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Environmentally relevant concentrations and sizes of microplastic do not impede marine diatom growth
Niu, Z.; Catarino, A.I.; Everaert, G. (2021). Environmentally relevant concentrations and sizes of microplastic do not impede marine diatom growth. J. Hazard. Mater. 409: 124460. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2020.124460
In: Journal of hazardous materials. Elsevier: Amsterdam; Lausanne; New York; Oxford; Shannon; Tokyo. ISSN 0304-3894; e-ISSN 1873-3336
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Bacillariophycanae [WoRMS]; Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin, 1897 [WoRMS]
    Marine
Author keywords
    Microplastic; Growth inhibition; Marine diatom; Environmentally relevant; Size-effect

Authors  Top 
  • Niu, Z.
  • Catarino, A.I.
  • Everaert, G.

Abstract
    The current knowledge about the ecological effects of microplastic (MP) remains limited, and to-date ecotoxicity tests often utilize standard microplastic with one or two distinct size classes and expose the organisms to unrealistically high MP concentrations. We exposed the marine diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to microplastic particles of a mimicked realistic size frequency distribution complemented with serial experiments with distinct size classes. To do so, we exposed this diatom to a concentration series of different sized polyethylene (PE) microbeads (sizes: 10–106 µm; 1.25 ×102–1.25 ×107 particles/L) in a 72-h growth inhibition test. No effect on the growth of P. tricornutum by virgin PE microbeads up to 1.25 × 107 particles/L (or 499 mg/L), indicating environmentally relevant concentrations and sizes of MP does not alter the growth of marine diatoms. Results of smaller sized MPs (10–20 µm) did not differ from those obtained with larger MPs (90–106 µm) and mix sized MPs (10–106 µm), i.e. no impact on the microalgae growth. As a pioneer work, our results contribute with high quality dose-response data to an improved risk assessment of microplastic under realistic present and future marine MP pollution.

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