Implication of microplastic toxicity on functioning of microalgae in aquatic system

Tanushree Parsai, Neusa Figueiredo, Vivek Dalvi, Marta Martins, Anushree Malik, Arun Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Microplastics (MPs) released from both primary and secondary sources affect the functioning of aquatic system. These MPs and components leached, can interact with aquatic organisms of all trophic levels, including the primary producers, such as microalgae. Considering the ecological value of microalgae and the toxicological effects of MPs towards them, this review provides: (1) a detailed understanding of the interactions between MPs and microalgae in the complex natural environment; (2) a discussion about the toxic effects of single type and mixtures of plastic particles on the microalgae cells, and (3) a discussion about the impacts of MPs on various features of microalgae -based bioremediation technology. For this purpose, toxic effects of MPs on various microalgal species were compiled and plastic components of MPs were ranked on the basis of their toxic effects. Based on available data, ranking for various plastic components was found to be: Polystyrene (PS) (rank 1) > Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) > Polypropylene (PP) > Polyethylene (PE) (rank 4). Furthermore, the review suggested the need to understand joint toxicity of MPs along with co-contaminants on microalgae as the presence of other pollutants along with MPs might affect microalgae differently. In-depth investigations are required to check the impact of MPs on microalgae-based wastewater treatment technology and controlling factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119626
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • Bioremediation technology
  • Microalgae
  • Microplastics
  • Mixture
  • Risk
  • Toxicity


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