Size matters: ingestion of relatively large microplastics contaminated with environmental pollutants posed little risk for fish health and fillet quality
Journal article, 2018
In this study, we investigated biological effects associated with ingestion of polystyrene (PS) microplastic (MPs) in fish. We examined whether ingestion of contaminated PS MPs (100–400 μm) results in chemical stress in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) liver and we explored whether this exposure can affect the oxidative stability of the fillet during ice storage. Juvenile rainbow trout were fed for 4 weeks with four different experimental diets: control (1) and feeds containing virgin PS MPs (2) or PS MPs exposed to sewage (3) or harbor (4) effluent. A suite of ecotoxicological biomarkers for oxidative stress and xenobiotic-related pathways was investigated in the hepatic tissue, and included gene expression analyses and enzymatic measurements. The potential impact of MPs exposure on fillet quality was investigated in a storage trial where lipid hydroperoxides, loss of redness and development of rancid odor were assessed as indications of lipid peroxidation. Although, chemical analysis of PS MPs revealed that particles sorb environmental contaminants (e.g., PAHs, nonylphenol and alcohol ethoxylates and others), the ingestion of relatively high doses of these PS MPs did not induce adverse hepatic stress in fish liver. Apart from small effect on redness loss in fillets of fish exposed to PS MPs, the ingestion of these particles did not affect lipid peroxidation or rancid odor development, thus did not affect fillet’s quality.