Occurrence of microplastics in commercial fish from a natural estuarine environment

Filipa Bessa, Pablo Barría, João M. Neto, João P. G. L. Frias, Vanessa Otero, Paula Sobral, J. C. Marques

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

393 Citations (Scopus)


Microplastic ingestion has been reported for several marine species, but the level of contamination in transitional systems and associated biota is less known. The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of microplastic ingestion in three commercial fish species: the sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), the seabream (Diplodus vulgaris) and the flounder (Platichthys flesus) from the Mondego estuary (Portugal). Microplastics were extracted from the gastrointestinal tract of 120 individuals by visual inspection and digestion solution. A total of 157 particles were extracted from 38% of total fish (96% fibers), with 1.67 ± 0.27 (SD) microplastics per fish. Significantly higher amount of ingested microplastics was recorded for D. vulgaris (73%). The dominant polymers identified by μ-FTIR were polyester, polypropylene and rayon (semi-synthetic fiber). It is reported for the first time the presence of this pollutant in fish populations from the Mondego estuary raising concerns on their potential negative effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-584
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Analytical methods
  • Estuary
  • Fibers
  • Fish
  • Plastic pollution
  • μ-FTIR


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