Daphnia magna were exposed to two pesticides in the presence or absence of microplastics (300 000 particles ml−1 1 µm polystyrene spheres) and to microplastics alone. The pesticides were dimethoate, an organophosphate insecticide with a low log Kow, and deltamethrin, a pyrethroid insecticide with a high log Kow. Daphnia were exposed to a nominal concentration range of 0.15, 0.31, 0.63, 1.25, 2.5, 5 mg l−1 dimethoate and 0.016, 0.08, 0.4, 2, 5 and 10 µg l−1 deltamethrin. Exposure to polystyrene microplastics alone showed no effects on Daphnia magna survival and mobility over a 72 h exposure. In the dimethoate exposures, mobility and survival were both affected from a concentration of 1.25 mg l−1, with effects were seen on mobility from 28 h and survival from 48 h, with greater effects seen with increasing concentration and exposure time. In deltamethrin exposures, survival was affected from a concentration of 0.4 µg l−1 and mobility from a concentration of 0.08 µg l−1. Effects of deltamethrin on mobility were seen from 5 h and on survival from 28 h, with greater effects on survival and mobility seen with increasing concentration and exposure time. Contrary to expectations, pesticide toxicity to Daphnia magna was not affected by the presence of microplastics, regardless of chemical binding affinity (log Kow). This therefore suggests that polystyrene microplastics are unlikely to act as a significant sink, nor as a vector for increased uptake of pesticides by aquatic organisms.
Alice A. Horton, Martina G. Vijver, Elma Lahive and al., Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Volume 166, 30 December 2018, Pages 26-34