Local Species Goals Main results References
Laboratorial exposure Lytechinusvariegatus (sea urchin) Compare the effects of plastic pellets (virgin and beach stranded) on Lytechinusvariegatus embryos development. A 58.1 and 66.5% increase of anomalies in embryonic development were recorded for beach stranded and virgin pellets, respectively. The pellets were tested in a proportion of 1:4 (pellet:seawater) [24]
Laboratorial exposure Mytilusedulis (mussel) Assess the uptake and translocation of microplastics (10-30-90 mm) under laboratorial conditions and the effects on energy metabolism Organisms exposed to a high concentration of polystyrene microspheres (110 particles/mL-1 sea water). Microplastics were present in all organisms collected (0.2 ± 0.3 particles/g body weight). Ingestion and translocation of microplastics in the gut didi not affect the cellular energy allocation. [25]
Laboratorial exposure   Assess effects of polyethylene ingestion at cellular and subcellular levels. After intake of particles with 0-80 μm, the following effects were observed: strong inflammatory response; granulocytomas formation after lysosomal membrane destabilization in connective tissue of digestive gland. Microplastic uptake into the gills and stomach with transport to digestive gland where they accumulated in lysosomal system in 3 h. [26]
Laboratorial exposure   Assess the effects of 30 nm polystyrene particles (0, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 g/L) on the feeding behavior. Filtering activity was reduced in presence of polystyrene. Production of pseudo-feces when exposed to 0.1 g/L. The polystyrene was recognized as a low nutritional food by mussels. [27]
Laboratorial exposure   Evaluation of the Ingestion, translocation and accumulation of microplastics debris (3.0 or 9.6 μm). Microplastics accumulation in gut. Microplastics capture in hemolymph. Microplastics translocation from gut to circulatory system during 48 days. [28]
Laboratorial exposure   Assess the presence of microplastics in soft tissues (whole body except the shell). 0.36 ± 0.07 particles/g (wet weight). [29]
Laboratorial exposure Mytilusgalloprovincialis (mussel) Evaluate the effects of pyrene in presence of polyethylene and polystyrene microplastics. Presence of microplastics in hemolymph, gills and in digestive glands. Microplastics caused DNA strand breaks in haemocytes at 20 g/L. Pyrene effects were emphaticized by microplastics because they adsorb pyrene increasing its uptake and bioavailability. [30]
Laboratorial exposure Crassostreagigas (oyster) Assess the presence of microplastics in soft tissues (whole body except the shell). 0.47 ± 0.16 particles/g (wet weight). [29]
Laboratorial exposure Arenicola marina (annelid) Assess the uptake and translocation of microplastics (10-30-90 mm) under laboratorial conditions and the effects on energy metabolism Organisms exposed to a high concentration of polystyrene microspheres (110 particles/g-1 sediment). Microplastics were present in all organisms collected in the field; on average 1.2 ± 2.8 particles/g body weight. Ingestion and translocation of microplastics in the gut did not affect the cellular energy allocation. [25]
Laboratorial exposure Arenicola marina (annelid) Assess the bioaccumulation of polystyrene and polychlorinated biphenyl. A low polystyrene dose increased bioaccumulation of PCBs by a factor of 1.1−3.6. Polysterene did not accumulate in A. marina but it can be ingested by its predators while in the gut of A. marina. [31]
Laboratorial exposure   Evaluation of the effects of microscopic unplasticised polyvinylchloride (UPVC) Energy reserves depletion after a chronic exposure to a dose of UPVC corresponding to 5% of sediment weight. Accumulation of UPVC in longer gut and inflammation with an enhanced phagocytic response after a chronic exposure. [32]
Laboratorial exposure Pomatoschistusmicrops (common goby fish) Assess the predatory behavior of juveniles in the presence of microplastics. Microplastics (420-500 μm size) were ingested suggesting confusion with food. Such confusion was dependent from the color of the microplastics and from the conditions of the fish juveniles. [33]
Laboratorial exposure Pomatoschistusmicrops (common goby fish) Assess the Influence of microplastics on chromium toxicity in juveniles. In presence of microplastics (0.216 mg/L), chromium (1.8 – 28.4 mg/L inhibited acetycholinesterase activity. [34]
North Western Mediterranean basin Zooplankton Evaluation of the ratio of microplastic to zooplankton in neustonic waters collected in 40 sampling stations Presence of microplastics of different types (filaments, polystyrene, thin plastic films) in 90% of the sampling stations with sizes ranging 0.3-0.5 mm and an average weight of 1.81 mg/particle.
A ratio of 1:5 (microplastic/zooplankton) was recorded in neustonic water samples thus representing a high risk to filter feeding organisms.
[35]
Cepolamacrophthalma (bandfish) Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Assessment of plastic ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (<40 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Callionymuslyra (common dragonet fish) Assessment of plastic ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (< 50 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Buglossisiumluteum (yellow sole) Assessment of plastic ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (< 20 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Microchirusvariegatus (sole) Assessment of plastic ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (< 20 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Aspitriglacuculus (red gurnard fish) Assessment of plastics ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel). Microplastics ingestion (< 70 pieces). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Mediterranean Sea (Pelagos Sanctuary) Balaenopteraphysalus (fin whale) Detection of MP and phthalates in surface neustonic/planktonic samples. Detection of phthalates in stranded fin whales. 56% of the surface neustonic/planktonic samples contained microplastic particles. Portofino MPA (Ligurian Sea) with the highest abundance of microplastics (9.67 items/m3). High concentrations of phthalates (1.00 – 4.32 ng/g fw) were detected in the neustonic/planktonic samples. Phthalates were in bubbler of stranded fin whales suggesting that they can be used as a tracer of the intake of microplastics. [37]
Mediterranean Sea   Evaluation of phthalate levels in this species. Presence of phthalates in bubbler (1.48 – 377.82 ng/g lipid basis). This species can be a potential bioindicator of the presence of microplastics in pelagic environments. [38]
Ireland Mesoplodonmirus (beaked whale) Evaluation of exposures trough the analysis of stomach and gut contents. Presence of microplastics in stomachs. Top oceanic predatory species are exposed to plastics; exposure pathways still unclear. [39]
Mediterranean Sea Cetorhinusmaximus (basking shark) Evaluation of the exposure to phthalates. High concentrations of phthalates in muscle (11.17 – 156.67 ng/g lipid basis). This species can be a potential bioindicator of microplastics in pelagic environments. [38]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Merlangiusmerlangus (whiting fish) Assessment of plastic ingestion. (Study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel). Microplastics ingestion (< 30 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Micromesistiuspoutassou (blue whiting fish) Assessment of plastic ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (~ 30 pieces). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Trisopterusminutus (poor cod fish) Assessment of plastic ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (~ 40 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Central Mediterranean Sea Xiphiasgladius (swordfish), Thunnusalalunga (tuna albacore) and Thunnusthynnus (tuna fish) Evaluation of the presence of plastic debris in stomach. Microplastics ingestion: 29 particles were found in the stomach of 22 fish. Plastic fragments with different colors and shapes. Swordfish: dominance of mesoplastics (44.4%); Albacore: dominance of microplastics (75%); Tuna fish: meso and macroplastics ingested in the same proportion. A relation between fish size and plastic size was found. [40]
Southwest of Plymouth, United Kingdom Zeus faber (fish) Assessment of plastics ingestion. (The study documents microplastics in 10 species of fish from the English Channel.) Microplastics ingestion (< 60 pieces/particles). Presence of polyamide, semi-synthetic cellulosic material and rayon in gastrointestinal tracts).* [36]
Table 1: Collection of some microplastics exposure and effects in animal species under both natural and laboratorial conditions.