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Chemical composition and ecotoxicity of plastic and car tire rubber leachates to aquatic organisms

Chemical composition and ecotoxicity of plastic and car tire rubber leachates to aquatic organisms

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Sammendrag
Synthetic polymer-based materials are ubiquitous in aquatic environments, where weathering processes lead to their progressive fragmentation and the leaching of additive chemicals. The current study assessed the chemical content of freshwater and marine leachates produced from car tire rubber (CTR), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) microplastics, and their adverse effects on the microalgae Raphidocelis subcapitata (freshwater) and Skeletonema costatum (marine) and the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. A combination of non-target and target chemical analysis revealed a number of organic and metal compounds in the leachates, including representing plasticizers, antioxidants, antimicrobials, lubricants, and vulcanizers. CTR and PVC materials and their corresponding leachates had the highest content of tentatively identified organic additives, while PET had the lowest. The metal content varied both between polymer leachates and between freshwater and seawater. Notable additives identified in high concentrations were benzothiazole (CTR), phthalide (PVC), acetophenone (PP), cobalt (CTR, PET), zinc (CTR, PVC), lead (PP) and antimony (PET). All leachates, except PET, inhibited algal growth with EC50 values ranging from 0.5% (CTR) and 64% (PP) of the total leachate concentration. Leachates also affected mussel endpoints, including the lysosomal membrane stability and early stages endpoints as gamete fertilization, embryonic development and larvae motility and survival. Embryonic development was the most sensitive parameter in mussels, with EC50 values ranging from 0.8% (CTR) to 65% (PET) of the total leachate. The lowest impacts were induced on D-shell larvae survival, reflecting their ability to down-regulate motility and filtration in the presence of chemical stressors. This study provides evidence of the relationship between chemical composition and toxicity of plastic/rubber leachates. Consistent with increasing contamination by organic and inorganic additives, the leachates ranged from slightly to highly toxic to mussels and algae, highlighting the need for a better understanding of the overall impact of plastic-associated chemicals on aquatic ecosystems.
Oppdragsgiver
  • Norges forskningsråd / 257479
Språk
Engelsk
Forfatter(e)
Institusjon(er)
  • Università degli Studi di Bologna
  • SINTEF Ocean / Miljø og nye ressurser
År
2019
Publisert i
Water Research
ISSN
0043-1354
Årgang
169
Side(r)
1 - 11