The uptake and elimination of polystyrene microplastics by the brine shrimp, Artemia parthenogenetica, and its impact on its feeding behavior and intestinal histology.Chemosphere. 2019 Nov; 234:123-131.C
Microplastics are a ubiquitous contaminant of marine ecosystems that have received considerable global attention. The effects of microplastic ingestion on some marine biota have been evaluated, but the uptake, elimination, and histopathological impacts of microplastics remain under-investigated especially for zooplankton larvae. Here, we show that 10 μm polystyrene microspheres can be ingested and egested by Artemia parthenogenetica larvae, which impact their health. The results indicate that A. parthenogenetica larvae have a varying capacity to consume 10 μm polystyrene microspheres that is dependent on microplastic exposure concentrations, exposure times, and the availability of food. The lowest level of microplastics that was ingested by A. parthenogenetica was 0.15 particles/individual when exposed to 10 particles/mL and 0.05 particles/individual when exposed to 1 particle/mL over 24 h and 14 d, respectively. A. parthenogenetica larvae were able to egest feces with microplastics within 3 h of ingestion. However, ingested microplastics persisted in individuals for up to 14 days. Furthermore, microalgal feeding was significantly reduced by 27.2% in the presence of 102 particles/mL microplastics over 24 h. Histological analyses indicated that a greater abundance of lipid droplets was present among epithelia after 24 h of exposure at a concentration of 10 particles/mL. Moreover, intestinal epithelia were deformed and disorderedly arranged after 14 d of exposure. Overall, these results indicate that marine microplastic pollution could pose a threat to A. parthenogenetica health, especially that of larvae. Consequently, further research is required to evaluate the potential physiological and histopathological effects of microplastics for other marine invertebrate species.