Effect of microplastics on the toxicity of chlorpyrifos to the microalgae Isochrysis galbana, clone t-ISO.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2019 May 30; 173:103-109.EE
It is highly likely that phytoplanktonic organisms will interact with MPs in the ocean, and consequently with the pollutants sorbed onto their surfaces. Microalgae play an essential role in maintaining the balance of the marine ecosystem due to the fact that they are a primary producer and the base of marine trophic chains. Therefore, their fitness represents an important index in the assessment of water quality. The objectives of this study were i) to assess the toxicity of MPs and the pesticide chlorpyrifos (CPF) to the microalgae, Isochrysis galbana, clone t-ISO and ii) to ascertain whether the presence of MPs affects the toxicity of CPF. Microalgae growth rate was selected as the endpoint and a commercial virgin PE micronized powder was chosen as a micro-plastic model, with mean size ranging from 2 to 6 µm, assayed until 25 mg L-1. CPF was tested at concentrations ranging from 0 to 4 mg L-1. A constant concentration of MPs (5 mg L-1) was loaded with increasing doses of CPF (0-3 mg L-1) with a 2 h incubation period. Bioassays were performed at 20 °C, in glass tubes of 50 ml, with air and constant light and an exposure time of 72 h. Cell counts were performed using a Coulter Counter Multisizer III and HPLC was used to quantify the partition of this pollutant among MPs and water. Although microalgae growth was not impacted by MPs, growth was clearly affected by exposure to CPF from 2 mg L-1 and above, with a total growth inhibition at concentrations over 3 mg L-1. Subsequent to incubation, 80% of CPF was sorbed onto MP surfaces. Two different dose-response curves resulted from CPF bioassays depending on the presence of MP, with lower percentages of inhibition when CPF was presented through MP. Thus, the adsorption of CPF onto MP surfaces modulates the toxicity of CPF on I. galbana growth through a reduction in its toxicity, as CPF is adsorbed onto MP surfaces which are less bio-available to the algal cells.