Medellin Declaration on Marine Litter in Life Cycle Assessment and Management

The Medellin Declaration on Marine Litter in Life Cycle Assessment and Management was developed during the Conferencia Internacional de Análisis de Ciclo de Vida en Latinoamérica, which took place from 12–15 June in Medellin, Colombia. The Declaration calls for an improved handling of plastic resources and is meant to encourage researchers and relevant stakeholders to develop new methodologies to address marine litter better within Life Cycle Assessments.

The declaration has been co-authored by various stakeholders present at the conference and has been revised in an online-consultation process until the 18th of July. The global life cycle community is invited to join the Medelling Declaration, which is available for signature on the FSLCI website at: https://fslci.org/medellindeclaration

Guido Sonnemann, Sonia Valdivia, The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, , Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 1637–1639

The article

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Microplastics as a vector for the transport of the bacterial fish pathogen species Aeromonas salmonicida

Microplastics is widespread in the marine environment where it can cause numerous negative effects. It can provide space for the growth of organisms and serves as a vector for the long distance transfer of marine microorganisms. In this study, we examined the sea surface concentrations of microplastics in the North Adriatic and characterized bacterial communities living on the microplastics. DNA from microplastics particles was isolated by three different methods, followed by PCR amplification of 16S rDNA, clone libraries preparation and phylogenetic analysis. 28 bacterial species were identified on the microplastics particles including Aeromonas spp. and hydrocarbon-degrading bacterial species. Based on the 16S rDNA sequences the pathogenic fish bacteria Aeromonas salmonicida was identified for the first time on microplastics. Because A. salmonicida is responsible for illnesses in fish, it is crucial to get answers if and how microplastics pollution is responsible for spreading of diseases.

Manca Kovač Viršek, Marija Nika Lovšin, Špela Koren, Andrej Kržan, Monika Peterlin, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 7 September 2017, In Press

The article

Effects of microplastics on sessile invertebrates in the eastern coast of Thailand: An approach to coastal zone conservation

This study assessed the microplastic contamination of 3 most abundant sessile and intertidal invertebrates (Rock Oyster: Saccostrea forskalii, Striped Barnacle: Balanus amphitrite, Periwinkle: Littoraria sp.) in 3 beaches of the eastern coasts of Thailand. The results showed a significant accumulation of microplastics in the invertebrates at rates of 0.2–0.6 counts/g indicating higher pollution levels along the coastline. Filter feeding organisms showed comparatively higher accumulation rates of microplastics. Thus, contaminated bivalves pose potential health risks for seafood consumers. The plastic pollutant prevalence in sessile and intertidal communities was corresponded with pollution characteristics of contaminated beach habitats where they live. Thus, bivalves, gastropods and barnacles can be used as indicators for contamination of microplastics in the areas. This study also demonstrated the need for controlling plastic pollution in Thai coastal areas.

Gajahin Gamage Nadeeka Thushari, Jayan Duminda Mahesh Senevirathna, Amararatne Yakupitiyage, Suchana Chavanich, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 29 July 2017, In Press, Corrected Proof

The article

Microplastics in livers of European anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus, L.)

Microplastics (MPs) are thought to be ingested by a wide range of marine organisms before being excreted. However, several studies in marine organisms from different taxa have shown that MPs and nanoplastics could be translocated in other organs. In this study, we investigated the presence of MPs in the livers of commercial zooplanktivorous fishes collected in the field. The study focuses mainly on the European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus but concerns also the European pilchard Sardina pilchardus and the Atlantic herring Clupea harengus. Two complementary methodologies were used to attest the occurrence of MPs in the hepatic tissue and to exclude contamination. 1) MPs were isolated by degradation of the hepatic tissue. 2) Cryosections were made on the livers and observed in polarized light microscopy. Both methods separately revealed that MPs, mainly polyethylene (PE), were translocated into the livers of the three clupeid species. In anchovy, 80 per cent of livers contained relatively large MPs that ranged from 124 μm to 438 μm, showing a high level of contamination. Two translocation pathways are hypothesized: (i) large particles found in the liver resulted from the agglomeration of smaller pieces, and/or (ii) they simply pass through the intestinal barrier. Further studies are however required to understand the exact process.

France Collard, Bernard Gilbert, Philippe Compere, Gauthier Eppe, Krishna Das,
Thierry Jauniaux, Eric Parmentier, Environmental Pollution,
Volume 229, October 2017, Pages 1000-1005

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Microplastic pollution in the surface waters of the Bohai Sea, China

The ubiquitous presence and persistency of microplastics in aquatic environments is of particular concern because these pollutants represent an increasing threat to marine organisms and ecosystems. An identification of the patterns of microplastic distribution will help to understand the scale of their potential effect on the environment and on organisms. In this study, the occurrence and distribution of microplastics in the Bohai Sea are reported for the first time. We sampled floating microplastics at 11 stations in the Bohai Sea using a 330 μm trawling net in August 2016. The abundance, composition, size, shape and color of collected debris samples were analyzed after pretreatment. The average microplastic concentration was 0.33 ± 0.34 particles/m3. Micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis showed that the main types of microplastics were polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene. As the size of the plastics decreased, the percentage of polypropylene increased, whereas the percentages of polyethylene and polystyrene decreased. Plastic fragments, lines, and films accounted for most of the collected samples. Accumulation at some stations could be associated with transport and retention mechanisms that are linked to wind and the dynamics of the rim current, as well as different sources of the plastics.

Weiwei Zhang, Shoufeng Zhang, Juying Wang, Yan Wang, Jingli Mu, Ping Wang, Xinzhen Lin, Deyi Ma, Environmental Pollution, Volume 231, Part 1, December 2017, Pages 541–548

Pervasive plastisphere: First record of plastics in egagropiles (Posidonia spheroids)

The ability of Posidonia oceanica spheroids (egagropiles, EG) to incorporate plastics was investigated along the central Italy coast. Plastics were found in the 52.84% of the egagropiles collected (n = 685). The more represented size of plastics has range within 1–1.5 cm, comparable to the size of natural fibres. Comparing plastics occurring both in EG and in surrounding sand, Polyethylene, Polyester and Nylon were the most abundant polymers in EG, while PSE, PE, PP and PET were the most represented in sand. In particular PE and PP were significantly more represented in sand, while PE, Nylon, Polyester and microfibers (as pills) were more represented in EG. Within plastics found in EG, 26.9% were microfibers as small pills (<1 cm), mainly composed of polyamide, polyester, cotton and PET mixing. These microfibers might be produced by discharges from washing machines and currently represents an emerging pollutant with widespread distribution in marine and freshwater ecosystems.

L. Pietrelli, A. Di Gennaro, P. Menegoni and al., Environmental Pollution, Volume 229, October 2017, Pages 1032-1036

The article

Foraging preferences influence microplastic ingestion by six marine fish species from the Texas Gulf Coast

This study evaluated the influence of foraging preferences on microplastic ingestion by six marine fish species from the Texas Gulf Coast. A total of 1381 fish were analyzed and 42.4% contained ingested microplastic, inclusive of fiber (86.4%), microbead (12.9% %), and fragment (< 1.0%) forms. Despite a substantial overlap in diet, ordination of ingested prey items clustered samples into distinctive species groupings, reflective of the foraging gradient among species. Orthopristis chrysoptera displayed the lowest overall frequency of microplastic ingestion and the most distinctive ordination grouping, indicating their selective invertebrate foraging preferences. Cluster analysis of O. chrysoptera most closely classified microplastic with the ingestion of benthic invertebrates, whereas the ingestion of microplastic by all other species most closely classified with the ingestion of vegetation and shrimp. O. chrysoptera, as selective invertebrate foragers, are less likely to ingest microplastics than species exhibiting generalist foraging preferences and methods of prey capture.

Colleen A. Peters, Peyton A. Thomas, Kaitlyn B. Rieper, Susan P. Bratton, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Available online 11 July 2017, In Press

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