Special Issue "Fate and Effects of Micro- and Nanoplastics in Soil and Aquatic Ecosystems"

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 7824

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Andreu Rico
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IMDEA Water Institute, Science and Technology Campus of the University of Alcalá, Avenida Punto Com 2, 28805, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
Interests: ecotoxicology; ecological risk assessment; environmental monitoring; aquatic invertebrates; mesocosms; aquaculture; tropical ecotoxicology; pesticides; pharmaceuticals; micro- and nanoplastics
Prof. Dr. Roberto Rosal
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, E-28871 Madrid, Spain
Interests: chemical technology; water and wastewater pollution and treatment; environmental chemistry; environmental toxicology; micro- and nanoplastics

Special Issue Information

One of the key features of the Anthropocene is the revolutionary use and the unprecedented environmental emission of plastics. Once in the environment, plastics break down into smaller particles that are commonly termed as microplastics or nanoplastics, depending on their size range. Current research shows that plastic particles are found in almost all environmental compartments (i.e., soils, surface and ground waters, oceans, atmosphere); however, the extent to which they are transferred among them and their impacts on living organisms are still poorly understood. This Toxics Special Issue calls for studies aiming at improving our understanding of the fate and toxicological effects of micro- and nanoplastics in the environment. Authors are invited to submit original research papers, reviews, and short communications that deal with the weathering and fractioning of plastics in the environment; their movement across environmental compartments (e.g., water runoff, soil infiltration, atmospheric deposition, river transport into oceans); their uptake and effects on terrestrial and aquatic organisms; and their direct and indirect effects on ecological food webs. Special interest is devoted to studies that focus on the monitoring of nanoplastics and their potential uptake and accumulation in living organisms; studies that assess the ecological effects of environmentally relevant plastic concentrations and mixtures (accounting for polymer type, size, and shape variability); and monitoring and modeling studies that help to understand the spatial and temporal distribution of micro- and nanoplastics at wide geographic scales. Studies that investigate the chemical side of plastics, such as potentially toxic leachates, the role of plastics as chemical vectors (i.e., Trojan horse effect), or the role of plastics as transmitters of pathogens and resistance genes, are welcome as well.

Dr. Andreu Rico
Prof. Dr. Roberto Rosal
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Toxics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1800 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

  • microplastics
  • nanoplastics
  • toxic leachates
  • Trojan horse effect
  • exposure assessment
  • effect assessment
  • environmental modeling
  • food webs

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
Lethal and Sublethal Responses of Hydropsyche pellucidula (Insecta, Trichoptera) to Commercial Polypropylene Microplastics after Different Preconditioning Treatments
Toxics 2021, 9(10), 256; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9100256 - 09 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) pose biological and chemical hazards in aquatic and terrestrial food webs across the globe. Research on microplastic contamination has long focused on marine ecosystems, whereas the toxicological impact on freshwater organisms is still little explored. In this study, the lethal and [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) pose biological and chemical hazards in aquatic and terrestrial food webs across the globe. Research on microplastic contamination has long focused on marine ecosystems, whereas the toxicological impact on freshwater organisms is still little explored. In this study, the lethal and sublethal response of the freshwater macroinvertebrate Hydropsyche pellucidula exposed to polypropylene MPs after different pre-conditioning treatments was assessed. Field samples were collected in a riverine system (Vipacco river; northeast Italy) to assess the characteristics of the MPs in the aquatic environment Both water and sediment were contaminated by MPs (3.73 ± 2.11 items m−3 per min and 3.33 ± 4.16 items dm−3, respectively). The chemical MPs composition included polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, polyurethane, polyamide, polypropylene, and polyethylene. Polypropylene (PP), although not the most abundant polymer recorded in the study area, was preferred over the other types according to its abundance in freshwater and H. pellucidula feeding behavior. A housing test was performed to recreate the natural conditions of larvae sampled for a reliable response to the ecotoxicological tests. The microplastics underwent either preconditioning with Vipacco River water (PP-river) and surfactant Triton X-100 (PP-sf) or no pre-treatment (PP). Submersion of microplastics in 10 µg L−1 of surfactant solution for 24 h was sufficient to induce consistent spectral changes and modify the chemical profile of the plastic surface. Mortality rate differed according to treatment: PP and PP-river > positive control > PP-sf > negative control. Integrated biomarker response (IBRv2) and analysis of oxidative stress biomarker levels showed a greater response of superoxide dismutase and lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde) in larvae treated with PP conditioned in surfactant. Our findings enhance knowledge on the toxicity of PP and conditioning phases on H. pellucidula larvae. Full article
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Article
Accelerated Weathering Increases the Release of Toxic Leachates from Microplastic Particles as Demonstrated through Altered Toxicity to the Green Algae Raphidocelis subcapitata
Toxics 2021, 9(8), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9080185 - 05 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
Studies that evaluate the impact of microplastic particles (MPs) often apply particles of pristine material. However, MPs are affected by various abiotic and biotic processes in the environment that possibly modify their physical and chemical characteristics, which might then result in their altered [...] Read more.
Studies that evaluate the impact of microplastic particles (MPs) often apply particles of pristine material. However, MPs are affected by various abiotic and biotic processes in the environment that possibly modify their physical and chemical characteristics, which might then result in their altered toxic effect. This study evaluated the consequence of weathering on the release of toxic leachates from microplastics. MPs derived from six marine antifouling paints, end-of-life tires, and unplasticised PVC were exposed to UV-C radiation to simulate weathering. Non-weathered and weathered MPs were leached in algae growth medium for 72 h to demonstrate additive release under freshwater conditions. The model organism, green algae Raphidocelis subcapitata, was exposed to the resulting leachates of both non-weathered and weathered MPs. The results of the growth inhibition tests showed that the leachates of weathered microparticles were more toxic than of the non-weathered material, which was reflected in their lower median effect concentration (EC50) values. Chemical analysis of the leachates revealed that the concentration of heavy metals was several times higher in the leachates of the weathered MPs compared to the non-weathered ones, which likely contributed to the increased toxicity. Our findings suggest including weathered microplastic particles in exposure studies due to their probably differing impact on biota from MPs of pristine materials. Full article
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Article
A Relevant Screening of Organic Contaminants Present on Freshwater and Pre-Production Microplastics
Toxics 2020, 8(4), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8040100 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1681
Abstract
Microplastics (MPs) have recently been discovered as considerable pollutants of all environmental matrices. They can contain a blend of chemicals, some of them added during the manufacture of plastic to improve their quality (additives) and others adsorbed from the surrounding environment. In light [...] Read more.
Microplastics (MPs) have recently been discovered as considerable pollutants of all environmental matrices. They can contain a blend of chemicals, some of them added during the manufacture of plastic to improve their quality (additives) and others adsorbed from the surrounding environment. In light of this, a detailed study about the identification and quantification of target organic pollutants and qualitative screening of non-target compounds present on MPs was carried out in different types of samples: environmental MPs, collected from an Italian river, and pre-production MPs, taken from the plastic industry. Polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were chosen as target compounds to be quantified by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC–MS), while the non-target screening was carried out by High Resolution Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (HRGC–MS). The target analysis revealed concentrations of 16 priority Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA-PAHs) in the range of 29.9–269.1 ng/g; the quantification of 31 PCBs showed values from 0.54 to 15.3 ng/g, identifying CB-138, 153, 180, 52, and 101 primarily; and the detected OCPs (p,p’-DDT and its metabolites) ranged between 14.5 and 63.7 ng/g. The non-target screening tentatively identified 246 compounds (e.g., phthalates, antioxidants, UV-stabilizers), including endocrine disruptors, toxic and reprotoxic substances, as well as chemicals subjected to risk assessment and authorisation. The large assortment of plastic chemicals associated with MPs showed their role as a presumable source of pollutants, some of which might have high bioaccumulation potential, persistence, and toxicity. Full article
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Review

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Review
Microplastics in the Environment: Intake through the Food Web, Human Exposure and Toxicological Effects
Toxics 2021, 9(9), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9090224 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2940
Abstract
Recently, studies on microplastics (MPs) have increased rapidly due to the growing awareness of the potential health risks related to their occurrence. The first part of this review is devoted to MP occurrence, distribution, and quantification. MPs can be transferred from the environment [...] Read more.
Recently, studies on microplastics (MPs) have increased rapidly due to the growing awareness of the potential health risks related to their occurrence. The first part of this review is devoted to MP occurrence, distribution, and quantification. MPs can be transferred from the environment to humans mainly through inhalation, secondly from ingestion, and, to a lesser extent, through dermal contact. As regards food web contamination, we discuss the microplastic presence not only in the most investigated sources, such as seafood, drinking water, and salts, but also in other foods such as honey, sugar, milk, fruit, and meat (chickens, cows, and pigs). All literature data suggest not-negligible human exposure to MPs through the above-mentioned routes. Consequently, several research efforts have been devoted to assessing potential human health risks. Initially, toxicological studies were conducted with aquatic organisms and then with experimental mammal animal models and human cell cultures. In the latter case, toxicological effects were observed at high concentrations of MPs (polystyrene is the most common MP benchmark) for a short time. Further studies must be performed to assess the real consequences of MP contamination at low concentrations and prolonged exposure. Full article
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