Relative importance of aqueous leachate versus particle ingestion as uptake routes for microplastic additives (hexabromocyclododecane) to mussels.

Affiliation

Jang M(1), Shim WJ(1), Han GM(2), Cho Y(1), Moon Y(1), Hong SH(3).
Author information:
(1)Oil and POPs Research Group, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, 41 Jangmok-1-gil, Geoje, 53201, Republic of Korea; Ocean Science, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon, 34113, Republic of Korea.
(2)Oil and POPs Research Group, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, 41 Jangmok-1-gil, Geoje, 53201, Republic of Korea.
(3)Oil and POPs Research Group, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, 41 Jangmok-1-gil, Geoje, 53201, Republic of Korea; Ocean Science, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon, 34113, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Microplastic pollution is emerging as a global environmental issue, and its potential for transferring hazardous chemicals to aquatic organisms is gaining attention. Studies have investigated the transfer of chemicals, mainly sorbed chemicals, through ingestion of microplastics by organisms, but limited information is available regarding chemical additives and uptake via the aqueous route through plastic leaching. In this study, we compared two bioaccumulation pathways of the additive hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) by exposing mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) to two different sizes of expanded polystyrene (EPS): inedible size (4.2-5.5 mm) for leachate uptake and edible size (20-770 μm) for particle ingestion and leachate uptake. Over 10 days, the HBCD concentration increased significantly in mussels in the EPS exposure groups, indicating that EPS microplastic acts as a source of HBCD to mussels. The concentration and isomeric profiles of HBCD in mussels show that uptake through the aqueous phase is a more significant pathway for bioaccumulation of HBCD from EPS to mussels than particle ingestion. HBCD levels measured in EPS, leachate and exposed mussels from this study are environmentally relevant concentration. The fate and effects of chemical additives leached from plastic debris in ecosystem requires further investigation, as it may affect numerous environments and organisms through the aqueous phase.