Screening study of four environmentally relevant microplastic pollutants : uptake and effects on Daphnia magna and Artemia franciscana

Jemec Kokalj A, Kunej U, Skalar T
[ site ] Chemosphere, 2018

This study investigated four different environmentally relevant microplastic (MP) pollutants which were derived from two facial cleansers, a plastic bag and polyethylene textile fleece. The mean size range of the particles (according to number distribution) was 20–250 μm when measured as a powder and 0.02–200 μm in suspension. In all MP exposures, plastic particles were found inside the guts of D. magna and A. franciscana, but only in the case of daphnids a clear exponential correlation between MP uptake in the gut and the size of the MP was identified. Exposure tests in which the majority of the MP particles were below 100 μm in size also had higher numbers of daphnids displaying evidence of MP ingestion. As the average MP particle size increased, the percentage of daphnids which had MP in their gut decreased. Using a number distribution value to measure particle size when in a suspension is more experimentally relevant as it provides a more realistic particle size than when samples are measured as a powder. Generally, artemias had fewer MP particles in the gut, than the daphnids, which could be explained by their different food size preferences. No acute effects on D. magna were found, but the growth of A. franciscana was affected. We conclude that zooplankton crustacean can ingest various MPs but none of the exposures tested were highly acutely hazardous to the test species. In addition, no delayed lethal effects in a 24 h post-exposure period were found.