Micro plastics in the oceans and their effect on the marine fauna

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health

Sammanfattning: Small pieces of plastic, termed “micro plastic” in the oceans derive mainly from degradation of big plastics such as beach littering, but also from sources of direct emission from e.g. beauty scrubbers and synthetic sand-blasting. These micro plastics are ingested by marine animals – mistaking them for plankton – or via prey. When ingested, the particles affect the animals due to their physical properties, their chemical properties (the plastic polymer itself and additives) and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) gathered on their surface. The latter because micro plastics have a large hydrophobic surface, which accumulate POPs to a great extent, leading to up to 105-106 times more POPs on micro plastics than in the surrounding water. Main effects due to the particles themselves include reduced feeding activity, weight loss, and strong immune response, but studies concluding otherwise are also abundant. Additives such as bisphenol A and phthalates are otherwise known to be hormone disrupters and interfere with development and sexuality, but there is a lack of studies concerning exposure of additives via ingested micro plastics. POPs, including PCB, DDT, PBDE and PAH, on micro plastics are potentially a big threat with increased uptake of POPs because of ingested micro plastics. The question of bio-accumulation of micro plastics is not fully investigated.

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