An assessment of the ability to ingest and excrete microplastics by filter-feeders: A case study with the Mediterranean mussel

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Abstract

Plastic debris has been recognized as a growing threat to marine biota due to its widespread distribution and possible interactions with marine species. Concerns over the effects of plastic polymers in marine ecosystems is reflected in the high number of toxicological studies, regarding microplastics (<5 mm) and marine fauna. Although several studies reported that organisms ingest and subsequently eliminate microplastics (MP), the potential effects at organ and tissue level remain unclear, especially considering exposure to different microplastic sizes and concentrations. The present study aimed at investigating potential pathophysiological effects of the ingestion of MP by marine filter-feeders. For the purpose, Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) was exposed to spherical polystyrene MP (2 and 10 μm Ø) over short- and medium-term exposure periods, under single and combined concentrations that represent high, yet realistic doses (10 and 1000 MP mL−1). Overall, results suggest rapid MP’ clearance from water column by filtering, regardless of MP size. Ingestion occurred, identified by MP in the lumen of the gut (mostly in midgut region), followed by excretion through faeces. However, no MP were found in gills or digestive gland diverticula. Biochemical indicators for oxidative stress were generally irresponsive regardless of organ and time of exposure. Small foci of haemocytic infiltration in gastric epithelia were found, albeit not clearly related to MP ingestion. Globally, no evident histopathological damage was recorded in whole-body sections of exposed animals. The present findings highlight the adaptative ability of filter-feeding bivalves to cope with filtration of suspended MP, resulting in rapid elimination and reduced internal damage following ingestion of spherical MP. Nevertheless, the fact that the animals are able to translocate MP to the gut reveals that filter feeding organisms may indeed became a target of concern for fragmented materials with smaller, mixed sizes and sharper edges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-606
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Volume245
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Fingerprint

Bivalvia
Animals
Eating
Plastics
Aquatic ecosystems
Oxidative stress
Polystyrenes
Infiltration
Debris
Polymers
Mytilus
Tissue
Biota
Water
Diverticulum
Feces
Toxicology
Ecosystem
Stomach
Oxidative Stress

Keywords

  • Digestive tract
  • Histopathology
  • Microplastic ingestion
  • Mytilus galloprovincialis
  • Polystyrene

Cite this

@article{2b21c46ef92643b19e2ddf5b61668166,
title = "An assessment of the ability to ingest and excrete microplastics by filter-feeders: A case study with the Mediterranean mussel",
abstract = "Plastic debris has been recognized as a growing threat to marine biota due to its widespread distribution and possible interactions with marine species. Concerns over the effects of plastic polymers in marine ecosystems is reflected in the high number of toxicological studies, regarding microplastics (<5 mm) and marine fauna. Although several studies reported that organisms ingest and subsequently eliminate microplastics (MP), the potential effects at organ and tissue level remain unclear, especially considering exposure to different microplastic sizes and concentrations. The present study aimed at investigating potential pathophysiological effects of the ingestion of MP by marine filter-feeders. For the purpose, Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) was exposed to spherical polystyrene MP (2 and 10 μm {\O}) over short- and medium-term exposure periods, under single and combined concentrations that represent high, yet realistic doses (10 and 1000 MP mL−1). Overall, results suggest rapid MP’ clearance from water column by filtering, regardless of MP size. Ingestion occurred, identified by MP in the lumen of the gut (mostly in midgut region), followed by excretion through faeces. However, no MP were found in gills or digestive gland diverticula. Biochemical indicators for oxidative stress were generally irresponsive regardless of organ and time of exposure. Small foci of haemocytic infiltration in gastric epithelia were found, albeit not clearly related to MP ingestion. Globally, no evident histopathological damage was recorded in whole-body sections of exposed animals. The present findings highlight the adaptative ability of filter-feeding bivalves to cope with filtration of suspended MP, resulting in rapid elimination and reduced internal damage following ingestion of spherical MP. Nevertheless, the fact that the animals are able to translocate MP to the gut reveals that filter feeding organisms may indeed became a target of concern for fragmented materials with smaller, mixed sizes and sharper edges.",
keywords = "Digestive tract, Histopathology, Microplastic ingestion, Mytilus galloprovincialis, Polystyrene",
author = "C{\'a}tia Gon{\cc}alves and Marta Martins and Paula Sobral and Costa, {Pedro M.} and Costa, {Maria H.}",
note = "info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/5876/147321/PT# This study was supported by the project PLASTOX (JPIOCEANS/0003/2015), which is also acknowledged for the fellowship to C. Goncalves. This work had also the financial support of Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT), through the strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2013 granted to MARE. Marta Martins was supported by FCT through the post-doctoral grant ref: SFRH/BPD/109734/2015. Pedro M. Costa also acknowledges FCT for the grant IF/00265/2015.",
year = "2019",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.envpol.2018.11.038",
language = "English",
volume = "245",
pages = "600--606",
journal = "Environmental Pollution",
issn = "0269-7491",
publisher = "Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - An assessment of the ability to ingest and excrete microplastics by filter-feeders: A case study with the Mediterranean mussel

AU - Gonçalves, Cátia

AU - Martins, Marta

AU - Sobral, Paula

AU - Costa, Pedro M.

AU - Costa, Maria H.

N1 - info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/FCT/5876/147321/PT# This study was supported by the project PLASTOX (JPIOCEANS/0003/2015), which is also acknowledged for the fellowship to C. Goncalves. This work had also the financial support of Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT), through the strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2013 granted to MARE. Marta Martins was supported by FCT through the post-doctoral grant ref: SFRH/BPD/109734/2015. Pedro M. Costa also acknowledges FCT for the grant IF/00265/2015.

PY - 2019/2/1

Y1 - 2019/2/1

N2 - Plastic debris has been recognized as a growing threat to marine biota due to its widespread distribution and possible interactions with marine species. Concerns over the effects of plastic polymers in marine ecosystems is reflected in the high number of toxicological studies, regarding microplastics (<5 mm) and marine fauna. Although several studies reported that organisms ingest and subsequently eliminate microplastics (MP), the potential effects at organ and tissue level remain unclear, especially considering exposure to different microplastic sizes and concentrations. The present study aimed at investigating potential pathophysiological effects of the ingestion of MP by marine filter-feeders. For the purpose, Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) was exposed to spherical polystyrene MP (2 and 10 μm Ø) over short- and medium-term exposure periods, under single and combined concentrations that represent high, yet realistic doses (10 and 1000 MP mL−1). Overall, results suggest rapid MP’ clearance from water column by filtering, regardless of MP size. Ingestion occurred, identified by MP in the lumen of the gut (mostly in midgut region), followed by excretion through faeces. However, no MP were found in gills or digestive gland diverticula. Biochemical indicators for oxidative stress were generally irresponsive regardless of organ and time of exposure. Small foci of haemocytic infiltration in gastric epithelia were found, albeit not clearly related to MP ingestion. Globally, no evident histopathological damage was recorded in whole-body sections of exposed animals. The present findings highlight the adaptative ability of filter-feeding bivalves to cope with filtration of suspended MP, resulting in rapid elimination and reduced internal damage following ingestion of spherical MP. Nevertheless, the fact that the animals are able to translocate MP to the gut reveals that filter feeding organisms may indeed became a target of concern for fragmented materials with smaller, mixed sizes and sharper edges.

AB - Plastic debris has been recognized as a growing threat to marine biota due to its widespread distribution and possible interactions with marine species. Concerns over the effects of plastic polymers in marine ecosystems is reflected in the high number of toxicological studies, regarding microplastics (<5 mm) and marine fauna. Although several studies reported that organisms ingest and subsequently eliminate microplastics (MP), the potential effects at organ and tissue level remain unclear, especially considering exposure to different microplastic sizes and concentrations. The present study aimed at investigating potential pathophysiological effects of the ingestion of MP by marine filter-feeders. For the purpose, Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) was exposed to spherical polystyrene MP (2 and 10 μm Ø) over short- and medium-term exposure periods, under single and combined concentrations that represent high, yet realistic doses (10 and 1000 MP mL−1). Overall, results suggest rapid MP’ clearance from water column by filtering, regardless of MP size. Ingestion occurred, identified by MP in the lumen of the gut (mostly in midgut region), followed by excretion through faeces. However, no MP were found in gills or digestive gland diverticula. Biochemical indicators for oxidative stress were generally irresponsive regardless of organ and time of exposure. Small foci of haemocytic infiltration in gastric epithelia were found, albeit not clearly related to MP ingestion. Globally, no evident histopathological damage was recorded in whole-body sections of exposed animals. The present findings highlight the adaptative ability of filter-feeding bivalves to cope with filtration of suspended MP, resulting in rapid elimination and reduced internal damage following ingestion of spherical MP. Nevertheless, the fact that the animals are able to translocate MP to the gut reveals that filter feeding organisms may indeed became a target of concern for fragmented materials with smaller, mixed sizes and sharper edges.

KW - Digestive tract

KW - Histopathology

KW - Microplastic ingestion

KW - Mytilus galloprovincialis

KW - Polystyrene

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DO - 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.11.038

M3 - Article

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JO - Environmental Pollution

JF - Environmental Pollution

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