from five European countries (France, Italy, Denmark, Spain and The Netherlands). A detailed analysis and comparison of methods indicated the need for further research to develop a standardised operating protocol for microplastic quantification and monitoring. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Article
This study assessed the capability of Crangon crangon (L.), an ecologically and commercially important crustacean, of consuming plastics as an opportunistic feeder. We therefore determined the microplastic content of shrimp in shallow water habitats of the Channel area and Southern part of the North Sea. Synthetic fibers ranging from 200 μm up to 1000 μm size were detected in 63% of the assessed shrimp and an average value of 0.68 ± 0.55 microplastics/g w. w. (1.23 ± 0.99 microplastics/shrimp) was obtained for shrimp in the sampled area. The assessment revealed no spatial patterns in plastic ingestion, but temporal differences were reported. The microplastic uptake was significantly higher in October compared to March. The results suggest that microplastics >20 μm are not able to translocate into the tissues.