alexa Does the presence of microplastics influence the acute toxicity of chromium(VI) to early juveniles of the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps)? A study with juveniles from two wild estuarine populations.
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development

Author(s): Lus LG, Ferreira P, Fonte E, Oliveira M, Guilhermino L

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Toxicological interactions between microplastics (MP) and other environmental contaminants are of grave concern. Here, the potential influence of MP in the short-term toxicity of chromium to early juveniles of Pomatoschistus microps was investigated. Three null hypotheses were tested: (1) exposure to Cr(VI) concentrations in the low ppm range does not induce toxic effects on juveniles; (2) the presence of microplastics in the water does not influence the acute toxicity of Cr(VI) to juveniles; (3) the environmental conditions of the natural habitat where fish developed do not influence their sensitivity to Cr(VI)-induced acute stress. Fish were collected in the estuaries of Minho (M-est) and Lima (L-est) Rivers (NW Iberian Peninsula) that have several abiotic differences, including in the water and sediment concentrations of various environmental contaminants. After acclimatization to laboratory conditions, two 96h acute bioassays were carried out with juveniles from both estuaries to: (i) investigate the effects of Cr(VI) alone; (ii) investigate the effects of Cr(VI) in the presence of MP (polyethylene spheres 1-5μm ∅). Cr(VI) alone induced mortality (96h-LC50s: 14.4-30.5mg/l) and significantly decreased fish predatory performance (≤74%). Thus, in the range of concentrations tested (5.6-28.4mg/l) Cr(VI) was found to be toxic to P. microps early juveniles, therefore, we rejected hypothesis 1. Under simultaneous exposure to Cr(VI) and MP, a significant decrease of the predatory performance (≤67%) and a significant inhibition of AChE activity (≤31%) were found. AChE inhibition was not observed in the test with Cr(VI) alone and MP alone caused an AChE inhibition ≤21%. Mixture treatments containing Cr(VI) concentration ≥3.9mg/l significantly increased LPO levels in L-est fish, an effect that was not observed under Cr(VI) or MP single exposures. Thus, toxicological interactions between Cr(VI) and MP occurred, therefore, we rejected hypothesis 2. In the presence of MP, the negative effect caused by high concentrations of Cr(VI) on the predatory performance was significantly reduced in L-est fish but not in M-est fish, and Cr(VI) concentrations higher than 3.9mg/l caused oxidative damage in L-est fish but not in M-est fish. The acclimatization and test conditions were similar for fish from the two estuaries and these ecosystems have environmental differences. Thus, long-term exposure to distinct environmental conditions in the natural habitat during previous developmental phases influenced the sensitivity and responses of juveniles to Cr(VI), therefore, we rejected hypothesis 3. Overall, the results of this study indicate toxicological interactions between MP and Cr(VI) highlighting the importance of further investigating the combined effects of MP and other common contaminants.

This article was published in Aquat Toxicol and referenced in Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development

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