Ingestion of microplastics by nematodes depends on feeding strategy and buccal cavity size.

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Summary of "Ingestion of microplastics by nematodes depends on feeding strategy and buccal cavity size."

Microplastics are hardly biodegradable and thus accumulate rather than decompose in the environment. Due to sedimentation processes, meiobenthic fauna is exposed to microplastics. Within the meiofauna, nematodes are a very abundant taxon and occupy an important position in benthic food webs by connecting lower and higher trophic levels. However, the key determinants of the uptake of microplastics by freshwater nematodes are still unknown. To investigate the bioaccessibility of microplastics for nematodes, we performed single- and multi-species ingestion experiments in which the ability of seven nematode species (six bacterial and one fungal feeder), diverse in their buccal cavity morphology (1.3-10.5 μm), to ingest fluorescence-labelled polystyrene (PS) beads along with their natural diet was examined. Applied beads sizes (0.5, 1.0, 3.0 and 6.0 μm), exposure time (4, 24 and 72 h) and concentration (3 × 10 PS beads ml and 10 PS beads ml) were varied. Ingested beads were localized and quantified via fluorescence microscopy in the nematodes. In contrast to fungal-feeding nematode species with a stylet, bacterial-feeding species ingested 0.5- and 1.0-μm PS beads with up to 249 and 255 beads after 24 h, respectively. Microplastics ≥0.5 μm could only be ingested and transported into the gastrointestinal tract, if the buccal cavities were considerably (>1.3 times) larger than the beads. At concentrations of 10 PS beads ml ingestion rates were influenced by exposure time and PS bead concentration. In case of a known microplastic size distribution in the environment, predictions on the potential ingestion for nematode communities can be made based on the feeding type composition and the size of their buccal cavities.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)
ISSN: 1873-6424
Pages: 113227


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