Microplastics do not increase toxicity of a hydrophobic organic chemical to marine plankton.Mar Pollut Bull. 2019 Jan; 138:58-62.MP
Planktonic sea-urchin larvae actively ingest polyethylene microplastics (MP) that accumulate in the larval stomach and can be distinguished from natural food using polarized light microscopy. MP filtering rates were similar to those of natural particles (microalgae) of the same size range; 0.30 to 0.35 mL min-1. However, the ingestion of MP did not increase the toxicity of a hydrophobic organic chemical, the 4‑n‑nonylphenol (NP), either in microalgae-fed or starved larvae. The 48 h EC50 of NP was more than two fold higher in fed (158.8 to 190.9 μg L-1) compared to starved larvae (64.3 to 83.7 μg L-1), disregarding the presence and amount of MP, which did not significantly affect larval growth. Therefore, MP did not act as vectors of a hydrophobic chemical such as NP to these planktonic organisms. These results challenge the hypothetical role of MP as vectors of organic contaminants to marine food webs.