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Algarve University team highlights serious impact of microplastics on shellfish

plasticatseaThe marine research centre at the Algarve’s University has warned that the continuing dumping of plastics is threatening the ocean, marine ecosystems and human health.
Conscious of this "serious problem", the scientists are carrying out several research projects on the effect of microplastics (plastics smaller than 5 mm in size resulting from the degradation of plastic in the ocean) on bivalve molluscs.
Recent findings have been published in the journal, Frontiers in Marine Science, "It is estimated that there are currently 150 million tonnes of plastics in the oceans, and that by 2050, this could rise to 850 million tonnes, when there is expected to be more microplastic in the oceans than fish," the report warned.
Researchers from Algarve’s university have been collaborating with Belgian and Swedish university experts, "The research focuses on the ecotoxicological effects of microplastics with other contaminants (petroleum components, tanning agent components) absorbed in marine ecosystems," explain the researchers.
In the pubished research, it was concluded that "microplastics have an inflammatory effect on the species studied and also are a source of contamination to marine organisms along with other contaminants, such as those derived from hydrocarbons."
It should be noted that in an article published in 2017 by the University team in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, it was concluded that these bivalves can accumulate microplastics in their tissues.
"This accumulation gives rise to oxidative stress, neurological and genetic side effects. After exposure to the microplastics, total elimination from the tissues of these bivalves takes more than a week, indicating that these accumulated microplastics can be transferred to higher trophic levels," concluded the research team, aware that the Algarve coastline is a rich source of shellfish for human consumption and that ingesting polluted molluscs will transfer any toxicity up the food chain.


-1 #1 Jack Reacher 2018-05-15 10:36
Anybody found a bit of plastic in their ameijoas yet?