Ecotoxicity and genotoxicity of polystyrene microplastics on higher plant Vicia faba.


State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Nano- and microplastics have been widely spread in environmental matrices, especially in marine and terrestrial systems. In this study, higher plant Vicia faba root tips were exposed to 5 μm and 100 nm with 10, 50 and 100 mg/L polystyrene fluorescent microplastics (PS-MPs) for 48 h. Root length, weight, oxidative stress and genotoxicity of V. faba were assessed to investigate toxic effects of PS-MPs. The results showed that the biomass and catalase (CAT) enzymes activity of V. faba roots decreased under 5 μm PS-MPs whereas superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD) enzymes activity significantly increased. Under the 100 nm PS-MPs exposure a significant decrease of growth was observed only at the highest concentration (100 mg/L). However, micronucleus (MN) test and antioxidative enzymes activities showed that 100 nm PS-MPs induce higher genotoxic and oxidative damage to V. faba than 5 μm PS-MPs. Furthermore, the laser confocal scanning microscopy (LCSM) demonstrated that 100 nm PS-MPs can accumulate in V. faba root and most probably block cell connections or cell wall pores for transport of nutrients. These findings provide a new insight into the toxic effects of microplastics on V. faba, and further apply to the ecological risk assessment of microplastics on higher plants.


Ecological risk assessment,Genotoxicity,Higher plant,Microplastics,Oxidative damage,Vicia faba,