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Microplastics in the marine environment and the assessment of potential adverse effects of associated chemicals
Örebro University, School of Science and Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4870-6470
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the last decade plastics have gained interest by scientists as emerging pollutants particularly in the marine environment due to their ubiquity and persistence. While several studies report the occurrence of microplastics in surface waters globally, there are no harmonized methods to sample and measure microplastics, and the knowledge of toxicological effects in the marine ecosystem is scarce. One of the concerns is that microplastics could transfer hazardous chemicals into organism upon ingestion.

In this thesis chemical and bioanalytical methods were combined to address the hypothesis that plastic pollution poses a risk for marine ecosystems by exposure to plastic associated chemicals such as sorbed environmental pollutants, additives, and monomers. Six different pristine plastic polymers were studied which have been deployed in the marine and freshwater system for up to 12 months. Potential adverse effects of plastic associated chemicals were investigated with in vitro reporter gene assays which can be activated by several chemical classes. The main focus was on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated activity for the assessment of dioxin-like chemicals. Different groups of persistent environmental pollutants, which are present in the aquatic environment, were analyzed by gas chromatographic mass spectrometric methods. The contribution of the targeted chemicals to the measured biological activities was examined by conducting potency balance calculations. A better knowledge about the occurrence of microplastics in the waters surrounding Sweden was gained by sampling surface waters comparing two different sampling techniques, trawl and in-situ pump.

The plastic pellets induced bioactivities in most tested reporter gene assays and the activities varied by type of polymer. In the majority of samples the contribution of the targeted environmental pollutants to the observed bioactivities was low. Concentrations of microplastics > 0.3 mm in surface waters around Sweden were observed to be low and the findings of this thesis suggest that the tested polymers with sizes 2-4 mm will not lead to an increased risk for marine ecosystems in terms of exposure to chemicals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University , 2019. , p. 61
Series
Örebro Studies in Chemistry, ISSN 1651-4270 ; 23
Keywords [en]
Microplastics, reporter gene bioassays, sorption, HOCs, polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene
National Category
Other Chemistry Topics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-74661ISBN: 978-91-7529-292-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-74661DiVA, id: diva2:1323033
Public defence
2019-09-06, Örebro universitet, Hörsalen, Musikhögskolan, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2019-08-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Microplastics in sea-surface waters surrounding Sweden sampled by manta trawl and in-situ pump
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Microplastics in sea-surface waters surrounding Sweden sampled by manta trawl and in-situ pump
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Other Chemistry Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-75767 (URN)
Available from: 2019-08-14 Created: 2019-08-14 Last updated: 2019-08-14Bibliographically approved
2. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated potencies in field-deployed plastics vary by type of polymer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated potencies in field-deployed plastics vary by type of polymer
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2019 (English)In: Environmental science and pollution research international, ISSN 0944-1344, E-ISSN 1614-7499, Vol. 26, no 9, p. 9097-9088Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Plastic is able to sorb environmental pollutants from ambient water and might act as a vector for these pollutants to marine organisms. The potential toxicological effects of plastic-sorbed pollutants in marine organisms have not been thoroughly assessed. In this study, organic extracts from four types of plastic deployed for 9 or 12 months in San Diego Bay, California, were examined for their potential to activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) pathway by use of the H4IIE-luc assay. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), including the 16 priority PAHs, were quantified. The AhR-mediated potency in the deployed plastic samples, calculated as bio-TEQ values, ranged from 2.7 pg/g in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to 277 pg/g in low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Concentrations of the sum of 24 PAHs in the deployed samples ranged from 4.6 to 1068 ng/g. By use of relative potency factors (REP), a potency balance between the biological effect (bio-TEQs) and the targeted PAHs (chem-TEQs) was calculated to 24-170%. The study reports, for the first time, in vitro AhR-mediated potencies for different deployed plastics, of which LDPE elicited the greatest concentration of bio-TEQs followed by polypropylene (PP), PET, and polyvinylchloride (PVC).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Keywords
Ah receptor, H4IIE-luc, In vitro bioassays, Microplastics, PAH
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-72376 (URN)10.1007/s11356-019-04281-4 (DOI)000464851100063 ()30715715 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85061216163 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 223-2014-1064Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2019-02-11 Created: 2019-02-11 Last updated: 2019-08-14Bibliographically approved
3. Effect-Directed Analysis of Ah Receptor-Mediated Potencies in Microplastics Deployed in a Remote Tropical Marine Environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effect-Directed Analysis of Ah Receptor-Mediated Potencies in Microplastics Deployed in a Remote Tropical Marine Environment
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2019 (English)In: Frontiers in Environmental Science, E-ISSN 2296-665X, Vol. 7, article id 120Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To facilitate the study of potential harmful compounds sorbed to microplastics, an effect-directed analysis using the DR CALUX® assay as screening tool for Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-active compounds in extracts of marine deployed microplastics and chemical analysis of hydrophobic organic compounds (HOCs) was conducted. Pellets of three plastic polymers [low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS)] were deployed at Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, for up to 8 months. Detected AhR-mediated potencies (bio-TEQs) of extracted plastic pellets ranged from 15 to 100 pg/g. Contributions of target HOCs to the overall bioactivities were negligible. To identify the major contributors, remaining plastic pellets were used for fractionation with a gas chromatography (GC) fractionation platform featuring parallel mass spectrometric (MS) detection. The bioassay analysis showed two bioactive fractions of each polymer with bio-TEQs ranging from 5.7 to 14 pg/g. High resolution MS was used in order to identify bioactive compounds in the fractions. No AhR agonists could be identified in fractions of HDPE or LDPE. Via a multivariate statistical approach the polystyrene (PS) trimer 1e- Phenyl-4e-(1- phenylethyl)-tetralin was identified in fractions of HIPS and in fractions of the blank polymer of HIPS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2019
Keywords
polyethylene, polystyrene, PCBs, reporter gene assay, fractionation
National Category
Analytical Chemistry Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-75769 (URN)10.3389/fenvs.2019.00120 (DOI)000478726600002 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 223-2014-1064Knowledge Foundation, 20160019
Available from: 2019-08-14 Created: 2019-08-14 Last updated: 2019-08-16Bibliographically approved
4. Screening for bioactivities in three types of microplastics deployed in Swedish aquatic environments using a battery of reporter gene assays
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Screening for bioactivities in three types of microplastics deployed in Swedish aquatic environments using a battery of reporter gene assays
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Other Chemistry Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-75770 (URN)
Available from: 2019-08-14 Created: 2019-08-14 Last updated: 2019-08-14Bibliographically approved

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Schönlau, Christine

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