Lake Phytoplankton Assemblage Altered by Irregularly Shaped PLA Body Wash Microplastics but Not by PS Calibration Beads

Catégorie : Impacts de la Pollution
Date :6 novembre 2020
Yokota, Kiyoko; Mehlrose, Marissa.
Water : 12 (DocId: 9)
Microplastics are an emerging environmental pollutant, whose global ubiquity is becoming increasingly evident. Conventional wastewater treatment does not completely remove them, and there are growing concerns about microplastics in source water and post-treatment drinking water. Microplastics have been reported to alter the development, physiology, and behavior of various aquatic organisms; however, limited knowledge exists on their effect on natural phytoplankton communities. Many studies also use uniformly spherical plastic beads, while most scrub particles in consumer products and secondary microplastics in the environment have various shapes and sizes. We tested the effects of two types of microplastics, 50 mu m polystyrene (PS) calibration beads and polylactic acid (PLA) plastic body wash scrub particles, and one type of plant-derived body wash scrub particle on a natural phytoplankton assemblage through a 7-day incubation experiment in a temperate, mesotrophic lake. The calibration beads and the plant-derived particles generally did not alter the taxonomic composition of the phytoplankton in the mesocosms, while the PLA body wash microplastics eliminated cryptophytes (p< 0.001) and increased chrysophytes (p= 0.041). Our findings demonstrate differential effects of irregularly shaped PLA body wash microplastics vs. PS calibration beads on lake phytoplankters and empirically support potential bottom-up alteration of the aquatic food web by secondary microplastics.