Microplastics Uptake and Egestion Dynamics in Pacific Oysters, Magallana gigas (Thunberg, 1793), Under Controlled Conditions


Graham P, Palazzo L, de Lucia GA, Telfer TC, Baroli M & Carboni S (2019) Microplastics Uptake and Egestion Dynamics in Pacific Oysters, Magallana gigas (Thunberg, 1793), Under Controlled Conditions. Environmental Pollution, 252 (Part A), pp. 742-748.

Microplastics debris (< 5 mm) are increasingly abundant in the marine environment, therefore, potentially becoming a growing threat for different marine organisms. Through aquatic animals, these can enter in the human food chain, and can be perceived as a risk for consumers’ health. Different studies report the presence of particles in marketable shellfish including the world wide commercially grown Pacific oyster Magallana gigas (Thunberg, 1793). The aim of this study is to examine the potential risk of microplastics entering in the human food chain through this shellfish species, investigating the dynamics of the uptake, egestion (faeces) and rejection (pseudofaeces) of microplastics in Pacific oysters under controlled conditions. M. gigas collected from a farm in the San Teodoro lagoon (Italy), were exposed to 60 fluorescent orange polystyrene particles L−1 of known sizes (100, 250 and 500 μm). The uptake of each particle size was 19.4 ± 1.1%, 19.4 ± 2% and 12.9 ± 2% respectively. After exposure M. gigas were left to depurate for 72 h, during which 84.6 ± 2% of the particles taken up were released whilst 15.4 ± 2% were retained inside the shell cavity. No microplastic particles were found in the animals’ soft tissues. The results of this study, suggest that depuration is an effective method to reduce presence of large microplastic particles, in the size range 100–500 μm, in M. gigas. Importantly, the data suggests that the burden that could theoretically be up taken by consumers from these shellfish is negligible when compared to other routes.

microplastic; Pacific oyster; uptake dynamics; depuration; consumers risks;

Environmental Pollution: Volume 252, Issue Part A

FundersFondazione IMC - Centro Marino Internazionale
Publication date30/09/2019
Publication date online03/06/2019
Date accepted by journal01/06/2019