The fate of microplastics in the marine isopod Idotea emarginata

Plastic pollution is an emerging global threat for marine wildlife. Many species of birds, reptiles and fishes are directly impaired by plastics as they can get entangled in ropes and drown or they can ingest plastic fragments which, in turn, may clog their stomachs and guts. Microplastics of less than 1 mm can be ingested by small invertebrates but their fate in the digestive organs and their effects on the animals are yet not well understood. We embedded fluorescent microplastics in artificial agarose-based food and offered the food to marine isopods, Idotea emarginata. The isopods did not distinguish between food with and food without microplastics. Upon ingestion, the microplastics were present in the stomach and in the gut but not in the tubules of the midgut gland which is the principal organ of enzyme-secretion and nutrient resorption. The feces contained the same concentration of micro-plastics as the food which indicates that no accumulation of microplastics happens during the gut passage. (…)

Julia Haemer , Lars Gutow , Angela Koehler , and Reinhard Saborowski, Environ. Sci. Technol., Vol. 48 (22), pages 13451-13458, November 2014


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s