The Ecological Effects of Micro(nano)plastics in the Water Environment

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 10383

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, Tallinn, Estonia
Interests: petroleum-based and bio plastics; ecotoxicogenomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is designed to serve as a collection of the latest work on conventional plastics and bioplastics. It is also intended to be a valuable review of achievements and deficiencies of the field which can serve as a basis for defining new frontiers in plastic research.

This call is open to all studies that address the potential toxicity of conventional plastic and bioplastics (biodegradable and non-biodegradable), compare their toxicity, and evaluate the ecological consequences of plastic pollution, preferably but not limited to using a set of methods applicable for different levels of biological organization.

Dr. Carlos Gravato
Dr. Alla Khosrovyan
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. Water is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • microplastics
  • nanoplastics
  • ingestion
  • effects of micro(nano)particles
  • effects of polymers
  • virgin versus aged particles
  • immunotoxicity
  • oxidative stress
  • cellular energy allocation
  • ecotoxicogenomics
  • comparative physiology
  • transfer of particles through the food chain
  • bioplastics
  • ecological impact of plastic waste

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 5551 KiB  
Article
Impact of Plastic Pollution on Marine Biodiversity in Italy
by Teresa Bottari, Bilal Mghili, Kannan Gunasekaran and Monique Mancuso
Water 2024, 16(4), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/w16040519 - 06 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
Plastic litter is a global threat affecting all marine ecosystems. Utilizing digital media platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram we assessed the detrimental effects of marine plastic litter on the biodiversity of the Italian marine ecosystem. We noted that marine plastic litter had [...] Read more.
Plastic litter is a global threat affecting all marine ecosystems. Utilizing digital media platforms like Google, Facebook, and Instagram we assessed the detrimental effects of marine plastic litter on the biodiversity of the Italian marine ecosystem. We noted that marine plastic litter had adverse consequences on marine reptiles, mammals, sea birds, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks, including endangered and vulnerable marine species. The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) was the most recorded species found entangled in plastic litter. Our investigation revealed that abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear are the primary contributors to the entanglement of numerous marine species. The current study represents a preliminary step towards establishing databases that document records of entanglement, which may be useful in adopting new conservation measures in the Mediterranean geographical subareas. Our results emphasize the critical need for collaborative efforts among all stakeholders and policymakers to effectively manage marine plastic litter. Full article
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9 pages, 513 KiB  
Article
Toxicity of Plastic Additive 1-Hydroxycyclohexyl Phenyl Ketone (1-HCHPK) to Freshwater Microcrustaceans in Natural Water
by Irina Blinova, Aljona Lukjanova, Heiki Vija, Monika Mortimer and Margit Heinlaan
Water 2023, 15(18), 3213; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15183213 - 09 Sep 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1082
Abstract
Various potentially toxic compounds associated with plastic (e.g., plastic additives) can enter the environment during plastic fragmentation and/or weathering. 1-Hydroxycyclohexyl phenyl ketone (1-HCHPK) is a widely used photoinitiator, e.g., in UV-radiation-curable technologies such as 3D-printing, plastic coatings and construction materials. 1-HCHPK may reach [...] Read more.
Various potentially toxic compounds associated with plastic (e.g., plastic additives) can enter the environment during plastic fragmentation and/or weathering. 1-Hydroxycyclohexyl phenyl ketone (1-HCHPK) is a widely used photoinitiator, e.g., in UV-radiation-curable technologies such as 3D-printing, plastic coatings and construction materials. 1-HCHPK may reach aquatic ecosystems via various waste-flows, including leaching from consumer goods. However, knowledge of its potential environmental hazard is scarce. In the present study, we addressed this data gap by assessing the acute and long-term toxicity of 1-HCHPK to freshwater microcrustaceans in environmentally relevant conditions using natural waters. The results showed that the acute toxicity of 1-HCHPK (L(E)C50) to pelagic Thamnocephalus platyurus and Daphnia magna and benthic Heterocypris incongruens ranged between 27 and 55 mg/L. Further, the long-term exposure of D. magna to low levels of 1-HCHPK (0.1 and 1.0 mg/L) did not affect ephippia hatching or organismal fitness, even in three successive daphnid generations. Thus, 1-HCHPK did not pose a hazard to the freshwater microcrustaceans at concentrations < 1 mg/L in the environmentally relevant conditions (i.e., multigenerational life cycle tests conducted in lake water at low chemical exposure concentrations). The tests employed in this study allowed for the environmentally relevant hazard assessment of emerging pollutants such as a plastic additive 1-HCHPK. Full article
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22 pages, 1847 KiB  
Article
Microplastic Particles’ Effects on Aquatic Organisms and Their Role as Transporters of Organic Pollutants
by Gabriela Aguirre-Martínez, Maria Virginia Carrizo and Lisette Zenteno-Devaud
Water 2023, 15(16), 2915; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15162915 - 12 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1728
Abstract
Microplastic (MP) contamination is considered a growing problem in terms of its production and observed impacts on aquatic organisms. In this study, we investigated the adverse effects that could occur from pure polyethylene (PE) MPs and PE contaminated with phenanthrene (Phe) and chlorpyrifos [...] Read more.
Microplastic (MP) contamination is considered a growing problem in terms of its production and observed impacts on aquatic organisms. In this study, we investigated the adverse effects that could occur from pure polyethylene (PE) MPs and PE contaminated with phenanthrene (Phe) and chlorpyrifos (CPF) in D. magna and podocopid ostracods. The organisms were exposed to different sizes (1–5, 27–32, 45–53, and 212–250 μm) and concentrations of MPs (0, 16, 160, 1600, 16,000 particles/mL) using a static and dynamic model of exposition. The results indicate that both daphnia and ostracods can ingest MPs, and the effect observed in most cases is directly proportional to the concentration of MPs. Exposure to pure MP did not affect the organisms. However, at 21 days, they induced a significant decrease (p < 0.05) in neonatal daphnia compared to the control. MP + CPF negatively affected the crustaceans when concentration, and exposure time were increased and when the size of the MPs was decreased. Neonatal daphnia were the most sensitive compared to juveniles and adults. MP + Phe caused mortality when increasing the concentration of MPs and in D. magna juveniles with increasing size, while in ostracods, mortality increased with decreasing particle size. The effect of the MPs in crustaceans would depend on the concentration, exposure time, size of the organisms, and size of the MPs. It is also shown that the toxicity of PE increases when these particles are associated with a contaminant, which would indicate its role as a transporter of organic contaminants. Full article
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13 pages, 995 KiB  
Article
Polylactic Acid-Based Microplastic Particles Induced Oxidative Damage in Brain and Gills of Goldfish Carassius auratus
by Alla Khosrovyan, Hranush Melkonyan, Lilit Rshtuni, Bardukh Gabrielyan and Anne Kahru
Water 2023, 15(11), 2133; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15112133 - 04 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2070
Abstract
The effect of 96 h exposure of the goldfish Carassius auratus to two different types of bioplastic particles, originating from commercial shopping bag (Bag, ~5 mm) and polylactic acid-based (PLA) cup (Cup, ≤5 mm), and petroleum-based polyamide particles (PA, 0–180 µm) was studied. [...] Read more.
The effect of 96 h exposure of the goldfish Carassius auratus to two different types of bioplastic particles, originating from commercial shopping bag (Bag, ~5 mm) and polylactic acid-based (PLA) cup (Cup, ≤5 mm), and petroleum-based polyamide particles (PA, 0–180 µm) was studied. All particles were studied as virgin and after simulated UV-degradation (at concentration 30 mg L−1). The experiments were conducted according to OECD 203 test guidelines. The toxicity endpoint evaluated in fish brain and gills was lipid peroxidation (LPO) quantified as nmol thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARs) mg−1 protein. The results indicated that indicatively compostable PLA bioplastic Cup induced significant LPO in the brain and/or gills of the goldfish, in contrast to the particles from Bag and PA (in the brain, Cup > Bag > PA; in the gills, Cup > Bag). The UV-degradation of the particles of all studied types had no significant effect on the LPO level compared to virgin particles. While the increase of LPO in fish gills and brain upon exposure to PLA-plastic particles can be transitory in the long-term perspective, our results point to the necessity of a thorough investigation of the hazard of bioplastics at different state of environmental degradation/weathering. Full article
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10 pages, 2134 KiB  
Article
Risk of Expanded Polystyrene Ingestion by Climbing Perch Anabas testudineus
by Ekaterina V. Ganzha, Efim D. Pavlov and Tran Duc Dien
Water 2023, 15(7), 1294; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15071294 - 25 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1563
Abstract
The climbing perch Anabas testudineus is widespread in the inland waters of Vietnam and according to its ecology could have contact with floating plastic waste. Fragments of expanded polystyrene (EPS) are detected in the fresh waters of Vietnam in Khanh Hoa, Lam Dong, [...] Read more.
The climbing perch Anabas testudineus is widespread in the inland waters of Vietnam and according to its ecology could have contact with floating plastic waste. Fragments of expanded polystyrene (EPS) are detected in the fresh waters of Vietnam in Khanh Hoa, Lam Dong, and Phu Yen provinces. Our study focused on estimating the probability of ingestion of EPS pellets (size 2.5–3.5 mm) by adult climbing perch. In the experiments, 3 types of treatment pellets were offered to fish: 24 feed pellets (Fps), 24 expanded polystyrene pellets (Pps), and 12 feed and 12 expanded polystyrene pellets (FPps). Fish grasping time of the first pellet was independent in all treatment types. The grasping time of the 12th pellet was insignificant in Fps (63 s) and Pps (75 s). Climbing perch grasped and ingested the 24th Fp significantly (p = 0.02) earlier (143 s), than they grasped the 24th Pp (817 s). Fish with FPp treatment grasped feed along with EPS pellets, but grasping the 12th Fp was significantly (p = 0.02) earlier (49 s) than the 12th Pp (193 s). By the end of the tests, the fish had ingested all feed pellets. We discovered that climbing perch grasped Pps and kept them in the oral cavity, but rejected them in 100% of the cases. This result provided evidence that climbing perch have an effective defense mechanism for avoiding ingestion of expanded polystyrene pellets with a size of 2.5–3.5 mm. Full article
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19 pages, 5685 KiB  
Article
Environmental Contamination with Micro- and Nanoplastics Changes the Phototaxis of Euryhaline Zooplankton to Paired Photostimulation
by Yuri Morgalev, Victor Dyomin, Sergey Morgalev, Alexandra Davydova, Tamara Morgaleva, Oksana Kondratova, Igor Polovtsev, Nikolay Kirillov and Alexey Olshukov
Water 2022, 14(23), 3918; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14233918 - 01 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1344
Abstract
Our earlier studies showed that paired photostimulation allows the detection of pollutants in an aqueous medium according to the behavioral responses of freshwater Crustacea. The first stimulus initiated and stabilized the behavioral response. The increase in response to the second stimulus made [...] Read more.
Our earlier studies showed that paired photostimulation allows the detection of pollutants in an aqueous medium according to the behavioral responses of freshwater Crustacea. The first stimulus initiated and stabilized the behavioral response. The increase in response to the second stimulus made it possible to assess the responsiveness of the zooplankton community. This paper studies the validity of this method for the detection of micro- and nanoplastic contamination of saltwater reservoirs according to the behavioral response of Artemia salina and Moina salina crustaceans. The studies were conducted in laboratory conditions using a submersible holographic camera developed by us, which ensures the in situ detection of the concentration and speed of crustaceans in a volume of up to 1 dm3, as well as makes it possible to change the intensity and duration of the attracting light. It was established that the phototropic response of crustaceans decreases in seawater at the cumulative dose of exposure to microplastics—0.15 mg∙dm−3∙h and nanoplastics—0.3 mg∙dm−3∙h. The paired photostimulation reveals the altering effect of micro- and nanoplastics in the saltwater medium no later than 3 h after their appearance, which indicates the promising potential of this method for the alarm response in monitoring the environmental well-being of water bodies. Full article
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