//
you're reading...

Pollution

Seafood? Yes! Plastics? No!

Article: Lisbeth Van Cauwenberghe, Colin R. Janssen. Microplastics in bivalves cultured for human consumption. Environmental Pollution. 193 (2014) 65-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.06.010

 

Microplastics!

As you may have learnt from previous OceanBites posts, plastic debris are ubiquitously present in the world’s seas and oceans. The distributional pattern is shown in Fig 1.  Plastics tend to accumulate in the convergence zones in subtropical gyers. The amount of plastics in open-ocean surface waters is estimated to range between 7,000 and 35,000 tons.

Fig 1. Distribution of plastic debris in the global ocean (from DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314705111).

Fig 1. Distribution of plastic debris in the global ocean (from DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314705111).

The predominant ocean surface plastics are those smaller than 1mm in diameter (so-called microplastics); and therefore, marine organisms can ingest them easily. The plastics not only block the digestive tract but also have the potential to enter the circulation system. Microplastics also carry organic pollutants, incorporated either during manufacture (e.g. polybrominated diphenyl ethers) or from sorbing the surrounding water (e.g. polychlorinated biphenyls) to organisms.

 

Experiment and Results

Seafood is an important part of people’s diets worldwide, so it is crucial to understand the presence of microplastics in seafood. Van Cauwenberghe and Janssen chose to study the mussel Mytilus edulis and the oyster Crassostrea gigas because of their filter-feeding behaviors.

Scientists purchased mussels and oysters from German farms and French supermarkets, respectively.  Upon arrival at the lab, scientists divided the organisms into two groups. One group went straight to extraction, while the other was treated with clean water for three days to clear their gut.  Microplastics were then analyzed using a microscope.

The results show that in Mytilus edulis the average microparticles load was about 0.36 particles per gram of mussel; in Crassostrea gigas this number is higher at about 0.47 particles per gram oyster. For the group treated with clean water, there were fewer microparticles present. More interestingly, the three-day depuration process removed all large sized microparticles from Mytilus edulis and the majority from Crassostrea gigas, while small microparticles remained in both organisms.

Spectroscopic analysis was used to prove the microparticles were truly microplastics. Dye studies reveal that the pigment concurrent with the particles are most commonly used in plastics industry, indicating anthropogenic origin.

 

Why we are concerned?

Marine organisms could pass microplastics to us. In Europe, shellfish consumption varies by country: top consumers can be found in Belgium with a per capita consumption of 72.1 grams per day, while in France and Ireland it is 11.8 grams per day. Using the average microplastics concentration detected in this study (0.42 particles per gram of tissue), an annual dietary exposure for Europeans is 1800 microplastic particles per year at minimum.

 

Previous posts on ocean plastic debris:

“How Much Garbage is in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?” – Carrie McDonough

“Waiter, there’s a whale in my soup: investigating the South Pacific garbage patch.” – Zoe Ruge

“Life in plastic, it’s fantastic – for microbes in the plastisphere.” – Cathleen Turner

“Double trouble: Marine plastic debris absorbs toxic pollutants.” – Carrie McDonough

“Increasing fiber in your diet… microplastics fiber, that is.” – Erin Markham

“One species’ trash is another species’ refuge: Investigating the biodiversity associated with floating plastic debris.” – Gordon Ober

 

Discussion

4 Responses to “Seafood? Yes! Plastics? No!”

  1. Thank you for you informational article! I learned a lot about plastic pollution. I have always thought that taking the plastic out of the animal is a better option but now that I see that cleaning the organism thoroughly is the best way to take out plastic from organisms. I actually did not know that most of the plastic gathers around the convergent zones and that plastic gets in to the circulation system. I actually have some questions about the concerns of plastic pollution. Do you believe there is any way to stop this from occurring? Why is the rate of plastic in Belgium very high?

    Posted by Emily | March 5, 2017, 10:34 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] study of where these plastics are going and what they are doing. We do know that animals like filter feeders, larval fish and even the smallest animals, zooplankton, will eat the fibers mistaking them for […]

  2. […] plastics found in seafood and table salt, to plankton, whales, and corals eating plastic, we’ve talked a lot about […]

  3. […] wasteful, because I wanted to be “green” – not specifically because that plastic might end up in a fish’s belly in the Pacific Garbage […]

Post a Comment

Instagram

  • by oceanbites 2 months ago
    Happy Earth Day! Take some time today to do something for the planet and appreciate the ocean, which covers 71% of the Earth’s surface.  #EarthDay   #OceanAppreciation   #Oceanbites   #CoastalVibes   #CoastalRI 
  • by oceanbites 3 months ago
    Not all outdoor science is fieldwork. Some of the best days in the lab can be setting up experiments, especially when you get to do it outdoors. It’s an exciting mix of problem solving, precision, preparation, and teamwork. Here is
  • by oceanbites 4 months ago
    Being on a research cruise is a unique experience with the open water, 12-hour working shifts, and close quarters, but there are some familiar practices too. Here Diana is filtering seawater to gather chlorophyll for analysis, the same process on
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on  #oceanbites  we are featuring Hannah Collins  @hannahh_irene  Hannah works with marine suspension feeding bivalves and microplastics, investigating whether ingesting microplastics causes changes to the gut microbial community or gut tissues. She hopes to keep working
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    Leveling up - did you know that crabs have a larval phase? These are both porcelain crabs, but the one on the right is the earlier stage. It’s massive spine makes it both difficult to eat and quite conspicuous in
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Cierra Braga. Cierra works ultraviolet c (UVC) to discover how this light can be used to combat biofouling, or the growth of living things, on the hulls of ships. Here, you
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Elena Gadoutsis  @haysailor  These photos feature her “favorite marine research so far: From surveying tropical coral reefs, photographing dolphins and whales, and growing my own algae to expose it to different
  • by oceanbites 6 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on Oceanbites we are featuring Eliza Oldach. According to Ellie, “I study coastal communities, and try to understand the policies and decisions and interactions and adaptations that communities use to navigate an ever-changing world. Most of
  • by oceanbites 6 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Jiwoon Park with a little photographic help from Ryan Tabata at the University of Hawaii. When asked about her research, Jiwoon wrote “Just like we need vitamins and minerals to stay
  • by oceanbites 7 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on  #Oceanbites  we are featuring  @riley_henning  According to Riley, ”I am interested in studying small things that make a big impact in the ocean. Right now for my master's research at the University of San Diego,
  • by oceanbites 7 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Gabby Stedman. Gabby is interested in interested in understanding how many species of small-bodied animals there are in the deep-sea and where they live so we can better protect them from
  • by oceanbites 7 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Shawn Wang! Shawn is “an oceanographer that studies ocean conditions of the past. I use everything from microfossils to complex computer models to understand how climate has changed in the past
  • by oceanbites 7 months ago
    Today we are highlighting some of our awesome new authors for  #WriterWednesday  Today we have Daniel Speer! He says, “I am driven to investigate the interface of biology, chemistry, and physics, asking questions about how organisms or biological systems respond
  • by oceanbites 8 months ago
    Here at Oceanbites we love long-term datasets. So much happens in the ocean that sometimes it can be hard to tell if a trend is a part of a natural cycle or actually an anomaly, but as we gather more
  • by oceanbites 8 months ago
    Have you ever seen a lobster molt? Because lobsters have exoskeletons, every time they grow they have to climb out of their old shell, leaving them soft and vulnerable for a few days until their new shell hardens. Young, small
  • by oceanbites 9 months ago
    A lot of zooplankton are translucent, making it much easier to hide from predators. This juvenile mantis shrimp was almost impossible to spot floating in the water, but under a dissecting scope it’s features really come into view. See the
  • by oceanbites 9 months ago
    This is a clump of Dead Man’s Fingers, scientific name Codium fragile. It’s native to the Pacific Ocean and is invasive where I found it on the east coast of the US. It’s a bit velvety, and the coolest thing
  • by oceanbites 10 months ago
    You’ve probably heard of jellyfish, but have you heard of salps? These gelatinous sea creatures band together to form long chains, but they can also fall apart and will wash up onshore like tiny gemstones that squish. Have you seen
  • by oceanbites 11 months ago
    Check out what’s happening on a cool summer research cruise! On the  #neslter  summer transect cruise, we deployed a tow sled called the In Situ Icthyoplankton Imaging System. This can take pictures of gelatinous zooplankton (like jellyfish) that would be
  • by oceanbites 11 months ago
    Did you know horseshoe crabs have more than just two eyes? In these juveniles you can see another set in the middle of the shell. Check out our website to learn about some awesome horseshoe crab research.  #oceanbites   #plankton   #horseshoecrabs 
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com