Effects of short-term exposure to environmentally-relevant concentrations of benzo(a)pyrene-sorbed polystyrene to White seabass (Atractoscion nobilis)☆

Date of publication 29 June 2020

Authors Coffin, Scott; Magnuson, Jason T.; Vliet, Sara M.F.; Volz, David C.; Schlenk, Daniel.

Sources Environmental Pollution : 263, 114617.

DOILink https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114617


Plastic marine debris hyper-concentrates hydrophobic contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and can transfer these sorbed contaminants to biota following ingestion. PAHs are known to induce cardiotoxicity and visual toxicity at sublethal doses. Juvenile White seabass (Atractoscion nobilis) fish were fed environmentally relevant concentrations of either virgin polystyrene or benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)-sorbed polystyrene for 5 days and were monitored for changes in phototactic response, swimming behavior, and hepatic cytochrome p450 1A (CYP1A) enzyme activity. No significant differences in the monitored endpoints were recorded in fish that ingested either polystyrene or BaP-sorbed polystyrene relative to control fish following the short-term exposure. However, fish exposed to 252 μg/L BaP alone as a positive control had significantly elevated CYP1A enzyme activity (p = 0.046) and impaired phototactic response (p = 0.020), though no altered swimming behavior was observed (p = 0.843) relative to control fish. These results demonstrate that pelagic fish ingesting environmentally relevant concentrations of BaP-sorbed polystyrene for a short, 5-day duration do not demonstrate measurable changes in vision, swimming activity, nor CYP1A activity. High variability within enzyme activity and behavioral responses suggest that lack of significant effects may be due to low sample size.

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