Microplastics in wild fish from North East Atlantic Ocean and its potential for causing neurotoxic effects, lipid oxidative damage, and human health risks associated with ingestion exposure

Luís Gabriel A. Barboza, Clara Lopes, Patrícia Oliveira, Filipa Bessa, Vanessa Otero, Bruno Henriques, Joana Raimundo, Miguel Caetano, Carlos Vale, Lúcia Guilhermino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microplastics (MP) pollution has received increased attention over the last few years. However, while the number of studies documentating the ingestion of microplastics by fish has increased, fewer studies have addressed the toxicological effects derived from the ingestion of these small items in wild conditions. Here, MP contamination and effect biomarkers were investigated in three commercially important fish species from the North East Atlantic Ocean. From the 150 analysed fish (50 per species), 49 % had MP. In fish from the 3 species, MP in the gastrointestinal tract, gills and dorsal muscle were found. Fish with MP had significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher lipid peroxidation levels in the brain, gills and dorsal muscle, and increased brain acetylcholinesterase activity than fish where no MP were found. These results suggest lipid oxidative damage in gills and muscle, and neurotoxicity through lipid oxidative damage and acetylcholinesterase induction in relation to MP and/or MP-associated chemicals exposure. From the 150 fish analysed, 32 % had MP in dorsal muscle, with a total mean (± SD) of 0.054 ± 0.099 MP items/g. Based on this mean and on EFSA recommendation for fish consumption by adults or the general population, human consumers of Dicentrachus labrax, Trachurus trachurus, Scomber colias may intake 842 MP items/year from fish consumption only. Based on the mean of MP in fish muscle and data (EUMOFA, NOAA) of fish consumption per capita in selected European and American countries, the estimated intake of microplastics through fish consumption ranged from 518 to 3078 MP items/year/capita. Considering that fish consumption is only one of the routes of human exposure to microplastics, this study and others in the literature emphasize the need for more research, risk assessment and adoption of measures to minimize human exposure to these particles. Thus, MP pollution and its effects should be further investigated and addressed according to the WHO ‘One Health’ approach.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134625
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume717
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2020

Keywords

  • Human food safety and health
  • Marine fish health
  • Microplastics
  • Neurotoxicity
  • WHO ‘One Health’ approach

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Microplastics in wild fish from North East Atlantic Ocean and its potential for causing neurotoxic effects, lipid oxidative damage, and human health risks associated with ingestion exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this