Ecotoxicological Impacts of Micro(Nano)plastics in the Environment: Biotic and Abiotic Interactions

A special issue of Microplastics (ISSN 2673-8929).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2022) | Viewed by 22219

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Norwegian Research Center (NORCE), Nygårdsporten 112, NO-5008 Bergen, Norway
Interests: microplastics; nanoplastics; vector-effects; ecotoxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: nanoparticles synthesis and behavior; microplastics; nanotoxicology; biosensors; emerging contaminants; in vitro systems; alternative methods in biological research
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Faculty of Management, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
Interests: management and remediation of contaminated sites; ecological impacts and mitigation of industrial pollution; air pollution impacts on ecosystems; ecological risk assessment and environmental effects monitoring; monitoring and management of plastic pollution; sustainable solution and policy implementation; pollution of plastics and microplastic pollution

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental, Earth and Physical Sciences, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
Interests: ecotoxicology; microplastics; marine litter; biological effects; ecotoxicological effects; emerging contaminants; plastic additives; molecular biology; biomarkers; endangered species; laboratory experiments
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. School of Biological Sciences, Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS), Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK
2. Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA
Interests: computational biology; genomics and genetics; big data; pharmacogenomics; endocrine disruption; systems biology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plastic pollution, encompassing all size ranges from macro- to nanoplastics, is an emerging threat and one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Plastics, particularly microplastics (<5 mm diameter), have attracted the attention of the public, governments, and scientists of numerous disciplines worldwide. The presence of microplastics has been documented in all parts of the environment—from the highest mountains to the deepest oceans—as well as in food consumed by humans. The interaction of microplastics with aquatic and terrestrial species has also been the focus of much research from both the field and in the laboratory. Research to date on the impacts of micro(nano)plastics (MNPs) has been primarily short-term laboratory exposures, often with a single type of plastic and at elevated concentrations compared with what is seen in the environment, which is not representative of real-world aquatic environments. Thus, key knowledge gaps persist regarding the outcomes of these interactions and the biological impacts of plastic exposure—both the direct exposure of plastic particles and indirect exposure to plastic associated chemicals such as those used in their synthesis or sorbed from the environment.

This Special Issue invites contributions covering all aspects resulting from the presence of plastics in the environment. We welcome papers that focus on the biological interactions and effects of plastics, including (i) field and laboratory studies with terrestrial and aquatic organisms, (ii) direct impact of micro(nano)plastic exposure resulting in molecular, biochemical, physiological or behavioral effects, (iii) indirect impacts resulting from the exposure to endogenous (additives) or exogenous (sorbed) chemicals via microplastics (i.e., Trojan horse or vector effects), (iv) ecological risk assessments and (v) human health concerns. Submissions are particularly welcome on emerging focus areas such as nanoplastics, bioplastics, fibers, and tire wear particles, as well as studies that use and characterize weathered or aged plastic particles. Authors are invited to submit original research papers, reviews, and short communications.

Dr. Farhan Khan
Dr. Miguel Oliveira
Prof. Dr. Tony Robert Walker
Dr. Cristina Panti
Prof. Dr. Gary Hardiman
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Microplastics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • macro-, meso-, micro-, and nanoplastics
  • oil-based polymers, bioplastics, tire wear particles
  • terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
  • direct impacts—ingestion and retention, blockage and attachment
  • indirect effects—vector effects, micro(nano)plastics as a chemical carrier, pollutant bioavailability
  • endogenous and exogenous chemicals
  • sorption, desorption, leaching, additives
  • toxicity and biological impacts
  • accumulation, distribution, and elimination
  • subcellular effects, biomarker responses, omic approaches
  • ecological risk assessment
  • human health

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

4 pages, 196 KiB  
Editorial
Ecotoxicological Impacts of Micro(Nano)plastics in the Environment: Biotic and Abiotic Interactions
by Farhan R. Khan, Miguel Oliveria, Tony R. Walker, Cristina Panti and Gary Hardiman
Microplastics 2023, 2(3), 215-218; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics2030017 - 26 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1729
Abstract
Plastic and microplastic pollution is a complex, muti-faceted challenge that has engaged a broad alliance of stakeholder groups who are concerned with environmental, biotic and human health [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

10 pages, 1550 KiB  
Article
An In Vitro Assay to Quantify Effects of Micro- and Nano-Plastics on Human Gene Transcription
by Antonio Pellegrino, Denise Danne, Christoph Weigel and Harald Seitz
Microplastics 2023, 2(1), 122-131; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics2010009 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2482
Abstract
In today’s age, plastic waste is a major problem for our environment. The decomposition of plastic waste causes widespread contamination in all types of ecosystems worldwide. Micro-plastics in the lower micrometer size range and especially nano-plastics can become internalized by cells and thus [...] Read more.
In today’s age, plastic waste is a major problem for our environment. The decomposition of plastic waste causes widespread contamination in all types of ecosystems worldwide. Micro-plastics in the lower micrometer size range and especially nano-plastics can become internalized by cells and thus become a threat to human health. To investigate the effects of internalized micro- and nano-plastics on human gene transcription, we used an in vitro assay to quantify CREB (cAMP response element binding protein) mediated transcription. Here we show that CREB mediated gene expression was mainly but not exclusively induced by phosphorylation. In addition, the amount of CREB affected transcription was also studied. We were also able to show that the strong CREB mediated stimulation of transcription was diminished by micro- and nano-plastics in any chosen setting. This indicates a threat to human health via the deregulation of transcription induced by internalized micro- and nano-plastics. However, this established quantifiable in vitro transcription test system could help to screen for toxic substances and non-toxic alternatives. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

15 pages, 1217 KiB  
Article
Polystyrene Microplastics Modulate the Toxicity of the Hydrophilic Insecticide Thiacloprid for Chironomid Larvae and Also Influence Their Burrowing Behavior
by Stefanie Krais, Nils Anthes, Sven Huppertsberg, Thomas P. Knepper, Katharina Peschke, Aki S. Ruhl, Hannah Schmieg, Tabea Schwarz, Heinz-R. Köhler and Rita Triebskorn
Microplastics 2022, 1(3), 505-519; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics1030036 - 04 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1852
Abstract
As there is still little knowledge of interactions between microplastics (MP) and hydrophilic compounds, we propose ways the toxicity of hydrophilic pesticides can be modulated by MP, when sorption can be excluded. Larvae of Chironomus riparius were exposed to thiacloprid (TH, 1 µg/L) [...] Read more.
As there is still little knowledge of interactions between microplastics (MP) and hydrophilic compounds, we propose ways the toxicity of hydrophilic pesticides can be modulated by MP, when sorption can be excluded. Larvae of Chironomus riparius were exposed to thiacloprid (TH, 1 µg/L) and polystyrene microplastic particles (PS; <50 µm; 150,000 and 1,000,000 particles/L) for 96 h, solely or in co-exposure. Burrowing behavior and mortality were observed. Larvae in treatments containing PS established themselves quicker in the sediment and kept the ability to rebury for a longer time compared to control and TH, respectively. While TH elevated the mortality, exposure to PS alone did not affect the survival of the larvae. In co-exposure of TH and PS, a concentration of 150,000 particles/L significantly reduced the toxicity of 1 µg/L TH after 96 h, an effect that was not observed at 1,000,000 particles/L. Therefore, we hypothesize that this modulation of the toxicity of TH eventually may have resulted from a combination of a ‘protective MP layer’ in the gut and a higher retention time of particles in larvae exposed to 150,000 particles/L than in those exposed to 1,000,000 particles/L due to the lower number of ingestible particles in the former. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 1472 KiB  
Article
Impaired Growth Performance of Wami Tilapia Juveniles (Oreochromis urolepis) (Norman, 1922) Due to Microplastic Induced Degeneration of the Small Intestine
by John J. Mbugani, John F. Machiwa, Daniel A. Shilla, Dativa Joseph, Wahabu H. Kimaro and Farhan R. Khan
Microplastics 2022, 1(3), 334-345; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics1030025 - 28 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2151
Abstract
Microplastics-induced histopathological changes in gastrointestinal tracts of fish have been widely reported. However, the translation of adverse effects in the gut to impacts on growth are understudied. This study investigated the effect of MP-induced small intestinal histomorphological changes on growth performance of Oreochromis [...] Read more.
Microplastics-induced histopathological changes in gastrointestinal tracts of fish have been widely reported. However, the translation of adverse effects in the gut to impacts on growth are understudied. This study investigated the effect of MP-induced small intestinal histomorphological changes on growth performance of Oreochromis urolepis juveniles. Sixty larvae were exposed in control (0), 1, 10, and 100 polyethylene microplastic particles (PE MPs)/mL treatment groups. On day 65, juveniles were euthanized, dissected, and biometric data were taken. Small intestine histomorphological lesion index (HLI) was calculated following histological preparation using routine hematoxylin and eosin procedure. Results showed increase in HLI proportional to PE MPs exposure dose. These deteriorations equally reduced growth in final weight, weight gain and total length (One-Way ANOVA, p > 0.05), and Specific Growth Rate (SGR) (Kruskal–Wallis Test, p > 0.05), though there were insignificant differences between treatment groups. Condition factors of fishes in control and 1 PE MPs differed significantly and with other treatment groups (Tukey HSD, p < 0.05). Small intestines HLI correlated significantly with growth pattern (Spearman, r = 1.00, p = 0.01), condition factors (Pearson, r = −0.995, p < 0.05), final weight, weight gain, and total length (Spearman, r = −1.00, p = 0.01) but not with SGR. The allometric growth pattern changed towards isometric corresponding to increasing HLI. These findings suggest that MPs damaged small intestine structure and thus impaired digestion and nutrients absorption functions which disrupted growth. Such effects may impair juveniles’ ability to escape enemies, find food, and eventually reproduce, and therefore require further study. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

14 pages, 11108 KiB  
Article
Histomorphological Damage in the Small Intestine of Wami Tilapia (Oreochromis urolepis) (Norman, 1922) Exposed to Microplastics Remain Long after Depuration
by John J. Mbugani, John F. Machiwa, Daniel A. Shilla, Wahabu Kimaro, Dativa Joseph and Farhan R. Khan
Microplastics 2022, 1(2), 240-253; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics1020017 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2857
Abstract
The histopathological effects of microplastics (MPs) in the gastrointestinal tracts of fish following long-term exposure and depuration are relatively understudied. This study investigated histomorphological damage in the small intestine of Oreochromis urolepis larvae following 65 d exposure to 38–45 μm of polyethylene microspheres [...] Read more.
The histopathological effects of microplastics (MPs) in the gastrointestinal tracts of fish following long-term exposure and depuration are relatively understudied. This study investigated histomorphological damage in the small intestine of Oreochromis urolepis larvae following 65 d exposure to 38–45 μm of polyethylene microspheres (PE MPs) and after a recovery period of 60 d. Larval fish were assigned to each treatment group (control, 1, 10 and 100 PE MPs), where ingestion and degenerative changes in the small intestine were examined using a routine hematoxylin and eosin staining technique. The results highlighted significant PE MPs ingestion and retention proportional to exposure dose (χ2 = 49.54; df = 2). Villi height and width and epithelial cell height were significantly affected and differed between treatment groups. Indices of damage to the small intestine organ (χ2 = 47.37; df = 2; p < 0.05) and reaction patterns of villi, epithelial, goblet and cryptic glandular cells, leucocytic infiltration and blood congestion revealed significant occurrence of alteration as PE MPs exposure dose increased. After the recovery period, no PE MPs were observed, and villi height, width and epithelial cells showed recovery with no significant difference between treatment groups. Organ indices declined (χ2 = 12; df = 2; p < 0.05) but remained significantly different between treatment groups, largely due to leucocytic infiltration (χ2 = 9.08; df = 2; p < 0.05). The study demonstrated that microplastics induced small intestinal wall degeneration, but recovery in young fish occurred slowly. The damage likely compromised its digestive function, which may affect growth and reproduction. This requires further research. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

21 pages, 1777 KiB  
Review
Microplastics in Freshwaters: Implications for Aquatic Autotrophic Organisms and Fauna Health
by Madalina Andreea Badea, Mihaela Balas and Anca Dinischiotu
Microplastics 2023, 2(1), 39-59; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics2010003 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3310
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) represent small plastic particles with sizes between 1 μm and 5 mm, are insoluble in water, andclassified as primary (these are originally produced in small sizes) or secondary (the result of the degradation of plastic) types. MPs accumulate in all ecosystems, [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) represent small plastic particles with sizes between 1 μm and 5 mm, are insoluble in water, andclassified as primary (these are originally produced in small sizes) or secondary (the result of the degradation of plastic) types. MPs accumulate in all ecosystems, including freshwater environments, where they are subjected to degradation processes. Due to their ubiquitous nature, freshwater ecosystems, which have a vital importance in human life, are permanently subjected to these small plastic particles. In this context, MPs pollution is considered to be a global issue, and it is associated with toxic effects on all the elements of the freshwater environment. In this review, we present, in detail, the main physical (density, size, color, shape, and crystallinity) and chemical (chemical composition and modification of the MPs’ surface) properties of MPs, the mechanism of biodegradation, and the consequences of autotrophic organisms and fauna exposure by focusing on the freshwater environment. The toxicity mechanisms triggered by MPs are related to the critical parameters of the particles: size, concentration, type, and form, but they are also dependent on species exposed to MPs and the exposure route. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 996 KiB  
Review
Honey Quality and Microplastic Migration from Food Packaging: A Potential Threat for Consumer Health?
by Klytaimnistra Katsara, George Kenanakis, Eleftherios Alissandrakis and Vassilis M. Papadakis
Microplastics 2022, 1(3), 406-427; https://doi.org/10.3390/microplastics1030030 - 08 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4950
Abstract
In ancient Greece, people said that “honey is the Food of the Gods”, and they were right. They believed that honey fell from the sky, with the morning dew, on the flowers and leaves, and from this point, the bees collected it. Honey [...] Read more.
In ancient Greece, people said that “honey is the Food of the Gods”, and they were right. They believed that honey fell from the sky, with the morning dew, on the flowers and leaves, and from this point, the bees collected it. Honey is one of the most nutritious food products, which can be found in most homes. A lot of honey products are stored in different types of packaging materials, including plastics. Plastic packaging has been studied for the migration of plasticizers, chemical compounds, and MPs and NPs in foodstuffs. Most of them have been achieved through food simulations, while some studies managed to detect and isolate MPs/NPs. Recent studies presented evidence for the presence of MPs/NPs in honey products but not directly connected to food packaging or to the different types of honey and their properties (viscosity, pH value, and moisture content) or their storing conditions (temperature, humidity, light, and time). Spectroscopic and analytical techniques like Raman, FTIR, HPLC, and GC-MS are in the foreground for MP/NP detection and identification, but a universal way of isolation, detection, characterization, and quantification has not yet been found. This leaves an open field for more work to be done to clarify the factors affecting the migration of plastic packaging material in honey. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop