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Microplastics (MPs) are emerging contaminants of freshwater ecosystems. Once in aquatic systems, most of these plastic particles undergo processes of fragmentation, biofouling, and sedimentation, resulting in increased concentrations of smaller sized and irregularly-shaped particles in the sediment. High levels of MPs in freshwater sediments can denote a potential threat to benthic and sediment-dwelling organisms such as dipteran larvae. This study evaluates the ecotoxicological effect of three pools of irregularly-shaped polyethylene (PE) microplastics (pools containing 90% of the particles within 32-63 μm (size-class A), 63-250 μm (size-class B) and 125-500 μm (size-class C)), with concentrations ranging from 1.25 to 20 g Kg sediment, on the dipteran Chironomus riparius life-history traits. After ten days of exposure, larvae ingested PE particles typically in the 32-63 μm range, even when 90% of the particles possessed higher size (i.e., in size-classes B and C) and the larvae mandible allowed the ingestion of such bigger-sized particles. Thus, the number of ingested particles was higher in size-class A, followed by B and C, and led to a significant reduction with similar magnitude on larval growth (Lowest Observed Effect Concentrations (LOEC) = 2.5 g Kg sediment DW) and a significant delay on imagoes emergence (e.g., LOEC = 1.5 g Kg sediment DW for females). The results from this study show that the ingestion and persistence of small-sized polyethylene microplastics caused significant impairments on life-history traits of C. riparius. Considering their role on freshwater food-webs and the potential persistence of small-sized PE particles in their larval gut, these results also point for the potential adverse effects of small-sized microplastics at the community and ecosystem level.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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A vinyl polymer made from ethylene. It can be branched or linear. Branched or low-density polyethylene is tough and pliable but not to the same degree as linear polyethylene. Linear or high-density polyethylene has a greater hardness and tensile strength. Polyethylene is used in a variety of products, including implants and prostheses.
Nanometer-sized, hollow, spherically-shaped objects that can be utilized to encapsulate small amounts of pharmaceuticals, enzymes, or other catalysts (Glossary of Biotechnology and Nanobiotechnology, 4th ed).
An irregularly shaped venous space in the dura mater at either side of the sphenoid bone.
One of a pair of irregularly shaped quadrilateral bones situated between the FRONTAL BONE and OCCIPITAL BONE, which together form the sides of the CRANIUM.
One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the ORBIT, and contains the MAXILLARY SINUS.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism ...