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#35728319   2022/06/13 To Up

In-depth characterization revealed polymer type and chemical content specific effects of microplastic on Dreissena bugensis.

In aquatic ecosystems, filter feeders like mussels are particularly vulnerable to microplastics (MP). However, little is known about how the polymer type and the associated properties (like additives or remaining monomers) of MP impact organisms, as the predominant type of MP used for effect studies on the organismic level are micron grade polystyrene spheres, without considering their chemical composition. Therefore, we exposed the freshwater mussel Dreissena bugensis (D. bugensis) to in-depth characterized fragments in the same concentration and size range (20-120 µm): recycled polyethylene terephthalate from drinking bottles, polyamide, polystyrene, polylactic acid, and mussel shell fragments as natural particle control. Real-time valvometry, used to study behavioral responses via the movement of the mussels' valves, showed that mussels cannot distinguish between natural and MP particles, and therefore do not cease their filtration, as when exposed to dissolved pollutants. This unintentional ingestion led to polymer type-dependent adverse effects (activity of antioxidant enzymes and proteomic alterations), related to chemicals and residual monomers found in MP. Overall, recycled PET elicited the strongest negative effects, likely caused by anthranilamide, anthranilonitrile and butylated hydroxytoluene, contained in the fragments, which are toxic to aquatic organisms. As PET is among the most abundant MP in the environment, sublethal effects may gradually manifest at the population level, leading to irreversible ecosystem changes.
Julian Brehm, Magdalena V Wilde, Lukas Reiche, Lisa-Cathrin Leitner, Benedict Petran, Marcel Meinhart, Simon Wieland, Sven Ritschar, Matthias Schott, Jan-Pascal Boos, Sven Frei, Holger Kress, Jürgen Senker, Andreas Greiner, Thomas Fröhlich, Christian Laforsch

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