Potential toxic and biochemical impacts of microplastic exposure on Scrobicularia plana nutritional content

Paola Talarico

Microplastic (MP) pollution in marine environments is a topic of emerging concern. Due to their ubiquity and small size, MPs are easily internalized by organisms, causing adverse biological responses. Bivalves are considered good bioindicators of environmental health because of their response to chemical stressors, wide distribution, ability to filter large volumes of water, sessile behaviour, and ecological and commercial importance. Biomarkers, such fatty acids (FAs) and carbohydrates (CHs), have proven to be powerful tools to detect and evaluate an organism response to contaminants exposure. The present study assesses the potential biochemical (FAs and CHs content) and ecotoxicological responses of two size classes (small and big) of the bivalve Scrobicularia plana to cospheric polyethylene (PE) microparticles (75-90 μm) exposure. Organisms were exposed to a range of concentrations of virgin PE microparticles (30 particles L-1 , 90 particles L -1 , 150 particles L-1 , 450 particles L-1 ) for 96h. PE exposure caused significant decreases in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) content, and in xylose, glucose and galactose content in the small size class of S. plana. These alterations may affect the overall fitness of the organisms and may cause changes in their nutritive value and along the trophic food chain, with potential implications for human health