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Fate and effects of microplastics in combination with pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in freshwaters: Insights from a microcosm experiment

Grgić, Ivana; Cetinić, Katarina A.; Karačić, Zrinka; Previšić, Ana; Rožman, Marko (2023) Fate and effects of microplastics in combination with pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors in freshwaters: Insights from a microcosm experiment. Science of the total environment, 859 (2). ISSN 0048-9697

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Microplastic contamination of freshwater ecosystems has become an increasing environmental concern. To advance the hazard assessment of microplastics, we conducted a microcosm experiment in which we exposed a simplified aquatic ecosystem consisting of moss and caddisflies to microplastics (polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene) and pharmaceuticals and personal care products (1H-benzotriazole, bisphenol A, caffeine, gemfibrozil, ketoprofen, methylparaben, estriol, diphenhydramine, tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) phosphate) over the course of 60 days. We monitored the flux of microplastics within the microcosm, as well as the metabolic and total protein variation of organisms. This study offers evidence highlighting the capacity of moss to act as a sink for free-floating microplastics in freshwater environments. Moss is also shown to serve as a source and pathway for microplastic particles to enter aquatic food webs via caddisflies feeding off of the moss. Although most ingested microparticles were eliminated between caddisflies life stages, a small fraction of microplastics was transferred from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystem by emergence. While moss exhibited a mild response to microplastic stress, caddisflies ingesting microplastics showed stress comparable to that caused by exposure to pharmaceuticals. The molecular responses that the stressors triggered were tentatively identified and related to phenotypic responses, such as the delayed development manifested through the delayed emergence of caddisflies exposed to stress. Overall, our study provides valuable insights into the adverse effects of microplastics on aquatic species, compares the impacts of microplastics on freshwater biota to those of pharmaceuticals and endocrine disrupting compounds, and demonstrates the role aquatic organisms have in redistributing microplastics between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multiple stressors ; Emerging contaminants ; Metabolomics ; Aquatic insects ; Trophic transfer
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Chemistry
NATURAL SCIENCES > Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences > Environmental Science
Divisions: Division of Physical Chemistry
Project titleProject leaderProject codeProject type
Višestruki stresori u vodenom okolišu: razumijevanje svojstava stresora i receptoraRožman, MarkoIP-2018-01-2298HRZZ
Učinci višestrukih stresora na biološku raznolikost i funkcije slatkovodnih ekosustavaPrevišić, AnaPZS-2019-02-9479HRZZ
Depositing User: Marko Rožman
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2022 09:32
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160387

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